Article contributed by Eric Wagstaff, district executive from Portland, OR

Empowering community members to promote their positive Scouting experiences is one of the most poignant and rewarding aspects of being a Scouting professional. We have each encountered individuals who may be unaware of the amazing opportunities available to them through Scouting. Our leaders, that is, the people who are passionate about bringing Scouting to their communities (not necessarily the people who wear uniforms or provide great program), have the energy and connections to create these relationships. When their enthusiasm is harnessed and deployed correctly, their connections lead to amazing and sustainable growth.

Scouting units are full of widely unique individuals – each with their own thoughts, patterns, hobbies, and skillsets. These leaders exist in our current units and might be among those who have little to no knowledge of Scouting as an organization. Many may be interested in starting a unit of their own. Through our direct contact with these people, we have a great opportunity to harness their skills, communication channels, network circles, and time to grow Scouting in our respective service areas. We must be brave enough to ask and avoid the habit of going to the same one or two people within a unit when asking for help.

Sparking a casual conversation and encouraging these individuals to envision what they believe the ideal Scouting experience can be is the first step toward empowering them to become more invested in the growth of our programs. Once they present their vision and ideas, the diligent professional can guide the volunteer closer to full commitment and program buy-in. Through the process of identifying their ideal Scouting experience, some of their passions, skillsets, and community connections will be apparent, and you can begin to provide them with information about how you can help them make their ideal Scouting experience come to life in their community.

At the conclusion of this conversation, you will know whether an individual is excited about spreading the word of Scouting to their local spheres of influence and to families who may be interested in joining the adventure; they are excited to participate in their ideal program and see it come to life!

The Scouting program has a structure that allows for these champion parents, grandparents, and others to bring Scouting to their communities in unique ways. Using our knowledge and expertise to connect with and empower these individuals to become excited about Scouting is extremely powerful. When someone is invested in radiating a distinctive delivery of the Scouting program that reflects their community’s needs, we should be there to identify these people and help facilitate.

Scouting Wire would like to thank Eric for contributing this article.

Article submitted by Harold C. Young Jr., Southern Region Team Lead

“How can I use my membership committee effectively?”

“My membership committee is too small!”

“Where can I plug them in?”

We’ve heard your questions and comments, and we’re here to help.

Membership committees are designed to be a support system for the district. With recruiting season fast approaching, we would like to provide unit-serving executives with a few helpful tools that can make fall recruitment a little less stressful by engaging your membership committees.

  1. Communication
    • Develop a clear plan for each member and their responsibilities.
    • Keep in constant contact with your membership committees’ members – make phone calls to your committee members.
    • Share the Council Membership Plan.
  2. Utilize your membership committees to help with new unit development
    • Build a team whose sole purpose is to develop new unit prospects.
    • Make sure this team is diverse and reflects your area of service.
    • Take them on sales calls.
  3. Provide your membership committees with short term projects
    • Flyer distribution
    • Join Scouting sign-up nights
    • Applications collection center
    • School Scout talks
  4. Committee members as resources
    • Resources to community involvement
    • Become a part of the local PTA/PTO
    • Promotors of the Scouting program

The above items are just a few ways in which we can engage members of our membership committees. We have provided two links below with helpful information and additional resources on how to utilize those volunteers that serve on your membership committees.

References: Membership Committee Guide and Unit Performance Guide

Scouting Wire would like to thank Harold for submitting this story.

Article contributed by Colin Lemon, Director of Exploring – Western and Southern Regions

Exploring is the career education program of the Boy Scouts of America, and it’s celebrating its 70th anniversary this year! What does Exploring look like in your service area? How can Exploring help you reach your goals and impact as many young men and women as possible? Here are four things you can do to grow your Exploring program and make it a vibrant and exciting element of your district or council:

1.Get to Know Your Exploring Advisors

This is one of the most critical keys to success in any program, including Exploring. If you have Exploring already in your district, visit your posts and clubs and see what they are all about. Bring an interesting resource from your council or www.exploring.org that they might not know about. Offer your support in any way you can. Explorers are just like Scouts and Venturers; they want to feel supported and be part of the council family. Many times, when we see a decline in Exploring units, it can be tied to a lack of service on our part. Let’s do everything we can to make it known that we (you, council, national Exploring team, etc.) are here to support them and keep their program alive and kicking!

2.Think Outside the Box!

Exploring aims to give young men and women a chance to pursue any career they choose. Nationally, over 78,000 career interest surveys were conducted in 2018 and data for over 500,000 students is analyzed weekly. That data consistently shows that the number one career interests are in healthcare. Over 26% of the 78,000+ surveys collected show that students want to explore healthcare while only 6% showed an interest in law enforcement and fire/EMS careers. Look at your Exploring units. Do you have any healthcare posts or clubs? Surgeon and registered nurse are the top two careers being requested by youth, and veterinarian is high on the list as well. Many times, Exploring units at hospitals will have 50+ active Explorers! Stop by a veterinary clinic and let them know that you have an awesome program to help them get students involved in their field. Visit your local community college and start healthcare units there. Community colleges have great resources to teach nursing, dental assisting, veterinary techs, surgical techs, radiology, patient care, and much more!

3.It’s About More Than Careers

We often focus on the career aspect of Exploring, which is a major element, but we forget that Exploring has five areas of emphasis: career opportunities, character development, life skills, leadership experience, and citizenship. If your Exploring units focus on careers but do not take advantage of our character and life skills curriculum in the online Activity Library, they are truly missing out on what Exploring is meant to be! Leadership is an important area of emphasis and can be encouraged by starting a district or council Exploring Officers Association. This is a perfect way to give your Explorers a voice in the Exploring program. The districts and councils with Exploring Officers Associations are usually the districts and councils with the healthiest Exploring programs.

4.Don’t Forget the Younger Students!

Several years ago, Exploring introduced a new concept in welcoming young men and women of middle school age (10-14) to enjoy the benefits of the program. Most Exploring posts nationwide do not have an Exploring club associated. That’s like having most of our troops without packs to feed them! If you want to grow Exploring, clubs are essential. Middle schools are looking for programs that will help them expose students to career opportunities and we have exactly what they need. We even have a career and character curriculum designed by educators, just for Exploring clubs to use as part of their program.

The above tactics, while highly impactful, are just a few of the many ways to strengthen and grow the Exploring program in your district or council. Exploring impacts membership, can bring in new funding and new volunteers, satisfies a need that ALL youth have, and can build new and interesting relationships with community leaders.

Exploring is an awesome program but can only grow if we do our absolute best to serve our units, provide a complete and diverse program, and, most importantly, think outside the box. If you need the resources mentioned in this article plus a whole lot more, visit www.exploring.org and scroll to the bottom of the page where our three resource boxes can be found. If you have questions about implementing these ideas in your district or council, drop me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or a call at (972) 336-1882. I’d love to help you grow Exploring!

Scouting Wire would like to thank Colin for contributing this article.

Article contributed by Karrie Baxter, Full Family Executive of the Crossroads of America Council

As Scouting professionals, we must always meet our volunteers where they are – which sometimes means meeting online! Using Facebook Live as a meeting and promotion tool for open house and join event training will allow your volunteers to engage with you and your council no matter where or how busy they are.

Tips for Success

To make this style of training a success, you must build momentum and excitement through well planned promotion. Promote your live event through flyers, emails, and social media posts. Ask your volunteers and colleagues to share these promotions. Promotion doesn’t stop after the event – make sure people who missed the live event have the opportunity to watch the video by continuing to promote it through all channels of communication. Your live event should feature volunteers, professionals, and Scouts. Keep it exciting, short, and ask your audience to engage through comments.

Click here to see an example of an open house and join event Facebook Live training from Crossroads of America Council. See below for examples of graphics Crossroads of America Council used for its promotions.

Facebook Post

Facebook Post

Facebook Post

Lion/Tiger Webinar Flyer

Facebook Post

Pre-Event Facebook Live Flyer

Post Event Facebook Live Flyer

Facebook Cover Photo

Facebook Post

Scouting Wire would like to thank Karrie for contributing this story.

Article contributed by Wendy Shaw, National Director of Membership Growth, and Patrick Sterrett, National Director of Field Service.

The Boy Scouts of America has had a tremendous amount of momentum in the short period of time that girls have been welcomed to join Scouts BSA troops. In just six months, thanks to your efforts, more than 21,000 girls have joined over 2,600 Scouts BSA troops. Never in the history of the BSA have that many new troops been formed in such a short period of time. We will continue working closely with all of our BSA councils to help ensure that Scouts BSA is available to girls in their communities.

To continue that momentum, we want to invite you to join us in our aspirational goal to have a Scouts BSA girl troop in every traditional district in the country! 

We also want to congratulate the Polaris District from San Jose, CA, from the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council for having 12 girl troops serving 151 girls. Not only is that the largest number of Scouts BSA girl troops in any district in the country, but they also have exceeded the national average size of a girl troop. Good job!

If you’d like a copy of the most recent list of girl troops by district, shoot us a note, along with your 2019 aspirational goal for your own district.

Wendy: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Patrick: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Scouting Wire would like to thank Wendy and Patrick for contributing this content.

Updated with information for 2020 nominations.

Some have names you know: Robert Baden-Powell, Charles Lindbergh, Hank Aaron.

Others are Scouters whose names are less universally known but whose impact on Scouting has been just as transformative.

Their common bond: the Silver Buffalo Award — the Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor for adult volunteers. It has been presented since 1926 for devoted service to Scouting on a national level. (It’s one of three members of the Silver family, joined by the Silver Beaver for council-level service and the Silver Antelope for regional-level service.)

If you know anyone who fits this impressive mold, now is the time to nominate them for the 2020 Silver Buffalo Award.

Nomination forms with no more than two recommendation letters must be submitted together electronically with the Silver Buffalo nomination form to the National Service Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., before the deadline of August 31, 2019

If you wish to include a photo of the nominee with the form, please attach it to your email. (head and shoulders shot only, not larger than 4″x 6″).

When submitting the nomination form, please include as much correct and relevant information about the nominee as possible. Be sure the nominee’s name is spelled correctly, and highlight all contributions to youth inside and outside of Scouting. Additional endorsement letters from specific areas may be included, provided they feature detailed explanations of the nominee’s contributions, rather than generalities about the nominee.

(Hat tip to Scouting magazine’s Bryan on Scouting blog for the intro to this story. To read Bryan’s most recent article about the 2019 Silver Buffalo Award recipients, check it out here.)

Scouting family, we have reached a historic milestone. 2019 is brimming with opportunity, and one of the greatest moments yet is arriving today… along with 45,000 Scouts and leaders from around the world.

The World Scout Jamboree is upon us, and it’s set to be the largest in the history of Scouting. Across our nation and around the world, Scouts, Scouters and volunteers have been preparing for the BSA to jointly host the 24th World Scout Jamboree with Scouts Canada and Asociación de Scouts de México at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Attendees are ready to experience outdoor adventure, undergo leadership training and develop international friendships as they explore what it means to be a global citizen.

This is the first time the U.S. has hosted in 50 years and I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunities this event offers to our youth. This world jamboree is an experience unlike any other. Scouts meet others from all around the globe without ever leaving their camp site. They experience hallmark events of a world jamboree including the Global Development Village and World Point, learning spaces where they can explore other cultures and nations. They get to trade patches and neckerchiefs, learn about conservation and experience incredible outdoor activities in one of the most beautiful places in our country. Among many other adventure options, the Summit offers one of the longest zip line courses in North America, acres of protected wildlife for hiking and mountain biking, and sports facilities ranging from a BMX facility and skate park to a water obstacle course. It is a gem and it’s an honor to be able to share it with so many visitors.

When we built the Summit, this was the vision for what that beautiful slice of land could become: a place for Scouts to experience the outdoors and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities; a place for leaders to train and grow; a place to build friendships that last a lifetime. This year, we’ll see that purpose fulfilled at a global level.

To those who are fortunate enough to attend the 24th World Scout Jamboree, I hope you choose to engage in this program with gusto. Serve, explore, try new things, meet everyone you can. If you aren’t attending this year, I hope you will follow along on social media and our various Scouting publications to soak up some of the experience virtually. And I also would encourage you to look for opportunities to come to another program at the Summit or mark your calendar for the World Scout Jamboree in 2023 in Saemangeum, South Korea. Whatever you do, make the most of right now. This is a special time.

Yours in Scouting,

Mike

Read howAlma Castaneda, Scouter and mom from the Yucca Council, went from Scouting skeptic to Committee Chair for her son’s pack, thanks to inclusivity and family fun in this ‘Families Like Mine’ story. 

Scouting Wire: What Scouting programs are you connected to?

Alma: Our family is active in Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA in the Yucca Council, Wapaha District in El Paso, Texas. My husband, Rick, is Cubmaster for the pack, and, as for myself, I am the Committee Chair for the pack. Our oldest son, Alex, is a brand-new member of a Scouts BSA troop. Our youngest son, Tony, is a Bear on his way to becoming a Webelos Scout this summer.

In fact, we’ve been involved in Scouting for three and a half years now. It all started back in 2015.

SW: How did you first get involved in Scouting?

Alma: We first got involved in Scouting when our son, Alex, a second grader at that time, came home with a flyer and information he had received from a presentation during P.E. at his school. The flyer stated that there was going to be a parent meeting to get information about Scouting and how to register our son. My son begged us to go, and, while we were hesitant at first, we went. Mr. Arenas from Unidos Prosperamos, gave us a brief presentation, and we figured it wouldn’t hurt to go to a pack meeting to see how it goes.

To be quite honest, we thought our son was only going to be interested for a few meetings then get bored with it and not want to return. To our surprise, both he and we as parents enjoyed the Scouting experience. We decided to stay. Our younger son enjoyed the experience, as well, even though he was not quite at the age to fully participate. A short time later, my husband became a den leader.

A few months later, Alex, was diagnosed with having Autism. We thought that this might be the end of Scouting, but once we spoke to leadership, they assured us that Alex was welcome. We believe we found a great support from Scouting.

SW: What has been your favorite Scouting experience?

Alma: Our favorite part of the Scouting experience is how family oriented it is. We became part of something very special. We consider the pack our second family.

SW: What is the most important thing about Scouting that you think people should know?

Alma: One of the most important things I believe people should know about Scouting is how welcoming packs are to Scouts with special needs. They open their door, arms, and hearts to make sure these Scouts enjoy their Scouting experience to the fullest.

Special thanks to Scouter, Alma Castaneda of the Yucca Council for sharing her family’s story. 


The Scouting Wire ‘Families Like Mine’ series features unique stories of Scouting families and their experiences. Do you know someone who has a great story to share about the positive impact Scouting has had on their family? Share it with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and it could be featured in a future edition of the ‘Families Like Mine’ series!

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