Let's Get this Party Started!

We all love to tell stories about our family history. Such stories remind us from whence we came, and they bind us together even tighter.

It’s the same with the Scouting family. And during Scouting’s 100th Anniversary, the entire Scouting family will come together to look back on a proud history that includes highlights such as these:

  • After World War I ended in 1918, the Scouts adopted the motto, “The War is Over, But Our Work is Not.”
  • During the 1918 influenza epidemic, Scouts rendered nationwide service.
  • During the Great Depression, Scouts answered President Franklin Roosevelt’s call to do a Nationwide Good Turn. Scouts collected almost 2 million items of clothing, household goods, foodstuffs, and supplies for the needy.
  • During World War II, Scouts helped the country in myriad ways: planting Victory Gardens, collecting aluminum and waste paper, distributing air raid posters, assisting the Red Cross, and more.

Important as that history is, however, the BSA’s 100th Anniversary is more than just a time to look back. It’s also a time to demonstrate the vitality and importance of Scouting as the organization enters its second century. Nowhere is that more clear than in the “A Year of Celebration: A Century of Making a Difference” program, which started on Sept. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2010.

“The Year of Celebration program is a wonderful opportunity for Scouts, leaders, and BSA alumni to get involved in enjoyable Scouting activities that will also help show America the important things that Scouting does in our communities today,” says Bob Mersereau, national director of the 100th Anniversary project.

Mersereau explains that all of the activities emphasized during the Year of Celebration fall under five of Scouting’s core values: Leadership, Achievement, Character, Community Service, and Respect for the Outdoors. An extensive list of activities for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, Leaders, and Alumni can be found at scouting.org/100years. And everyone in the Scouting family can earn the Year of Celebration ribbons that represent the five core values. That includes not just active Scouts and Scouters, but those who have been inactive and would like to rejoin the Scouting family for this great event.

To earn the Leadership ribbon, for example, a Cub Scout might get a friend to join his pack; a Boy Scout might serve as a youth staff member for a unit, district, or council event or camp; and alumni could become involved with a district or council as a registered volunteer in support of Scouting. In the Character category, Venturers might choose to earn the Religious Life Bronze Award, while adult leaders could do a Good Turn for seven consecutive days. Participants must complete three of the five requirements in a category to earn the ribbon.

“As they complete the requirements, they’re showing their towns and communities that Scouting improves the quality of life for young people, families, and communities. It’s not just a nice recreational activity, but an important program for our country,” Mersereau says.

Bruce Showstack, vice-president of the 100th Anniversary team for the Boston Minuteman Council, says he’s looking forward to a “jam-packed year” of activities. The council has had several reunions of Eagle Scouts who live and work in the Boston area. “We’ve had college students and retired people show up,” Showstack says. “Some of them have already come forward to play key leadership roles in some of our celebration activities.”

Additionally, during the 100th Anniversary the BSA will reach out to older generations who have been involved in Scouting. At scouting.org/100years, anyone can share stories about relatives who played a part in the Scouting story, download a Generations Connections family tree, and order an official BSA 100th Anniversary tree from the Arbor Day Foundation.

Planting the tree as a family will strengthen the bonds between generations, Mersereau says. He adds that first-generation members can declare themselves a Founding Scouting family, share their stories, and download an appropriate certificate.

Other special features of the Year of Celebration include the BSA 100th Anniversary National Hall of Leadership. Almost everyone who takes part in Scouting owes a debt to a memorable leader, and this is a great opportunity to honor that leader by nominating any living Scout or Scouting volunteer. Nominees do not have to be officially registered with the BSA, but they must have served as an active Scout or Scouting volunteer for at least one year. Click here to learn how to nominate someone.

Mark Your Calendar: Coming Up Roses

Until they play the game on New Year’s Day 2010, nobody knows which team will win the Rose Bowl Game. But we already know this: In honor of Scouting’s 100th Anniversary, the BSA will have its own float in the spectacular Tournament of Roses Parade that steps off at 8 a.m. Pacific Time that morning. The screen will be filled with marching bands and dancers, but as you can tell from this artist’s rendering, the millions of viewers at home will have no trouble spotting the BSA float!

Nets Gain

One of the foundational values of Scouting is service, and the BSA has joined with some influential partners to emphasize service through the “A Year of Celebration: A Century of Making a Difference” program. One of these is the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign. Nothing But Nets is dedicated to helping the people of Africa fight malaria, which kills more than a million people a year. Ninety percent of those who die are African children, and malaria death and illness cost Africa about $12 billion a year.

Malaria nets, which can cost as little as $10, save lives. Scouts will help build awareness about malaria and prevention by conducting service projects such as removing standing water in parks—a breeding ground for mosquitoes—and creating educational tools and activities that illustrate the impact of malaria on the global community.

Adrianna Logalbo, director of the campaign, says NBN is overjoyed to have several million young volunteers. “We are extremely excited to be working with the Boy Scouts of America, because we see that Scouts can become leaders in raising awareness about malaria and help us educate people about what has been until recently a forgotten disease,” she says. “There is so much momentum growing to end malaria by 2015, which is the stated goal. This is a great opportunity for Scouts to make a global impact.”

How will you help celebrate Scouting’s 100th Anniversary? There are even more ideas at scouting.org/100years, so check it out.

“This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Bruce Showstack. “Grab it while you can. Take advantage of it and enjoy it. You’re part of history.”


“When I am down there, in the flatlands, I am an anonymous citizen, subject to the same physical laws and social rules as everyone else. But up here it’s different. I own this vertical world. I have paid for it with brute effort and what courage I could muster.”

Those words from Royal Robbins, one of America’s greatest climbers, set the tone for To Be Brave, the first book of Robbins’ planned seven-volume autobiography. Robbins is a legendary figure in the climbing world, a name synonymous with death-defying climbs of Yosemite’s Leaning Tower, El Capitan, Half Dome, and Mont Blanc. In his time—he’s now 74—Robbins was the Tony Hawk and Kobe Bryant of his sport. And he credits Scouting with much of his success.

For reasons he never understood, Robbins had difficulties in school and was never an academic success. But he found his own path to success after he was selected as his troop’s top outdoor Scout. As a reward, Robbins took part in a 10-day backpacking trip into the High Sierra of California, during which he and some other Scouts were allowed to climb Fin Dome, a 1,200-foot peak shaped like a shark’s fin. Though he narrowly avoided what would have been a fatal fall, the Fin Dome climb introduced Robbins to a lifelong passion.

“We weren’t just visitors or mere sightseers,” Robbins writes of the ascent. “We had struggled and climbed a mountain. We had earned the right to be part of all this.”

Robbins, whose name graces a popular line of outdoor and travel clothing, hopes that young people reading his books will learn that bravery and confidence matter in all walks of life, not just climbing.

“I want them to be the best that they can be and believe in themselves,” he says. “Believing in yourself is primary, regardless of what you do. I don’t particularly encourage people to go climbing. We’re all different, and we all have things that are right for us. But whatever it is, if you believe in yourself and stay true to your principles, you’re more likely to succeed.”

Looking back on an amazing life, Robbins remains grateful to Scouting for shaping the man he became.
“They got me straightened out, and once I saw the light, things turned out better,” Robbins says. “It was where I belonged.”

Buy To Be Brave for $19.95, plus shipping and handling, at royalrobbinsthebook.com. Signed copies are available for $29.95 plus shipping and handling. If you buy a signed book, you can designate that a $3 donation be made to the Boy Scouts of America..

Euro Pass

Hey, Scouters between 18 and 30: If you want to see more of the world, volunteer for the BSA’s European Camp Staff Program. Working in a coed environment in your region of preference, you’ll develop your leadership skills and gain broad experience running different aspects of the operation. Language skills are valued but not required.

There’s plenty of information at scouting.org/international/ecamp.aspx. You pay your way to and from the destination, but hey, the European Scout region will refund 30 percent of your travel costs after you return home. Bon voyage!

Gotta Have It: Widescreen Wonder

Portable navigation devices just took a giant leap ahead with Timex’s new Expedition WS4, which brings an array of options for the outdoor adventurer. Packing an altimeter, barometer, thermometer, and compass into one rugged unit, the Expedition features a widescreen display that’s easy to see in dim light or rough weather.

In addition to weather forecasting and a 100-hour chronograph, the device records and displays your highest and lowest altitude, time spent at or above target altitude, and highest and lowest barometric pressure and temperature. About $200 at select retailers. timex.com

Did You Know? Rank Requirements change

Along with the Year of Celebration marking Scouting’s 100th anniversary comes a real collector’s item: The centennial edition of The Boy Scout Handbook, which carries several rank requirement changes that go into effect Jan. 1, 2010:

A Scout must teach another person how to tie a square knot using the EDGE model (explain, demonstrate, guide, and enable). He also must be able to discuss four specific examples of how he lived the points of the Scout Law in his daily life.

Second Class
A Scout must discuss the principles of Leave No Trace and explain the factors to consider when choosing a patrol site and where to pitch a tent.

He must explain what respect is due the flag of the United States.

He must again discuss four examples of how he lived four different points of the Scout Law in his daily life.

He must earn an amount of money agreed upon by the Scout and his parents and save at least 50 percent of it.

First Class
An additional requirement to the 10 separate troop/patrol activities states he must demonstrate the principles of Leave No Trace on these outings.

He must discuss four more examples of how he lived the remaining four points of the Scout Law in his daily life.

A Scout must use the EDGE model to teach a younger Scout a specified skill.

Star, Life, and Eagle
Troop Webmaster and Leave No Trace Trainer are two new leadership positions.

Note: If a Boy Scout is working out of the old edition of the handbook, he may continue using those requirements until he completes that rank. Then he must move to the new edition.

Keys to Adventure

How does January in the Florida Keys sound? Warm breezes, pristine beaches … and, to make it even better, a Philmont-style training conference at the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base.

Plan now to attend the 2010 Volunteer Development Training Conference taking place Jan. 18-23.

The conference fee of $350 includes meals, dormitory housing, and course materials. Space is limited, so sign up now. For registration and course content, call 972-580-2211. For info on facilities and accommodations, call 305-664-4173. Or use the convenient form on scouting.org.

Cash for College

If your Eagle Scouts are thinking about college, they’re probably aware of the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) scholarships.

Each year, NESA awards scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $48,000 to qualified Eagles ranging from seniors in high school to college juniors. The competition is intense; this past year, NESA received 4,500 scholarship applications and awarded 109 scholarships.

Application forms, due no later than Jan. 31, 2010, may be found at nesa.org, or pick one up at your local Scout council service center or from NESA, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Ln., Irving TX 75038.

Qualified Scouts may also want to check out other scholarships available on the NESA Web site, such as the University of Evansville’s UE Scouting Scholarship, a $55,000, four-year award available to Eagle Scouts, Sea Scouts who have earned the Sea Scouting Quartermaster Award, Venturers who have earned the Venturing Silver Award, and Girl Scouts who have earned the Girls Scouts Gold Award.

The scholarship pays $13,750 each year and it’s noncompetitive, meaning there is no set limit on the number that may be awarded each year. Qualified applicants must visit the UE campus and be accepted for admission by the university.

Get more info at evansville.edu/scholarships.

Monument-Al Changes

It’s no secret that the BSA Memorial Monument on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., has seen some better days—50 years of them, in fact. Now this imposing work, depicting a representative Scout and the symbolic figures of a man and woman guiding the Scout’s growth, has received a makeover from the National Parks Service—just in time for the 100th anniversary.

The fountain was restored to its original function with new pumps and piping, the benches around the patio were repaired, and the bronze statues were cleaned and polished. Now they’re ready to watch over Scouts as they enter a new century.

Shout Out: The Eagle Flies Again

Robert Rubano knows it’s never too late to reach for a dream. That’s why Rubano, Scoutmaster of Troop 24 in the Staten Island borough of New York City, recently became an Eagle Scout—at the age of 47.

As a high school senior in the late 1970s, Rubano had accomplished almost everything needed for the Eagle rank. He had finished his service project, a health fair in Brooklyn attended by some 170 people. But because of a misunderstanding between Rubano and his Scoutmaster, he never went through his Board of Review. And for the next 30 years, he felt incomplete.

“It bothered me the whole time,” Rubano says. “It bothered me to repeatedly tell the story of how I was almost an Eagle Scout and how I made a stupid mistake. It bugged me that I’d left unfinished business.”

That sense of unfinished business annoyed Rubano even more as his two sons progressed in Scouting. The tipping point came when he was cleaning out his attic and found boxes containing the documentation of the work toward Eagle he had done with Troop 20 in Brooklyn.

“I knew I had kept my merit badges,” Rubano says. “Then I realized I had every bit of evidence to prove what I’d done. I had all the stuff about my service project, even the signatures of people who attended the health fair. I felt like I had a good case.”

So Rubano sent copies of all his documents to the BSA national office, which evaluated his case and directed the Greater New York Councils to proceed with a Board of Review. “They grilled me like I was a 17-year-old,” he says with a laugh. “They really wanted to understand the dynamics of my situation.”

The board approved Rubano’s request, and in April, he became a 47-year-old Eagle Scout. Upon receiving the award, Rubano’s first thoughts were for his parents, who were a “driving force” in his decision to go for it. “I knew I had not only disappointed myself but my parents by not completing the Eagle. They were so thrilled.”

Ditto for Rubano’s two sons. His oldest boy is “two merit badges and a service project” away from becoming an Eagle. You can bet there won’t be any unfinished business this time.

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