Rockwell and the Movies

What do George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have in common with millions of Scouts and Scouters? These great American filmmakers both love and admire the work of Norman Rockwell, who spent decades illustrating stories and painting covers for Boys’ Life and the annual Brown & Bigelow Boy Scouts calendars.

Rockwell's Spirit of America (1929) represents just one artistic highlight of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's exhibition and catalog.

Of course, when your movies have brought in billions of dollars, you can do more than just admire an artist: Lucas and Spielberg have long been major collectors of Rockwell’s work.

Now you can see a sizable portion of those collections at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. The filmmakers, who teamed up on the popular Indiana Jones series, have aligned again—this time to arrange the loan of 57 of their Rockwell paintings and drawings for an exhibition that opened in July.

Exploring the relationships between Rockwell’s images of American life and the movies, the exhibition showcases the artist’s ability to distill a narrative into a single frame—a characteristic that inspired both Lucas and Spielberg as they contemplated careers in filmmaking.

As did the Boy Scouts, in Spielberg’s case. “When I went for a Photography merit badge, I made a little 8mm movie,” the Eagle Scout says. “And the Boy Scouts in my troop—294, Scottsdale, Ariz.—liked the movie, made a lot of noise, laughed, clapped, and all that. I got that great virus of ‘I’ve got to do this the rest of my life.’”

Lucas, who started collecting comic art as a kid, adds that “growing up on Rockwell” gave him an edge as he entered the movie business because of the artist’s ability to “cast” a painting.

“They’re designed, they’re written, and they’re put in there very specifically,” he says of the people Rockwell used in his artworks. “Each one—their faces, their expressions, their thinking—everything about them has been cast. That’s what you do in the movies. He’s fabricating a story.”

See “Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell From the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg” before it closes Jan. 2, 2011. Admission is free, and you can find more details at It’s a perfect opportunity to view the art that “captured society’s ambitions and emotions,” says Lucas.

Follow the Leaders

Kudos for inductees to the BSA’s 100th Anniversary National Hall of Leadership. From more than 7,000 nominees nationwide, one individual from each BSA council was selected to represent all of that council’s nominees. A national induction ceremony took place during the BSA’s Washington, D.C., jamboree celebrations in July.

You can continue to help councils honor their nominees by going to and clicking on the “National Hall of Leadership” link. There you can check out the complete list of inductees, artwork for creating posters, and other materials.

“Our country will never outgrow the need for thoughtful leadership and will never outgrow the need for individuals who choose to live their lives by the Scout Oath and Law … and teach others to do the same,” says Bob Mersereau, national director of the 100th Anniversary Celebration Project.

Resources for Cub Scout leaders

The May-June issue of Scouting magazine reported about the new Cub Scout delivery method that launched nationwide this fall (“New Blue”). Check out your back issue or read it online at

Since then, links have gone live where volunteer leaders can get all the material they need to make this new system a ringing success. So, here’s the scoop:

For general info, go to and click on “Den Leader Resources” on the left side. Then scroll down and click on the “Den and Pack Meeting Resource Guide” under the “Essential Resources” header.

Den Leaders, that’s where you’ll find free, age-appropriate den meeting plans.

Cubmasters can visit that site for guidance on planning and executing monthly pack meetings.

Purchase the complete set of den and pack meeting plans by searching for “Cub Scout resource guide” at You can buy the print version for $6.99 or download the complete PDF for $3.99.


Hey Venturers and Scouters between the ages of 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 leadership skills and gain broad experience running different aspects of the camp operation. Language skills are valued, but they’re not required.

You pay your way to and from the destination, but the European Scout region will refund at least 30 percent of your travel costs after you return home.

Find plenty more information at Bon voyage!

Holiday History

As Scouting’s centennial year draws to a close, here are a couple of holiday gifts that will please any Scouter: The Best of Boys’ Life (Lyons Press, $21.95) and The Scouting Party: Pioneering and Preservation, Progressivism and Preparedness in the Making of the Boy Scouts of America (Red Honor Press, $24.95).

The first, a treasure trove drawn from Boys’ Life’s 99-year history, is full of great writing about camping, sports, patriotism, adventure, and more. It’s studded with articles by famous names such as Theodore Roosevelt, Jack London, Orville Wright, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, and Ray Bradbury.

Sports fans can read first-person advice from the likes of Willie Mays, Johnny Unitas, and Olympic star Bruce Jenner (long before he met the Kardashians). More serious fare includes first-rate reporting from Germany, Russia, and other then-distant countries.

Among the many pleasures of this fine collection, don’t miss the Think & Grin jokes and the vintage ads. Those were the good ol’ days, back when a boy could get an excellent BB gun for $12.95!

Then, go all the way back to the beginning.

Almost everyone associates Sir Robert Baden-Powell with the creation of the Scouts, but few may know about the British-Canadian naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton, whose Woodcraft Indians organization helped shape Baden-Powell’s thinking. And how many know that President Theodore Roosevelt disagreed with Scouting’s pacifism in the run-up to World War I?

All this and much more is the subject of David Scott and Brendan Murphy’s The Scouting Party. Readers will learn about the questions and conflicts that James West, Chief Scout Executive from 1911 to 1943, dealt with as he, Seton, and Daniel Carter Beard, founder of the Sons of Daniel Boone, debated the growth and direction of the BSA.

Historian Douglas Brinkley calls it “a gift to America,” which makes it the perfect gift for any Scouting enthusiast as the organization launches into its second century.

Partners in Green

Scouting has always believed in responsible stewardship of the environment. So it makes sense that the BSA has now formed an official partnership with Tread Lightly!, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote responsible outdoor recreation through ethics education and stewardship.

Launched in 1985 by the U.S. Forest Service, Tread Lightly! became a nonprofit in 1990. It focuses on people who use or are affected by motorized and mechanized vehicles, and it will begin working with the BSA on several specific pilot programs. These include personal-watercraft use, ATV riding, and shooting sports.

“The Boy Scouts of America has long been associated with strong conservation values,” said Chief Scout Executive Robert J. Mazzuca. “By incorporating the Tread Lightly! principles in our local and national programs and materials, we can even better prepare young people to make ethical decisions in the great outdoors.”

While the formal partnership is new, Scouting and Tread Lightly! have worked together many times over the years. In fact, in 2008 the BSA presented Tread Lightly! with the prestigious William T. Hornaday Gold Certificate for distinguished service in conservation. The honor is the oldest conservation award given in America, and only nine organizations outside the BSA have received it.

College Prep

If your Boy Scouts or Venturers will soon head to college, the eKnowledge Sponsorship Alliance can help. The organization, made up of educationally focused foundations and professional athletes, offers SAT and ACT test-prep programs to BSA families. Each version of the software, a $200 value, is available for only the price of shipping, handling, and other processing fees: $17.55. Or get both versions shipped for $31.39. The PowerPrep software helps prepare students for the exams and increases student confidence, which can result in higher test scores and thousands of dollars in scholarships.

The newest version of PowerPrep (Mac and PC compatible) includes more than 20 hours of video instruction, 3,000 files of supplemental test-prep material, thousands of interactive diagnostic tools, sample questions, practice tests, and graphic teaching illustrations.

The eKnowledge Sponsorship Alliance has provided more than 150,000 SAT/ACT prep programs to families all across America. Order online at or call 951-256-4076.

Zero Hero

Wind-chill factors may be dropping, but winter campers will laugh in Jack Frost’s face with the new Kelty Coromell 0 mummy bag, insulated with 650-fill-power down to ensure comfortable snoozing on the nippiest nights. Forget those “cold spots”—box baffle construction keeps the insulation evenly distributed. And a full-length zipper means the bag spreads out for use as a blanket on slightly warmer nights. Available in regular length for $220 or long length for $230 at select retailers.

The Bucks Stop Here

Do your Eagle Scouts who are thinking about college know about the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) scholarships?

In 2010, NESA awarded $391,000 to 146 recipients, which represented a 90 percent increase in scholarship dollars over the previous three years, to qualified Eagles ranging from high school seniors to college juniors.

But the competition is intense. So go now to and download the application forms. Completed applications are due no later than Jan. 31, 2011.

Qualified Scouts may also want to check out the variety of religious, civic, and institutional scholarship opportunities, including the University of Evansville Scouting Scholarship available to Eagle Scouts, Sea Scouts who have earned the Quartermaster Award, and Venturers who have earned the Silver Award.

Apply by March 10. The scholarship pays at least $14,000 each year, and there is no set limit on the number that may be awarded each year. Applicants must visit the UE campus and be accepted for admission by the university.

Get more info at

Philmont Pride

From 1942 to 1956, Philmont campers strived to earn the “dollar” or “P” patch. The six segments ringing the “P” represented various interest areas, including the red cap of the Sportsman that went to candidates who qualified in field sports such as rifle, shotgun, and fishing.

The Camper, symbolized by the black pot, was earned for smart housekeeping in the woods (consider it a predecessor to today’s Leave No Trace camping) while the Horseman (yellow spur) went to Explorers who learned the history and trade of the cowboy.

The brown beaver lodge was the Conservation award, the most widely earned segment. The Woodsman, the brown and yellow cabin, represented the wilderness heritage of those who hiked the land during the 1800s and earlier. Finally, the green tree stood for the Naturalist, who learned to enjoy the drama of the environment.

The “staff” patch is self-explanatory, but the old-time rifle patch was for the coveted Mountainman Award given to outstanding campers who came to Philmont for three years or completed three different schedules. They had to take an active part in the leadership of at least one schedule and, according to a 1952 Philmont pamphlet, must “have proven themselves to be in love with the out-of-doors.”

The Mountainman Award could not be earned; it could only be presented.

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