Archive for the ‘National’ Category

Last month I finally broke down and bought an iPad (the newest version). I have been having fun with it. It looks great and works well. I have to admit, playing Angry Birds on an iPad is a lot more fun then playing on an iPod Touch. I have downloaded dozens of books that are in the public domain, especially all the fictional novels I can find written about Boy Scouting during the early years of the movement. Most of the stories about Pee Wee Harris, Roy Blakely, and Tom Slade are waiting on my iPad’s hard drive waiting to be read.

I have also downloaded a couple of Scouting related apps.The first one was MyBadges, written by Kevin Butler. It is an app which quickly puts the requirements for Boy Scout ranks, merit badges, and other awards on the screen. I have used this app while sitting on a board of review and found it to be quite handy, although one Boy Scout may not agree with me since I found a current requirement that was not listed in his handbook which was about 5 years old. Kevin has been doing a pretty good job of keeping his app current with the latest BSA handbook.

Which brings me to a problem I found. I was going to download the Boy Scouts of America app of The Boy Scout Handbook. After all, I am still involved with Scouting and thought it should be on my new gizmo. I went to the App Store to download it and stopped dead in my tracks. I have not purchased it, and will not purchase it. Here are the reasons why…

First of all, The B.S.A. has not updated the Handbook App since November 7, 2009. Yes, you read that correctly. 2009! For an organization that wants its members and volunteers to stay up to date they have really dropped the ball here. Heck, they come out with a new printed handbook every year. Why should I pay $9.99 to download a handbook that does not even contain the latest requirements for ranks and training?

And the price of $9.99, which just happens to be the same price as a physical handbook, but yet does not let me (or a Boy Scout) write in it and keep track of things like we can in a real physical copy? I think the price should be a couple bucks cheaper but I think I understand the reasoning behind it. After all, I was going to buy it until I started looking closer at it.

Third, the app is only available as an iPhone App. Really? Come on B.S.A., get with the program. Over 50 million of these devices have been sold. I am sure I am not the only Boy Scout volunteer that owns an iPad. I had thought the B.SA. was trying to be more modern and catch up to current technology. It seems to me they have been dropping the ball in a major way with this app.

Fourth. And speaking of dropping the ball, have you read the reviews about the latest version of the e-hanbook? (Which, keep in mind, came out in 2009.) They are not glowing, I can tell you that. The main gripe seems to be that it is not much more then a pdf version of the handbook. Excuse me national office, but if I am going to pay for an ebook, I would like it to be an ebook with at least a fair amount of accessible features. The book should be interactive, like the B.SA. says a Scouting program should be for its boy members.

So, I will not be purchasing the B.SA.’s Boy Scout Handbook app. At least not yet. I would like to, but the national office needs to work on this program and at least update it, if nothing else. Or could it be that this app is not a big enough seller for the B.SA. to care about? That would be a shame.

I would be interested on hearing from you if you use the Boy Scout Handbook app. Do you think it is useful? What is your general impression of it. Write a comment and share your user experience with us.

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    This is fantastic news, or as Buttons the radical Boy Scout would say, “Totally awesome!”  The World Jamboree will be coming to the United States this decade. According to the Boy Scouts of America Facebook page:

    Great news!

    The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve has been chosen as the site for World Scout Jamboree 2019! Make sure you head over to their Facebook and congratulate them! The North American Scout Associations (Boy Scouts of America, Scouts Canada, and the Scout Association of Mexico) won the bid to host the 24th World Scout Jamboree.

    Are you going to make plans to attend?

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      I am not afraid to say it. President Obama  has lost a few points of respect with me this week when he decided to join the five hosts of The View television show instead of talking to the 40,000 Boy Scout and leaders at the BSA National Jamboree.

      I know, I know. Speaking at the National Jamboree is not in the President’s job description. He only does it if he wants to do it, and if his schedule allows it. But you know, he accepted the position of the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. Why wouldn’t he want to address the young men who are the future of our country. And do it live at the event?

      I understand the Jamboree participants will watch a prerecorded message from President Obama. That is better than nothing. At least the Boy Scouts were worth his time to record a video.

      I attended the 2001 National Jamboree. President Bush was scheduled to appear at a arena show to speak to us. Unfortunately, a storm went through the area and the show was postponed until the next evening. President Bush was not able to make it the following night so he recorded his message for us to watch on the big screens at the arena. (I personally did not mind watching the video. It saved us the time and trouble of going through presidential security.)

      The difference between these two events was that President Bush made the effort to attend the Jamboree, where President Obama did not. It gives me the impression that he decided to sort of brush off the Boy Scouts.

      Come on Mr. President! This is the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. You had a captive audience of nearly 40,000 young men of every race and background, the future of this great country. This event was not something that just came up suddenly. The planning for this Jamboree was going on for years. You could not find the time in your schedule to address the Scouts?

      Yet, you could find time in your schedule to appear on a national daily talk show, and do some fundraising. This gave me the impression that being a celebrity is more important to you then being a leader of this country. And I know I am not the only person to feel this way.

      Mr. President, you could have taped your talk show interview at any time. You only have one week to speak to the young men at the 100th anniversary BSA National Jamboree. In my humble opinion, you blew it.

      Of course, this is my opinion and not the opinion of the Boy Scouts of America. I realize that not everyone shares my point of view. I also realize that the President will probably never read this blog post. But this is something that has been weighing on my mind this week so I wanted to write about it.

      How to you feel about the President skipping a live appearance at the National Jamboree? Please keep your comments civil or I will delete them.

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        The trial is over. After seven years of court battles the trial about wether the Cradle Of Liberty Council, BSA, can stay in the building they paid to have built and pay for the yearly costs, has come to an end. (If I understand correctly, the council has always paid the maintenance costs of the building on the land they rent from the city for $1 a year.)

        It appears that the Boy Scouts have won. According to the website:

        “A federal jury Wednesday decided that Philadelphia violated the Boy Scouts’ First Amendment rights by using the organization’s anti-gay policy as a reason to evict them from their city-owned offices near Logan Square.”

        The full article can currently be read at

        So, does this mean it is over? I doubt it. It sounds like the city of Philadelphia’s lawyers are already looking toward their options for the next round of legal battles.

        I find it simply amazing that when you consider all the good that Scouting has done for that community, and how that building has not cost the city a dime to build and maintain, and how the city has so many other pressing problems to take care of, that they spend so much time, money, and resources to trying to evict the Boy Scout council. Scouting has been such an asset to Philadelphia. Seems to me like the city has received quite a bargain from the Cradle of Liberty Council.

        It does not make much sense to me. I guess that is why I am not in politics. Wouldn’t it be great if some rich supporter of Scouting would just buy the property and donate it to the council?

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          Have you read it yet? If not, you should. The plot is riveting. The characters are interesting. The story’s climax will leave you waiting for the sequel. Okay, okay. The Guide To Safe Scouting (G2SS) is not quite that exciting, but it is a good book that every Cub Pack and Boy Scout Troop leader should read and have a copy kept nearby. There is a lot of useful information in it, and it can help you through some troubled events. For example, do you have a problem with a boy that continually misbehaves or hurts other boys, and nothing you try seems to help?  The G2SS has an app guideline for that. It states:

          All members of the Boy Scouts of America are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Law. Physical violence, hazing, bullying, theft, verbal insults, and drugs and alcohol have no place in the Scouting program and may result in the revocation of a Scout’s membership in the unit.

          If you do not have a copy of the Guide To Safe Scouting you should get one today. Stop by your Scout office or go to to download a pdf version.

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            Yes, you read that correctly. The Boy Scouts of America now has an official Youtube channel. As I write this, the channel has twelve videos posted, eleven “Words to Live By” videos and the “State of Scouting” video. You can even watch them in HD. The channel can be found at

            It is long overdue in my opinion. The BSA has come up with some excellent promotional videos over the years, along with some pretty corny ones, but yet very few people ever saw them. Speaking for myself, the only time I ever saw most of these videos was when I attended a district or council event. I kept thinking about how the National office should be showing these to the general public, not the people already involved with the program. I am sure budget and costs were the main reasons for not seeing these on television very often.

            Now we have the internet. I hope the BSA continues to use it to get the word out about Scouting. This Youtube channel is a step forward in the right direction. It also gives troop and pack leaders another tool to use to promote Scouting, and the Scouts a site to direct their friends to learn more about the program.

            I am not sure if anyone from the National office reads this blog but I hope they also use the channel to post some of the older videos created years ago, like the Scout Zone and the We Do It videos. I know I have already posted several older videos to my Youtube channel, but it would be great for better quality videos to posted to the official BSA channel.

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              There has been a lot of talk in a few of the Scouting forums about some new online forms that can be found on the site. I would like to write about two of them today – the tour permit and the medical form.

              The new Tour Permit is actually a writable pdf document in which you can fill in the blanks on your computer. I have downloaded to my computer and have used it for a couple of troop activities. It is pretty much the same information as the old forms, but since it is digital there are a few advantages. The first is that the committee chair, the council, and I can email it to each other, thus making it quicker to use. The other thing I like about it is that we can use digital signatures, which we discovered are very easy to set up and use. It has saved us time in trying to track each other down for those signatures.

              Our council has posted this digital tour permit to its website and can be found at . I am sure it can also be found on the national website, but I did not look for it there.

              After looking at the new yearly Medical Form, I will admit that I like it. It is simple to follow and easy to understand. Best of all, this new form will replace the three current forms that are being used (Class 1, 2, and 3). It looks like the new form will be used by both adults and Scouts, and will even be used for high adventure bases.

              This new form is broken down into three parts. Part A is the general medical information which is provided by the parents, similar to the old Class 1 form. It lists basic information including address and insurance stuff, plus has a section to list up to six perscription drugs. This part is for one day or weekend activities.

              Part B of the form is for long term and strenuous camps and activities, like high adventure bases and summer camps. This is the part that needs to be filled out by a doctor or licensed health-care provider. A height and weight chart is also featured on this page.

              Part C is a new addition to the form. It includes a “Hold Harmless/Release Agreement” and a talent release form for the parents or gaurdian to sign. To tell the truth, in today’s digital age, I think this is an excellent thing to add to the form. This new medical form can be found at

              I plan to hand out the new medical form to all the Scout families this month, even though it looks like they will not be required until next year. I want to get a headstart on this. I also plan to email the digital version of the form to parents in case they would like to fill out the personal information on their computer before printing it off.

              I think these two forms are an excellent step to making things a little easier for troops, crews, and packs. Now the councils and districts just have to get these units to begin using them. I would not think it should be too hard to get that done.

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                I have written in earlier blogs about how I feel the Boy Scouts of America’s national office should be doing more to promote the Scouting program to the American public. It the past, it seems as if they have relied more on the local units to promote the program then trying to do it nationally, and I can understand that, up to a point. During the last five years it has seemed that the national office has disappeared into a cave, ignoring much of the negative press Scouting has received over recent issues, and allowing many people to bad-mouth a great and established program to help boys and young men without making any statement what-so-ever.

                Things seems to be changing now that we have a new national Chief Scout Executive, Robert “Bob” Mazzuca. He does not appear to be afraid of talking to the media, and has already done a few interviews promoting the Scout program and letting the public know what Scouting can offer their boys and families.

                The BSA has produced some good video commercials during the past ten years or so. Unfortunately, I have not seen many of them on national or local television. The only place I see them is at council roundtables, award ceremonies, and a couple websites. That is a shame, but I realize it costs money to air them during a television show.

                So, with this podcast, I am hoping to get some of these commercials seen by more people through the internet. After all, I can not afford to air them on television either, although I have aired them on our local cable access channel as part of our troop’s courts of honor.

                This podcast posting includes five commercials produced by the Boy Scouts of America. Each commercial uses a point of the Scout Law as its theme: trustworthy, helpful, obedient, thrifty, and reverent. I hope you enjoy them as must as I did when I first saw them.

                Please leave a comment here using the link below, or at the PTC Media forums, or at iTunes. Or drop me an email at

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