Archive | December, 2011

Winter Photo 2

Photo Friday – Keeping Your Camera Functional During the Winter

Posted on 16 December 2011 by ScoutingNewsStaff

Photo Friday
The ScoutingNews Staff is delighted to introduce “Photo Friday” to our readers. We recognize that our audience has an interest in photography to capture special moments such as Courts of Honors, campouts, winter activities, family vacations, sport events, and other gatherings. “Photo Friday” is intended to help photography amateurs improve their photo shoots through photo tips, which may include basic skills, creative shooting techniques, and proper care and maintenance. Tips in this section are written by amateurs, professional photographers, and by other contributors. We hope that you find these tips useful in your Scouting program.

Keeping Your Camera Functional During the Winter 
By: Contributor

Winter Photo

Winter brings about new challenges to photography. You may have already noticed your camera lens fogging up while trying to capture your scout unit’s outdoor activity.

Weekly Tip: Keep your camera cold, but keep your batteries warm.

You may be tempted to put your digital camera in your jacket. Instead, stow it away in your daypack or in your camera holder. Significant temperature changes could cause condensation on the camera lens. When bringing your camera inside let it warm up in the camera bag to prevent condensation as well.

Remember to brush the snow off rather than blowing with your breath, which could cause the condensation from your breath to freeze up. If you bring extra batteries, cycle your batteries between your pockets and your camera to prevent the cold temperature from draining the energy out of them.

Winter Photo 2

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Triplets Earn Eagle Scout

Triplets Earn Eagle Scout

Posted on 15 December 2011 by ScoutingNewsStaff

Its always amazing to carry on the family tradition of earning the Eagle Rank. Its even more amazing to share that tradition with a brother. For triplets Timothy, Alex and Michael from Kansas they take the triple crown by all receiving their Eagle Rank on the same day. Three Eagle Projects in one summer? I’m sure their parents are glad to take a breather before their younger brother, Brett, follows in the family footsteps. Congratulations to Timothy, Alex, and Michael and the whole Mason Family!

Read more at The Kansas City Star.

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Nail in Fence

Words of Wisdom Wednesday – The Boy and a Bag of Nails

Posted on 14 December 2011 by ScoutingNewsStaff

Words of Wisdom Wednesday
The ScoutingNews Staff is proud to introduce “Words of Wisdom Wednesday” (WWW) to our readers. WWW is composed of anecdotal segments to inspire and supplement a Scout’s personal development, building core values and moral character. An anecdote on WWW is similar to a “Scoutmaster’s Minute”. These anecdotes are intended to be shared with your units. We will strive to publish updates to Words of Wisdom Wednesday weekly.

The Boy and a Bag of Nails

By: Anonymous

There once was a boy who had a temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him to drive a nail into the fence post every time he lost his temper.

The boy drove 43 nails into the fence the day after. He learned to control his temper over the following weeks as the number of nails being driven into the fence gradually decreased. The boy discovered that it took less effort to hold his temper than to drive nails into the fence.

Nail in Fence

Eventually, the boy ceased losing his temper altogether. Ecstatic about his achievement, he told his father about it and his father suggested that the boy pulled out one nail for each day that he was able to “keep his cool.” A few more weeks went by, and one day all the nails were finally removed from the once nail-covered fence.
That day his father asked his son to follow him to the fence. When they arrived, his father turned to him and said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave behind scars that are not forgotten. It won’t matter how many times you say ‘sorry,’ the wound is permanent.

The boy then understood how powerful his words were, looked up at his father and said, “I hope you can forgive me for all the holes I’ve created.” His father replied, “Of course I can.”

Download a pdf of this article here.

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A Winter Gift Idea For Your Scout’s Summer Outing

Posted on 14 December 2011 by ScoutingNewsStaff

CamerasSo your Scout is going to summer camp next year, one of the high adventure experiences that BSA has to offer, an international scout program, or just “Being Prepared” for the 2013 National Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Obviously you want to see pictures of everything he or she does there. What to do? Get him or her a digital camera for Christmas! You say, “Great! That will take care of two birds with one stone.” This is where you are at a complete loss. No need to worry because here are 8 quick checklist items to help you find that perfect digital camera for your Scout.

Item 1: Determine what your Scout needs.
Think about: the type of photography (landscape, portrait, night shots, sports, etc.), your Scout’s experience with photography, the size of the camera, and especially your budget. The biggest camera isn’t always the best. Plenty of small compact models offer great results on a budget. Don’t overlook the waterproof and rugged model from Panasonic for the less than careful Scout.

Item 2: Megapixels do not matter as much anymore.
Megapixels used to be a big deal, but digital cameras today offer 5 megapixels at the minimum. A 6 megapixel camera is usually more than enough for printing quality up to 8×10 photographs. Keep in mind that the higher the megapixels, the more disk space each picture will occupy on your digital storage device.

Item 3: Bear in mind accessories may be required.
A camera does not come with carrying bags, tripods, extra batteries, or high capacity memory cards, UNLESS it is sold as part of a package. Packages are a good way to get the essentials all at once. Just make sure that packages include accessories your Scout will need rather than less than useful extras. For a great tripod, the Gorillapod is a flexible tripod that can be wrapped around tree branches or tent poles.

Item 4: Check for compatible gear.
There are parts or gear that you may already possess that your Scout could use with the new camera. This awareness will help you cut unnecessary costs. Search for compatible battery size, bags, lens, filters, memory cards, etc.

Item 5: Decide on a point-and-shoot or DSLR.
Your Scout’s backpack will be filled with other necessities and could be quite heavy, even without the camera. A point-and-shoot will suffice 9 times out of 10. However, if your Scout has an affinity for DSLRs, has demonstrated the skills of maintaining a DSLR, has a long term plan to develop his photography skills, and you have the budget to invest in a DSLR, then that’s your choice. Nikon’s D3100, Canon’s EOS Rebel T3, and Sony’s Alpha A230L are great beginner DSLRs which produce stunning images easily, while offering features to keep your Scout’s skills growing.

Item 6: Optical zoom is a double-edged sword.
Higher optical zoom capabilities allow your Scout to capture images he or she wants captured without the need to get closer. However, the closer you zoom into the object, the more pixelated or distorted the object becomes. Be sure to use a tripod when zoomed in. Digital zoom on the camera is the same as enlarging a photo on the computer. It is always better not to use your camera’s digital zoom and instead crop, resize, and edit your photo on the computer where it is easier to see.

Item 7: Do your own research, try several cameras before you buy, and shop around.
Buy the camera you want and not the one someone else insists that you buy. A Camera can become a very personal piece of equipment. Always test out a few cameras that appeal to you at a local store. Each camera will feel different in your hands. Once you have found the one, you can often find one cheaper online, but support your local stores if the sales people were helpful and knowledgable. Make sure you buy from a reputable seller which will honor warranties and repairs.

Item 8: Your Scout should get familiar with the new camera and its functions.
It is quite common for people to buy a camera and neglect to learn about all the different functions it has to offer. So experiment with the new camera with your Scout. What an opportunity to earn the Photography Merit Badge!

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Scouts represented at COP17

Posted on 13 December 2011 by ScoutingNewsStaff

The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS) have recently sent representatives to participate in the UN’s COP17 Conference on Climate Policies in Durban, South Africa. With 30 Million youth Scouts throughout the world, WOSM has a large impact on teaching youth how to care for and appreciate the environment. Both organizations believe in responsible stewardship of the environment so generations of Scouts and Guides have a place to get outdoors and learn.

You can read more about WOSM’s participation at














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National Youth Leader Training

Leadership Training for All Scout Programs

Posted on 12 December 2011 by ScoutingNewsStaff

National Youth Leader TrainingThe National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT), previously an all male leadership training course, is now open to all Venturing youth between the ages of 13 and 17. Yes, you read correctly. NYLT is open to male and female youth.

The course focuses on what a leader must BE, what a leader must KNOW, and what the leader must DO. Scouts and Venturers are taught with a clear emphasis on the HOW TO method.

Staffed and organized by local councils, NYLT models a month in the life of a unit. One meeting is held each day for the first three days, which leads up to an overnight outpost camp. The patrol method is utilized and model Leader Council meetings are presented.

The teams start their adventure finding their team vision and finish with each team member refining a personal vision. Participants will be able to take the skills back to their home unit and effectively communicate what they have learned.

Youth staff selections could be implemented differently for each Council NYLT course. One common process involves a pool of candidates. This pool of candidates is compiled by either recommendation made by the staff when the Scouts were NYLT participants or selection through individual application. The second method may involve a personal interview. The Course Director then selects the youth staff from this pool.

To find a NYLT course nearest you, contact your Council’s Department of Support Services, Program Service Office. You can read more about NYLT here.

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Do-it-yourself Scouting Unit Websites

Posted on 11 December 2011 by ScoutingNewsStaff

CenterTrailDoes your unit need a website, but you don’t have a web designer Scout-Dad? Center Trail has just launched their new service to take the guess work out of building a website for your Pack, Troop, or Crew. Three separate products are offered: Cool Cubs for Packs, Scout Lodge for Troops, and Explored Trail for Crews. Your domain name and hosting is included and no programming is required. Point and click your way to upload a custom banner or unit logo, enter contact information, and display upcoming events. You can upload photos and documents as well. A password protected “Secure Area” allows scouts and parents to access information without showing it to the public. This service was built with Youth Protection in mind. So, if your unit is thinking about starting a website but doesn’t know where to start, jump over to Center Trail and explore their two week free trial!

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Hornaday Award - BSA

Conservation Awareness Takes Hold Across the Country

Posted on 10 December 2011 by ScoutingNewsStaff

Hornaday Award - BSA

Hornaday Medal- BSA

What’s better than completing a conservation project and earning one of the rarest awards known to Scouting? How does $1000 in grant money to help fund the project sound?

The William T. Hornaday Award is presented to Scouts who complete certain requirements in addition to planning and executing a conservation project under the guidance of a Hornaday advisor. The award has different levels and is intended to advance awareness in environmental conservation. The award is also available to adult Scouters through the nomination process. Check with your local council for more information.

The original conservation program began in 1914 and the award was named the Wildlife Protection Medal by Dr. William T. Hornaday. He pioneered natural resource conservation and spearheaded a movement to save the American bison from extinction. After Dr. Hornaday’s passing in 1937, the award was renamed in his honor and became a Boy Scouts of America award. Although the award has been around for 80 years, only about 1,100 medals have been awarded in its inception.

Those planning a Hornaday Award, may also qualify to receive a $1000 grant toward the completion of the conservation project. Boy Scouts, Venturers, and Scout Units may submit an application to the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) for consideration. The 2011 application process has already concluded. If you plan to pursue the Hornaday Badge or Medal, be sure to check the Planet Connect Grant web site for 2012 application, qualifications, funding restrictions, and other information.

The amount of time and effort it takes to complete a Hornaday conservation project is comparable to that of an Eagle project. Scouts and Scouters alike have worked extremely hard to obtain this prestigious award. However, it is even more rewarding to see the fruits of their labor and be able to appreciate the beginnings of sustainable and positive impact on the environment.

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BSA Updates Knots

BSA Updates Knots

Posted on 09 December 2011 by ScoutingNewsStaff

IRVING, TEXAS – When you stop by your Scout Shop in the near future, you may notice that an adult recognition knot that you have worn is missing from the shelves. Scouting has evolved over the years, and it becomes necessary for BSA to update its inventory.

After monitoring and reviewing recommendations, the National Council’s Awards Committee has consolidated several knots into a whole new knot. Training awards and the Cub Scouting awards are the ones affected.

The Cubmaster Award becomes the Cubmaster’s Key and the Scouter’s Key knot is used instead. The Cub Scouter and Pack Trainer Awards are being replaced with the Scouter’s Training Award knot. The Tiger Cub, Cub Scout, and Webelos Den Leader’s Awards are now recognized with the Den Leader’s Award knot. Devices to be worn on the knots indicate the exact award and for which Scout program were earned.

If you are wearing a knot that is no longer available, there’s no need to spend the extra money or hours of training, although additional training never hurts. Your recognition is grandfathered in and you may continue to wear the knot. Like an Eagle Scout, once something becomes a part of an official BSA uniform or insignia, it will always remain official.

Reviews are currently taking place to discuss the possibility of updating the awards’ requirements. We can expect more details in early 2012.

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Pinewood Derby Season Kicks Off in December – 4 Million Kids Participate Annually


Pinewood Derby Season Kicks Off in December – 4 Million Kids Participate Annually

Posted on 08 December 2011 by ScoutingNewsStaff

Getting Started in Pinewood Derby

Getting Started in Pinewood Derby

(LANCASTER, PA) This month marks the start of a wildly anticipated annual event for boys and girls across the United States – the Pinewood Derby – a racing competition in which children create a winning car from a block of wood and plastic wheels. For Boy Scouts, the season begins at the end of December and lasts until March. For Awana, a religious organization that hosts their own Pinewood Derby-style event called the Awana Grand Prix, the event runs from January to May. The popularity of the Pinewood Derby led it to be called a “celebrated rite of spring,” and one of “America’s 100 Best,” by Reader’s Digest in 2006. And with this event comes an opportunity for parent and child to work together toward a common goal – building a car that will get down the track.

Dash Derby Can Help Parents and Kids Troy Thorne, an Assistant Scoutmaster, father of two Pinewood Derby participants and experienced woodworker, has written a new book for first-time racers who need assistance with making a car that will get down the track, called Getting Started in Pinewood Derby: Step-By-Step Workbook to Building Your First Car (Fox Chapel Publishing, November 1, 2011). The comic-book styled guide includes a delightfully-illustrated character complete with a red and white racing-striped helmet and racing jumpsuit, named Dash Derby. Dash is the “adventure guide” to building a car, and makes the book fun, easy to read and enjoyable for kids. He chronicles each day of the building process and provides tips along the way.

Making a Pinewood Derby Car There are Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby car specifications and local rules that must be abided to when building a car. For example, wheel bearings and bushings are prohibited. Cars can’t weigh more than 5 ounces. Only dry lubricant is permitted, etc. With those rules in mind, children receive a supplied Pinewood Derby Kit, which includes wheels, axles and a block of wood. With the help of a parent, kids cut, shape, sand and paint the car of their dreams. Adding weight and graphite to the wheels are fine tuning secrets learned with experience – or the help of someone who’s been around the Pinewood Derby block. Thorne has been around that block – with the cars he’s built with his own children and even other parents who needed help. In that respect, he is very much like the founder of the Pinewood Derby.

History of the Pinewood Derby In 1953, Don Murphy, a father from Manhatten Beach, California, wanted to “devise a wholesome, constructive activity that would foster a closer father-son relationship and promote craftsmanship and good sportsmanship through competition.” The company he worked for, North American Aviation, sponsored the miniature racing event for his son’s Cub Scout pack, and purchased the wood and other materials. The event was instantly successful and was quickly adopted by the Los Angeles County Department of Recreation. Within the year, it was being duplicated in all Cub Scout packs across the United States, and publicized in the October 1954 issue of Boy’s Life magazine. Since then, an estimated 43 millions parents and children have participated.

Some other items which might be helpful:

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