News Briefs

Eagle Scouts should apply now for college scholarships

Eagle Scouts who are graduating high school seniors may apply for more than $270,000 in college scholarships through the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA).

Applications must be postmarked no later than midnight on Feb. 28, 2004, and received by NESA no later than March 5, 2004.

Applicants must (1) have received the Eagle Scout Award prior to application submission, (2) have demonstrated leadership ability in Scouting, and (3) have a strong record of participation in activities outside Scouting. Applicants must have an SAT and/or ACT score acceptable to the standards set by the review committee.

Available scholarships include:

  • Mabel and Lawrence S. Cooke Scholarships — one scholarship of $48,000 ($12,000 per year for four years) and four of $20,000 ($5,000 a year for four years). Applicants must demonstrate financial need and have the endorsement of a volunteer or professional Scout leader who knows them personally.
  • Elks National Foundation Scholarships — four scholarships of $8,000 ($2,000 per year) and four of $4,000 ($1,000 per year).
  • National Eagle Scout Scholarship Fund — 12 scholarships of $3,000 (a lump sum).
  • Hall-McElwain Merit Scholarships — 60 scholarships of $1,000 annually (15 in each of the BSA's four regions).

They are based on merit and are open to high school seniors through the undergraduate junior year in college.

Applications are available on the BSA Web site (, at Scout council service centers, or from NESA, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Ln., P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079.

Tour permits are required for unit trips

Scout units planning trips are required to file an application for a tour permit with their local council office.

For trips of less than 500 miles one-way, unit leaders should submit a Local Tour Permit Application (No. 34426C). Trips of 500 miles or more one way from home or that cross national boundaries and enter into the territory of other nations require a National Tour Permit Application (No. 4419C), to be approved by both the local council and the BSA regional service center.

After receiving their approved tour permit, unit leaders may be required to show it to Scout officials and other authorized persons on their trip, such as for overnight camping on council properties and military bases.

In addition to keeping the council informed of unit activities, a tour permit serves other useful functions:

  • The application process assists units in planning a safe, interesting, and enjoyable trip. (The latest Local and National Tour permit applications include the requirement that at least one adult on the trip has had Youth Protection Training, which can be taken online through participating local council Web sites .
  • The council office knows where to contact unit members in case of emergencies.
  • Officials in state and federal parks are assured that touring and camping Scout groups have official BSA status. (Some locations may require a tour permit for entry.)

Cub Scout leaders often wonder if short den trips and outings require a Local Tour Permit. The answer is to check with your council service center regarding local policy on any trip you are planning.

The BSA publication Tours and Expeditions (No. 33737C) is recommended reading for leaders before filling out a tour permit application. It covers in detail the key steps for planning and organizing trips, necessary equipment, health and safety concerns (including transportation), and where to find additional information.

Trip leaders should also review the Guide to Safe Scouting (No. 34416D), which lists approved activities and the safety standards required for Scout youth participation.

The full text of the Guide is available on the BSA national Web site at Leaders can also download copies of Local and National Tour Permit Application forms from the appendix

What's new at Boys' Life?

The January issue of Boys' Life contains new design and content that expands the magazine's new look, first launched with a major redesign in 2002.

"Following the 2002 redesign of our main features, cover, and logo, we decided to rework the entire package," said BL managing editor Bill Butterworth. "This provides readers with exciting content that is more timely and varied and brings a consistent look to the magazine, a complete, compelling package from the first to the last page."

The changes include:

  • Expanding the popular HEADS UP! section to as many as 12 pages, featuring up-to-the-moment news and events, plus reviews of new books, movies, Scouting gear, and toys, along with floating lines of trivia, news, notes, and more.
  • Utilizing brighter images set in a hot, new page design for short features that spotlight extraordinary Scouts and other topics of high interest.
  • Adding Ask Anything! a regular Q&A column in which readers can query on everything from personal hygiene to refining their leadership skills.
  • Enlarging the Games Department to two pages, focusing on traditional board games plus reviews of video games for all platforms, video game machines, and other industry news.

The regular features in the back of the magazine, like how-to articles and Think & Grin, will also reflect Boys' Life's vibrant new design.

BSA Web site offers unit leaders a wide variety of helpful resources

Unit leaders can find an assortment of useful resources on the official BSA Web site,

Click on the leadership link for your program. Many materials are presented in PDF format, an electronic version of the printed editions available at council service centers.

Particularly valuable is the Guide to Safe Scouting (No. 34416D). The searchable online version provides BSA policies and guidelines to help leaders conduct activities in a safe and prudent manner.

Other helpful resources include:

  • RECRUITING/MEMBERSHIP. A Year-Round Guide to Boy Scout Recruiting (BSA No. 18-748); Troop Open House (No. 18-706); Webelos to Scout Transition (overview); Scoutreach Division (mission, strategies, resources).
  • TRAINING. Passport to High Adventure Training Outline; Basic Leader Training (overview); Venturing: Training (outline); Philmont Training Center (programs and conference schedules).
  • LEAVE NO TRACE. Teaching Leave No Trace (No. 21-117); The Principles of Leave No Trace (No. 21-105).
  • SAFETY. Climb On Safely: A Guide to Unit Climbing and Rappelling (No. 20-099).
  • HIGH ADVENTURE. Passport to High Adventure (summary); Scouting's Adventures for Older Boy Scouts (resource summary).
  • FACT SHEETS. Up-to-date information on more than 40 topics, from BSA at a Glance and What Is Boy Scouting? to Project COPE, The Silver Buffalo Award, and The Professional in Scouting.

American Legion Names Eagle Scout of the Year

Aaron Allen
Photograph Courtesy of Ron Allen
Aaron Allen, 17, of Troop 316 and Venturing Crew 1985, Irvine, Calif., is The American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year for 2003.

The award, announced during The American Legion's board of directors meeting in May, includes a $10,000 college scholarship and is recognition of Aaron's citizenship at school, in Scouting, and in his church, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa.

Aaron plans to study foreign policy and public affairs at Indiana University this fall.

The American Legion also awarded $2,500 scholarships to Randell S. Porch of Ship 801, Stuart, Fla.; Jason R. Lansdell of Troop 316, Nashville, Tenn.; and Jamil P. Coury of Troop 262, Glendale, Ariz.

The American Legion has supported Scouting since the veterans' group's first national convention in 1919. Legion posts are chartered organizations for more than 2,500 Scouting units, serving more than 72,000 youth.

The latest Scouting magazine index is available

The 2003 Index for Scouting magazine and indexes for each year back to 1970 are available.

For an index, send a self-addressed, first-class-stamped 8-by-10-inch envelope; for more than three, add additional postage.

Order the indexes from Scouting Magazine Index, S304, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079.

Scouting magazine indexes for recent years are also available on the magazine's Web site,

Iowa State University to host 2004 Order of the Arrow Conference

More than 7,200 Arrowmen from 313 lodges are expected to attend the 28th National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, between July 31 and Aug. 5.

Among BSA national program events, only the quadrennial national Scout jamboree attracts more Scouts and Scouters.

NOAC is largely planned and carried out by youth, beginning with planning meetings in December prior to the conference. OA youth officer involvement from section, region, and national levels ensures a program that is exciting, relevant, and nonstop fun. More than 800 youth will join with 400 adult advisers to provide staff leadership for the conference.

OA members attending NOAC return home with:

  • A deeper understanding of the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Order of the Arrow Obligation, and what it means to live these words in one's daily life.
  • A renewed spirit, pride, and enthusiasm for Scouting and the Order of the Arrow.
  • Ideas their lodge can use to better serve Scouting in their home unit and council.
  • Program ideas, knowledge, and skills to improve the lodge.
  • New leadership skills and a better understanding of the best ways to carry out the work of the lodge.
  • The latest information on camping and high adventure programming, including how to successfully promote Boy Scout camping.
  • New friendships with fellow Arrowmen from throughout the country.
  • Memories to last a lifetime.

NOAC reservation materials were mailed to councils in November. Youth and adult Arrowmen who are registered members of the BSA and have their council's approval are eligible to participate. Local council lodges are encouraged to provide every opportunity for persons under the age of 21 to attend the conference.

Scouts distribute U.S. flag booklets in council Good Turns

Across the Southeastern United States, council annual Good Turns have had a distinctly patriotic flavor in 2003 as Scouts distributed tens of thousands of informative booklets on the care, display, and history of the United States flag.

The project got a warm reception in many locales, especially those with large concentrations of military personnel.

For example, in Georgia's Chattahoochee Council, home of Fort Benning, one of the nation's largest Army bases, Scouts distributed 7,500 copies of a full-color, 16-page "Flag Book" in neighborhoods and churches.

"We got a great response in Columbus and other communities, and it was great visibility for Scouting," said council Scout Executive Trip Selman. "It was an excellent opportunity for us to step forward and show our patriotic spirit."

About 50 Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs participated in the council's February campaign, which saw boys handing out booklets door-to-door and also to people leaving church services. Columbus Mayor Bob Poydasheff served as honorary chairman.

The flag project was the brainchild of BSA Southern Region Director Parvin Bishop. "The regional office sent out CDs to all the councils with the basic information on it," Selman said, "and it was up to each council to take it from there."

Chattahoochee Scouters considered the project such a success that they plan a similar patriotism-themed "Good Turn" in 2004, Selman said.

— Bill Sloan

Four units excel in writing fan mail to servicemen

Dedicated letter-writers in three Boy Scout troops and one Cub Scout pack have landed their units among the nation's top 20 youth organizations participating in the 2002-2003 "Fan Mail for the Troops" campaign.

The four units wrote and sent 4,800 pieces of mail to American servicemen during the annual campaign sponsored by Friends of Our Troops of Fayetteville, N.C. Honored for their high level of participation were Boy Scout Troop 328 of Salem, Wis.; Troop 98 of Brodheadsville, Pa.; Troop 12 of Fort Worth, Tex.; and Cub Scout Pack 35 of Spotswood, N.J.

"The boys were interested enough in doing it that we set up a special meeting as a time to write the letters," said Troop 12 assistant Scoutmaster Mike Flannagan. "And the rewarding thing was that so many of the servicemen wrote back."

This was the second straight year that Troop 12 had ranked in the top 20. Each letter was written by hand by one of the troop's 20 active members and signed by the boy who wrote it, said Russell Berrier, Scoutmaster of the troop which is more than three-quarters of a century old.

"Many of the servicemen who reply to our letters are former Scouts themselves," Berrier pointed out. "Sometimes they send patches from their uniforms back to the boys, and they talk about how their Scouting experience has helped them as fighting men. That really makes the boys feel good."

Troop 12 is encouraging more troops to get involved in the 2003-2004 fan mail campaign, which kicks into high gear during the Christmas season. "We did a display at an area camporee a while back, and we got lots of response from other troops," said Berrier. "That may mean more competition for a top 20 spot next time around, but we don't mind."

For information on how to join the letter-writing effort, contact Friends of Our Troops, P.O. Box 65408, Fayetteville, N.C. 28306-5408.

— B.S.

California council auction nets $500,000 in five years

An annual Scout auction that began in 1976 with a handful of donated items has turned into a financial bonanza for California's Ventura County Council, netting in excess of $500,000 for council programs over the past five years.

The 2003 version, held at the Sherwood Country Club in Westlake, Calif., and attended by a capacity crowd of 320, brought approximately $122,000 into council coffers, according to Barbara Steward, council finance secretary, and Leilani Bueltmann, in her 13th year serving as auction staff adviser. Volunteer Scouter Steve Hafen, a member of the council board and an officer of Wells Fargo Bank, chaired the event.

"We sell out all our available tables every year," Steward said, "and that's been happening as far back as I can remember."

The fund-raiser and black-tie dinner accompanying the auction are supported by more than a dozen major local business institutions, which serve as rotating sponsors. Principal sponsors for 2003 were Bank of America and Wells Fargo Foundation.

Scores of big-ticket items available to bidders include mini-vacation and family fun packages, golf packages, Super Bowl and Rose Bowl tickets, shopping sprees, airline tickets, new furniture and appliances, jewelry, clothing, luggage, autographed sports memorabilia, artwork, merchandise certificates, an appearance on the Drew Carey TV show, and a baby grand piano. All are donated without cost to the council.

The auction is divided into three segments—a silent auction before the dinner, a live auction following dinner, and a "bid-a-gram" auction conducted by phone during dinner. Participants pay $125 to attend.

"It's a great opportunity to raise money for our program and introduce people to Scouting at the same time," said council district director Terry Richardson.

— B.S.

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January - February 2004 Table of Contents

Copyright © 2004 by the Boy Scouts of America. All rights thereunder reserved; anything appearing in Scouting magazine or on its Web site may not be reprinted either wholly or in part without written permission. Because of freedom given authors, opinions may not reflect official concurrence.