I’m truly fortunate to have so many readers and followers here on Bobwhite Blather. I get a little kick out of seeing visitor statistics, a new follower on Twitter or a subscriber to the e-mail list. It’s good to know that my fellow Scouters are finding value in what they find here, and keep coming back.
There are many other Scouters who write for the world-wide web. You’ve probably discovered that you can find a lot of information on almost every conceivable Scouting topic.
But how can you tell which ones follow the first point of the Scout Law – trustworthy?
As our disclaimer reads, this blog isn’t to be construed as official information. That can come only from the Boy Scouts of America directly, and their several websites (chiefly scouting.org) provide the canonical reference on all things Scouting.
But many others are reliable sources, interpreting Scouting in line with official policy and traditional methods, and critical of those who would reinvent Scouting to advance their own ideas of what it’s all about. Here are some of my favorites:
- Clarke Green’s ScoutmasterCG.com: I’d be surprised if you haven’t met Clarke yet, either through his blog or his weekly podcast. Clarke is a Scoutmaster of thirty years’ experience, though recently retired from that role, and has seen and dealt with pretty much everything on the program side of Boy Scouts. He’ll help clarify what the patrol method means, give terrific advice on the outdoor program including camping, adventure and equipment, and help you deal with difficult situations with youth and adults. He’s very accessible and will gladly answer questions you have, or just say “hi” via a live chat session. His weekly Scoutmaster podcast is nearing 250 episodes; they’re available on iTunes, and all are archived on his website. (Disclosure: I’ve collaborated with Clarke, having written for his website and appeared on his podcasts.)
- Clarke has also featured and collaborated with a young man, an Eagle Scout, who experienced Scouting through the roles of youth leadership. Enoch Heise, who pens Scouting Rediscovered, makes observations and gives advice for youth leaders as they learn how to lead their patrols and troops. It’s great reading and highly relatable to our Scouts who are on a journey to leadership.
- A long-serving commissioner, Hal Daume has been writing the “Dear Abby” of Scouting for many years. His four hundred-plus Ask Andy columns answer readers’ questions about every aspect of Scouting in a no-nonsense way that pulls no punches. He calls out “tin-pot dictators” who would deny a Scout a board of review for wearing white socks, or change the advancement program because they didn’t feel it was tough enough. I learn something and gain a new perspective on Scouting from nearly every one of his columns. They’re somewhat irregular but come out roughly once a week.
- Not really a blog, but a monthly publication for Cub Scout leaders, Baloo’s Bugle is a comprehensive program guide that picks up where the BSA’s program helps leaves off. There’s something for every Cub Scout leader and parent; many topics are evergreen, and there’s an exhaustive archive of back issues. If you’re looking for ideas for your den or pack and you can’t find it in Baloo’s Bugle, it hasn’t been written.
- Also for our Cub friends is Sherry Smotherman-Short’s Cub Scout Ideas, which, as Sherry describes, features fun, easy and creative ideas you can use immediately. In addition to ways to spice up your program, Sherry has a comprehensive guide to the changes coming to Cub Scouting in 2015.
And a few official BSA sites you might enjoy following:
- Bryan on Scouting – the official blog of Bryan Wendell, editor-in-chief of Scouting Magazine. Bryan writes about general Scouting news, tidbits about Scouts and Scouters doing interesting things, and previews of articles for the magazine.
- Scout-Wire – the internal website for BSA employees. A lot of it doesn’t have much pertinence to volunteers (such as internal human resource info) but occasionally you’ll read about interesting things happening at high-adventure bases or dispatches being relayed to unit-serving professionals that should eventually trickle down to volunteers.
- Training Times – a quarterly newsletter from the national training team outlining changes and information on our training courses.
- Advancement News – a quarterly newsletter with items from the national advancement team.
This is, of course, not an exhaustive list of resources available to Scouters online, but just a few of my favorites. I hope they will become your favorites as well.
Image: Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net