Friday, July 12, 2013

We've Moved!

We have changed platforms. New website is up (while a little rough yet) at - please come by and visit there and add to your feeds and reading lists!

Sorry if this messes up any of your subscriptions/reading lists..


Latter-day Scout

Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review: Beginning Boy Scouts

In conjunction with this book review, we are giving away a free copy of this book to our readers! See details at the end of the review! Please note that the Authors provided me two copies of the book, one to review and one to give to you - but did not have input or sign-off on the review posted below.

In 2011, authors Jeremy and Heather Reed determined the Scouting community could use a concise resource for getting involved in Scouting. The result is "Beginning Boy Scouts; An Unofficial Practical Guide to Boy Scouting for Parents and New Leaders".

This book - focused on Boy Scouting in America - is not intended to be a comprehensive resource covering all aspects of Scouting. Brief mention of Cub Scouts, Varsity, and Venturing are noted, but the primary audience are those parents, scouts, and new leaders that are just being introduced to Scouting for the first time. Nor does it cover Scouting programs outside the United States, although some may find it useful for beginning Scouting regardless of minor differences. (Keep reading..)

Founder’s Bar Recognition

I've been in scouting a pretty long time. Yet, it never ceases to amaze me how there is always something new to learn and there's always one more award, recognition, or patch to be earned. This is one of the many things that keeps Scouting exciting to me!

Today while reading a blog post by another revered Scouter I know from Twitter, as he described the formation of a new Scout Troop, I saw the image of a "Founder" bar on his blog post. That got me curious, so I did some searching and found out some great information about this relatively new recognition.

The Founder's Bar was announced by the New-Unit Task Force in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America in 2010. The new Founder’s Bar recognition"worn by all youths and adults whose names are on a new-unit charter or who join the new unit before it recharters for the first time; members of veteran units still in operation who were on the original charter may also wear the bar" (1)

Q&A from the BSA's Website:

Worn by all youths and adults whose names are on a new-unit charter or who join the new unit before it recharters for the first time; members of veteran units still in operation who were on the original charter may also wear the bar.

Who Can Earn This Award?

How To Get the Award
Bar, wall certificate, pocket certificate sold by Supply.

Supply Item Description & Uniform Placement
Founder's Bar is worn directly under the unit number.

Supply/BIN Item Number
Founder's Bar, No. 610129; pocket certificate, No. 34776; certificate, No. 34775

Additional information on this great recognition also can be found here.

Needless to say I'll be checking into this since we are in the process of chartering 4 new units! (Pack, Troop, Team, Crew!)

See also this post about the William D. Boyce, New Unit Organizer Award!

Thomas S. Monson Award: Now, For Every Scout and Scouter!

Before you turn away, thinking this post is just for LDS scouts - it's not! Please read on about this great award, now available to all Scouts and Scouters!

In this 2010 post I wrote about my experience at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree, and my experience earning the George Albert Smith award. Now that three years has passed, I can honestly say that this award is one of my most prized remembrances from the Jamboree experience. Not just because of the quality and beauty of the award, but the experience in earning it. The award was available to all Scouts and Scouters at the Jamboree, independent of religion.

Now, in preparation for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, the LDS-BSA Relationships Office has released details of the Thomas S. Monson award which will debut at the 2013 Jamboree. This award has very similar requirements to those of the George Albert Smith award, but will now be available (after the Jamboree/August 2013) to all Scouts and Scouters - even those who do not participate in the Jamboree - shortly after the Jamboree concludes. Once again, this award will be available to all Scouts and Scouters, regardless of religion, who wish to participate and earn this choice award.

So just who is Thomas S. Monson? He's a strong advocate for Scouting, a Silver Buffalo recipient, and he's the current President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a Prophet of God. You can read more about him here.

This years award also celebrates the centennial of the relationship between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Boy Scouts of America. The LDS church was first organization to embrace the Boy Scouts with a national charter in 1913.  From the award requirements:
On May 21, 1913, a charter was signed and the MIA Scouts officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. A dynamic partnership, destined to affect millions of boys, had been formed. As the first nationally chartered organization, the LDS Church established a pattern for other religious and community groups to partner with the Boy Scouts of America, thus affecting additional youth and organizations throughout the following century. Today, the LDS Church is the largest chartered organization of the Boy Scouts of America, sponsoring approximately 430,000 youth and 37,000 units in 2012.
Today the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remains one of the largest advocates for scouting, and is the "largest chartered organization of the Boy Scouts of America, sponsoring approximately 430,000 youth and 37,000 units in 2012."(1)

So why would you want to pursue this award?

  1. Learn more about the LDS Church's support for the scouting movement.
  2. Read motivational story about how Scouting impacts the lives of young men forever.
  3. Complete requirements in two merit badges (Genealogy and Family Life).
  4. Reinforce faith and Duty to God.
  5. Reinforce living the Scout Law
  6. Meet new Scouts and engage in discussion the value of Scouting in your life

The requirements epitomize the core values of scouting. Duty to God, Brotherhood of Scouting, Advancement, living the Scout Oath and Law.

Certainly a valuable experience for all scouts to participate in this wonderful experience and earn a beautiful award. I hope all of you will review the requirements and take the time to pursue this award.

I would be very interested in hearing your feedback and especially your thoughts and feelings as you complete the requirements and/or are successful in earning the award.

Award Details
Award Requirements
Award Order Form (available August 2013)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Scouting is About Faith in God

Our founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell said,

"The Scout, in his promise, undertakes to do his duty to his king and country only in the second place; his first duty is to God. It is with this idea before us and recognizing that God is the one Father of us all, that we Scouts count ourselves a brotherhood despite the difference among us of country, creed, or class. We realize that in addition to the interests of our particular country, there is a higher mission before us, namely the promotion of the Kingdom of God; That is, the rule of Peace and Goodwill on earth. In the Scouts each form of religion is respected and its active practice encouraged and through the spread of our brotherhood in all countries, we have the opportunity in developing the spirit of mutual good will and understanding.

"There is no religious "side" of the movement. The whole of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God.

"Let us, therefore, in training our Scouts, keep the higher aims in the forefront, not let ourselves get too absorbed in the steps. Don't let the technical outweigh the moral. Field efficiency, back woodsmanship, camping, hiking, Good Turns, jamboree comradeship are all means, not the end. The end is CHARACTER with a purpose.

"Our objective in the Scouting movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God's Kingdom on earth by including among youth the spirit and the daily practice in their lives of unselfish goodwill and cooperation." source

(Video from here)

Clearly there is no religious preference in Scouting, all faiths, denominations, religions are welcome. However, when we talk about "Duty To God", a core tenant is a strong belief in and a commitment to God, our creator, a supreme being. As BP said above, "the one Father of us all".

That faith and commitment to God will guide a scouts actions, behaviors, goals, motivations and character.

I've been at camps, and even Wood Badge, when some people took issue with the display of certain religious observances. For instance the way a certain faith prays when called upon at meals. The result has sometimes been to "dilute" all faith observances for the sake of not offending any, and use generic camp songs in place of prayers.

A Scout is a friend to all, and as BP said,
"Our objective in the Scouting movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God's Kingdom on earth by including among youth the spirit and the daily practice in their lives of unselfish goodwill and cooperation."
Therefore shouldn't we be encouraging a scout to be faithful to his God and his faith? Rather than making him feel embarrassed about it? Shouldn't we be teaching Scouts to be tolerant and encouraging of faith and honoring God?

Let us be anxiously engaged, as our founder was, in helping to bring about God's Kingdom on earth through daily observance and practice of our faith and Duty To God.

William D. Boyce Award: New Unit Organizer

As noted in my previous post, I've been asked to serve as a new Assistant Scoutmaster over the 11-year-old scouts in my Church's Scouting program. Not only is this new to me (LDS Units have slightly different policies around 11-year-old scouts and their participation in Scouting) but this is a new Church Unit (our ward was split) so we also are in the process of charting a new Pack, a new Troop, a new Team and a new Crew! Four new Units for the BSA! I love to see the Scouting program growing!

As a result, I'm educating our leadership and Charter Organization Rep (COR) about the William D. Boyce; New Unit Organizer award and thought I'd share the info here for those that don't know about it. Of course it doesn't hurt that Scouters can get a knew Knot and/or device for their uniform as well!

The packet, available here from the BSA, includes not only the award requirement information but some pretty comprehensive supporting documentation for those new to Scouting and/or starting up a new unit.

The requirements for earning the award are as follows:

1. Be assigned a new-unit prospect. Determine if the organization’s values are compatible with BSA values.
2. Make an appointment with the head of the organization to talk about Scouting.
3. Promote the benefits of Scouting during a presentation to the head of the organization. This
meeting should result in the organizational leader agreeing to charter a Scouting unit.
4. The organization officially adopts the Scouting program and appoints a chartered organization representative.
5. The organization representative appoints an organizing committee of three to five individuals. A BSA unit commissioner and district trainer are assigned to the committee.
6. The unit leadership is selected, approved, and recruited by the organization.
7. The unit leadership is trained with fast start and new leader essentials.
8. The BSA district trainer helps the unit committee and unit leader plan three to six months of programs.
9. The unit committee and unit leader hold an organizational meeting(s) to collect applications and fees.
10. The unit leader completes the paperwork and transmits the fees to the local council office.
11. Boys attend the new unit’s first meeting.
12. The BSA district trainer helps the unit commissioner conduct a charter presentation ceremony at a meeting of the organization.

I like to see people enthusiastic about Scouting, learning their duty, magnifying their calling, getting trained, and running the Scouting program the way this inspired program is meant to be run. I hope these resources will help you enthusiastically get new Scouting units up and running.

Good luck!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Back In The Scouting Saddle

About a year ago, I resigned as Scoutmaster of my local Troop where I had served as SM for about 4 years. The politics of the Troop were grating on me, but more importantly some changes were forming in my life that required greater focus and attention on work and family and eventually resulted in a very positive career change and a cross-country move for me and my family.

Now that the dust is starting to settle, I've once again been conscripted to work in the Scouting program. This time in our new local unit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) as the 11-year-old Scouting Leader.

Scouting for 11-year-old boys in LDS Troops is quite different from non LDS Troops. It's a critical age in a young man's character development so our Church handles them very conscientiously to safeguard them and give them as solid foundation in Scouting and as they prepare to turn 12 and to be ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood.

I feel honored and overwhelmed with this new responsibility, and look forward to the opportunity and challenge of helping these young men begin their path to manhood and start the Scouting program.

I'll be posting here with much more regularity now, with new tales to tell and hopefully to get your suggestions and feedback about how to make this new era of Scouting a rewarding and growing experience for me and these new Scouts I'll be meeting next week.

Stay Tuned..