Archive for the ‘Scouting News’ Category

Historical merit badges help Boy Scouts celebrate Scouting’s past


A merit badge called Computers would sound just a crazy to a 1910 Boy Scout as a merit badge called Tracking sounds to Scouts today. That’s because the BSA’s list of available merit badges has evolved through the years as the interests of boys have changed.

In honor of the BSA’s 100th Anniversary, though, today’s generation of Scouts will get the unique opportunity to experience some of the activities their predecessors enjoyed. That’s possible thanks to the BSA’s new Historical Merit Badge Program, a set of four discontinued merit badges that today’s Scouts can earn.

Boys can earn any or all of these merit badges:


  • First offered in 1910 and discontinued in 1992.
  • Sample requirements: build a simple buzzer or blinker capable of sending Morse code messages, and send a message of at least 35 words; send and receive messages using semaphore flags at a rate of at least 30 letters per minute.


  • First offered in 1911 (as Stalker merit badge) and discontinued in 1952.
  • Sample requirements: recognize the tracks of 10 different animals; give evidence to show you have tracked at least two different kinds of birds or animals, documenting their speed and direction.


  • First offered in 1911 and discontinued in 1952.
  • Sample requirements: be able to guide people to important places within a three-mile radius of your home; submit a scale map of your community.


  • First offered in 1911 and discontinued in 1952.
  • Sample requirements: demonstrate the use of tools, such as a miter and bevel; build a simple piece of furniture for use at home.

Sounds like a blast, right? But there’s one catch: Boys must start and finish all requirements within the year 2010. So if your guys built furniture for their patrol kitchen at last year’s summer camp, they can’t use that product for the Carpentry merit badge. And don’t delay—after Dec. 31, 2010, these merit badges will go back on the “retired” list.

If this is a program you want to bring to your troop, the BSA suggests you track down merit badge counselors soon. For Carpentry, contact a local cabinet-making business. A nearby Homeland Security office could help you with Pathfinding. Signaling would benefit from the help of a local amateur ham radio group. And for Tracking, try your state’s department of natural resources. Those are merely suggestions. Be creative!

For more information, look for a special Web site and a printed guide by the end of the month. That’s where you’ll find the complete requirements for each patch. The BSA also plans to deliver a guide that will help councils and districts host a historical camporee or similar event to offer these merit badges.

The Historical Merit Badge Program gives you the perfect chance to organize exciting activities for your Scouts, while connecting them with the BSA’s rich past. It’s another example of the BSA’s devotion to Celebrating the Adventure, Continuing the Journey.


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If you saw the Boy Scouts of America float in the Rose Parade this year, you know one thing: It was a work of art. And like any masterpiece, it shouldn’t end up in a trash pile.

Fortunately, after being paraded in front of the world and winning the award for “Best Depiction of Life in the USA: Past, Present, or Future,” at least parts of it will be displayed for others to enjoy.

The float’s handmade merit badge medallions, pictured above, were divided between the three councils who supplied volunteers: the Orange County, Los Angeles Area, and San Gabriel Valley councils.  The “Celebrating the Adventure, Continuing the Journey” sign attached to the front of it went to Orange County Council for use in events throughout 2010. And participating boys also received special Troop 2010 bolo ties and patches.

Some of the guys even took home live flowers as temporary keepsakes representative of a lifelong memory.

As for the remainder of the float—mainly structural pieces—its designers, Phoenix Decorating Company, will recycle and reuse what they can.

True to BSA principles, the float maximized its impact on an attentive New Year’s Day audience and minimized its impact on the environment. 

Thanks to Lara Fisher of the Orange County Council for the information

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Mike Wisdom

Some of you may already know that Mike Wisdom passed away today, January 8, 2010, about 1:00 pm from a heart attack as a result of the cancer treatment he had started undergoing last Saturday.  He was a wonderful husband, father and friend and will be greatly missed.

Memorial services will be held on Sunday, January 10, 2010, at 2:30 pm, at the Cypress Fairbanks Funeral Home, 9926 Jones Road, Houston, TX  77065.

Obituary and arrangement information can be viewed at www.cyfairfunerals.com .

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to:

Friends of Texas Sea Scouting
1915 Forest Garden Drive
Kingwood, TX  77345

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This is a great article that was run in the December 6th, 2009 edition of the Houston Chronicle.  Thanks go out to Michelle, who is the proud mom of one of our Eagles, Casey, for finding this gem.

Learning Life’s Lessons On Path To Eagle Scout by Chase Untermeyer

One of Houston’s leading citizens, bearing a name found on many a cherished local institution, once told me, “I’d rather my son became an Eagle Scout than win the Heisman Trophy.”

Though sometimes people may chide a clean-living man by calling him “an Eagle Scout,” my friend’s sincere respect for those who actually reached the highest rank of Boy Scouting is more typical. There is special distinction in the honor that lasts a lifetime, not just a young man’s teenage years.

One reason is the phenomenal roster of prominent American men who were Eagle Scouts. The list includes the late President Gerald Ford, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Commerce Secretary and former Washington state governor Gary Locke, Gov. Rick Perry, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, five serving U.S. senators, and astronauts Neil Armstrong, James Lovell, and Guy Bluford.

Eagles comprise one of every eight students at the Naval and Air Force academies and one out of every five cadets at West Point. (The academies add together Eagles and those who received the Gold Award, the highest Girl Scout rank, so these numbers are approximations.)

And the list goes on through every community in the country. For example, when 50 years ago this month I received the Eagle Scout award, so did Houston land developer and tort reform leader Richard W. Weekley.

The principal reason it’s a distinction to become an Eagle Scout is because it requires a young man to set a significant goal for himself; make out a plan to achieve it; and then execute that plan, earning 21 merit badges and performing a service project along the way. Few adults, and even fewer teenage males, ever accomplish as much. It shows a future employer or dean of admissions or voter that the man before them is a doer, qualitatively ahead of those who may have been successful in school or sports but who lacked a very special life credit.

On those occasions when I’ve spoken at a court of honor, the ceremony at which Eagle Scout awards are presented, I’ve of course praised the recipients for having the dream and the drive to get where they are. But I’ve chiefly aimed my remarks at the other Scouts present, telling them that they can become Eagles, too, if they set for themselves the same worthy target and work hard to reach it.

The phenomenon that’s occurred after every one of these courts of honor, during the cookie-and-punch reception, is that several fathers have come up to me and said something like, “I’m sorry I never made Eagle; I only got as far as Star” or that they regretted dropping out of scouting altogether.

Why would these grown men, many with successful careers and families, make such a confession to a stranger? I believe it was because they felt they had missed out on something truly important in their lives, something they could have achieved with the right motivation and effort.

I am grateful to my parents for encouraging me — though at times it seemed like nagging — to strive to become an Eagle Scout. Once I became my own motivator, they supported me in every way. There are few things more valuable that a parent can do for a son. Compared with this, all desirable ends — from making the varsity to making the bed — pale in life-long importance.

Looking back, I viewed becoming an Eagle Scout as my job, akin to going to school. And when that job was completed, I moved on to other things. (I also never again went camping voluntarily. This classic Scout pleasure was something I gladly let others enjoy.) Whatever task I faced, the skills brought to bear in “making Eagle” — goal-setting, plan-making and relentless execution — were employed again and again.

In sum, the young man who becomes an Eagle Scout sets himself apart from the crowd of his contemporaries. He is already well on his way to adulthood, with all its challenges and all its potential rewards.

Untermeyer, now a Houston businessman, is a former Texas state legislator and federal official.

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After some speculation about the new 12th Edition handbook and its various versions, a helpful comment has cleared up the questions.

Nathan, a BSA national scout shop employee, who has seen the “shrink wrapped” books, left a comment on the original Scouting News post. Here is the skinny:

The 12th Edition of the Boy Scout Handbook will be released on August 1. There are five different versions of the handbook that will be available. The first two types are the spiral and perfect/glue bound books. The third is a mini handbook, which primarily contains all of the rank requirements. The fourth is a library edition, which is a larger, hard bound/hard cover version of the book. The last version is a deluxe set. I am not that aware of what the deluxe set is, only that it has something to do with all of the past Boy Scout Handbooks. 

I should have known originally that there would be a glue bound and spiral version. The mini handbook is awesome for Scouts working requirements, though I wouldn’t consider that a version of the “handbook”, unless it is different than what I am thinking. The library and deluxe versions make sense with the 100th anniversary. I am surprised that there is not an official Spanish version being pushed out.

Thanks Nathan for clearing up the speculation!

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The Boy Scouts of America is considering introducing a Boy Scout shirt made by Under Armour.  Boy Scouts could wear the shirt while doing activities such as service projects, hiking, camping, and other troop activities.  

This shirt is made of fabric similar to other Under Armour athletic wear.


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Arthur R. Eldred received the very first Eagle Scout badge on Labor Day, 1912. Twenty-three Scouts received the Eagle merit badge award in 1912. Any first-class Scout qualifying for 21 merit badges were entitled to wear the highest Scout Merit Badge, the Eagle. Back in 1912 the Eagle Award was called a merit badge. 


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