Share your tips for building a Scout-led troop

Becoming a Scout-led troop is the goal of most Scout leaders. But what does a Scout-led troop look like, and — better yet — how do you get there?

That’s exactly what we’re looking to reveal in an upcoming Scouting magazine story, which means we need your help.

If the leadership in your troop has been successful at building a Scout-led troop, we want to hear from you. We’re especially interested in hearing from troops that have recently moved from adult-led to Scout-led, and we’d love to get the perspective of some successful senior patrol leaders, too.

Send an email to with your name and contact information, as well as a brief description of your troop. Your advice might appear in an upcoming issue of Scouting.

Thanks for your feedback.

Illustration by George Angelini

Campers won’t settle down at bedtime? Try these four tips

Heading to summer camp or your unit’s first summer campout?ScoutingCover1950

If you’ve camped with Scouts before, then it’s likely you’ve encountered energetic boys (and Venturers, too) who have a hard time settling down at bedtime.

The woes of Scoutmaster Knott in the May 1950 edition of Scouting magazine will sound familiar. In this tale, the Skunk Patrol continues making noise “like a hog-call contest in Times Square” late into the night. His solution? Calisthenics and trash duty in the dark hours. Before he knows it, the boys drop into bed, exhausted.

The article offers four timeless tips for helping “boy-discipline in camp”:

  1. Horseplay on the first night — or any night — will not necessarily wreck the republic. (And it may make better medicine than the repressive discipline used in stopping it.)
  2. The approach is the thing.
  3. Hard work and hard play — before Taps — makes Jack a sleepy boy.
  4. Whatever your “system,” be firm, be tactful and you’ll be respected.

Anything to add to the list? What kinds of bedtime enforcement work for your troop or crew?


Five June Scouting magazine covers from the archives

Even though the first “official” day of summer is June 21, the start of this month reminds us that it’s time for swimming pools, barbecues and, of course, Scout camp and Scouting adventures.

During this first week of the month, let’s look back at five June cover images from the digital archives of Scouting magazine. (You’ll see that some of these covers represent May-June or June-July issues, as the publication sometimes combined the months — as early as the 50s — to help cut costs.)

Which cover is your favorite?

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Past and present: A glimpse at the BSA’s historic National Annual Meetings

As hundreds of professional and volunteer Scouters convene this week at the Boy Scouts of America’s National Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., it’s a great time to examine annual meetings highlighted in Scouting magazine during the years.

However, the first meeting featured in Scouting wasn’t the first National Annual Meeting. The first annual meeting of the BSA was held in 1911 at the White House, where U.S. President Howard Taft addressed a group of Scouting professionals. At that time, Scouting magazine was not yet published, and wouldn’t find its way into Scouters’ mailboxes until April 1913. ScoutingFirstIssue

In its premiere issue, Scouting described the events of the 1913 meeting, at which Chief Scout Executive James E. West charged the executive committee with a request to establish a National Court of Honor and a special honor medal for lesser degrees of heroism. He also established a committee to investigate “Marine Scouting,” which would later give way to the Sea Scouting program.

The magazine also conveyed discussion points from the meeting, including, “the necessity of firmly establishing the Scout movement in the minds of the community as a useful and helpful organization.”

No matter the year, some goals — like the one above — never seem to change.

Looking back at coverage of each annual meeting provides an interesting glimpse at the movement’s goals and achievements during that particular time period. Check out the articles covering National Annual Meetings featured in Scouting magazine’s digital archive: Continue reading

A look back at ‘Cubbing’

At next week’s National Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., the BSA will announce  revisions to the current Cub Scouting program. (You can read more about these changes in this post, and Bryan will have more live updates next week from Nashville.) Until then, let’s take a look back at how “Cubbing” first began. Cubbing

The national executive board first proposed a program designed specifically for younger boys in 1927. But it wasn’t until 1930 that the BSA began offering limited resources for this program. (Check out this announcement in the March 1930 issue of Scouting magazine.) In 1933, Cubbing — as it was known at the time — was fully launched and promoted among councils across the U.S.

In those first years, the Cub Scout program — even before it had been fully understood — contributed to the largest net growth in registered boys, according to the 1932 annual report.

While some of the program remains similar today, the first Cub Scout dens were led by Boy Scout den chiefs and den mothers (like the mom in the photo above, featured in on the cover of the May-June 1954 issue of Scouting). Weekly meetings were held at the den mother’s home, where the boys made crafts and played games. The program was meant to stand on its own with its own leadership and “not trespass on Boy Scouting.”

Flashback to Cub Scouting in the 1950s with this Scouting magazine article, “Come Into My Living Room.”

What are your early memories of Cub Scouting? Share these in the comments and stay tuned for more annual meeting coverage next week.

Your service project could be featured in Scouting magazine

Calling all Good Turns: Has your pack, troop or crew recently completed a service project in your community (or beyond)?

We want to hear about it! Your unit’s project might be featured in an upcoming Scouting magazine feature story.

(In this instance, we’re not looking for Eagle Scout Service Projects; instead, we want to know what your unit has collectively done to help others.)

Please send a brief description of the service project and your contact information to If you have photos of the project, feel free to include these, too.

We’ll feature a list of standout projects in our November-December edition.

Thanks in advance!

Photo courtesy of Cub Scout Pack 516.

What would your city be like without Scouts?

In Scouting’s April 1921 edition, a U.S. District Court judge states, “No city can afford to be without its Boy Scouts.”

Judge Foster argues, “I have never come in touch with a man who had Scout training without finding him efficient and proud that he had been a Scout.

“If every boy in the United States could be taught Scouting, we could be assured of a patriotic, virile citizenry that would be a lasting bulwark against all enemies from within and without.”

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March-April 2014 ‘Where Am I?’ winner, location revealed

The destination in our March-April 2014 “Where Am I? — Path Less Traveled” contest is one of my favorites. Ever been to Moab? I traveled on a personal trip to this dusty Utah city last spring and quickly fell in love with the terrain.

The secret spot shown in the photo? That’s Picture Frame Arch, just outside of Moab in the Behind the Rocks area.

Did you guess right? If so, you join the ranks of 213 other correct guesses in this contest. And, using a random-number generator, we selected No. 87 as our winner: Laura Bailey, a Cub Scouting volunteer and parent in Carnation, Wash.

Bailey has won a $100 Supply Group gift card to use at her local Scout Shop or at Congrats!

Don’t miss the latest May-June 2014 “Where Am I? — Blazing Trails” contest. Examine the photo and description of this mystery spot, and submit your guess for a chance to win. Contest ends Friday, June 27.

Good luck!

Photograph by Jonathan Sparling

Eight attributes of successful Scout camps

When I ask Scouters about their best memories as a Scout, they often call upon times spent at their favorite Scout camp. Summer camp memories last a lifetime, which is why it’s important to help your Scouts choose a camp program that will keep them coming back for more. ChoosingCampCover

But with hundreds of top-notch BSA camp properties across the U.S., this process can prove to be a challenge.

To help round up a checklist of what to look for when researching area Scout camps, we reached back into the Scouting magazine archives to a 1995 article by Bill Sloan, called “What Makes a Happy Camper?”

Sloane asks, “What should young people and their adult leaders expect — and deserve — from a summer camp?” He answers this query with eight key elements that produce successful council camps. This checklist arose from a 1994 BSA survey of 50 successful council camping programs. But it’s not hard to see how these apply to today’s popular Scout camps, too.

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Videography tips from Scouting’s black-and-white film era

In the age of Smartphones and GoPros, the concept of documenting Scouting adventures in video format isn’t a novel idea.

But in the 1930s, capturing troop meetings and outdoor activities posed a bit more challenge. (Think heavy 16-millimeter-film cameras using portable projectors and screens to show footage.) FilmProjector

Yet, even with these technical hurdles, Scouters and Scouts of the era realized that showing Scouting on film was not only a way document activities, but also a way to help recruit more boys to the movement.

In the April 1930 issue of Scouting — viewed in the Scouting magazine digital archives — the column “Motion Pictures in Scout Work,” by Allan A. Carpenter, examines the value of capturing Scouting on film. The article also points out some timeless cinematography tips that GoPro-wearing Scouts can use today to help make excellent videos.

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