Archive for the ‘News’ Category


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 philly.com 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 http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20100623_Federal_Jury_Decides_in_Favor_of_Scouts.html?submit=Vote&oid=1&mr=1&97011914=Y&cid=8500281&pid=97011914

    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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      The Eagle Project is one of the biggest challenges to attaining the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. For many Scouts it is probably the first time they have ever had to plan, prepare, and conduct such an activity. Dozens, even hundreds, of hours will be spend on a project. Papers need to be signed, people and groups contacted, materials bought, and refreshments need to be provided. It is quite a job for a teenager to carry out. Yet they do, and communities benefit from the projects.

      There has recently been an article passed along in Scouting groups about an Eagle project that helped a group of children half a world away. Alex Griffith, a sixteen year old from Maryland, decided to help an orphanage in Russia when it came time for his project. It was the same orphanage that he lived in before he was adopted by Dwight and Jenny Griffith as a young child. To understand the enormous nature of this project here is an except from an article on the CNN website:

      Alex devoted 2 ½ years to his Krasnoyarsk Playground Project. In addition to recruiting more than 500 volunteers in five countries, he raised more than $60,000 by soliciting help from local Rotary Clubs and joining forces with other Boy Scouts for candy sales, car washes and barbeque fundraisers. Alex oversaw every aspect of production, from designing and purchasing the playground to shipping equipment overseas.

      The whole article can be seen at:
      http://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/09/10/cnnheroes.alex.griffith/?imw=Y
      Be sure to check out the project’s website for the facts and figures from this project: http://www.krasplayground.org/ (By the way, the picture shown with this article is from this website.)

      This was an awesome project. And tell the truth, another awesome aspect of this project is that CNN decided to list Alex as a CNN Hero. It is great to see a national news agency picking up a positive story of Scouting.

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        We have all heard of famous Eagle Scouts like Neil Armstrong, Steve Spielberg, and Ross Perot. But today’s Boy Scout may have a little trouble identifying with these gentlemen. After all, they are (dare I say it?) old. How about someone younger, someone 20, 30, or 40 years closer to the age of today’s Boy Scouts?

        If you are a tech geek you may remember a television show on Tech TV several years ago called The Screensavers. The show featured a young man by the name of Kevin Rose. Kevin loved modifying computers and finding those special programs to make it run better and do more. He rapidly became a popular member of the show and soon became the host.

        After The Screensavers was canceled, Kevin turned his interests to the internet. He and his friends began a little website called Digg.com which soon became an internet sensation. He is one of the driving forces of Revision 3, an internet television site, and occasionally appears on the This Week In Tech podcast with his old friends Leo Leport and Patrick Norton.

        During a recent Diggnation podcast episode Kevin admitted to Alex, his co-host on the show, that he was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout. In fact, Kevin earned the rank of Eagle Scout when he was only 16 years old, and went on to earn two Eagle palms.

        Kevin and Alex went on to discuss merit badges that Kevin had earned, goinf camping, and building campfires. It was pretty obvious that Alex was not a Scout when he was younger. These two guys are still very much like college guys even though Kevin is now 32 years old.

        Watch the Diggnation episode HERE.

        I had never thought of Kevin Rose as an Eagle Scout when I watched him on television and later on his podcast. He always came off to me as a bit of a rebel. But he is also very smart, seems to know what he wants, and he knows how to get there. Now, when I look closer at what he has accomplished in his short time as an entrepreneur, yes, I can see the traights of an Eagle Scout. But as a scoutmaster, I do wish he would watch his language a bit more and drink less beer.

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          The Sauk Centre Herald is a weekly newspaper published in the city of Sauk Centre, which is the first town to the west of Melrose, the city I call home. The Herald is one of three local newspapers that does a good job of supporting the local Scout troops and packs.

          A few years ago I recieved a phone call from one of the Herald staff asking for a picture of the troop. They were planning on doing a full page spread in the issue coming out during Scout week to recognize the area Scout units, and wanted to include pictures of the Scouts and leaders. I was quite impressed when I saw the issue a few weeks later.

          Last December I was contacted by Robin who works for the Herald. The paper was planning on doing their yearly Scout tribute again for the first week of February and needed a new group photo. Luckily, she contacted me just before the troop’s December court of honor so I was able to get a current group photo.

          When the issue arrived on the newsstand I was quick to pick up a copy. Once again, I was very impressed with the job done by the Sauk Centre Herald staff. It was two full pages featuring photographs of troops and packs from four local communities. And it was in full color. And it had other Scouting information included, like the Scout Law and the vision of Scouting.

          I told Robin about this blog and asked if it would be alright to share the two page spread with my readers. She was happy to ablige and emailed the full size pdf files to me. After taking the names of the Scouts off the pages (online youth protection, you know) and resizing the pages a bit, I have up loaded them to the troop’s website. Click a link and take a look. See if you do not agree that the Sauk Centre Herald did a great job.

          Page 1 (Boy Scouts)
          Page 2 (Cub Scouts)

          Wouldn’t it be great if all local communities did something like this for Scout Week?

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            The Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 99th anniversary on Sunday, February 8. That is a lot of advancement being earned, service projects being done, and boys learning about being physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. I still believe that Scouting is one of the best organizations that a boy and young man can belong to, and I dislike it when a political group decides to step on the principles of Scouting to further its own cause.

            That is why when I discover an article about the positive aspects of the Scouting program I like to pass it along for you to read. One of the people I follow in Twitter, DavidTCopeland, recently posted a link to an article found in the Desert Valley Times. The article is written by David Bye, who was a Scout himself as a youth. He writes his article about the good in Scouting, and how things could be in society if more people had been a Scout as a youth. He writes:

            “When Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts movements in the early 1900s, it was his aim “is to develop among boys a power of sympathizing with others, and a spirit of self-sacrifice and patriotism.”

            Baden-Powell envisioned a standard of exemplary conduct that included respect for all, without regard to class distinction. “Everything on two legs that calls itself a boy has God in him,” he wrote, “although he may — through the artificial environment of modern civilization — be the most errant little thief, liar, and filth-monger unhung. Our job is to give him a chance.”

            He was a little ahead of his time. The Fourth Scout Law was a powerful challenge to the racism and British snobbery of the time: “A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout, no matter to what country, class or creed, the other may belong.” That such a clear standard of equality and tolerance has sometimes been followed imperfectly does not negate the ideal.”

            I invite you to read the whole article at http://www.dvtnv.com/ (under dvt opinion) and leave a comment. I think that we who appreciate what the Scouting program has to offer need to do want we can to support articles like this one.

            Update: Another Twitterer, LatterDay_Scout, has posted an about an article of a cross country tour celebrating 100 years of the BSA. This looks like something that would be worthwhile checking out. Check out the article at
            http://www.freep.com/article/20090203/FEATURES01/902030306/Michiganders+to+celebrate+100+years+of+Boy+Scouting

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              Urban Base Camp

              on September 25, 2008 in News No Comments »

              Here is some big news for the Scouts in and around the Twin Cities in Minnesota. The Northern Star Council has plans to open an “urban base camp” near Fort Snelling. Here is a portion of the article found in the Star Tribune:

              The regional Boy Scout council’s plan to create an “urban base camp” at Fort Snelling promises to bring life to an empty century-old building that has cost taxpayers at least $3 million. The current owner of Fort Snelling’s old Drill Hall, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, acquired it in 2000, but its plans for a skateboard park and other uses never materialized, and the cavalry building has sat vacant and unused.

              Now the Boy Scouts of America Northern Star Council hopes to close on the building in November and to open its $7.25 million complex in October 2010, the centennial of the chapter’s founding.

              The urban location of the “Northern Star Base Camp” is unprecedented nationally. The council aims to reach out to city kids who haven’t grown up going to the woods, said John Andrews, the council’s scout executive. What’s more, Scouts could take the Hiawatha light-rail line there.

              I hope things work out well for this project. The full article can be found at http://tinyurl.com/3fsaop

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                Here are some news releases about Scouting that have been recently found online. It is great to see Scouts making a positive impact on their community, and the financial support from some major corporations.

                Eagle Scout Paul Banwart from Shakopee, Minnesota, awarded American Legion Award:

                And now, this Shakopee teen is being honored nationally this month as the top Eagle Scout by the American Legion, which also gave him a $10,000 college scholarship. “Paul Banwart represents the best in scouting, and the American Legion is proud to have selected him as its Eagle Scout of the year,” said Commander Marty Conatser, the national leader of the organization.

                http://www.startribune.com/local/south/26223804.html

                AT&T Donates $3 Million To BSA To Kick-Off 100th Anniversary

                The Boy Scouts of America announced today that AT&T has donated $3 million to kick off nationwide support for the youth organization’s 100th Anniversary Celebration. The announcement came during the opening of the BSA’s Annual National Leadership Training Conference in Nashville.

                AT&T is the first major donor to step forward with a multi-million dollar contribution and will serve as Scouting’s official communications partner during the 100th Anniversary celebration. Feb. 8, 2010 marks 100 years of Scouting in America for one of the country’s largest youth-serving organizations.

                http://www.scoutingnews.org/2008/08/05/att-donates-3-million-to-bsas-100th-anniversary-celebration/

                Top Ten Reasons Why Scouting Beats TV (from Lone Star Scouter)
                No batteries required
                Commercial-free

                Strengthens families

                Burns more calories

                Grows character, not potatoes

                Offers college scholarships

                Violence-free

                Develops leaders

                Prepares kids for real life

                #1: It’s the Ultimate Reality Show!
                TV shows like Survivor, Fear Factor and the Human Race have nothing on Scouting. Just ask a Scout.

                http://buffaloeagle.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/top-10-reasons-why-scouting-beats-tv-hands-down/

                Have a great Scouting Day!

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