Guide to Advancement 2017

Since its inception in 2011, the Guide to Advancement has been the single point of reference for nearly all matters related to advancement across all our programs. It replaced a smattering of documents, references in handbooks and training manuals, and official policies that were not well documented.

The Advancement Team did a great job putting it all in one place, and their efforts have withstood the test of time. Changes do take place, though, and every couple years they’ve been updating the book to reflect the current status of things.

The 2017 Guide to Advancement was released a couple weeks ago. Continue reading “Guide to Advancement 2017”

Old copies of Boys’ Life taking up space?

You probably know someone – your parents, a college friend, maybe even yourself – who subscribes to National Geographic. The magazine contains some of the finest writing and photography available, and their iconic yellow covers have become part of our culture. But many people who subscribe just can’t bear to throw them away. They pile up, fill our bookshelves and basements, and can take over our lives.  Lexington Herald-Leader writer Tom Eblen wrote about his own experience with the “yellow wall”, as he put it, and  joked:

One of these days, I fully expect to see this newspaper headline: “Couple killed in bedroom ceiling collapse; police blame National Geographics in attic.”

They may not be as ubiquitous (or as heavy) as collections of old copies of National Geographic, but many of us are hoarding stacks of the various magazines published by the Boy Scouts of America. Continue reading “Old copies of Boys’ Life taking up space?”

Cubs can canoe! New aquatics rules now in effect

When you think about Scouting, you think about doing things in the great outdoors. Fishing, archery and hiking all come to mind. So do aquatics like swimming and boating. But certain activities have traditionally been off limits or restricted for various age groups because of safety, training, or other considerations. You’re probably aware that Cub Scouts weren’t supposed to go canoeing, kayaking or rowing unless it’s at a camp or program operated by the Boy Scouts of America or your local council – but not as an activity conducted by your pack.

In April of this year, however, the rules for Cub Scout aquatics changed to allow a range of activities permitted at the unit level. Continue reading “Cubs can canoe! New aquatics rules now in effect”

Flag Day

On August 3, 1949, President Harry S Truman signed a proclamation designating a national day on which we honor the United States Flag, and so June 14 became known as National Flag Day.

The story goes deeper, though. President Woodrow Wilson was the first president to establish the date by proclamation in 1916, following initial efforts by New York kindergarten teacher George Balch to hold an observation on the anniversary of the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes. Balch’s 1889 effort gradually gained ground, and with the involvement of the Sons of the Revolution, the idea was popularized. The National Flag Day Association was formed in Illinois in 1894 and a Flag Day observance was held in Chicago that year with three hundred thousand school children in attendance.

It’s no accident that Flag Day traces its history to educating children about Old Glory. Continue reading “Flag Day”

Co-ed Cub Scouting: Not yet, but how soon?

If you’re on one of your council’s committees, you might have seen the announcement from Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh last week summarizing the discussions held at the Boy Scouts of America National Annual Meeting over the Memorial Day weekend. One of the topics of discussion was about broadening the constituency of our traditional programs in Scouting. Essentially, they’re considering the topic of bringing girls in, particularly to Cub Scouts.

There are many arguments for and against, of course. Many will hold that boys need to interact with other boys with similar interests; that single-sex programs have been the traditional hallmark of our Scouting programs in the United States since their inception; and that many activities meant for boys just don’t apply to girls.

However, the realities of today’s busy families, especially non-traditional ones, mean that parents are spread thin trying to accommodate their children’s activities and interests. Continue reading “Co-ed Cub Scouting: Not yet, but how soon?”