Archive | April, 2012


Words of Wisdom Wednesdays: Cheerful

Posted on 25 April 2012 by CharlesN







“No words can do justice to their courage and their cheerfulness.  To be brave cheerily, to be patient with a glad heart, to stand the agonies of thirst with laughter and song, to walk beside Death for months and never be sad- that’s the spirit that makes courage worth having.  I loved my men.”  – Lord Robert Baden-Powell

Being able to keep a smile on your face, even in the midst of adversities, is truly admirable.  Think of a time when you just weren’t having fun.  Say, for example, camping in a rain storm and everything inside the tent got soaked.  Were you angry?  Did someone try to cheer you up?

Even though times may be tough, a cheerful company lightens up the atmosphere.  Remember, attitude is very important.

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Scouts Support Food Bank

Posted on 21 April 2012 by ScoutingNewsStaff

After the holidays food banks around the country see  a shortage of food as the holiday cheer and helping spirit seems to take back burner to springtime activities. Not for Scouts around Flint, Michigan. They’ve collected over 40,000 pounds of food in their 26th annual Scouting for Food drive. Scouts in Utah have collected over 1 million pounds of food to help their neighbors. How many pounds have your area Scouts collected?

Call your local food bank and see if there is a way to integrate Scouting for Food into your program to help re-stock their shelves.

Source: mLive, Fox 13

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A Scout is Obedient

Words of Wisdom Wednesdays: Obedient

Posted on 18 April 2012 by CharlesN







“A Scout follows the rules of his family, school and troop.  He obeys the laws of his community and country.  If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.” – The Scout Handbook

Obedience is a vital part of being a Scout.  What do you think happens if you disobeyed your Scout Leaders?  When given a directive to do something, it often means that it is very important and that you should do it.  If you don’t, things will not get done and you are left with disorganization.

But obedience does not mean that you should mindlessly obey every order.  If you obey every order without reasoning through, then you may in fact be doing something wrong or illegal.  You should think about what you are asked to do, and if you believe that you need an explanation for the task, you should ask for reasoning.  If you believe there is a better way to resolve a problem, bring it up.  If you are not dealing with an emergency, maybe it’s best that you seek additional advice from others.

It is important to obey orders, but it is even more important to know why you should obey them.

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Photo Friday: Aperture

Posted on 13 April 2012 by BrandonQ



Last time we talked about the shutter speed on your camera. I want to focus on aperture this week.


Did you know that the human eye works like the aperture on a camera lens? If you were in a dark cave, your pupils would get bigger to try and let more light in. When you are outside on a sunny day, your pupils get smaller because of the amount of light coming in. Aperture is referred to the lens diaphragm opening inside a photographic lens. The size of the diaphragm opening in a camera lens REGULATES amount of light passes through onto the film inside the camera the moment when the shutter curtain in camera opens during an exposure process. The size of an aperture in a lens can either be a fixed or the most popular form in an adjustable type (like an SLR camera). Aperture size is usually calibrated in f-numbers or f-stops. i.e. those little numbers engraved on the lens barrel like f22 (f/22),f16 (f/16), f/11, f/8.0, f/5.6, f/4.0, f/2.8, f/2.0, f/1.8 etc.

Aperture affects the image in two ways. The first is the relationship to shutter speed. The smaller the aperture (large number), the longer the shutter speed needs to be. This can create blur in a photo. The best use of this is when trying to make a stream look like lace (small aperture, long shutter speed). If you would like to stop motion then use a large aperture (small number) and a faster shutter speed.

The second way aperture affects the photo is the depth of field – the area of a photo which appears in focus. A small aperture (like f/16) has a very large depth of field. The foreground and background will appear in focus. This is helpful for landscape photographs. A large aperture (like f/2.8) will have a shallow depth of field. This allows the subject to be separated visually from the out of focus background or foreground.

The images below shows how a small aperture works, (what is in focus?):

If you look at what is in focus on this photo, you see that the leaves and the dew drops are in focus when the background in not in focus.

Taking a look at Buster, his head is in focus when the rest of his body is not.

What is Aperture?

Lets put this as  simple as possible– Aperture is ‘the size of the opening in the lens when a picture is taken, this helps regulate the amount of light let onto the sensor.

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2012 Marks 100 years of Boy Scouts’ Highest Rank, Eagle Scout

Posted on 12 April 2012 by Press Release

IRVING, Texas (April 10, 2012)-One hundred years after Arthur Eldred of New York earned this nation’s first Eagle Scout Award, new, independent research demonstrates the significant, positive impact Eagle Scouts have on society every day. Since it was first awarded in 1912, more than 2 million young men have achieved the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank. The study conducted by Baylor University, Merit Beyond the Badge, found that Eagle Scouts are more likely than men who have never been in Scouting to:

  • Have higher levels of planning and preparation skills, be goal-oriented, and network with others
  • Be in a leadership position at their place of employment or local community
  • Report having closer relationships with family and friends
  • Volunteer for religious and nonreligious organizations
  • Donate money to charitable groups
  • Work with others to improve their neighborhoods

“Eagle Scouts have made their marks throughout history—from walking on the moon and working behind the desk in the Oval Office to running the bases in the major leagues. And while we’re proud to claim some truly great men in American history among our ranks, we’re even more proud that everyday Eagle Scouts become wonderful husbands, fathers, and citizens,” said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “This research validates for the world something we’ve known about Eagle Scouts for years. They lead. They vote. They donate. They volunteer. They work hard and achieve their goals. In short, Eagle Scouts are exceptional men.”

Baylor University’s Program for Prosocial Behavior received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to measure the lifelong effects of being in the Scouting program, and more specifically, of attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

“Our study measured if achieving the rank of Eagle provides an advantage and benefits throughout a Scout’s life,” said Dr. Byron Johnson, lead researcher, Baylor University. “We found that the effort and commitment required to earn this rank produces positive attributes that benefit not only these men in their personal and professional lives, but also benefits their communities and the country through the service and leadership they provide.”

The Eagle Scout badge has become widely recognized as a mark of distinction both within and outside of Scouting. Once earned, it is worn for life. About 4 percent of Boy Scouts earn the Eagle Scout rank. To do so, Scouts must demonstrate their understanding of leadership, service, character, personal fitness, and outdoor skills at multiple levels.

In addition to the 21 life skills merit badges required to earn the Eagle Scout rank, each Scout must complete an extensive self-directed service project. The Scout must plan, organize, lead, and manage the entire service effort prior to his 18th birthday. The average number of hours spent on Eagle Scout projects is 130. In 2011, more than 51,000 young men earned the Eagle Scout Award, which means Eagle Scout service projects alone represented almost 6.7 million hours of community service.

Among the 21 required merit badges to earn the Eagle Scout rank are First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communication, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Camping, and Family Life.

Some of the more notable Eagle Scouts are President Gerald Ford; Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton; explorer Steve Fossett; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates Sr.; MLB all-star Shane Victorino; and actor Jon Heder, who starred in the independent film Napoleon Dynamite.

While not a household name, a clear example of what Baylor University found in its research is 15-year-old Eagle Scout Spencer Zimmerman. Zimmerman learned that Dayton Hayward, a friend with cerebral palsy, liked to feel the wind in his face. So, he invited Hayward to join him in completing a triathlon. To help Hayward achieve the impossible, Zimmerman pulled, pushed, and carried his friend through a 500-meter swim, 3.2-mile run, and 12-mile bike ride. Both boys faced intense physical tests in completing the race. For his commitment to serving others, Zimmerman was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation’s American Spirit Award.

“I was honored to receive the American Spirit Award, but the credit goes to Dayton,” Zimmerman said. “Despite the challenges he faces, he has great spirit. Throughout the training and race, I was just his legs. I believe there’s no reason why Dayton shouldn’t have the opportunity to do what everyone else does.”

About the Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be “Prepared. For Life.™” The Scouting organization is composed of 2.7 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and more than a million volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit
About Baylor University
Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.
For more information about the Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion, Program on Prosocial Behavior, please visit . To review the Eagle Scout research, please visit:

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Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Kind

Posted on 11 April 2012 by CharlesN

The Words of Wisdom Wednesday series is composed of anecdotal segments to inspire and supplement a Scout’s personal development, building core values and moral character.







“An animal has been made by God just as you have been. He is therefore a fellow creature. He has not the power of speaking our language, but can feel pleasure or pain just as we can, and he can feel grateful to anyone who is kind to him.” – Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Sounds familiar?  Sure it does.  The Golden Rule states: “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”  You can also find it in the Bible: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” [Matthew 7:12]  Think of how you felt when someone treated you badly.  Now think of how you felt when you were treated with kindliness.

When you are kind to others, they feel good about you.  When others are sad, sometimes it only takes some kindhearted deeds to cheer them up.  And after all, if you can put a smile on someone’s face, you feel happy yourself too!

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Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Courteous

Posted on 04 April 2012 by CharlesN

The Words of Wisdom Wednesday series is composed of anecdotal segments to inspire and supplement a Scout’s personal development, building core values and moral character.








“A Scout is courteous.” – Sir Robert Baden-Powell

This week we focus on how to be courteous to others.  For most of us, we learn courtesy at home and at school when we are young.  We practice being courteous every day.  And as we grow up, we do not think of being courteous as a chore or among the list of things to do on a daily basis.  It becomes a part of us.

Being courteous is simple, but has a positive effect on others.  For example, you are being courteous when you properly greet someone.  Using titles such as, “Mister”, “Misses”, or “Miss”, is a form of courtesy and respect.  The practice of opening the door for others is another form of courtesy.  Can you identify other forms of courtesy?

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Spring Backpacking Season – Get Ready

Posted on 03 April 2012 by MikeD

The following is a Guest Article by Mike Dubrall. Mike “Uncle Dub Zero” Blogs and writes informative articles on backpacking and snow camping at 

Its Spring – a time when every good Scout starts thinking about his backpack. Across the country, people are pulling their packs out of the closet, cleaning out the leftover food from last year, and getting ready for the practice hikes ahead. Many with the goal of completing a 50 mile backpacking trip before the end of the summer.

Everyone agrees that wilderness backpacking embodies all of the core Scouting values. Accordingly Scout leaders often ask, “How do we start a backpacking program in our Troop or Crew?” It’s not really complex, but here is a straight-forward plan for getting your guys onto the trail. The steps are not necessarily in chronological order but ,the last step loops back to the first step every year.

50miler group shot

Promote the backpacking program with pictures and exciting stories.

1. Promote backpacking in your Troop: Younger Scouts and many adults will not associate the idea of idea of carry heavy packs over long distances with fun – so they have to be convinced. Start slowly, schedule a few short trips and propagate stories about success and overcoming adversity. Then get everyone to agree on a goal of completing a 50miler or going to Philmont in the near future. Remember, it’s not just the older Scouts and Scouters that have to be won over – parents also have to understand the benefits of a backpacking program.

2. Pick Dates for the adventure: With everyone’s busy schedules, spontaneity is not possible. Select a week for the big trip about six months in advance and let everyone know so they can arrange their calendars accordingly. (If you want to have your hike in August, then select the dates in February.) Most of the details, including where you are going, can be worked out later. (Philmont participants usually have to commit to their dates 18 months in advance!)

Schedule a 50 miler six months ahead of time.

3. Have a planning meeting: Schedule a gathering of potential hikers and then advertise it in ways that attract most of the target audience. This planning meeting is about building enthusiasm for the backpacking program, scheduling practice hikes, assigning responsibilities, discussing dietary restrictions or physical challenges, and electing leaders. It is also a great opportunity to talk about the dates of the 50 miler and potential locations.

4. Publish a Pack List: Successful youth backpacking trips require good pack lists and the leadership to enforce their use. However, developing a pack list is a philosophical exercise with many possible and contradictory outcomes. Every unit has their own list, based upon location, leadership philosophy, anticipated routes, and even hiking history. (leaders can be very passionate about their own lists!) Publishing the pack list (months or years) ahead of time allows parents to buy what they need without pressure. Set a deadline about a month before the 50 miler for acquiring all the gear and conduct a rigorous pack check about a week before you leave.

5. Conduct Practice Hikes: Arm the group with a practice hike schedule that includes dates, times, required pack weights, locations, responsibilities, and discussion topics. Each hike, in addition to the conditioning aspect, is an opportunity to increase the group’s knowledge about topics like wilderness first aid, maps and compass, bear bagging, water purification, hygiene, trail safety, and cooking. In addition to the regular outing schedule, our Troop schedules ten Venture practice hikes including three overnighters every Spring. The minimum requirement in order to go on the 50 miler that summer is four hikes with appropriate weights, including one overnighter.

50miler practice hikes

Practice hikes are an important part of the 50 miler experience.

6. Complete the 50 miler: Armed with a map, permits, medical forms, emergency plan, food, and all the equipment on the pack list the group is transported to the trailhead for their big adventure. Remember to take lots of pictures for the Court of Honor. It’s also nice to have parents waiting at the end with fruit, root beer floats, and pizza to welcome home their young warriors and listen to them talk about their misfortunes and exploits.

Unfortunately, many potential hikers ( and parents) balk at wilderness backpacking because of the perceived risks and potential hardships – or because they fear the unknown. Other families are hesitant because they panic at the thought of investing in equipment before they even know if their son or daughter is going to enjoy the experience. This irrational fear, panic, and paranoia keeps too many Scouts and Scouters at home.

However, it is not uncommon for Scouts to stand up at their Eagle Courts of Honor and talk enthusiastically about how backpacking experiences changed their lives or inspired them to new achievements. One said, “I don’t remember many days of my life, but I do remember vividly every day of every 50 miler I have ever been on.” With this kind of testimonial, adult leaders should do everything in their power to provide opportunities for Scouts to experience wilderness backpacking as often as possible.


Mike Dubrall writes about backpacking, snow camping, and other high adventure outings at His email is or you can be connected through the Outing Resource Center on Facebook.


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