Film showcases the power of Scouting but doesn’t sugarcoat it

troop-491-posterI mean no disrespect to Follow Me, Boys!, an an American classic. But that 1966 film doesn’t speak to most of today’s 30-something parents in need of a character-building organization for their son or daughter.

It especially doesn’t resonate with those parents in America’s inner cities who desperately want a way to steer their children away from violence and crime.

That’s why anyone considering Scouting needs to see Troop 491: The Adventures of the Muddy Lions.

It’s available on DVD this month.

The film from Praphetic Praductions is a work of fiction, but the premise is all too real:

A middle-schooler named Tristan lives in the inner city. His mom, wanting to keep him off the streets, signs him up for Scouting. Soon after, Tristan witnesses a murder, and the local thug demands his silence. He’s left with the choice between Scouting’s values and the code of the streets. He learns, with the help of his Scout friends, that doing the right thing isn’t easy.

Watch the trailer below, and you’ll want to see this powerful film that encapsulates the power of Scouting but does so in a way that’s gritty and avoids sentimentalism. Learn more and pre-order the DVD at the film’s official website.

The Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, in its writeup about the movie, reveals that the film’s writer and director grew up in Scouting in Richmond. He “attributes much of his core values to the time he spent with his troop: leadership, achieving goals and helping others,” according to the story.

The Boy Scouts “is a counter to gang culture,” Patrick Ricks told the newspaper. “The acute need for it is still there.”

I should warn you that there is some strong language in the film — not unlike what actual Scout-age children would hear on the streets. I’d encourage you to watch it yourself before screening it for older Scouts.

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These Eagle Scouts won three of NESA’s biggest scholarships in 2014

NESAEmblem_SpotYou’re going to want to meet Cody, Donald and Ryan.

These three Eagle Scouts won three of the National Eagle Scout Association‘s most prestigious scholarships in 2014 and have been spotlighted in a series of videos first shown at the BSA’s National Annual Meeting in May.

Take time to watch all three videos below.

First up is Cody Eckels of Troop 300 from Tyrone, Pa.. He received the Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award for his project that honors veterans with engraved pavers, military flags and statues complete with landscaping.

“I kinda grew up with Scouting,” Eckels said. “It showed me what’s the right thing to do and what’s not the right thing to do. … It really made me into the man I turned today.”

Next is Donald Martocello of Troop 601 from Moorestown, N.J.

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Their own words: Watch Scouters and Scouts say why they love Scouting

They live in different time zones, and their paths may never cross. But this mom in Miami, dad in Dallas and Scouter in Seattle share one thing in common.

All have seen their lives and the lives of their families improved by Scouting. These three Scouters (and many more youth and adults) share their stories in a new batch of One Voice videos from the Boy Scouts of America’s magnificent Marketing Team.

The Dallas dad discusses how signing his son up for Cub Scouts helped bring him and his son closer together. The Miami mom finds in Scouting a place where her deaf son feels included. The Seattle Scouter explains how Venturing gives young men and women in his area a chance to try activities they never dreamed they’d do.

And don’t miss the video of Matthew, a Cub Scout from Dallas who tells in his own words why he loves Scouting. It’s aww-inspiring.

Watch all the videos after the jump (including one in Spanish), and tell me which is your favorite. For those of you wishing to share these videos at recruiting events or elsewhere, go to this link to download them for offline viewing. Continue reading

Join BSA in celebrating its 100-year partnership with the LDS church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the first sponsor of the Boy Scouts of America way back in 1913. One-hundred years later, the LDS church brings hundreds of thousands of Scouts into the movement each year.

Next month, your Scouting family can join the BSA family in celebrating that “Century of Honor” through a special live production held in Salt Lake City.

There’s something in the show for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, Scouters, Scouting families and non-Scouting families of any religion. The live broadcast celebrates Scouting, not just the LDS church, so it’s relevant to everyone.

As you’ll see in the pulse-pounding trailer after the jump, the 85-minute performance will include original music and media, historical reenactments, special guests and a cast of hundreds of Scouts.

All of this awesomeness will be hosted at the Salt Lake City’s 21,000-seat Conference Center, where the annual Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert is taped each December.

Circle Oct. 29 on your calendar right now. At 7 p.m. MDT on that Tuesday night, the show begins. Watch the trailer and get the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How after the jump. Continue reading

Three new videos to entertain, inspire, help you recruit

Authentic, gritty, visceral. That’s how I describe three new videos released today by the Boy Scouts of America.

They’re yours to view, download for offline viewing, share and use as you see fit. Each gives a compelling picture of what effect Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting can have on local communities like yours.

There’s the story of a mom in East Los Angeles who started a Cub Scout pack and saw it bring families together in her community. Or the heroic tale of a Boy Scout in New York who jumped into action during Hurricane Sandy. And there’s a nice piece released in conjunction with the new online Cub Scout idea repository called Cub Hub that shares the flavor of life in a den and pack.

Each video lasts less than two minutes. That’s a good reminder to units creating videos that attention spans won’t hold for very long — and that two minutes is often all you need to deliver a powerful message.

Watch the videos after the jump. Continue reading

For the 99.9 percent of kids who won’t go pro in sports, Scouting offers a leg up

If you know a kid who dunks like Blake Griffin, runs like Adrian Peterson or hits like Miguel Cabrera, you’ll have a hard time recruiting him to join Scouts.

Because, as the Scouting recruiting video below explains, parents of these super-athletes have won the genetic lottery, and their kids are set for life. (Assuming we ignore the countless examples of high-paid athletes who wash up after their playing days are done.)

For the parents of normal children, the Boy Scouts of America provides a chance to make young men and women stand out from the crowd. Scouts and Venturers gain skills in leadership, fitness and character they can’t get elsewhere. Scouts are more likely to graduate college than non-Scouts, and studies show former Scouts pull in a greater income than people who were never in Scouting.

These facts, laid out in an entertaining way in this Coronado Area Council video, offer the perfect answer to the question weighing on the minds of parents of potential Scouts: “Should my son join this Cub Scout pack or that Little League team?”

My response would be, “Why not both? Make your child well-rounded, and he or she will go far.” But if you come across a parent debating one over the other, send them the video below. Continue reading

Jamboree closing show now yours to watch online

Rousing music performances, impassioned speeches, bright young Scouts, the King of Sweden and the guy from Dirty Jobs — Saturday’s “Celebration of Scouting” show had everything you crave from a jamboree show and more.

If you weren’t one of the 40,000-plus watching in person at the AT&T Summit Stadium, now’s your chance to watch the archived video and see what you missed. It’s now live at jambolive.org along with video from Tuesday’s opening show.

Prefer just the highlights? Check out my minute-by-minute breakdown: Continue reading

Video: Eagle Scout Mike Rowe tells Scouts to work smart AND hard

9330066163_b958b31ea7Eagle Scout Mike Rowe once got the worst advice he’s ever heard.

A teacher, Mr. Dunbar, told him to “work smart, not hard.” Ever heard that advice from a boss or teacher?

At Saturday afternoon’s stadium show, Rowe rewrote Mr. Dunbar’s bad advice, telling the crowd of tens of thousands of Scouts, Scouters and Venturers that the key is to “work smart and hard.” And he needs the help of all of us in the Boy Scouts of America.

If anyone can rouse a crowd through hilarious stories and inspiring words, it’s Mike Rowe. He did it at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree and at the BSA’s 2012 National Annual Meeting. The third time was his best yet.

The former Dirty Jobs host has embarked on a mission to increase the profile of skilled labor, where 3 million jobs are waiting “for people willing to get their hands dirty.”

The problem: Too many people consider skilled labor to be a “vocational consolation prize,” Rowe said. “I’m not talking about you guys,” he said. “The Boy Scouts get it. The Boy Scouts have always got it.”

Watch the full video of Rowe’s speech after the jump. Continue reading

Watch the full jamboree opening show online

Missed Tuesday morning’s “Welcome to West Virginia” opening show because you were, oh, I don’t know, busy at your day job?

Relive the nearly two-hour show from your computer, tablet or smartphone right now at jambolive.org.

Rock out with the West Virginia Army National Guard band; hear from Wayne Brock, Wayne Perry, Stephen Bechtel, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and other dignitaries; and jam with country band Taylor Made. You can even see what Scouts and Scouters tweeted during the show (using hashtag #2013Jambo) through the CNN-like crawl at the bottom.

In case you want to skip around, I put together this minute-by-minute rundown: Continue reading

Rex Tillerson speaks out about change and ‘The Main Thing’

“So we’ve made the decision. We’re going to change,” says Rex Tillerson. “Now what?”

Less than 24 hours after the volunteer delegates voted to change the BSA’s membership policy for youth, Tillerson addressed a large room full of Scouting volunteers and professionals at the closing general session of the BSA’s National Annual Meeting.

In a powerful, heartfelt speech, Tillerson made his message clear: Change is inevitable, but “The Main Thing,” which is to serve more youth in Scouting, hasn’t changed. With that in mind, he reasoned, it’s time for all of us unite toward this common goal.

Tillerson, immediate past president of the Boy Scouts of America and a 2010 Silver Buffalo recipient, knows something about making big decisions and dealing with change. When he’s not serving as a Scouting volunteer, he’s the chairman, president, and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., one of the world’s largest companies.

In 1999, Tillerson worked for Exxon when it merged with Mobil—definitely a big change for both companies.

Take 10 minutes to watch the video below and listen to Tillerson’s message. Then, share it with the members of your Scouting family.  Continue reading