A Leader in Youth Protection

As Scouting observes this year’s Youth Protection Month in April, it’s fitting that the BSA recently welcomed a strong new advocate for young people.

“This is my mission and goal: To ensure that the Boy Scouts of America has the best possible Youth Protection program for the safety and well-being of our youth, their parents, and our volunteers,” says Mike Johnson. And Johnson is exactly the type of person to play this role.

Photograph by Robert H. Bork Jr.

Johnson, an internationally recognized expert on child-abuse detection and prevention, has joined the BSA as Youth Protection director. After spending nearly 28 years with the Plano, Tex., police department, Johnson brings front-line experience to this vital post. His experience in conducting major investigations, interviewing children, and interrogating perpetrators qualifies him to further enhance the BSA’s Youth Protection training programs. Johnson is also a student of cutting-edge research into the prevention of child abuse, and he serves on the national board of directors for the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. It’s a résumé that the BSA is convinced will bolster its ongoing efforts in this important area.

“Protection of our youth is at the very heart of Scouting and our most essential goal,” Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca says. “We are confident that Mike, working in close coordination with other experts in law enforcement, psychiatry, and other disciplines, will build upon existing policies to further enhance Scouting’s educational and training programs.”

Philmont on Film

Whether you’re a Philmont veteran or a Scouter hoping to get there one day, you’ll love The Philmont Documentary Collection.

The main feature is a 93-minute movie that takes viewers on a guided tour of Scouting’s hiking high-adventure base, including interviews with old-timers such as Chope Phillips, Waite Phillips’ son, and Joe Davis, director of camping in the 1960s and early ’70s. And the second part of the film follows a Venturing crew as it faces the challenges of a trek.

Mark Anderson, director of programs at Philmont, says the film serves as an effective advertisement for the ranch. “When you watch this crew dealing with the altitude, the hikes, the rain, it’s a powerful, moving segment,” Anderson says. “If I were a parent or a Scout troop wondering if all this is worthwhile, I’d be sold. They all benefit from the experience.”

Find The Philmont Documentary Collection DVD ($23) or Blu-ray ($25) at philmontmovie.com or toothoftimetraders.com Add $3 for shipping.

Talking About Cancer

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, and while many people might not associate cancer with boys and young men, the BSA’s medical coordinator, Ruth Reynolds, says it’s the most common type of cancer in males 15 to 35 years old.

Photograph by Nancy Lindgren

Reynolds acknowledges that testicular cancer is not an easy subject to talk about with Scouts—and that’s part of the problem. “There’s no real awareness movement,” she says. “It’s one of the most treatable cancers if detected early, but almost nobody talks about it.”

That was the experience of Eric Lindgren, 20, a member of Crew 336, Longhorn (Tex.) Council, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last year. Multiple tumors spread throughout his body, and his weight dropped from 160 to 98 pounds. “We really didn’t know what the problem was at first,” Eric says. “They thought it might be bronchitis or stomach infections. Nobody looked for cancer in someone 19 years old.”

Experts say that testicular cancers typically grow slowly. Symptoms can include pain, a feeling of heaviness in the scrotal area, and a dull ache in the lower back and abdomen. A testicle may be enlarged—but not always. And sometimes there are no early symptoms. All the more reason to talk about this “silent” killer. Find information on recognizing symptoms at this site: health.google.com/health/ref/Testicular+self-examination.

After intensive treatment, Eric has received a “great prognosis” and is on the path to returning to school, says his father, Scott Lindgren. “The main thing is to get the word out,” Scott says. “If we can stop one boy from getting in such bad shape before he is diagnosed, all of this is worth it.”

The Giggling Gourmets

So two comedians walk into a campsite full of hungry Scouters and say, “Hey, instead of hot dogs, let’s have pecan-crusted chicken or Dutch oven Benedict!”

Sound good? It’s no joke, as you’ll discover in Ultimate Camp Cooking, a cookbook written by professional comics Mike Faverman and Pat Mac, who teamed up to divulge secrets about cooking delicious, satisfying meals outdoors. The durable, flexi-bound book holds more than 80 recipes, including regional favorites, foods from various cultures, desserts, and more.

As for presentation, Faverman and Mac pepper their pages with lively stories that will add a pinch of fun to your campfire feast. Available for $15 at bookstores or at ­ultimatecampcooking.com.

Boys’ Life Centennial

This March, the official magazine of the Boy Scouts of America turns 100 years old.

Yes, for one century Boys’ Life has enthralled generations of readers with practical advice for Scouters, thrilling stories of adventure and survival, and great tales from famous writers such as Jack London and Ray Bradbury.

You’ll find the whole story of BL’s origins and its extraordinary impact on Scouting in Scouting magazine’s May-June issue. If you want the scoop on BL, don’t miss it!

And you can still order The Best of Boys’ Life ($21.95) from Lyons Press, a division of Globe Pequot Press (globepequot.com).

Honors Program

A challenge: Before reading further, guess how many different awards Scouting offers. Have your guess? Well, when you add up all the awards—Silver Beaver, Arrow of Light, Totin’ Chip, interpreter strips, 50-Miler Award, and more—the answer is … 114!

That’s a lot of honors to keep up with, and that’s why there’s a new, interactive scouting.org site called Awards Central. The site, which replaces the Insignia Guide, will serve as a clearinghouse of info about all the awards, including descriptions, links to the nomination or application process, approving authority, and deadlines.

Bill Evans, of the youth development team, believes the new site will save councils a lot of time by making all the recognition info easy to attain electronically. And Awards Central can be updated quickly when award details change—for instance, when the 115th award is added. Look for Awards Central to go live in May.

Building the Future

April brings the long-awaited debut of the Robotics merit badge. Along with the recently unveiled Inventing and Geocaching badges, this one enhances Scouting’s commitment to activities associated with science, technology, engineering, and math.

Rick Tyler, who advises a Redmond, Wash., robotics Venturing crew and served on the merit badge’s development team, believes the new badge—which depicts a Mars rover—helps to keep Scouting relevant to 21st-century youth who are huge consumers of technology but may feel “intimidated” by the idea of creating it themselves.

“When I was a Scout, we probably had 35 agricultural merit badges because this was an agricultural country,” Tyler says. “Now we have something like four. If Scouting wants to keep up with what’s going on in our society and culture, we need to keep up with what Scouts are into. And they’re into technology.”

Look for requirements and more information online on April 12.

Shoot and Share

What’s not to like about Sony’s ultra-cool Bloggie Touch camera?

It can’t be the astonishingly bright 3-inch LCD touch screen. It can’t be the 12.8 megapixel still photos or 1080p HD video it captures. It can’t be the slender, rounded body with its handsome brushed-aluminum finish. And it can’t be the videos recorded in the MP4 format, making it easy to upload them to Facebook, YouTube, and other social-networking sites.

The price ($179.99 for two hours, $199.99 for four) isn’t bad either. So, what’s not to like? Take this hot little unit on your next camp-out and you’ll be asking the same question.

Get info by searching “Bloggie Touch” at sonystyle.com.

Maps You Can Tap

This super app delivers maps for the national parks, national monuments, and more. To enhance your outdoor experience, browse maps alphabetically or by state or region. Tons of info about history and weather are just a click away. All maps are saved to your phone, so no worries if you don’t have Internet access. For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android. Ninety-nine cents on the App Store or Android Market.

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March - April 2011 Table of Contents