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Life Scout and his grandfather are two victims in yesterday's Kansas City shootings. It was saddening to find out about the attacks, and even more so when another connection is found.
One Scouter is assembling a package to help the Underwood family here
, in case you would like to help.
If your unit would like to send a note of support to his troop, Reat Underwood was a member of Troop 92
Send any cards to the council headquarters, care of Reatís family.
Heart of America Council
10210 Holmes Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64131
Any donations need to be designated either for the family, or to a James West Fellowship.
See this page
Posted: 12:16 04-14-2014 1084
A BSA executive has posted his opinions on the use of smartphones in Scouting for Bryan @ Scouting magazine
He presents that smartphones are tools that can be used, or abused, similarly to pocketknives. He touches on the problem of some of us old guys trying to force our fond memories of Scouting as youths onto the youth of today - without realizing their youthful view of the world is not ours.
I'm glad to see words like these from the BSA closely matching my view on the topic. Just yesterday, I was helping with the local high school Robotics team and noticed every single youth had at least one electronic device, most had two. None were playing games on them. They were documenting, communicating, planning, sharing, developing, and on and on. Oh, there were 3 scouts on that robotics team, too.
Sure, if there is nothing better to do, these electronics will provide entertainment. A planned program should carry itself and demand participation so there is no downtime with the need for entertainment. If "free time" is part of the plan, then electronic entertainment is just another form of fun.
The scouts in Troop 479 have been responsibly using electronic devices of all kinds for over 5 years now. Waaaaay back then, the Senior Patrol Leader and his Patrol Leader Council came up with a troop policy regarding electronic devices. Every six months, the newly-elected SPL and his PLC re-adopt the policy and it hasn't changed yet.
To support their policy, a Tech Chip
training plan and wallet card were developed and are available for any other Scouting units to use or adopt. The Tech Chip directly addresses use of electronics which the BSA Cyber Chip leaves up to individual units.
The comments on Bryan's blog have been interesting. 4 or 5 years ago, 90%+ would have been against electronics and state that they are banned and taken when found. Now, it appears to be a slight majority allowing scouts and scouters to have electronic devices.
So, how about you? Care to share what your pack/troop/crew does regarding electronics at Scouting activities? It's a good thing to discuss occasionally as the cyber landscape continually changes.
Posted: 13:28 04-09-2014 1083
Win a Scout Ring
Someone's going to win a Scout ring from Joy Jewelers in 5 days - why not you?
In March, April, and May, the Boy Scout Trail monthly give-away includes a custom ring, valued at $250! All you need to do is enter your email address on my Contest page
for a chance to win.
Even if you don't win, you really should check out the Joy Jewelers scout rings
- especially if you know someone looking for a unique scouting recognition item. They also have rings for Wood Badge, Sea Scouts, and Venturers - all of which can be customized.
Enter once per month to maximize your chances at winning - and make sure you enter your address correctly or your winning notification will be lost in cyberspace forever. And, we certainly don't want to add to all that cyberjunk out there.
Posted: 14:36 03-26-2014 1082
Changes On the Way
There have been a lot of comments on my Belt Loops page
about the proposed 2015 cancellation of that part of the Cub Scout program.
The Academics & Sports program going away is just one of the changes we'll see next year. Change, even change for the better, causes a disruption in our routine. Many of us are comfortable doing things the way we've always done it - even if that way is not the best way. Routine is comfortable.
So, as you probably guessed, most comments do not favor the change. But, in 2016 or 2017, whatever the "new" program is will be "the way we've always done it". We'll get used to the changes and deliver the program, and my expectation is that the changes will be an improvement.
The retirement of Academics & Sports is just one of a big handful of proposed changes. Next year will see some relevant updates to the Cub Scouts, and 2016 will see the Boy Scouts changing.
Some updates to look for:
- Scout Oath & Law used by Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers
- All Cub Scout ranks will have similar seven-step advancement programs
- Scout will be a rank, not just the joining patch
- Service, Fitness, and Health requirements added to all Tenderfoot to First Class requirements
- New scout and leader handbooks and training
There's more. Check out this PDF
for the most "official" info from Dec. 2013.
Posted: 7:27 03-20-2014 1081
Healthy Scouts, Strong Scouts
Does your Scouting unit include healthy drink, snacks, and activity in all its meetings? It's easy to do, but often lacking. Regular physical activity and healthy eating are two areas for improvement in most Scouting units, in order to advance that "physically strong" part of our oath.
So, the BSA has started a simple 3 step program to help units moving in the right direction. All you need to do is: Drink Right, Move Move, and Snack Smart. If your scouts are motivated by patches, they can all receive a free one if your unit tracks its efforts.
This new Healthy Unit
program is aligned with the ScoutStrong program. I blogged
about the ScoutStrong program 2 years ago.
Download this PDF file
with all the details about getting your unit on a healthy path and receiving free patches for your effort.HealthyKidsHub
has more info and ideas you can use.
Posted: 13:23 03-18-2014 1080
FL Patch Traders?
A Cub Leader in England left me a message. Tracey will be visiting Orlando, FL (I wonder what's there to visit? :-) ) in April. She has asked if any Scout Leaders in the area would like to swap patches and badges during her visit.
If you are interested, please email Tracey at:
straceydor @ A O L . c o m
Sounds like an opportunity to chat about international scouting and demonstrate BSA hospitality for any of you way down south.
Posted: 10:33 02-28-2014 1079
$30K Art Scholarship
As winter drags on, the snow keeps falling, and temperatures refuse to climb, it's a great time for scouts to tackle the Art merit badge.
I just found Doodle 4 google
which might be a nice bit of motivation for some scouts to try their hand at Art. A $30,000 college scholarship and $50,000 grant for his school will be awarded to some young K-12 artist that submits the winning doodle.
The theme for the competition is: If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place...
- the enthusiastic scout might also use this work towards the Inventing merit badge!
Entries need to be complete before March 20.
Posted: 8:30 02-21-2014 1078
LNT Master Educator Course
How would you like to camp in Moab, Utah for a week in September?
The Utah National Parks Council is sponsoring a Leave No Trace Master Educator (LNT ME) course with 5 focus options - Frontcountry, Mountain Biking, Backpacking, Rafting, and Horseriding - from Sept. 15 to Sept. 20 at the Entrada High Adventure Base.
This is an opportunity for you to expand your LNT abilities and become authorized to train more LNT Trainers. Every BSA council should be working towards having LNT MEs locally, so you might contact your Council Outdoor Ethics Advocate to find out how you can help.
See LNT Course page
for details and registration.
Two of my LNT friend in Minnesota will be part of the training staff for this course - Lucky!
Posted: 9:32 02-14-2014 1076
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