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Extreme Makeovers, Round 18: Eagle Scout project before-and-after photos
Blog     26 Sep 2016 | 8:30 am
Note: This is the 18th in an occasional series where I share Eagle Scout project before-and-after photos. See the complete collection here. To fully understand the impact Eagle Scout projects have on communities, you need to see to believe. That’s why I asked to see Eagle Scout project before-and-after photos — the same photos prospective Eagles are asked to include with their post-project report. This week’s batch of 10 projects includes an elementary school playground, an outdoor stage and a hawk aviary for rehabilitating birds. What’s great is that you can multiply each individual act of stupendous service by more than 50,000. That’s how many Eagle Scout projects get completed every single year. TIP:...

Why dancer Derek Hough and his dad, Bruce, are big believers in Scouting
Blog     26 Sep 2016 | 6:00 am
Derek Hough sent his dad a text a few weeks back. “Dad, check out my Instagram.” Bruce Hough opened Derek’s Instagram page, where the Dancing With the Stars star shares photos with nearly 2 million followers. And there was Derek, wearing his Cub Scout shirt and holding up the Scout sign at a pre-Emmys dinner. (Derek was nominated for Outstanding Choreography — a category he won in 2013 and 2015.) In the caption, Derek listed the 12 points of the Scout Law and what each meant. Bruce had two thoughts. The first: So that’s where Derek’s Cub Scout shirt went.  The second: “This was Derek’s homage to Scouting. He didn’t just post...

This troop ditched the trailer and became an all-backpacking troop
Blog     23 Sep 2016 | 8:30 am
The troop trailer Jim Rosensweet inherited when he became Scoutmaster had seen better days. The year was 1987, but this trailer must have been from the 1950s or 60s. Inside the rickety old thing, Rosensweet found heavily used gear that needed replacing, too. But instead of spending the troop’s money on a new trailer, Rosensweet steered Troop 55 in a different direction. And that’s the day the troop out of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., became an all-backpacking troop. “Several of the older boys wanted to hike the Grand Canyon, which is how we got into backpacking,” Rosensweet says. “Then it hit me. Why haul tons of gear around when everything each person would need can...

In new interview, Dr. Robert M. Gates shares thoughts on leadership, Scouting
Blog     23 Sep 2016 | 8:05 am
In a new interview with Eagles’ Call magazine, Distinguished Eagle Scout and former defense secretary Dr. Robert M. Gates shares his thoughts on leadership and the value of Scouting. Read the full interview in the Fall 2016 issue of Eagles’ Call, the official magazine of the National Eagle Scout Association. The magazine is available to anyone — not just Eagle Scouts. (Use promo code EGCBLG16 to save 50 percent on your subscription.) Read an excerpt and see the video highlights from our chat with Dr. Gates below. Real American Hero: An excerpt from our interview with Dr. Gates After addressing the newest Green Berets at Fort Bragg last year, former Defense Secretary Dr. Robert M....

Scouts, win big prizes and share your MacGyver-inspired projects
Blog     22 Sep 2016 | 11:30 am
Trapped on a roof, MacGyver bent the steel shaft of a TV antenna and held on as he zip-lined down a rope to the ground. When he needed a plane, MacGyver built his own using bamboo poles, a tent, a lawnmower engine and — naturally — duct tape. And when a typewriter broke down, he repaired it with a Swiss Army knife and the ink cartridge from a ballpoint pen. Yeah, there’s a reason blog readers selected MacGyver as one of the fictional characters most likely to be an Eagle Scout. Like real-life Scouts, MacGyver is kind, brave and resourceful. The MacGyver of the 1980s and early ’90s used problem-solving skills, science...

New Smokey Bear PSAs add fuel to fire-prevention message
Blog     22 Sep 2016 | 8:30 am
Scouts and Smokey Bear have been allies in the cause of wildfire prevention ever since the mascot’s 1944 debut. Scouts have made Smokey conservation posters, sold Smokey Bear litter baskets for fundraisers and posed for photos with Smokey at National Scout Jamborees. Smokey was even referenced in Scouting magazine as far back as our April 1949 issue (see that page at the end of this post). But even though Smokey is now a septuagenarian, his message is still as fresh as ever. That’s especially true with the debut of two new PSAs that cover some lesser-known causes of wildfires: unattended fire pits and barbeque coals, metal chains dragging from a...

Scout family halfway to goal of visiting all 413 National Park Service sites
Blog     22 Sep 2016 | 6:00 am
There are more than 400 National Park Service sites across America, including national parks, national seashores and national battlefields. The Rice family of Atlanta — a proud Scouting bunch — is on a mission to visit every single one. In celebration of this year’s 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, it seems an appropriate time to check in on their progress. As of this writing, there are 413 National Park Service sites on the always-growing list. That includes 59 national parks, 84 national monuments, 78 national historic sites and more places deemed worthy of recognition and preservation. (See the complete list in this PDF.) The Rice family has...

Summer months count toward Scout advancement, whether a troop meets or not
Blog     21 Sep 2016 | 8:30 am
Some troops take a break between summer camp and the resumption of school. That’s fine, but what about those Scouts who are serving in a position of responsibility when this summer break occurs? Does their time still count even if their troop isn’t meeting? The answer, contrary to the well-meaning policy of some Scout units, is yes. I addressed this back in 2014 when Mike Lo Vecchio, a BSA expert on the matter, weighed in: A Scout who is currently registered and has not been removed from his unit because of disciplinary reasons should not be penalized because his unit is inactive during the summer months. Two years...






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