News Briefs

Last Chance to Enter Our 'Spirit of Scouting' Photo Contest

There's still time to enter Scouting magazine's photo contest. The theme is "Spirit of Scouting," and it applies to all BSA programs: Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Venturing.

The contest is open to all registered BSA members (adult and youth), and entries must be received by Oct. 1, 2005. Winners receive BSA Supply Division gift certificates and have their photographs published in Scouting's March-April 2006 issue and on the magazine's Web site,, where the complete rules and regulations for entering are available.


Photograph By Randy Piland

In March, BSA youth delegation members—accompanied by official hosts Francis (a BSA Silver Buffalo Award recipient) and Marcia McAllister, of Columbus, Mont.—delivered the annual Report to the Nation to Congress in Washington, D.C. In addition to a meeting with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, the group's five days in the nation's capital included a visit to the White House to meet President Bush and stops at many government agencies, the Smithsonian Institution, and Arlington National Cemetery. Shown from left are National Order of the Arrow Chief Patrick Murphy, Phoenix, Ariz.; Boy Scout and Heroism Award winner Kristopher Geyer-Roberts, Plantation, Fla.; Sea Scout Julia Reed, Seattle, Wash.; Cub Scout and Heroism Award winner Kevin Altimier, Milford, Ohio; National Venturing President Christopher Kerzich, LaGrange, Ill., and Boy Scout and Heroism Award winner Andres Molina-Villarino, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Learn more about the group's visit and the individual delegates at

National Neighborhood Day

National Neighborhood Day, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2005, is a time of simple gatherings, connecting neighbor to neighbor in fellowship and fun in a "design-it-yourself" event that encourages each neighborhood to create a celebration unique to its community.

Scout units, or individual Scouts, are encouraged to coordinate a neighborhood service project such as a neighborhood cleanup or safety event that benefits the community as a whole.

The National Neighborhood Day's Web site ( includes tools for making invitations, posters, neighborhood directory forms, and other items to help plan, organize, and spread the word about local celebrations.

For more information, visit the Web site or contact National Neighborhood Day at (401) 454-3183.

New-Unit Organizer Award

The new William D. Boyce New-Unit Organizer Award recognizes volunteers who organize one or more traditional Scouting units after March 1, 2005. The award is a square knot worn above the uniform left pocket, with three colors representing Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Venturing.

The program is administered by the BSA Relationships Division, and awards are presented by local councils.

It is recommended that the district membership/relationships committee give Scorecard and Certificate of Completion forms (downloadable from the "W.D. Boyce New-Unit Organization Award" CD-ROM, BSA No. 04-515) to any organizer who is assigned a new-unit prospect.

When the certification of completion is approved and recorded, the New-Unit Organizer Award should be presented to the volunteer at the district level.

Requirements include an organizer being approved by the district committee and completing the organization of a Cub Scout pack, Boy Scout troop, Varsity Scout team, or Venturing crew, following procedures outlined in "New-Unit Organization Process" (No. 34196).

These include ensuring that new unit leadership is trained, unit program is organized and has begun, the unit committee is functioning, a unit commissioner is assigned, all paperwork for the new unit is completed and processed, and the unit charter is presented to the chartered organization.

Organizers of additional units can wear up to three program devices (pins) on the square knot, representing the types of units organized.

Georgia Merit Badge University Looks to Repeat Success From Inaugural 2004 Event

Photograph Courtesy of Rodrigo Cano
Scouts taking the American Cultures merit badge workshop at Kennesaw State University enjoyed a session with Irish dancers Aileen and Maggie Shawcross.

More than 500 Boy Scouts and 100 leaders from 61 troops attended the first Merit Badge University at Kennesaw State University, Cobb County, Georgia, last October. Scouter Rodrigo Cano conceived the event as a project for completing his Wood Badge training.

Sponsored by the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and the Students in Free Enterprise Team at the university, the event offered Scouts opportunities to work on 31 merit badges. Instructors from a variety of disciplines and professions held classes on subjects such as cinematography, medicine, fire safety, business, aviation, drafting, atomic energy (now nuclear science), and more.

The merit badge university provided Scouts with opportunities to earn uncommon merit badges without traveling great distances. It also represented a cooperative effort by leaders, instructors, Scouts, and parents, said Cano, who, in addition to serving as assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 1776, Marietta, Ga., is merit badge clinic coordinator for the Atlanta Area Council's Foothills District.

The Internet was used to publicize and provide advanced information about the event. A Web site included profiles of each instructor as well as prerequisites for each course, so Scouts would arrive prepared for the day of instruction.

Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, and a second university will be held Oct. 15, with registration ending Sept. 15. Information is available at

On the Bookshelf

The history of Cub Scouting is detailed in the new softbound book Cub Scouting—The First 75 Years of Doing Our Best ($19.95).

Available from the BSA Supply Division (No. 34473), the book is filled with Cub Scout insights, photographs, and anecdotes. Chief Scout Executive Roy L. Williams calls the book "an extraordinary tribute to those parents and volunteers who stepped forward to make a difference."

Mail orders may be placed by calling the BSA Supply Division at (800) 323-0732.


The Scoutmaster's Other Handbook (Ray Publishing, 2003), by Eagle Scout and veteran Scouter Mark Ray, is a helpful, supplemental resource for troop leaders.

A practical guide on "how to manage a troop, maintain your sanity, and make a difference," the book is written in a personalized style in which the author recalls his many experiences as a leader. The book's 20 chapters cover topics from program planning to advancement, high adventure, and much more.

Ray is also the author of The Eagle Court of Honor Book. He says he wrote the latest book because "in some two decades of adult Scouting, I've come across hundreds of ideas that are simply too good not to share."

To order either book, contact: Mark Ray, P.O. Box 22314, Louisville, KY 40252-0314 or at


Ron Wendel, also an Eagle Scout and veteran Scouter, has written The Scoutmaster Minute: Your Handbook for Inspiring Moments (available from Gibbs Smith, Publisher, P.O. Box 667, Layton, UT 84041, or from The pocket-size book has chapters on integrity, obedience, respect, kindness, courage, and humility. They include quotes from famous individuals and stories with life-lessons collected from history and around the world.

Eagle Scout Battling Cancer Comes Through With Flying Colors

Photograph By Roger Morgan
At the BSA National Annual Meeting, Eagle Scout Derek Slinger was recognized for his comic coloring book project with a special award presented by Chief Scout Executive Roy L. Williams (left) and BSA President John C. Cushman III.

At Children's Mercy Hospital in midtown Kansas City, you're never too old to do a little coloring, especially if you're young and you're battling cancer—and you have to spend a lot of time in the hospital—often in isolation.

"I've been there several times myself," says Eagle Scout Derek Slinger. "You can't leave your room."

Derek inspired a glitzy comic coloring book that hundreds of kids with cancer are passing the time with at Children's Mercy and more than 50 other children's hospitals across the country.

"It's pretty awesome," says Derek as he thinks of 20,000 of his fun, inspirational coloring books titled "My Best Friend" in hospitals across the nation. "Amazing. Extraordinary," says Derek.

He and his little sister, Leslee, lost their mom and dad to cancer several years ago. [Derek and Leslee live with their aunt, Tammy Slinger.] As a project to earn his Eagle Scout Award, Scouting's highest rank, Derek came up with the coloring book idea.

"The kids could just have a fun time," he says. Then a year and a half ago, in the middle of his project, in a brutal twist of fate, Derek was diagnosed with bone cancer.

"It really is ironic," Derek says with a grin. It looked like the disease—and the treatment—would sap his strength too much to finish his project and earn his Eagle Award—something he'd been working toward since he started Scouting in first grade.

"I didn't think it was going to happen," says Derek. But it did. Last winter, some special, anonymous volunteers, inspired by Derek's battle and his goal, helped to get the book finished.

They convinced the Kansas City media company Andrews McMeel Universal to join in, and the company engaged some of its famous comic artists, the people who draw "Garfield," and "Ziggy," and "FoxTrot" and several other popular newspaper comics. They jumped at the chance to help Derek get his book done.

[Also helping were Derek's fellow Scouts from Troop 32, who packed boxes and boxes of books for shipping.]

"He touched many lives," says Kathie Kerr, Universal Press Syndicate director of communications. "And this book will touch even more lives through him. And it's all from his efforts."

The book is built around a poem Derek wrote to Leslee, his "best friend," about their bond and their adventures together.

The comic coloring book really showcases Derek's sense of humor, something the people who know him rave about, saying he's a lovable jokester and prankster.

And his principal at Raymore-Peculiar High School, at which Derek was a senior this year, says his sense of humor is Derek's secret weapon in his battle against cancer and his other challenges.

"He was president of the student council," says Susan Mize, the high school principal. "Every kid in high school knows Derek. He's just such an inspiration."

He's that way, too, at summer camp for disabled Scouts, where he's been a counselor and valued staff member the past three years.

"All Eagle Scouts do projects that help the community," says Tom Sheely, Scout camp director. "This is a Scout who is helping the country." Derek's achievement and the way so many people rallied to help him accomplish his goal are a message to everyone.

"Showing them they can persevere over whatever happens," says Derek.

With a little help from your friends.

—Courtesy of New World Communications of Kansas City, Inc., on behalf of its television station WDAF.

Editor's note: In May, Derek Slinger was honored at a special presentation during the National Eagle Scout Association's Americanism/Duty to Country Breakfast at the National Annual Meeting of the Boy Scouts of America in Grapevine, Tex.


In the article on the New Jersey State Police Boy Scout Camporee in the May-June 2005 issue of Scouting magazine, the person in the photograph on page 33 was incorrectly identified as New Jersey State Police Maj. Frank Rodgers, originator of the idea for last October's spectacular law enforcement camporee. The individual shown in the photo is former astronaut and onetime state trooper Mario Runco Jr., one of many guest celebrities who interacted with Scouts at the camporee.

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Copyright © 2005 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.