September-October 2012: Letters to the Editor

May-June 2012 Scouting Magazine Cover

Youthful Connections

Let me offer a few words of encouragement to Slater Rhea [“What I’ve Learned,” May-June] and perhaps a few words of admonishment to other Scouters. Our troop has been successful in engaging Scouters from both the “parent” population as well as the “recent graduate” crowd. I would suggest that troops who haven’t tapped in to the 18- to 30-year-old group as ASM’s and SM’s are missing a great opportunity.

As a certified old person myself (Eagle class of 1969, age 56), I know that I do well reaching certain Scouts—perhaps especially in the first-year crowd. At the same time, I have seen wonderful connections between 20-year-old ASM’s, especially with the high-school age group.

So, to those Scouters who might not have welcomed a young Eagle on board, please reconsider. Of course, it’s tough to size up a new candidate for leadership—but it’s worth the effort.

Brad Pritts, ASM
Ann Arbor, Mich.


The article “Where’s the Fire?” [published in the May-June issue] was a great discussion point for Scouts on balancing Leave No Trace ethics with the need to survive. These types of articles are fantastic to take to the patrol leaders’ council to plan the discussion. But, as a 15-year Scouter, I do want to express concern about what I see as a double standard in the BSA.

The BSA preaches LNT values while, at the same time, promoting merit badges that go directly against LNT, such as Geocaching. Requirement 8 gives the Scout the option of leaving a Travel Bug in a cache or creating and leaving a cache for six months. Whether maintained or not, this requires something to be left in the outdoors, and—in my opinion—violates LNT principles.

I’m not against Scouts doing GPS lessons and finding waypoints. But take pictures. Maybe BSA needs to revisit some of its merit badge requirements to better fit the LNT ethics it tries to promote.

John Riggins, ASM
Kettering, Ohio

Brian Gray, the BSA’s outdoor coordinator, responds: The Leave No Trace Center and the Tread Lightly! staff both agree that geocaching is something that’s going to happen, and they tend to honor the landowners’ desire to either allow or prohibit the practice. It all depends on how the cache is left and where it’s left—it can be placed in a way that leaves as little impact as possible. Tread Lightly! shares more information on the subject:

Lasting Legacy

Dear Chief Mazzuca: A most sincere “thank you” on behalf of the 2.7 million Scouts and my fellow Scouters. We have enjoyed your leadership and vision, and Scouting is in a better position now than when you started. You have prepared us for future success, and we appreciate all you have done.

Scott Armstrong
Via e-mail

Scott and other readers left thank-you comments to Robert Mazzuca in response to his final column as CSE of the BSA [May-June]. Visit to leave your own message.

High-Octane Adventure

I really enjoyed the article “Ready To Ride” [published in the May-June issue]. It was all about how personal watercraft have now made it to the list of BSA council-approved activities. The article taught me a lot about water safety and how you can learn a lot from riding personal watercraft.

Each summer I go to Lake Powell in Arizona with my family and extended family. We love riding our WaveRunners. Now I can use this in Boy Scouting.

Thanks for writing an article I could relate to and learn from. I will use the safety instructions that were provided.

Jake Weber, Life Scout
Layton, Utah

Planning Guides

In the May-June issue, mention is made of the availability of fillable PDFs for building calendars. I’ve followed the link and the next click through but I cannot locate these documents. My troop would really like to take advantage of these tools.  Can you help me locate these files?

David Nelsen, SM
Laurel Grove, Md.

Bill Evans, team leader of youth development, responds: Thanks for asking about the new program planning resources, and sorry they are so hard to find. Right now you can find the three new program planning guides at this link:

For the first time ever, we’ve collected all program-planning resources in one place. These individual landing pages for packs, troops, and crews will be available soon; we’ll announce these URLs at

Uniform(ed) Importance

I was disappointed to see the picture on Page 44 of the May-June issue. The photo of the Fennemans with four Scouts shows one Scout wearing his OA sash over his right shoulder and his merit badge sash over his left shoulder.

As a former OA advisor and a Scouter, I have always made a point to all the Scouts that you never wear both sashes at the same time. Scouting magazine should not allow this improper wearing of the uniform to be displayed on its pages.

Lucien Van Elsen
Brookfield, Wis.

Thanks, Lucien, for bringing this to our attention. We understand your point about uniform uniformity, and we’ll keep a better eye out in the future.


Send a letter to the editor about the May-June 2012 issue here. Read more Letters to the Editor from the current and previous issues, here.

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  1. ScoutLinks Sep-2012 « Rikki's Scouting Resources
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