You are here

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine)

Subscribe to Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) feed Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine)
The official blog of Scouting magazine, a publication of the Boy Scouts of America.
Updated: 50 min 17 sec ago

This minor league baseball team will play in jerseys that look like Scout uniforms

14 hours 50 min ago

Here’s my Scouting report on the Iowa Cubs: They’re looking pretty good this season.

The Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs has unveiled the special Scouting-themed jersey the team will wear on Scout Day this season. All proceeds from jersey sales will benefit local Scouting.

The khaki-colored button-ups look just like the Scout uniform, and the designs were approved by the Boy Scouts of America. The players will don them during Scout Day, scheduled for the team’s April 28 game against the Nashville Sounds.

If you ask me, the Iowa Cubs really hit this one out of the park.

The design includes a Mid-Iowa Council shoulder patch on the left sleeve, green loops on each shoulder and a realistic-looking Eagle Scout medal on the left pocket. The addition of shadows makes everything look 3D, but the design is totally flat. Good thing, because dangling medals and swinging neckerchief slides might make it tough to turn that 6-4-3 double play.

During the game, the team will auction off all 30 jerseys. Proceeds benefit the Mid-Iowa Council’s efforts to serve more families through Scouting. Winning bidders can meet the player who wore the jersey and get him to sign it after the game.

It’s all part of Scout Day at the Iowa Cubs.

In addition to seeing the players’ special uniforms, Scouts get discounted tickets, a commemorative patch and a chance to participate in the pregame parade on the field.

How it happened

I talked to Ben Chiochon, development director of the Mid-Iowa Council, to learn how the idea came about.

He said it started with a meeting he had with Mid-Iowa Council Scout Executive Matt Hill and Iowa Cubs Vice President Randy Wehofer. Chiochon and Hill wanted to establish a day that really showcased Scouting, with Scouts throwing out the first pitch, singing the national anthem and participating in a pregame parade.

But what about the players? How could they become part of the celebration of Scouting, too?

“Being a fan of the Iowa Cubs myself, I had been to games where the players were wearing pink jerseys and others for charity,” Chiochon said. “So I asked if they could come up with a jersey that looked just like an Eagle Scout uniform. After getting approval from BSA, Wilson and Minor League baseball, we were good to go.”

The team and its players loved the idea, Chiochon said. They understand that the Des Moines-based council serves 20,000 families — many of whom are fans of the local baseball team.

It was a win-win.

With the approvals in place, Chiochon worked with Wilson to help come up with the design.

“Basically, I helped make sure the patches were in the correct placement,” he said.

Interested in trying something like this with your local team? Chiochon says to start with the team. Now that the template has been made, he’s happy to share the design.

A closer look at the jerseys

Check out two more photos above.

One interesting note: Unwittingly or not, the Iowa Cubs seem to have dug in their cleats on a certain friendly debate within Scouting. The uniforms feature an Eagle Scout neckerchief, and it’s shown under the collar — not over.

Oh, and the American flag patch on the right sleeve? Yes, it’s facing the correct direction.

Eagle Scout wins $80,000 in Regeneron Science Talent Search 2019

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 9:00am

Where can Scouting take young people? The sky’s the limit.

Samuel Ferguson, an Eagle Scout from West Windsor, N.J., received an $80,000 prize for finishing in sixth place in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.

He says he’ll put every penny of the money toward paying for college; the 18-year-old plans to attend MIT.

I first told you about Sam in January when he was one of three Scouts selected as finalists in the competition, which is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math event for high school seniors.

For his project, Sam designed a blended-wing-body aircraft that’s 40 percent lighter and more fuel efficient than traditional tube-and-wing airplanes.

In Sam’s design, the entire surface of the airplane — not just the wings — provides lift.

Being one of just 40 finalists from across the country is an honor in itself. But at an awards gala earlier this month in Washington, D.C., Sam learned that his project won sixth place and the accompanying prize money.

“I was surprised but very happy,” Sam tells me. “I felt great knowing that all of that hard work and dedication paid off in not just earning prize money, but spending an exciting week with some really cool and interesting people.”

How Scouting helped

When he’s not in class at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School, Sam volunteers as an assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 66 of the Washington Crossing Council.

He says his time in Scouting was “very helpful for this competition.”

“Scouting helped me develop my leadership and communication skills,” he says. “Working on my Eagle Scout project helped me develop my planning and project management skills.”

Even though Sam’s $80,000 prize stemmed from his STEM skills, Sam’s favorite Scouting memory didn’t involve science, technology, engineering or math.

“My favorite part of Scouting was spending time outdoors with my friends,” he says. “One of my best memories was slowly making our way down a snowy hill to discover a partially frozen waterfall. It was so exciting and mesmerizing.”

Learn more about the Regeneron Science Talent Search and see a full list of winners in the official news release.

Photos courtesy of Chris Ayers/Society for Science & the Public

Parents of Eagle Scout journalist missing in Syria since 2012 remain hopeful

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 8:30am

Fellow Eagle Scouts, one of our own is missing in Syria.

Austin Tice, an Eagle Scout, former U.S. Marine and freelance journalist, has been missing in the war-torn country in western Asia since Aug. 14, 2012.

On Dec. 4, 2018, his parents said at a news conference in Beirut that they have new information that leads them to believe he’s still alive.

The FBI has offered a $1 million reward, and the National Press Club has launched a new fundraising effort to match that total. The group has named May 2 as a “Night Out for Austin Tice,” where diners who eat at participating restaurants can help the campaign to free Austin Tice.

Who is Austin Tice?

Tice was one of the few journalists working in this highly dangerous region. He was contributing to The Washington Post, McClatchy, CBS and other news outlets when he was kidnapped.

News about his location or condition has been basically nonexistent.

But his parents, Debra and Marc, haven’t given up hope. They didn’t specify the nature of the new information that emerged late in 2018, but they told The Washington Post that it gave them renewed hope.

“It’s not just the feeling in our hearts that Austin is alive,” Marc Tice told the Post. “It’s the consensus of all those working on his case.”

Austin Tice’s parents appealed to the governments of the United States and Syria to work out a deal for their son’s release.

Tice, the Eagle Scout

In 2014, on the second anniversary of Austin Tice’s disappearance, Debra and Marc wrote this letter in The Washington Post sharing memories of their son and speaking with the kind of pride familiar to all parents of Eagle Scouts.

From your earliest days as an Eagle Scout, a top student, a terrific athlete, and a caring friend and neighbor, we knew you were a special kid. When you put your Georgetown Law education on hold to follow your journalistic dreams, we knew you were extraordinary. When you did so to help people in one of the most dangerous regions in the world, we knew you were one in a million.

From what I’ve read and learned about Austin Tice, it’s tough to argue with that sentiment. He’s a truly remarkable man.

I first reached Marc Tice by email in 2014, and he gave me his blessing to go ahead with this blog post. He told me his son, who earned the Eagle Scout award as a member of Houston Troop 266, is the man he is today because of Scouting.

Austin Tice attended multiple summer camps at El Rancho Cima in the Texas Hill Country, hiked at Philmont, sailed at the Florida Sea Base and canoed the Boundary Waters.

“Scouting was important to Austin, and he is very proud of achieving his Eagle,” Marc Tice wrote. “We all recognize the positive impact of Scouting in forming Austin into the man he is today.”

Learn more and help the Tice family

Please visit the website they’ve set up to learn more about how you can help.

Photos of Austin Tice in Scouting

Marc shared these photos with me:

Austin Tice receives the Arrow of Light Award from his dad, Pack 80 Cubmaster Marc Tice. Cub Scout Austin presents his mom, Debra, with a mother’s pin. Austin crosses over into Boy Scouting. Austin takes a break while working on his Eagle Scout project. Scoutmaster Bill Wallace presents Austin with Troop 266’s “Scout of the Year” award. Austin poses during his Eagle Scout ceremony. Marc and Debra Tice stand proud as Austin receives his Eagle Scout award.

Updated: This article was originally posted in 2014 and updated in 2019.

How to visit the 2019 World Scout Jamboree: Day passes, dates and details

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 9:00am

This summer, get a taste of the worldwide fellowship of Scouting without even leaving the country.

Day passes for the 2019 World Scout Jamboree are now available, giving everyone a chance to experience this summer’s global gathering of Scouts.

If your summer plans don’t involve attending the World Scout Jamboree or serving on staff (known as the International Service Team), point your compass to the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.

Jamboree visitors can sample unique food, learn about other cultures and meet Scouts from the more than 150 countries represented. They’ll also be part of a World Scouting tradition that began in 1920 with the first World Scout Jamboree.

This summer’s big event is just the 24th World Scout Jamboree in history and only the second in the United States. (The other was in 1967 at Farragut State Park in Idaho.)

Here’s everything you need to Be Prepared for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Which days is the 2019 World Scout Jamboree open to visitors?

The visitor days and hours are as follows:

  • Wednesday, July 24 (first visitor day): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 25: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 27: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 28: Noon to 5 p.m.
  • Monday, July 29: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 30: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 31 (last visitor day): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Note: No visitors will be permitted onsite on Friday, July 26, or any date not listed above.

What can visitors do?

Day visitors are welcome at the following locations:

  • Centro Mondial: The World Scout Jamboree’s main hub, where you can learn more about North America, deepen your understanding about a Scout’s Duty to God and explore 21st century advancements.
  • Global Development Village: A place where people from all nations can exchange ideas and discover how to build a better world.
  • International Food Houses: A chance to get a literal taste of food from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom or the United States.
  • Sustainability Treehouse: A living education center where visitors get immersed in the concept of sustainability.
  • World Point: Stages where Scouts from other countries can sing, dance, celebrate and perform.
  • Scott Visitor Center: Lockers, restrooms and the main trading post, offering a variety of World Scout Jamboree souvenirs.

Please note:

  • While day visitors can’t participate in the recreational activities open to Jamboree participants, they can observe Scouts in action in the areas listed above. They can also visit the numerous displays and exhibits depicting Scouting around the world.
  • Day visitors are not permitted to visit base camps or subcamps (Scout living areas) or recreational areas outside Summit Center/Centro Mondial. If you want to meet with your son or daughter attending the Jamboree, arrange a time and location within Summit Center/Centro Mondial to meet up.
How much are visitor passes?

Tickets are sold for a single day and are valid for that day only. Buy them here.

  • Adult single-day pass (14 and older): $55
  • Youth single-day pass (6 to 13): $30
  • Youth under 6: No charge

Other things to know:

  • All youth under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Once you arrive at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, you’ll receive a wristband that must be worn throughout your visit. If you’re visiting for multiple days, you’ll get a new wristband each day.
  • All visitors will receive a Safe From Harm briefing. Safe From Harm is the World Organization of the Scout Movement’s equivalent to Youth Protection training.
How do I get to the 2019 World Scout Jamboree?

Day visitors will arrive at the J.W. and Hazel Ruby Welcome Center, located at 55 Hazel Ruby Lane, Mt Hope, WV 25880.

You’ll need to arrange your own transportation to the Ruby Welcome Center. Once there, you’ll check in, get your wristband and take a shuttle to begin your Jamboree experience.

Is lodging/housing available?

There is no housing available for day visitors on the Jamboree site. There are hotels in the area, but most in the immediate vicinity have been reserved by groups supporting the Jamboree.

Because of this, you’ll want to plan for a one- to two-hour drive to and from the Jamboree each day.

What should I bring and wear?

Check your weather app for the latest temperature/precipitation forecast.

You will absolutely want:

  • A small backpack (backpacks must not exceed 13” (33 cm) x 13” x 11” (28 cm) inches (16 quarts/15 liters)
  • Comfortable, sturdy shoes
  • Rain gear
  • A water bottle
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • A hat
  • Cellphone and/or camera
What items are prohibited inside the World Scout Jamboree?

For the safety of the jamboree participants, staff and visitors, the following items are not allowed to be brought into the Jamboree:

  • Large backpacks; backpacks must not exceed 13” (33 cm) x 13” x 11” (28 cm) inches (16 quarts/15 liters)
  • Coolers
  • Picnic Baskets
  • Glass bottles
  • Firearms
  • Alcohol and tobacco products
  • Pets. (Registered guide or service animals are allowed with documentation.)
  • Illegal Substances
  • Knives

Smoking, including with electronic smoking devices, is prohibited on the shuttle buses and at the Jamboree.

Strollers for infants must fold to board shuttle buses and are subject to search. Although permitted, strollers are discouraged, because walkways and paths are rough gravel and terrain is hilly.

What if I have a question not addressed here?

Go to this page and look for the link marked “Frequently Asked Questions” for the latest version of the FAQs.

‘This is why you’re a youth volunteer’: Scoutmaster praises boys’ Good Turn for Scouts BSA troop for girls

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 9:00am

A Scout’s daily Good Turn can take on any form.

The boys in Troop 339 of Ridley Township, Pa., were looking for a way to warmly welcome the members of their linked troop: a new Scouts BSA troop for girls that shares their troop number, meeting place, chartered organization and committee but meets and camps separately.

Without any prodding from the adults, the young men came up with the perfect idea. They’d use some of the troop’s extra funds to purchase new uniforms for the girls. These extra funds, I should mention, were available thanks to some smart money management from the Scouts and Scouters of Troop 339.

“This is why you’re a youth volunteer — to see a group of young men put their own personal interests aside and do good for others,” Jim Walls, Scoutmaster of Troop 339 for boys, told the Delaware County Daily Times. “It’s all about doing one good thing each day for somebody else. This year, it happened to be buying uniforms for the girls.”


Visiting the Scout shop

Instead of just handing off a check or Venmo-ing the funds, the boys met the girls at the Cradle of Liberty Council’s Valley Forge Scout Shop in Wayne, Pa.

Turns out a Scout shop is a great place to go over the basics of the Scouts BSA program. The guys pointed out their favorite merit badges, talked about camping gear and explained the pieces of the Scouts BSA uniform.

Barbara Steinmetz, Scoutmaster of Troop 339 for girls, watched the Scouting kindness unfold in front of her.

“The girls troop is so thankful that the boys are doing this,” she told the Times. “They’re happy and excited, and it’s a fantastic start to all of this.”

A running start

With uniforms under their belt, Troop 339 for girls can get started on all the fun, character-building moments that are part of being a Scout.

Like all Scouts BSA troops, this one’s led by the youth. So the girls — not the adults — get to decide what’s next. Those planning and leadership skills are part of being a Scout, too.

“I want to be there to see them experience what they want to in the program,” Steinmetz told the Times. “There is a lot of stuff they’re talking about: camping, orienteering and seeing what the program’s about and what they can do with it.”

Read the Delaware County Daily Times story here. Photos courtesy of Jim Walls.

Scouts split up big job for three Eagle projects

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 9:00am

Tyler Henry wanted to help Memorial United Methodist Church in Summit Point, W.Va., where his grandmother had attended and where Troop 421 met. As a tribute to his grandmother and a thank-you on behalf of his troop, Tyler decided to take on multiple challenging tasks for his Eagle Scout project: replacing the church’s speakers, upgrading the sound booth and building a table for the sound equipment.

It seemed a little too much for one Scout to tackle. But for three Scouts? You betcha.

So, Tyler encouraged Eric McClaflin and Andre Yates to devote their Eagle projects to helping the church as well.

“Working with my fellow Scouts to complete this project for our Eagle rank was an awesome experience that I will never forget,” Andre says.

Splitting up the work

Tyler decided to take on the sound booth portion of the massive project. He and fellow Scouts first removed a pew and radiator. The floor was raised, so the sound booth operator could have a better view of a church service. Then, the Scouts built the booth with oak wood and stained it to match the existing pews.

Next, Andre replaced the church’s decades-old speakers, which congregants had a hard time hearing from. He removed the old speakers and replaced them with new ones; then, he installed a microphone in the choir loft area. Fathers in the troop who are electricians and engineers helped with the electrical connections.

Finally, Eric and fellow Scouts cut a 10-foot-long piece of wood, stained it and installed it in the sound booth. This now serves as a sturdy place to operate the church’s sound equipment. They also put in some storage containers and a cabinet to secure the church’s electronics.

When they were all finished, Tyler had put in 204 work hours for his Eagle project; Andre’s efforts totaled to 125 hours, and Eric’s project took 124 hours.

“It was nice to give back to the congregation that has given so much to us,” Tyler says.

Similar idea?

If your Life Scouts are brainstorming ideas for an Eagle Scout project, encourage them not to shy away from herculean jobs. Looking at the scope of the work needed at the church, Tyler could’ve very easily sought a different project, but he wanted to help the church. By splitting up the tasks, Tyler, Andre and Eric all found worthy projects that tremendously helped the congregation.

If your Scouts have a similar idea, make sure each project meets the rank requirements, demanding that each Scout plan, develop and give leadership for their own project.

“The approving authorities need to ensure each project meets the requirement and is separate and distinct from each other,” says Mike LoVecchio, BSA advancement specialist. “These projects should be executed separately as well — in other words, each on a different day.”

Carefully read the Guide to Advancement and follow the instructions in the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook.

For more Eagle Scout project ideas, check out the Boys’ Life Eagle Scout Project Showcase and our Eagle Scout Project Before-and-After series.

Summer camp season’s almost here, so it’s time for that annual physical

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 10:00am

We’re mere months away from the summer, aka the Greatest Scouting Season. And while it’s too early to pack your bags and load the trailer, the time is right for one essential step in summer Scouting preparation.

It’s time to get your physical.

As noted on the Annual Health and Medial Record website, a pre-participation physical is needed for resident campers (at summer or winter camps) and for Scouts and adult leaders attending events that last 72 hours or more.

That means it’s required for every participant at summer camp, any of the four BSA high-adventure bases and the 2019 World Scout Jamboree.

Why is an Annual Health and Medical Record required?

Since at least the 1930s, the BSA has required the use of standardized health and medical information. The Annual Health and Medical Record …

  • Promotes health awareness
  • Collects necessary data
  • Provides medical professionals with critical information needed to treat a patient in the event of an illness or injury
  • Supplies emergency contact information
  • Prepares participants for high-adventure activities and increased physical activity
  • Reviews participants’ readiness for gatherings like the national Scout jamboree and other specialized activities
  • Enables councils to operate day and resident camps in a way that adheres to state and BSA requirements
  • Standardizes medical records in a way that can be used by members in all 50 states
Which are the different parts of the Annual Health and Medical Record?

The Annual Health and Medical Record (AHMR) comes in three parts:

  • Part A is an informed consent, release agreement and authorization that needs to be signed by every participant (or a parent and/or legal guardian for all youth under 18).
  • Part B is general information and a health history.
  • Part C is your pre-participation physical certification completed by a certified and licensed physician.
Which part of the AHMR must I (or my Scout) complete?
  • For all Scouting events: Part A and B. Give the completed forms to your unit leader. This applies to all activities, day camps, local tours and weekend camping trips less than 72 hours.
  • For camp: Part A, B and C. A pre-participation physical is needed for resident, tour, or trek camps or for a Scouting event of more than 72 hours, such as Wood Badge and NYLT. The exam needs to be completed by a certified and licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. If your camp has provided you with any supplemental risk information, or if your plans include attending one of the four national high-adventure bases, share the venue’s risk advisory with your medical provider when you are having your physical exam.
  • For high-adventure trips: Part A, B and C. Plus, each of the four national high-adventure bases (Florida Sea Base, Northern Tier, Philmont and the Summit Bechtel Reserve) has provided a supplemental risk advisory that explains in greater detail some of the risks inherent in that program. Some Scouts arrive at a high-adventure base without discussing that base’s risk factors with their health care provider, meaning they have missing info at check-in that can slow down the process.
What is meant by “annual”?

Your AHMR is valid through the end of the 12th month after the date it was administered by your medical provider.

For example, if you got your physical on March 3, 2019, it’s valid until March 30, 2020.

Where can I find the proper, most up-to-date form?

Right here.

What about digitizing records?

Please don’t, the BSA says. These records must be secure, and so “records are NOT to be digitized, scanned, sent by email, or stored electronically by unit leaders.”

What if I have more questions?

Consult these FAQs.

Hannah Carter named 2019-2020 National Sea Scout Boatswain

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 9:00am

On a Sea Scout ship, like in a Scouts BSA troop or Venturing crew, the young people — not the adults — are in charge.

The same is true of Sea Scouting on a national level. Sea Scouts, the Boy Scouts of America’s program for all things on, in or under the water, is led by a young person known as the National Sea Scout Boatswain (pronounced “bosun”).

Under the mentorship of adult volunteers and professionals, the National Sea Scout Boatswain helps steer the program toward an exciting new future.

This month, the National Sea Scout Support Committee selected Hannah Carter of San Clemente, Calf., as the 2019-2020 National Sea Scout Boatswain.

Hannah, a member of Ship 936 of the Orange County Council, wants to recruit more young people into Sea Scouts, improve the relationship between youth and adults, increase social media engagement, and develop regular communications among youth.

Her term will begin June 1, 2019, at which point she’ll take the helm from 2018-2019 National Sea Scout Boatswain Jack Otto.

Hannah Carter (bottom row, middle) on the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle. What is Sea Scouting?

Sea Scouting is a program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women ages 14 to 21.

Founded in 1912, Sea Scouting has promoted citizenship and improved young people’s boating skills through instruction and practice in water safety, boating skills, outdoor fun, social activities, service experiences, and knowledge of maritime heritage.

Hannah Carter (right) at the 2018 Koch Cup in Galveston, Texas. Who is Hannah Carter?

Hannah is a member of “Mariners 636” in Dana Point, part of the Orange County Council.

She serves as Western Region Boatswain and is an Able Sea Scout working on the Quartermaster Award, the highest rank in Sea Scouting.

Hannah has cruised aboard the Barque Eagle, the U.S. Coast Guard’s most famous ship and the only active-duty sailing vessel in America’s military. She completed the weeklong Sea Scout Advanced Leadership training, known as SEAL. And she has twice competed in the biannual sailing competition known as the Koch Cup.

Outside of Scouting, Hannah is a competitive dinghy sailor and instructor and is a member of her high school’s choir and Key Club.

Members of Congress share their thoughts on Scouting

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 9:00am

Politicians may not align on every issue, but here’s one topic about which there’s near-unanimous agreement: Scouting helps prepare young men and young women for life.

That message was delivered this week inside Senate committee rooms and around ornate conference tables. It was shared in the marble-lined hallways of the Capitol and in meeting areas normally reserved for heads of state. It was repeated by members of both political parties.

The Report to the Nation delegates — representing all four regions and four different BSA programs — were given rare access to some of our nation’s top leaders. In turn, these leaders met some of our country’s future leaders.

Here’s what a few of them said about Scouting, in chronological order.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Despite her busy job as Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi spent more than 15 minutes with the delegates.

In 2007, Pelosi became the first female speaker in U.S. history. This fact gave Natalie MacEwan, a Venturer from California, a perfect opportunity to share some exciting news about the Boy Scouts of America.

“We had more than 77,000 girls join Cub Scouts in the first six months,” Natalie said.

She then presented Pelosi with a limited-edition “Scout Me In” neckerchief given to all members of Congress who met with the delegates.

“This is a first,” Pelosi said, putting the neckerchief on. “This will be something that I will proudly display and explain what you just explained.”

After hearing each delegate’s Scouting story, Pelosi offered a few parting words.

“Leadership development is essential to the strength of our democracy,” she said. “It gives me so much hope to see these future leaders — current leaders, really.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Sen. Mitch McConnell visited with the delegates for a few minutes before he was due back on the Senate floor.

He received a copy of the Report to the Nation and posed for a photo, copies of which his office will mail to each delegate.

“Congratulations all of you. I’m really proud of you,” he said. Thank you for coming by and making your annual report, and good luck.”

Sen. Mike Enzi, Wyoming — Eagle Scout

The remaining dignitaries listed here spoke at a special event for Eagle Scouts on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, Eagle Scouts who work in Washington — and their invited guests — gathered inside a Senate committee room to rally support for Scouting.

The first speaker was Sen. Mike Enzi, an Eagle Scout from Wyoming. He said that his motivation for earning Scouting’s highest honor was a leader who gave him a challenge. If Enzi wanted to attend the 1957 National Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge, he’d need to earn Eagle first.

He did, and he’s been proud of his achievement ever since.

“Put Eagle Scout on your résumé for the rest of your life,” he told the crowd. “No matter how old you are, no matter whether you’re applying for a job with somebody who isn’t a Scout. They know the value of that badge.”

Next, Enzi offered a trivia question: How many Eagle Scout awards have been given away in the history of the Boy Scouts of America?

After a pause for dramatic effect, Enzi shared the answer.

“None,” he said. “They were all earned.”

Rep. Jim Cooper, Tennessee — Eagle Scout

Rep. Jim Cooper said he never got to attend a National Jamboree or go on a trek at a high-adventure base. His transformative Scouting experiences happened closer to home: at Boxwell Scout Reservation in Tennessee.

He echoed Enzi’s sentiment, encouraging everyone to keep the words “Eagle Scout” on their résumé for the rest of their lives.

“Scouting is the finest youth leadership program there is,” he said. “Keep up the great work.”

Rep. Sanford Bishop, Georgia — Eagle Scout

When he was 11 years old, Rep. Sanford Bishop started working on the Citizenship in the Nation merit badge. The badge developed within him an interest in the inner workings of government.

“I never imagined that one day I would be living what I studied,” he said.

Bishop said the Scout Oath and Scout Law have guided him throughout his life.

“I certainly would not be the person I am today were it not for Scouting,” he said.

Rep. Trent Kelly, Mississippi — Eagle Scout

Rep. Trent Kelly used his time to memorialize his boyhood Scoutmaster — a man named Richard Chisolm, who died on March 4.

“I come from a small, small town, where we didn’t think you could go anywhere but there,” Kelly said. “But because of Richard Chisolm, we believed there was a greater and more beautiful world.”

Kelly encouraged everyone to become a mentor like Chisolm, who affected countless young lives through his time as a volunteer.

“Honor the memory of those who helped you get there,” Kelly said. “Help someone else to achieve and understand that there’s a better world.”

Rep. Chris Collins, New York — Eagle Scout

Rep. Chris Collins asked Isabella Messer of Maine to stand up and be recognized. Isabella, one of the first girls to join Scouts BSA, received a rousing applause from the room of Eagle Scouts.

“Times are changing,” Collins said, “and Scouts are changing with it.”

He encouraged Scouting alumni to find a way to remain involved in the program.

“Scouting has been good to you as a youth,” he said. “Be good to Scouting as an adult.”

Rep. Steve Stivers, Ohio — Eagle Scout

Rep. Steve Stivers pointed to a member of his staff who had joined him at the event.

“He was not a Scout, and he is ‘very useless outdoors’ — that was his quote to me as we were walking in,” Stivers said good-naturedly. “Boy Scouts taught me survival skills and outdoor skills, but it also was a great time. I made a lot of great friends.”

Reiterating the theme of the evening, Stivers talked about the value of becoming an Eagle Scout.

“Eagle Scout is one of the few things you can put on your résumé when you’re 15, 16, 17 or 18 and still have on your résumé when you’re 53, 65, 70,” he said. “It’s something you can be proud of forever.”

Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here

Scouts complete rare service project at Korean War Veterans Memorial

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 9:22am

With its 19 stainless steel statues honoring those who served, the Korean War Veterans Memorial is a place of reverential respite from the noise of Washington.

On Tuesday afternoon, that silence temporarily was replaced by the sounds of gravel being scooped and brooms sweeping polished granite. But the cause of this noise, and its result, made the interruption well worth it.

A group of Scouts, Venturers and adult volunteers representing the BSA’s Report to the Nation delegation participated in a service project at the memorial, completing a Good Turn for the National Park Service and reaffirming a longtime relationship between the two groups.

The two-hour project involved replacing the black gravel that lines the memorial’s main section: a field of 7-foot-tall soldiers walking through juniper meant to symbolize the rice paddies of Korea.

“Those people gave their all, and it’s our duty to give back as much as we can,” said Trevor Burke, an Eagle Scout from Texas. “It’s just our way of saying thank you for your service and sacrifice to our country.”

Service and sacrifice

More than 4 million people visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial each year, and over time the gravel inside the memorial is blown away by wind or scuffed away by feet.

Replacing that gravel is a task that must happen once per year. That’s the only time people who aren’t park rangers or maintenance workers are allowed to step past the memorial’s chain barrier.

“This is an honor and a privilege to work inside the memorial,” said James Pierce, the park ranger overseeing the project. “Not only are you giving back to the National Park Service; you’re giving back to this great nation.”

Pierce knows something about sacrifice. In 2012, while serving as a member of the military police in Afghanistan, he was injured by a suicide bomber. Three members of his company were killed in the attack.

By sharing his story, Pierce deepened the level of respect the delegates demonstrated toward their work.

Pierce distributed gloves, shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows and brooms to the Report to the Nation delegates, who wore yellow “Find Your Park” T-shirts in recognition of the BSA’s support for the park service.

A high-performing team

With no prompting from the adults, the Scouts got to work. They divided into two groups, with one starting on the east side of the memorial and another beginning on the west.

At the northeast corner of the monument, Te’Lario Watkins II, a Webelos Scout from Ohio, showed a commitment to service not found in most 11-year-olds.

“I take the pebbles, and I put them here,” he said, pointing his shovel toward a bare patch of dirt. “The rakers come and get them to smooth it out. The ones I miss, the sweeper gets that.”

The sweeper was Isabella Messer, a Webelos Scout from Maine.

“Instead of everyone doing their own thing, we’re all helping — working together,” she said. “We’re getting it done quickly.”

Chief pebble provider

Back at the truck, the pile of obsidian-colored gravel was beginning to shrink. That’s thanks in large part to the efforts of Michalea Oakes, a Sea Scout from Texas.

“I’m the chief provider of small pebbles,” she said.

Michalea and other Scouts remained stationed at the pile, scooping shovelfuls of gravel into empty wheelbarrows.

“It’s an honor to be out here to do this,” Michalea said. “I thought we’d do a small project, but this is so much bigger. I guess that’s what Scouts are all about.”

Working alongside Michalea was Vionn Welcome, an Eagle Scout from Florida. He echoed Michalea’s sentiment about the significance of the moment.

“It’s an honor to be able to help the memorials in D.C.,” he said. “As much as the history books tell about historical events, national parks provide something that you can see — live.”

Erica Austin of the National Park Service’s youth programs division and James Pierce, a park ranger, receive the Report to the Nation. A big thanks

As the delegates worked up a sweat in spite of the 45-degree temperature, visitors continued to pass through the memorial. At least a half-dozen took time to thank the Scouts for their efforts.

“Hey, thank you guys for being out here and doing this,” one man said. “That’s awesome.”

A more formal thank you came after the gravel pile had disappeared completely and the entire memorial was swept clean of stones. Erica Austin, representing the park service’s youth programs division, presented each delegate with a Scout Ranger patch.

When she spoke, Austin was talking about more than the delegates’ service on this sunny afternoon in Washington. She was speaking to all Scouts who help beautify our public lands.

“We’re so grateful for your service to our national parks,” she said. “We really couldn’t do it without you.”

As the delegates boarded the bus to leave, Tyler Brackett, an Eagle Scout from Maine, demonstrated the Scouting mentality toward service.

“OK, where’s the next project?” he said. “Let’s go.”

Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here

A report of the BSA’s 2018 accomplishments is now in the congressional record

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 1:34pm

If you camped, participated in a service project or earned a merit badge in 2018, your accomplishments are now part of the congressional record.

Twelve delegates representing four different BSA programs submitted the 2018 Report to the Nation to the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate on Tuesday morning at the U.S. Capitol. In doing so, the group fulfilled a mandate in the Boy Scouts of America’s congressional charter that says we must share a record of Scouting’s accomplishments with Congress each year.

This was no mere display for the cameras. The report will become part of the congressional record, which anyone can see at (See the entry for last year’s visit at this link, under EC-4483.)

A great start to the day

For Cheryl Johnson, Clerk of the House, the chance to meet a bunch of impressive Scouts was a welcome respite during a stressful day.

Ninety minutes after leaving breakfast with the Report to the Nation delegation, Johnson, whose office creates and maintains all House records, was due in front of the House Appropriations Committee. In just her first month in the position, she would have to testify in support of her office’s budget for 2020.

“But this is a great way to start the morning — to see so many bright and fresh young people that are our future,” she said. “I just have no doubt that all of you will go to do such great things.”

Julie Adams, Secretary of the Senate, agreed.

“I’m always so impressed when I have the opportunity to sit down for this breakfast each year,” she said. “It does give me great hope for our future.”

Later, both women shared that they have Eagle Scouts in their lives. Johnson’s godson and Adams’ brother have earned Scouting’s highest honor.

“I spent a lot of time with merit badges happening in the basement of my house,” Adams said.

Learning about Scouts BSA

Johnson also gave the delegates a good opportunity to talk about the BSA’s move to welcome all members of the family into Scouting through programs like Scouts BSA.

“So are there coed troops?” she asked.

Jeff Messer, an Eagle Scout who is on the delegation with his daughter Isabella, a new Scouts BSA member, chimed in.

“It’s either all female or all male, but you can have linked troops that share a chartering organization and a committee,” he said. “They can meet on the same night, but they will be separate.”

Faith in our country’s future

In addition to receiving the report itself, Johnson and Adams showed genuine interest in hearing each delegate’s story. They wanted to meet the faces behind the numbers.

Avery Neuhart, a Law Enforcement Explorer from Maryland, talked about her time in Exploring.

“It’s really just provided me with more than I could ever imagine,” she said. “Before I came in, I would’ve had a hard time talking in front of this many people in a room. This past summer, I was able to give a speech in front of 3,000. … The program’s really proved to be incredible to me.”

Natalie MacEwan, a Venturer from California, called herself an honorary Scout as she grew up watching boys join the program she wanted to join. She became a Venturer when she turned 14.

For Natalie, Venturing was “the source for a lot of my inspiration, and my character development and leadership skills — really just a community I could rely on through hardship growing up.”

After each delegate shared his or her story, Jim Rogers, an Eagle Scout and the former CEO of KOA, offered a perfect closing statement.

“So that’s our team,” he said. “We wanted to be sure you understand that the Boy Scouts of America is healthy and going strong.”

Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here

Take the Trashtag Challenge, the latest viral craze that’s perfectly suited for Scouting

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 9:15am

Finally, a viral challenge Scouts can fully endorse.

It’s called the Trashtag Challenge, and it’s inspiring people on social media to pick up trash and share that good deed on Twitter or Instagram.

The concept of picking up trash, even if it’s not yours, should seem familiar. Scouts have been leaving outdoor spaces better than they found them long before Twitter or Instagram were invented.

But sharing that Good Turn on social media? That’s a new concept for most Scouts, who prefer to perform their acts of generosity without expecting credit.

Consider the Trashtag Challenge a two-part Good Turn: the cleanup act itself, followed by the post that inspires others to follow your example.

Rooted in Leave No Trace

Principle 3 of Leave No Trace teaches Scouts and Venturers to “Dispose of Waste Properly.”

The “pack it in, pack it out” method “motivates backcountry visitors to take their trash home with them,” according to Principle 3.

But Scouts don’t just remove their own trash; they pick up others’ garbage, too.

“It makes sense to carry out of the backcountry the extra materials taken there by your group or others,” according to Principle 3. “Inspect your campsite for trash or spilled foods. Accept the challenge of packing out all trash, leftover food, and litter.”

See that? “Accept the challenge.” Accept the … #Trashtag Challenge.

Share your #Trashtag cleanup

I’m guessing your pack, troop, ship or crew makes cleaning up public lands or waterways a part of its service project efforts.

So let’s see some photos from one of those recent projects! Bonus points if you have a “before and after” image of the beach, park or river you helped beautify.

Share your photo below. To upload an image, click the “upload image” icon in the comment box.

What others have shared

Along the Potomac River south of Washington, DC #trashtag

— Robbie McNeil (@RMcNeil2105) March 10, 2019

Our big #Aberaeron Spring clean-up everyone! Great community involvement. #trashtag Aberaeron

— Elizabeth Evans (@liz4ceredigion) March 11, 2019

Eagle Scout fights human trafficking in Cambodia

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 9:00am

James Havey discovered his passion for helping the downtrodden and underprivileged after a trip to Mexico in middle school. He went on a trip with a Christian ministry to volunteer in orphanages around Monterrey, Mexico.

“It was on this first trip down to Monterrey that I saw what poverty can do to a family, and what non-governmental organizations are doing to help alleviate these situations,” Havey says.

Today, Havey, volunteering with the Catholic organization Mary Knoll Missioners, is helping people subjected to human trafficking in Cambodia, working on an unprecedented 10-year research study in that country. The effort aims to better understand the individual impact trafficking has there and how to best advocate for victims.

The study

Human trafficking has pervaded every province of the Southeast Asian country of 16 million people, Havey says. Children from poor families beg on the streets. Many men and boys, some as young as 13, recruited into the fishing industry are underpaid and forced to work at sea for years. Women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking, some of whom are deceived into marriages and then forced to pay off their spouses’ debts through forced factory labor or prostitution. Sometimes, entire families are forced to work for brick kiln proprietors, who take care of families’ preexisting debts and then strong-arm them to work for them, while requiring them to take out new loans as a condition of employment.

It can all be frustrating to witness.

“I would have to say my biggest challenge living and working here is that balance of not being some elitist foreigner from a developed nation who has a savior complex,” Havey says. “While this sounds harsh, yes, it takes a daily practice of humility and a listening ear to walk with my friends and coworkers of Cambodia, rather than pull by the hand and lead.”

He has learned how to empathize with his colleagues and the 128 adults and children who are part of the study. The research project, launched in 2010 by the Chab Dai Coalition, involves following human trafficking survivors from when they join an aftercare program through their transition back into the community.

The work has revealed a poor support system for victims, abuse within shelters, stigmas against survivors within the community and, unfortunately, very few success stories.

This stirs Havey and his team to share their findings with other non-governmental agencies that can help, along with recommending policy changes to lawmakers and social service providers.

Signing laws only does so much though; how they’re implemented is what matters, Havey says. He points to problems in implementing laws here in the U.S.

“A paradigm in the U.S. — culturally and legally — is identifying a victim of human trafficking only after they’ve committed a crime (prostitution, drug trafficking, illegal migration),” he says. “It’s what’s being coined as ‘dual victimization’ and causes distrust within the victim to the proper authorities who provide them care and security.”

Prepared to serve

Havey, who earned the Eagle Scout Award in 2004 with Troop 777 in Wilmington, Ohio, credits Scouting for preparing him for his mission in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

Campouts and backpacking treks require one to Be Prepared to adapt to any changing situation. Adaptability is a key life skill to have, one that has proven useful in Cambodia, where Havey has encountered rolling blackouts, language barriers and monsoons. He admits it’s tough to live by the Scout Oath and Law all the time, but he remains persistent in his mission to help others.

“There are times in my life that I fall short of every single one of these points,” Havey says of the Scout Law. “It’s not very clean to have the dishes and laundry pile up. To persist courteousness when meeting with a corrupt leader misguiding their people. Or even, remaining reverent while carrying in my arms a mother of three, dying of AIDs to the local clinic.

“But, that is because this is a living,” he continues. “Spoken and written, yes, but its only relevance lies within each Scout to carry its burden throughout their days. At the end of the day, I can roll around awake thinking about how that day I didn’t wash the dishes, or I can lay in peace knowing that tomorrow is a new day. To begin once again trying to live out the Scout Law’s charges.”

Scouts have met with every sitting president at the White House since Taft

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 8:45am

It’s a tradition dating back almost as far as the BSA itself.

Scouts (and, later, Explorers and Venturers) have met with every sitting president in the White House since 1911. That year, William Howard Taft addressed Scouts and Scouters at the BSA’s first annual meeting, held at the White House.

Later, the BSA began presenting its congressionally mandated Report to the Nation to key leaders in Washington, including the president.

A president’s busy schedule means he can’t always receive the Report to the Nation in person. But, quite frequently, the Report to the Nation visit and the commander in chief’s travel schedule have aligned. The result is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these young delegates. It’s a chance for them to witness democracy first hand.

Here’s a president-by-president look, beginning with Taft and continuing to today.

Note: Most of the presidents listed below met with Scouts at the White House multiple times. I’ve included just one representative example with each. 

William Howard Taft

1911: Robert Baden-Powell (front, left) and President Taft (front, center) reviewed a parade of Boy Scouts at the White House. Taft addressed the BSA’s first annual meeting, held at the White House that year — one year after the BSA’s founding in 1910.

Woodrow Wilson

Feb. 11, 1915: Scouts stood outside the White House after receiving badges from President Wilson. The Scouts (from left): Howard Gatley, recognized with an honor medal for saving a life; and new Eagle Scouts Edward Pardoe, Samuel Hardy, Edward Sheiry, Clinton Allard, and Frank Watson.

Warren G. Harding

1920 to 1923: President Harding (center) welcomed Scouts to the White House. The photo is undated but was taken during his presidency (1921 to 1923).

Calvin Coolidge

1924: President Coolidge (back row, third from right) posed with Scouts at the White House. Two years later, he attended the BSA’s annual meeting in Washington and presented the first Silver Buffalo Awards.

Herbert Hoover

Jan. 8, 1930: President Hoover welcomed Boy Scouts from Troop 166 of Kingston, Pa. The White House had been damaged in a fire on Christmas Eve 1929, so the president was leaving his temporary offices when he stopped to visit the Scouts.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

1935: President Roosevelt listened to Scouts reciting the Scout Oath at the White House. Standing, from left: Chief Scout Executive James E. West, Sydnor Hodges of Troop 97, George Kephart of Troop 33, Lloyd Street of Troop 13 and Philip Cole of Troop 50. All Scouts were from Washington, D.C.

Harry S. Truman

1948: President Truman welcomed the Report to the Nation delegates to the White House.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

1955: President Eisenhower received a framed copy of the Report to the Nation at the White House.

John F. Kennedy

Feb. 8, 1961: President Kennedy met with 12 Boy Scouts — one from each BSA region — at the White House. The Scouts were: George L. Ashley; Allen T. Brisendine; Ronald H. Cowan; William L. Evans; Norman E. Fretwell; Robert M. Neal Jr.; Richard E. Osher; Richard G. Pingree; James R. Stivers; John C. Sulerud; Arthur L. Tillman III; John L. Wahgren Jr. (Only 11 of the Scouts are pictured here).

Lyndon B. Johnson

1965: President Johnson received a chuck wagon model from Explorer Donald R. Ratcliffe (right). BSA President Thomas J. Watson Jr. and Chief Scout Executive Joseph A. Brunton Jr. admired the handmade wagon. Donald, from Staten Island, N.Y., was one of 12 Report to the Nation delegates who visited the White House.

Richard Nixon

1969: President Nixon received the Report to the Nation from Scouts, Explorers and BSA leaders.

Gerald Ford

1975: Toby Capps, a 2014 recipient of the Silver Buffalo Award, was among the delegates invited to the White House to present the Report to the Nation to President Ford, our only Eagle Scout president (so far).

Jimmy Carter

Feb. 15, 1978: President Carter received the Report to the Nation and the Silver Buffalo Award during the delegates’ visit to the White House.

Ronald Reagan

1982: President Reagan received the report and the Silver Buffalo Award from Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in the Oval Office.

George H. W. Bush

Feb. 10, 1992: The elder President Bush received the Report to the Nation at the White House, and we can read these remarks he delivered to the Scouts. “This report represents the great and heroic deeds done by our nation’s future, from feeding the hungry to helping kids stay drug-free,” he said.

Bill Clinton

President Clinton meets with a Report to the Nation delegate inside the Oval Office.

George W. Bush

March 4, 2008: President Bush welcomed representatives to the Oval Office as they presented him with the Report to the Nation.

Barack Obama

March 25, 2015: President Obama greeted representatives from the BSA in the Oval Office as he received the Report to the Nation.

Donald Trump

March 7, 2017: President Trump met the Report to the Nation delegates in the Oval Office.

BSA presents Hornaday Gold Certificate to National Park Service, renewing strong ties

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 10:00am

The Boy Scouts of America and the National Park Service have been connecting families to the outdoors for generations. It’s kind of their thing.

In recognition of that mutually beneficial friendship, the BSA’s Report to the Nation delegates presented the Hornaday Gold Certificate to the National Park Service on Sunday night at the Department of the Interior in Washington.

The certificate was created to recognize groups that have made significant contributions to conservation and youth education on a national or international level.

Fittingly, Hornaday Silver Medal recipient Trevor Burke, an Eagle Scout delegate from Texas, presented the certificate to Dan Smith, an Eagle Scout who serves as acting director of the park service.

Trevor outlined the many ways the BSA and the park service work together: Eagle Scout service projects, unit-level service projects and the park service’s Scout Ranger Program, to name a few.

“Equally important are the rich outdoor adventures experienced by Scouts every year, with our National Parks as the backdrop,” Trevor said.

Dan Smith, acting director of the National Park Service (center), listens to Vionn Welcome, a delegate from Florida. Once an Eagle Scout …

Prior to the presentation of the Hornaday Gold Certificate, Smith addressed the Report to the Nation delegates.

Smith said his days as a youth in Scouting happened decades ago, but the memories haven’t faded.

“I turned 73 this June, and I can still remember my Scouting experiences like they were yesterday,” he said. “Scouting has been an unbelievably important part of my life.”

Smith told the group he had read a Bryan on Scouting blog post written by my colleague Michael Freeman. In the post, Michael posed the question, “When do you remove ‘Eagle Scout’ from your resume?”

“It’s still on my resume, and I’m 73 years old,” Smith said. “The last two things on my resume say that I served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army and that I’m an Eagle Scout.”

Al Lambert, the BSA’s “Director of Fun,” thanks the park service for their support of Scouting. A message from the ‘Director of Fun’

Next up was Al Lambert, the Assistant Chief Scout Executive of Outdoor Adventures — or, to use the title he prefers, the BSA’s “Director of Fun.”

Lambert started by thanking the National Park Service on behalf of the BSA.

“Boy, isn’t it great to be a steward of the outdoors?” he said. “To be able to introduce kids and people in your community to the power of what we can do in parks, in Scout camps and in outdoor lands all across America.”

Now that the BSA welcomes young men and young women at all levels, Lambert said he sees huge potential to introduce even more people to the greatness of the outdoors.

“We’re going to take families into the outdoors,” he said. “We’re going to show them the fun and adventure that they can have in the outdoors.”

The delegates enjoy a nighttime tour of the monuments with Park Ranger Mike Balis. Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here

Something in the water: Why being an Eagle Scout helps at the U.S. Naval Academy

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 9:59am

The two midshipmen stood tall in their crisp blue uniforms.

It was a cloudy Sunday morning at the U.S. Naval Academy, and Thomas Dais of Pennsylvania and Ray Mier of Ohio were about to embark on a tour planned just for the Report to the Nation delegates.

But first, Jim Rogers had a quick question. Rogers and his wife, Sandy, serve as this year’s host couple. Jim Rogers, the former CEO of KOA and a longtime supporter of Scouting, asked the midshipmen whether being an Eagle Scout helped them get in to the Naval Academy.

“Did Eagle Scout help?” Mier repeated. “I got my acceptance letter the day after I put it in my application.”

“I had to wait a little longer, but it did help,” Dais said. “Being an Eagle Scout, being a part of the National Eagle Scout Association here at the Naval Academy is awesome and really rewarding. We get to do a lot of volunteering and a lot of outreach for Scouts — give back to the program that gave us so much.”

After that inspiring introduction, the tour began. The delegates saw where midshipmen eat, live, take classes and participate in sports. And they learned that between 10 and 20 percent of midshipmen are Eagle Scouts.

Academics and sports

The Naval Academy is a four-year institution that produces officers for the Navy and Marine Corps. Graduates leave with a bachelor of science degree, taking classes and participating in military training along the way.

I was interested to learn that every midshipman is an athlete, meaning he or she must participate on one of the school’s NCAA Division I sports teams, a club team or an intramural team. The midshipmen practice or play sports during a mandatory two-hour athletics period each afternoon.

In addition, each midshipman takes classes in wrestling, boxing and swimming. So, yeah, they’re in pretty great shape once they graduate — both academically and physically.

They’re in sound financial shape, too. The government pays for their college tuition, but I wouldn’t call it a free ride. These men and women repay their debt by providing service to their country — a minimum of five years in the Navy or Marine Corps after their commissioning.

Those midshipmen who saved some or all of the $100 to $200 monthly stipend they receive during their time at the academy could leave with thousands in the bank when they graduate.

“There are many nights where I’m like, ‘man, I wish I could get that pizza’ or ‘man, I wish I could see that movie,'” Dais said. “It’s a sacrifice.”

A Naval Academy graduate returns

Jeff Messer can relate. The Eagle Scout, a 1998 graduate of the Naval Academy, said Sunday’s visit brought back a flood of memories.

Messer is part of the Report to the Nation delegation with his daughter Isabella, one of the first girls to join Scouts BSA in Maine. It was the first time anyone could remember a Naval Academy graduate being part of a Report to the Nation delegation.

Messer spent four years on the Navy hockey team — “but I’ve broken more stuff sailing than playing hockey,” he said — and was a member of the academy’s NESA chapter.

He calls Scouting a “leadership laboratory” that prepared him for the challenges of life at the academy.

In Scouting, “you can try different things, kind of understand your own personal leadership style,” he said. Serving as a patrol leader in his troop prepared Messer to be a platoon leader at the academy.

Messer’s camping skills came in handy, too.

Most weekends as a plebe, the academy term for a freshman, are spent enjoying a few hours away from the yard. But one weekend during Messer’s plebe year, his squad leader had something different planned. The squad leader, channeling his own Scouting background, took the group on a weekend whitewater rafting trip down the Gauley River in West Virginia.

“We camped out the night before, we rafted all day Saturday, then we drove to the Washington National Forest,” he said. “It was great.”

Messer said it makes sense that the Naval Academy prioritizes Scouting experience when using its Whole Person Multiple to decide whom to accept.

“The morals, the character and the achievements that the academy is looking for closely align with the Scouts,” he said. “If you succeed in Scouts, you can succeed at the Naval Academy.”

I asked Isabella whether she’s planning to apply to the Naval Academy when she’s older.

While she wasn’t ready to commit to higher ed plans at age 10, she did tell me how proud she was to know her dad attended such a storied institution.

“It’s really cool,” she said.

John Ertel shares stories with the delegates. Bring on Scouts BSA

John Ertel is an Eagle Scout and retired Naval Academy physics professor. He started the NESA chapter at the academy many years ago.

He joined us on the tour, offering stories and additional insight about life as a midshipman. Ertel said he’s been keeping up with the launch of Scouts BSA and the fact that young women can now work toward becoming Eagle Scouts.

Given the strong presence of Eagle Scouts at the Naval Academy (the latest numbers show between 10 and 20 percent of midshipmen are Eagle Scouts), Ertel wondered how Eagle Scout midshipmen feel about young women earning Scouting’s highest honor.

“Midshipmen who are Eagle Scouts were polled, and they voted unanimously in support,” Ertel said. “They said, ‘If a young woman completes the same requirements, she should get the same recognition.'”

Ertel said he suspects the Naval Academy will try hard to recruit some of these young women who earn Eagle. That means they’ll strive to beat their rivals at the Army and Air Force when doing so.

“The U.S. Naval Academy will try to get those first female Eagle Scouts,” he said, “no matter what West Point or the Air Force Academy try to do.”

Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here

Watch the Report to the Nation delegates share their Scouting stories

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 10:58am

A Sea Scout tells how a Philmont trek gave her the confidence to overcome the emotional scars of bullying.

An Eagle Scout recounts the time he saved nine people’s lives by alerting residents to a fire in their apartment.

A Webelos shares how a Tiger Scout meeting activity inspired him to start Tiger Mushroom Farms, a fast-growing business featured on the Steve Harvey show.

One by one, the Report to the Nation delegates shared their story for Facebook viewers. And one by one, viewers were reminded of the ways Scouting empowers young people and prepares them to realize their full potential. Cool thing is, this impact isn’t limited to the Report to the Nation delegates. It’s a part of every pack, troop, crew, ship and post — including yours.

Watch the full Facebook Live interview at the end of this post.

Bios brought to life

I shared bios of the Report to the Nation delegates in this preview post. But words don’t tell the full picture; hearing the delegates share their Scouting story brings these bios to life.

By watching the video below, you’ll get a preview of what some high-ranking Washington officials are in store for during this year’s Report to the Nation visit.

These young people will hand-deliver the BSA’s Report to the Nation to members of the executive, legislative and judicial branch. At each stop, you can bet these officials will ask the delegates to share their Scouting “elevator pitch.”

They’ll hear from Vionn Welcome, a Florida Eagle Scout who didn’t hesitate to raise his hand when his brother needed a bone marrow donor. They’ll meet Trevor Burke of Texas, whose work toward the Hornaday Silver Medal landed him a spot on the TEDx stage. They’ll shake hands with Isabella Messer, a Maine Cub Scout who wants to become an Eagle Scout like her dad, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate.

I could go on, but as I’ve said, it’s better to hear it from the delegates themselves.

Check out the video below, and be sure to follow my Report to the Nation coverage on Twitter and Instagram.

Facebook Live interview with the delegates

I chatted with them live from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Check out the interview below:

Special thanks to Ray Ohl and his colleagues at Goddard for hosting us. Ohl is a NASA scientist and troop committee member, and like his NASA colleagues, he gave up his Saturday to host the Report to the Nation crew during get-acquainted games, presentation rehearsals and the live interview seen above.

After that, Ohl gave us a tour of Goddard, the facility where the James Webb Space Telescope was built. The delegates saw giant vacuum chambers, a clean room and a centrifuge that can simulate up to 20 to 25 Gs.

More Report to the Nation coverage

See all the posts here, and check out the great photos on Flickr.

These 12 phenomenal young people will deliver the BSA’s Report to the Nation

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 9:00am

Looking for first-rate representation in Washington? The BSA has you covered.

A group of 12 of the country’s finest young people have been selected to deliver the 2018 Report to the Nation. The delegates, who represent all BSA regions and programs, will meet with elected and appointed officials in Washington, D.C., to share the Scouting story.

You’ll meet each of these young men and young women in a moment. But first, here’s a brief overview of the Report to the Nation.

Think of the 2018 Report to the Nation as a highlight reel of all the incredible things Scouts did last year. It’s a cool way to put the spotlight on the BSA … and it’s congressionally mandated.

Section 8 of the BSA’s 1916 congressional charter requires the BSA to present an annual report to Congress. The BSA maximizes this opportunity by selecting youth delegates from across the country to hand-deliver the report to key officials in the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

Once again this year, I’ll be your eyes and ears on the ground all week. I’ll report on the Report right here on this blog and on Twitter and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

What’s in the 2018 Report to the Nation?

The actual 2018 Report to the Nation is a two-page glance at the BSA’s many accomplishments last year. (See the report here.)

Some highlights:

  • The BSA served 2.2 million youth participants and nearly 1 million adult volunteers.
  • Exactly 52,160 young men earned the Eagle Scout rank.
  • BSA members recorded more than 14 million hours of service to their communities.
  • Scouts earned more than 1.8 million merit badges.
  • The BSA welcomed 77,000 girls into Cub Scouting, with more joining every month.
When is the 2018 Report to the Nation visit?

We call it the 2018 Report to the Nation, because it’s the BSA’s report about all the great Scouting stuff that happened last year.

But the actual trip to Washington takes place in 2019 — March 9 to 14, to be exact.

How are the delegates chosen?

Each fall, local councils nominate a youth member for this honor. The National Service Center sends these names to a committee for review. Of these nominees, seven to nine young people are hand-picked to be a representative group of all programs from all four BSA regions: Central, Northeast, Southern, Western.

Three more delegates get automatic selections: the National Sea Scout Boatswain, the National Order of the Arrow Chief and the National Venturing Officers’ Association President.

Where are the delegates going?

While the exact itinerary must remain confidential because of security reasons, I can tell you the delegates will spend the week meeting with some of the most influential leaders in the nation to help showcase all of the wonderful ways Scouting makes a difference.

As you might expect, the delegates will perform a service project — taking time out of their busy week to give back.

What are the plans to cover the 2019 trip?

Watch for daily blog posts here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

When the schedule permits, I’ll go live on Facebook to discuss the day’s events with the delegates. That’ll be on the Scouting magazine Facebook page, so be sure your notifications are on.

Finally, you’ll be able to see photos from the week’s action — taken by photographers Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. They upload nightly to this page on Flickr.

Who are the delegates? Tyler Brackett, Eagle Scout from Maine

Age: 17

From: Troop 83 of Portland, Maine (Pine Tree Council)

Scouting accomplishments:

  • Eagle Scout
  • Order of the Arrow member
  • Recipient of the National Medal of Merit for heroism

Noteworthy: Tyler saved nine lives when he noticed smoke billowing from an apartment building as he drove home. He called 911, banged on windows and doors, and used his car horn to alert sleeping residents. Asked how was able to stay calm in such a stressful situation, Tyler simply said, “I’m an Eagle Scout.”

What he’s up to now: Tyler is a senior in high school. He’s considering pursuing a college degree in aeronautical engineering and possibly attending one of the military academies.

Trevor Burke, Eagle Scout from Texas

Age: 18

From: Troop 577 of Dallas (Circle Ten Council)

Scouting accomplishments:

  • Eagle Scout with 23 palms and has earned all available merit badges
  • Recipient of the Hornaday Silver Medal, a rare award in Scouting that honors conservational service
  • Regular speaker at Earth Day community events, where he talks about the conservation work he has completed, including an invasive species removal project

Noteworthy: In addition to his invasive species removal project, he completed three other significant projects: planting native grasses, building a rock apron to prevent erosion, and reintroducing Northern Bobwhite Quail into the Blackland Prairie. For his quail project, he worked with wildlife biologists at Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area on the first scientific research study to raise, band and release pen-raised quail into their native habitat and obtained a Texas game bird breeder’s license allowing him to raise and release up to 1,000 birds per year

What he’s up to now: Trevor attends St. Mark’s School, where he participates in band, track and field, fencing, and the robotics and rocketry clubs. He was a member of the 2018 Texas Boys State, a summer program where youth leaders create and run their own government.

Thomas Giese, Eagle Scout from California

Age: 16

From: Crew 181, Long Beach, Calif. (Long Beach Area Council)

Scouting accomplishments:

  • Eagle Scout with four palms
  • Recipient of the Summit Award, Venturing’s highest honor
  • Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s honor society
  • Graduate of the Kodiak Challenge leadership training course

Noteworthy: Thomas completed high-adventure treks at Northern Tier and the Florida Sea Base. He also attended the 2017 National Jamboree.

What he’s up to now: Thomas is a junior at Huntington Beach High School, where he’s a varsity wrestler. Following high school, he plans to attend college and enter the military.

Natalie MacEwan, Venturer from California

Age: 19

From: Crew 22, Woodland Hills, Calif. (Western Los Angeles County Council)

Scouting accomplishments:

  • Founding member of Venturing Crew 22 and crew president
  • Served as Venturing president at the council and area levels
  • Currently leads Venturing’s social media efforts on a national level
  • Recipient of council and area Venturing Leadership Award

Noteworthy: Natalie played volleyball and water polo in high school and was a finalist for the National Wendy’s High School Heisman.

What she’s up to now: She attends the University of Southern California on a full scholarship, double majoring in international business relations and Spanish. After graduation, she plans to serve as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Isabella Messer, Webelos Scout from Maine

Age: 10

From: Pack 51, Portland, Maine (Pine Tree Council)

Scouting accomplishments:

  • Founding member of Pack 51, one of the first Cub Scout packs in Maine to serve boys and girls
  • Earned her Arrow of Light, the highest honor in Cub Scouting

Noteworthy: Isabella’s greatest achievement, so far, is managing her successful beekeeping business. With her army of 500,000 bees, she collects and filters the honey before bottling it for sale. She often gives presentations to school, community and Scout groups on beekeeping. She manages the books as effectively as the bees and has developed a recycling program for her customers to return bottles for sterilization and reuse.

What she’s up to now: Isabella is in the fifth grade, plays violin and piano, and will represent her school at a state mathematics competition. In February, she became one of the first girls to join a Scouts BSA troop in Maine. (Though she’s now in Scouts BSA, Isabella will represent Cub Scouting at Report to the Nation, which is designed as a recap of 2018.)

Avery Neuhart, Explorer from Maryland
National Youth Representative, Law Enforcement Exploring

Age: 19

From: Post 202, Bethesda, Md. (National Capital Area Council)

Scouting accomplishments:

  • Explorer Chief at the 2017 and 2018 National Police Week events in Washington, D.C., leading the integrated youth efforts for posts attending from across the country
  • In 2018, elected to a two-year term as National Youth Representative, meaning she leads more than 35,000 federal, state and local law enforcement Explorers nationwide

Noteworthy: Avery prioritizes service, spending time helping law enforcement officers with security operations; honoring veterans and wounded warriors; inspiring students through school visits; and supporting children and families in need.

What she’s up to now: Avery is pursuing a bachelor of science degree in computer science, with a double minor in data science and international studies, at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland. She’s also a pitcher for the university’s Division I softball team.

Michalea Oakes, Sea Scout from Texas

Age: 17

From: Ship 26, San Antonio (Alamo Area Council)

Scouting accomplishments:

  • Achieved the rank of Ordinary in Sea Scouts
  • Was elected to the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s honor society
  • Received the Sea Scout Leadership Award from the Alamo Area Council, becoming the council’s first recipient of that award
  • Completed a 100-mile trek at Philmont Scout Ranch

Noteworthy: Michalea is an accomplished pageant participant who features bullying prevention as her personal platform. After being bullied, Michalea joined Scouting and had an experience that changed her life. As a crew member at Philmont, she stood atop the Tooth of Time and looked out at the world. It’s there she found her self-confidence. (Watch her share her story.)

What she’s up to now: Michalea is a high school senior and intends to pursue a degree in law or nursing.

Jack Otto, Sea Scout from Texas
National Sea Scout Boatswain

Age: 18

From: Ship 468, Houston (Bay Area Council)

Scouting accomplishments:

  • Serves as 2018-2019 National Sea Scout Boatswain, meaning he’s the top youth leader in the Sea Scout program
  • Received the regional Sea Scout Leadership Award
  • Served as 2017-18 boatswain mate for the Southern Region
  • Completed the rigorous SEAL (Sea Scout Experience Advanced Leadership) 10-day underway training
  • Completed National Youth Leadership Training and served on staff for several courses

Noteworthy: Jack is active in his church, where he serves on the teen leadership board and as a eucharistic minister.

What he’s up to now: Jack is a high school senior who participates in cross-country, band and the Frisbee Club.

Matt Parsons, Eagle Scout from Delaware
National Order of the Arrow Chief

Age: 20

From: Lewes, Del. (Del-Mar-Va Council)

Scouting accomplishments:

Noteworthy: In high school, Matt found time for school, Scouting and other extracurricular activities. He played football, was involved in the high school marching band and served as vice president of the honor society.

What he’s up to now: Matt is a sophomore at Delaware Technical Community College where he studies architectural engineering. Upon graduation, he plans to attend a university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in architecture and then plans to design residential homes.

Te’Lario Watkins II, Webelos Scout from Ohio

Age: 11

From: Pack 26, Columbus, Ohio (Simon Kenton Council)

Scouting accomplishments:

Noteworthy: As a Tiger, Te’Lario started growing mushrooms. His crop eventually became too large for his family to eat, so he began selling them at the local farmers market under the name “Tiger Mushroom Farms.” He now sells shiitake and oyster mushrooms, along with shiitake-and-onion soup mix, at 10 farmers markets, several restaurants, two grocery stores and a hospital. His accomplishments have led to an appearance on the Steve Harvey Show, a feature profile in the Columbus Dispatch, and his selection as one of “20 Under 20” by the mayor of Columbus. Te’Lario has been active as a Hunger Hero, helping provide more than 10,000 meals for need families.

What he’s up to now: As he continues on the Scouting trail, Te’Lario wants to eventually work on an Eagle Scout project that would divert 1 million pounds of food from landfills to local food banks.

Vionn Welcome, Eagle Scout from Florida

Age: 18

From: Troop 642, Orlando, Fla. (Central Florida Council)

Scouting accomplishments:

  • Eagle Scout
  • Member of the Order of the Arrow
  • Regular speaker at BSA functions, including luncheons, auctions and other public events

Noteworthy: When his brother needed a lifesaving medical procedure, Vionn volunteered to donate bone marrow.

What he’s up to now: Vionn is an accomplished student, having earned the Alpha Phi Alpha Merit Scholarship, Omega Psi Phi Friendship Foundation Scholarship, Kiwanis Achievement Scholarship Award and the Edgewater High School Foundation Scholarship. He recently completed a three-week academic program in Italy, Greece and France.

Dominic Wolters, Eagle Scout from Minnesota
National Venturing Officers’ Association President

Age: 19

From: Saint Paul, Minn. (Northern Star Council)

Scouting accomplishments:

  • Eagle Scout with two silver palms
  • Serves as the 2018-2019 National Venturing Officers’ Association President, the top youth position in Venturing
  • Recipient of the Summit Award, the highest award in Venturing
  • Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow
  • Recipient of the OA Founder’s Award and National Venturing Leadership Award

Noteworthy: Dominic volunteers as an altar server and lector at his church, as a youth advisory board member, and as a patient care volunteer. He participates with the Nordic Ski Club, Catholic Students United and the Agricultural Business Club.

What he’s up to now: Dominic is a student at the University of Minnesota in the Honors Program. He received an undergraduate research scholarship, and is on the dean’s list of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

5 Quick Questions with: Matthew Schwab, Eagle Scout and Navy helicopter pilot

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 9:00am

With his helicopter blades spinning less than 10 feet from a vertical rock wall, Lt. Matthew Schwab’s margin for error was dangerously small.

For his most daring mission, the search and rescue pilot had quickly and safely transported his team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., to a jagged rock chute on Mount Stuart, the state’s sixth-highest mountain.

The flight was imperiled by strong winds, high altitude and smoke drifting south from forest fires in Canada.

Once he arrived, Schwab positioned the chopper over the survivor. A rescuer dropped 120 feet down, placed a harness around the man and hoisted him out of the danger zone.

Schwab’s crew performed lifesaving procedures to open the victim’s airway on the way to the hospital. The man made a full recovery.

“It is the best feeling in the world when your team comes together to overcome exceptional hazards to save someone’s life,” Schwab says.

But there’s another layer to the story, and it starts before Schwab was hovering perilously over a stranded climber.

Schwab, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and former search and rescue pilot who is now stationed on the USS Bonhomme Richard, is an Eagle Scout. He says Scouting prepared him for the rigors of academic and military life.

I contacted Lt. Schwab by email to learn more about his story and ask him 5 Quick Questions. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

Bryan on Scouting: Did growing up as a Scout in Washington state mean you did a lot of incredible outdoors activities?

Lt. Matthew Schwab: I was very fortunate that my troop, Troop 4100, was always out exploring the North Cascade mountains and Olympic National Park.

Washington state offers every outdoor activity a Scout can dream of. The unique landscape offered rock climbing, whitewater rafting, glacier climbing, snow camping and many other high-adventure activities.

In Cub Scouts, we would go snow camping in the Mount Baker Wilderness. When I joined Troop 4100, I completed two 50-mile hikes, one which started by Mount Baker and went east through the rugged peaks, and another that went across glaciers in the Olympic Mountains.

BOS: You graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2010. How did being an Eagle Scout help you in Annapolis?

Schwab: Scouting prepared me for the rigors of academic and military life at the U.S. Naval Academy in ways I didn’t immediately recognize.

The academy is an incredibly difficult school, both to get accepted to and also to graduate from. But working up through the ranks in Scouts means a Scout has already experienced what it means to dedicate themselves to difficult tasks, to mentor others, to set a goal and work for it, and to work well with others.

It’s for this reason that the academy looks for young men and women with Scouting backgrounds, particularly those who have earned the rank of Eagle Scout. I found that many of my classmates at Annapolis were Eagle Scouts as well.

BOS: What was the journey from the U.S. Naval Academy to the search and rescue team at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island?

Schwab: Flying mountain rescue helicopters is the result of years of preparation: two years of flight school getting my wings, one year learning how to fly the MH-60R helicopter, three years training and flying combat operations, and then two years flying at Whidbey Island.

Even experienced pilots and air crew are not immediately comfortable conducting difficult mountain rescues when they first arrive at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s search and rescue team. However, after many hours of training and flying constantly difficult environments, pilots and air crew gain the proficiency and comfort they need.

BOS: How did you stay prepared for the demanding role of search and rescue pilot?

Schwab: It doesn’t happen all at once. Staying focused on a goal, growing each day and focusing on what you can accomplish right now will allow you to slowly handle more and more difficult positions.

Throughout my training, I found that it was easy for me to get overwhelmed at first and realized that I was looking too far into the future. Once I learned to focus on one or two days at time, I was able to excel in college and flight training and was able to stay confident in my abilities.

By keeping your goals in the future and your mind focused on today, you can achieve anything.

BOS: What advice would you give to Scouts thinking of a career in the military?

Schwab: I would recommend that Scouts really find what their calling is before joining.

For me, that was to be a pilot. For many, they want to join the military to see the world, work on their education, be a Navy SEAL, work on helicopters or jets, or to be a soldier or Marine.

The military has many opportunities for individuals to grow and to step out of their comfort zone. I would recommend that Scouts talk to their leadership, experience various military units and talk to service members to hear their stories.

The most important patch in Scouting might not be what you think

Wed, 03/06/2019 - 9:00am

The Arrow of Light marks a major milestone in a Cub Scout’s growth. The senior patrol leader badge represents the most important position in a troop. And the Eagle Scout award symbolizes an incredible journey of perseverance.

But when considering the array of Scouting awards and recognitions available to young people, there’s one that stands above them all.

If you think about its ability to grow Scouting and introduce this life-changing program to new people, the Recruiter Strip might be the most important patch in Scouting.

It’s also one of the easiest to earn.

How to earn the Recruiter Strip

The Recruiter Strip has just one requirement: recruit a friend into Scouting.

Any youth member — in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing or Sea Scouts — who gets a friend, classmate or relative to sign up for Scouting can receive the red, white and blue patch.

Each Scout unit comes up with its own procedure for awarding the strip. In most packs, troops, crews and ships, the young person receives the strip the first time he or she successfully recruits someone into the unit.

How to wear the Recruiter Strip

The embroidered cloth strip is worn on the uniform, below the right pocket.

Recruiter Strip placement on the Cub Scout shirt (left) and Scouts BSA shirt (right). An invitation — not a sales pitch

The BSA has created some pretty incredible recruiting materials to help you invite new families to join.

There are billboards, email templates, flyers, photos, postcards, posters, radio spots, social images, brochures and videos. The materials are excellent, but they don’t replace the best recruiting method of all: word of mouth.

Encourage your Scouts to make that personal invitation. They should approach the recruiting opportunity the same way they’d talk to a friend about a favorite book or videogame.

By sharing those personal, what-I-did-last-weekend experiences, recruiting won’t feel like a sales pitch but an invitation.

Your unit’s Recruiter Strip story

Every Recruiter Strip tells a story of someone inviting a friend to join the Scouting journey.

How does your pack, troop, crew or ship recognize young people who successfully invite others to join? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.