Monday, 11 May 2020 13:00

On My Way!

Story by Kendall Jackson, Life Scout (future Eagle) and Venturing Crew President from Pathway to Adventure Council
Schererville, Indiana

Kendall, a Scout in Troop 53G.

Just like every other youth, I’m not attending school right now. For me, online learning is just a change in routine; however, for some, not going to school means losing one or two meals a day. Understanding there is a need, I currently volunteer to shop, along with other Scouting families, to stock my church’s food pantry (while maintaining all safety recommendations from the CDC). This ensures that youth in hard-to-serve areas do not have to miss any meals.

As a Scout, I want to be of service to others – lending a helping hand. Doing my part for my community keeps me connected to the world, while maintaining a safe distance. Right now, Scouting and my church help me feel connected, happy, and safe.

Kendall and her older brother, Kenny.

When my brother, Kenny, was a Scout, my mother was his Scoutmaster. Kenny is nine years older than me, and, at a young age, I was consistently described as his “shadow.” If he was in the dirt, I was in the dirt. If he was doing community service, I was by his side. Since I was always at meetings and outings, mom helped me learn how to be a Scout, too. Just as I learned the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes and the Twenty-Third Psalm for church, I learned the Scout Oath and Law.

After years of hard work, meetings, and camping trips, Kenny earned his Eagle in 2011. At his court of honor, I stood in front of the audience as a proud little sister – looking up at my giant brother, holding my Dad’s hand, seeing the pride in my Grandma’s eyes and thinking, we did it! Right then, I knew I really wanted to be an Eagle Scout. But how could that even be possible for me?

February 1, 2019, everything changed. First thing that morning, Mom and I drove to the Pathway to Adventure Council office. I held the paperwork for the new Scouts BSA Troop 53G so tightly in my hand, I almost smeared the ink. My mom was quiet as we walked in. As I submitted the paperwork, she started wiping her eyes. I didn’t understand at that moment why she was so emotional. I mean I was excited, but why the tears?

Kendall and fellow Scouts.

Now, I get it. I was no longer the “little sister.” I could now be a Scout! She knew I now had the same opportunities in Scouting as my brother did. I could learn to solve problems and work to come up with my own answers. She could see Scouting as a part of my future, and I could now experience all Scouting had offered my brother and so many other young men she had helped to guide during her 21 years of being a Scoutmaster – Discipline, Knowledge, Responsibility, and Opportunity.

Like many girls new to Scouts BSA, I am working to be among the first female Eagle Scouts. I’m 16 now, and nothing is going to get in my way –– not even social distancing requirements during a pandemic! I’m using video conferencing to work with my merit badge counselors and taking this extra time to plan my Eagle project. Our troops and crew also meet once a week through video conferencing. And, as President of Venturing Crew 53 and Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 53G, I will continue to help others reach their goals, as well.

I’m truly blessed because I can say Scouting has always been a part of my life. I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who knows how important Scouting can be for all youth, and I am so proud to call my mom one of them. She has not only been a volunteer for over 20 years, but she works every day at the Pathway to Adventure Council to help youth who are underserved to join Scouting, too. It has now been over a year since I became a founding member of Troop 53G and started my own path to Eagle. I am on my way!

Roger Mosby Address from Boy Scouts of America on Vimeo.

Today I would like to share some thoughts with you regarding the challenges that all of us are facing in these trying times and how the Scouting community is coping with the many challenges of social distancing, sheltering in place, and working and schooling from home.

These are challenging times, but it is important to recognize that these are the moments we prepare for. And this is when the Scouting family shines.

During some of our country’s most challenging hours, our Scouting movement has shouldered the burden when it was too heavy for many communities to bear.

As in previous crises, Scouts have stepped up to meet the challenge, and that continues today.

In just a few weeks, Scouts have mobilized countless initiatives to support communities hit hardest by COVID-19. This includes the following efforts:

  • Used 3-D printers to make visors, face shields and ear savers
  • Facilitated the donation of thousands of neckerchiefs to offset shortages of face coverings
  • Collected food to replenish food pantries
  • Lifted the spirits of those suffering loneliness
  • Honored those that fell victim to this pandemic

Scouts are always united in their commitment to help other people.

That is precisely why it is important that Scouting continues during these uncertain times.

Since mid-March, Cub Scouts have worked on or completed more than 115,000 Adventures, and Scouts have worked on or completed nearly 73,000 merit badges – all from the safety of their home.

Thanks to the selfless dedication of our volunteers, councils and staff – Scouts continue to meet, learn, and grow. Online platforms have taken the place of community halls, with all the same Youth Protection policies still in place, and I’m thrilled to know that the camaraderie and learning continue – thanks to you.  Our Scouts, our organization and our movement are grateful that you have stepped up and provided powerful Scouting lessons during this time of uncertainty. I know I speak for many of us when I say we prefer the outdoors to the digital world, but you have navigated the challenge with inspiring fortitude.

And that strength is something we all need at times like these. The financial impact of this crisis has dealt a devastating blow to our communities, and these challenges are felt within our national organization and local councils – the very people you count on to help continue Scouting. Tuesday, May 5th is special edition of Giving Tuesday, and I hope you will take the opportunity to support your councils in whatever way possible so that they can come through this challenging time with the resources we need to continue bringing Scouting to children in our communities. You can find some social media images you can use to promote Giving Tuesday here: Giving Tuesday assets

Now more than ever, social distancing protects us, but Scouting connects us.

And that is why we are excited to invite ALL American families to join us in a National Camp-In on May 2nd – a nationwide day of virtual adventures, skill-building, service, and of course, camping, that we hope will provide a respite of fun for families. I encourage you to attend, and I ask that you also invite neighbors and friends to do the same because we all know that everybody can benefit. Find all of the latest details about the event on the National Camp-In homepage: www.scouting.org/campin.

Families can count on the Boy Scouts of America to help make the most of the time we have together, but we are also the organization that will stand shoulder to shoulder with others in times of need.

For years, Scouting for Food has been at the heart of how we give back. Since collecting food is not feasible right now because of the reality of the pandemic, we are instead dedicating time during our National Camp-In for a National Good Turn to raise money through a virtual 5K that will help Feeding America replenish food banks nationwide as they face unprecedented demands in the fight against hunger and food insecurity.  This is our national call to action.

After all, a Scout is helpful.

Our Scouts, volunteers, employees, and families prove that time and time again.

Thank you again for all that you are doing for your communities and especially Scouting.

-Roger

The Chartered Organization Representative, the Chaplain, and the Chaplain’s Aide are known in their units as the “Faithful 3.” Supporting the work of the Faithful 3 can be one method unit-serving executives can use to further strengthen relationships with units.

As you work with the Chartered Organization Representative, Chaplain, and Chaplain’s Aide for your local units, make sure they are aware of the online Chaplain Training program that was introduced in 2018 and launched through the Members’ BSA Learn Center.

This training program fulfills the position-specific training requirements for any Chaplain role across all Scouting programs. Since its introduction, thousands of adults have completed the course.

The online Chaplain Training is divided into three modules.

  • The first module, “Chaplain Roles & Responsibilities,” provides an understanding of the various opportunities and identifies the duties of both the Unit Chaplain and the Chaplain’s Aide.
  • The second module, “Religious Emblems & Awards,” introduces participants to the religious emblems, badges, patches and awards available in Scouting.
  • The third module, “Interfaith Considerations,” helps participants become aware of the various unit worship opportunities.

The course was developed by members of the National Religious Relationships Committee alongside representatives of many different faith groups. The entire training can be completed in less than an hour.

This training supports the vital role of Chaplain, Chaplain’s Aide, and the Charter Organization Representative as they work hand-in-hand to provide extraordinary faithful service to their Scouters.

Chaplains:

  • Remind Scouters that they have a Duty to God.
  • Serve as mentors for the youth Chaplain’s Aide position.
  • Encourage their units to provide appropriate Interfaith worship experiences on campouts and outings.
  • Advocate participation in the Religious Emblems Programs.

Many Scouting units charter to places of worship; however, others charter to civic organizations, educational facilities, and other businesses where there is no direct faith or spiritual aspect to the Scouting partnership. Together with a Chartered Organization Representative and a Chaplain’s Aide, a trained Chaplain can make an impactful difference in the program of the units you serve.

Follow-up with your units to inquire if they have a “Faithful 3,” and make sure to inform them about the online Chaplain Training available in the BSA Learn Center.

Scouting U will be holding the newly developed FUNDRAISING ESSENTIALS COURSE December 2 – 5, 2020, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.

This course is designed for 3- to 5-year BSA professionals who aspire to strengthen their development skills. It is also an excellent opportunity for professionals who are considering the fundraising/development track as they advance their career.

The course will also qualify for 16 hours of continuing education credit toward earning the Certified Fundraising Executive credential.

Fundraising Essentials will include high-level training in all facets of a council’s annual development plan as well as long term donor cultivation.

Participants will arrive on Wednesday, December 2nd and depart on the morning of Saturday, December 5th. Guests will be housed at the newly constructed Yamagata Lodge with instruction being presented in the adjacent Marriott Leadership Center.

In addition, participants will be able to participate in several Summit program opportunities while on site.

Cost for this event including course fee, meals, lodging and recreation programs is $750.00. For more information, please contact Courtney Chiv at 972-580-2337 and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Article submitted by Deanna Heisler, Norwela Council-Caddo District Director

Some Unit Serving Executives may be unfamiliar with the value of Exploring in driving growth for their council; however, by making use of available resources and utilizing key tactics, Unit Serving Executives can make Exploring an integral part of a successful growth strategy. 

So, what is Exploring? It is a mentorship opportunity for youth looking to discover their future. It is made possible by direct relationships in the community with businesses, departments, and municipalities. Exploring serves two different age groups, both coed. Exploring clubs serve middle schoolers, aged 10 – 14, in sixth through eighth grades. Exploring posts serve older youth 14 – 20 years old. The program model is the same for both age groups – hands-on and interactive character and career activities are facilitated by trained business leaders in your local community.

Pro tip: What major departments in your town would benefit from a youth program? Do any of these experience high turnover of employees? Who has adequate facilities ready for instruction of youth in an Exploring program? You would be surprised just how many you already know!

The Benefits of Exploring

You may be asking yourself, “Why is Exploring so beneficial to a council and a district?”

Exploring can: 

  • Impact the council JTE score
  • Boost council and district membership
  • Create community service opportunities
  • Build relationships and networking potential for new charter partners otherwise not involved in Scouting
  • Retain members by offering new and exciting challenges
  • Provide critical information to councils seeking the long term effects of the Scouting program

Many Scouters may be organizing Exploring posts and clubs for the very first time. If you’re one of these new Exploring leaders, don’t let planning a new program overwhelm you. There are multiple resources at your fingertips! Being familiar with the Exploring.org website makes you a fantastic resource to your units for information and quick answers on topics such as:

  • Planning hands-on activities, guest speakers, and field trips
  • Who to include in the planning process
  • Building an Exploring program calendar
  • Where to recruit

Timeline model for Exploring Success (full year):

First Quarter- Identify available opportunities (i.e. youth programs already in the area who would be a great partner, charter partners)

Second Quarter- Conduct Surveys at schools and schedule meetings with key individuals at departments/organizations

Third Quarter-Promote new clubs/posts to schools. Schedule/plan/complete open houses

Fourth Quarter- Train commissioners and establish an Exploring Officers Association if you don’t already have one. Host a super activity and help new units through the recharter process.

** Host quarterly Exploring meetings in addition to the above

Resources for Growing Exploring

With 12 different career fields and a multitude of subcategories, the Exploring program offers a repeatable model for standing up units in these different fields. Finding the right opportunities comes down to knowing the area and having the right tools to promote Exploring in your community. 

Marketing & Membership Hub for Exploring – Now, you can easily navigate to the most effective sales and recruitment tools to grow your Exploring programs.

Career-field-specific resources and PSA videos – The BSA Brand Center is your go-to source for a host of career-field-specific promotional resources, including videos. Did you know your local television stations will run public service announcements (PSAs) at no cost? You can find multiple PSAs in the Brand Center that you download and provide to your local TV station. Make the ask and have them to play these clips as often as possible through a certain date. 

Club anthem video and Career Interest Survey video – The BSA marketing team has been working hard to bring you even more testimonial assets to wow future Explorers and advisors. Check out the videos featuring Exploring clubs and the Career Interest Survey (CIS). The Career Interest Survey is a great tool for high school counselors, as well. It helps provide an opportunity to better serve their students as well as give you another tool to bring a potential charter partner to show the need from the youth in the community.

You can find many additional resources at Exploring.org and in the Exploring section of the BSA Brand Center

Scouting Wire would like to thank Deanna for submitting this article.

Congratulations to Ralph Voelker, who will serve as Scout executive of the Bay-Lakes Council in Appleton, Wisconsin, effective May 16, 2020.

Ralph began his Scouting career as an associate district executive at the Denver Area Council in Denver, Colorado. He moved on to become the senior district executive m/p and later camping director at the council. He was promoted to director of camping and then field director at the Cascade Pacific Council in Portland, Oregon, and then in 2003, was selected to serve as Scout executive of the Redwood Empire Council in Santa Rosa, California. From there, he joined the team at the Center for Professional Development as a professional development specialist, and in 2014, was selected to serve as Scout executive of the Pacific Harbors Council in Tacoma, Washington.

Ralph is an Eagle Scout who enjoys writing Scouting stories and voice acting.

Ralph and his wife, Jill, have no children, but are owned by a Bernese Mountain Dog named Ruby Sue.

Please join me in congratulating Ralph as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Bay-Lakes Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

In our “A Scout is Reverent” series, Scouting Wire takes a look at how Scouting families across the country observe a variety of religious holidays of their own faith and support fellow unit members in theirs. Join us as Kavneet Singh, Chief Resource and Advocacy Officer of the American Sikh Council, shares a unique perspective on the importance of Guru Nanak Sahibji’s Parkash Purab, Khalsa Saajna Divas and Vaisakhi!

For those who may not be familiar with Guru Nanak Sahibji’s Parkash Purab, Khalsa Saajna Divas and Vaisakhi, can you please tell us a little about the holiday?

It is the most important celebration because it is the day when our Guru Nanak Sahib came (was born) to this world to show us how to get imbued in the universal love and joy of the entire human race.

On this auspicious day, Guru’s Khalsa (fraternity of sovereign equals) were recognized and projected to the world. People were in awe and wonder to see the ultimate form of saint-warriors who changed the destiny of the oppressed and the downtrodden who were slaves of the brahmins for centuries in South Asia.

Furthermore, the cultural harvest festival celebrated in Punjab happens to be “Vaisakhi” which also falls on the same day! Spring brings blossom in the environment, and so does the harvesting of crops in Punjab, which brings bountiful abundance.

It is not any accident or a coincidence that the birth of the founder of the Sikh religion and the formation of the Khalsa are on the same day. It is the deliberate, well-thought foresight of the glorious enlightener to charge us with the spirit of the truly sovereign through his divine revelations, so we remember both.

You can read more about Day of ‘1 Vasakh 552 Nanakshahi’ (April 14) according to the Mool Nanakshahi (Sikh) Calendar here.

Do you know Scouts who have Scouting traditions connected to this holiday, and, if so, can you please tell us about that?

Sikh American Scouts typically celebrate this religious holiday by singing Gurbani (verses from the Guru Granth Sahib – the Sikh Scripture), dressing up colorfully, engaging in Gatka (Sikh martial art), and distributing delicious food to all (langar).

For Scout units that may have a member of Sikh faith, what are some considerations and ways these Scout units can show support for their fellow Scouts who observe this holiday?

Non-Sikh Scouts and the Scout units can help support the Sikh American Scout by being part of the festivities. If some decide to support by wearing a turban to show solidarity, that would be great. The Sikh turban is a commandment by our Gurus, and it is a crown, a symbol of honor, dignity, freedom, justice, and sovereignty. 

Special thanks to Kavneet Singh, Chief Resource and Advocacy Officer of the American Sikh Council, for sharing this with Scouting Wire. 

In our “A Scout is Reverent” series, Scouting Wire takes a look at how Scouting families across the country observe a variety of religious holidays of their own faith and support fellow unit members in theirs. Join us as Syed E. Naqvi, consultant at World Islamic Committee on Scouting, shares a unique perspective on the importance of Ramadan!

For those who may not know what Ramadan is, can you please tell us a little about this holiday?

Ramadan, the month of spirituality, education, and tolerance. This Islamic holiday is always observed during the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar, which is 11 days shorter than the solar, or Gregorian calendar. That means Ramadan moves through the months and seasons of the solar year; sometimes in the long hot days of summer and sometimes in freezing, snow days of winter. 

Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam, and the practicing Muslims consider it a retreat camp to practice spirituality, discipline, kindness, forgiveness, giving, and charity as well as being educational and enlightening. Many pray more and spend time reflecting on the Holy Book, the Quran.  

This year, Ramadan starts on the 25th of April. On the first day, many Muslims receive congrats from their non-Muslim fellows, and they feel proud of it. If you have Muslim friends, you may congratulate them by using the famous Islamic phrase, “Ramadan Mubarak!” (Happy Ramadan!). Most of them understand and even use this phrase, despite the fact that it is in Arabic.

Every day of fasting finishes around sunset by prayer with a traditional meal called “iftar” (breaking fast). Many break their fast with something sweet, like dates. 

The holy month of Ramadan ends with a celebration that marks its end, known as “Eid al-Fitr” (Celebration of breaking fast). Many Muslims celebrate Eid by attending Islamic centers to perform Eid-Prayer, meet and exchange congratulations with community members, and giving gifts to children.

Do you know Scouts who have Scouting traditions connected to this holiday, and, if so, can you please tell us about that?

Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, it will be challenging for many of us.  As we progress through this holy month, remember those who are in poverty, famine, or war that are also fasting in this unfortunate time of year, even without a major epidemic.  

For Scout units that may have a member of Muslim faith, what are some considerations and ways these Scout units can show support for their fellow Scouts who observe this holiday?

While many think only eating or drinking invalidates fast during Ramadan, lying, gossiping, and other sinful acts also invalidate someone’s fast, and that is why Muslims are advised to make an extra effort to be more mindful of what they do during this blessed month. Many reset their year resolutions in Ramadan or start new goals for their spiritual growth. For units who have members of the Muslim faith, it’s very helpful to be mindful and considerate of these factors.  

Special thanks to Syed E. Naqvi, consultant for the World Islamic Committee on Scouting for sharing his story with Scouting Wire. 

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