I was pleased to see the article "Scoutmaster to Webmaster" in the October issue. An area that wasn't emphasized, however, was the care that units need to take when putting information about their youth members on a Web site.
For the purpose of youth protection, many units do not include youth members' home addresses, e-mail addresses, or phone numbers. On our troop Web page, we list only the first names and last initials of our youth members.
Scoutmaster, Troop 180
On a Web site for a Scout unit (or school class or other youth group), caution is recommended in these areas:
I enjoyed the article on Kandersteg International Scout Centre in your September 1998 issue. However, I would like to correct a few points of information about the Centre:
John Moffat, Director
Kandersteg International Scout Centre
After a brief break, I have returned [as an adult leader] to Scouting, [and] it shocks me that some veteran leaders remain unaware of the principle of youth leadership, that a troop is the boys' troop. Scouts need to walk on their own, even if [the organizing of some activities] turns out to be [less than perfect] It's all part of their learning experience.
Scoutmaster, Troop 470
As a merit badge counselor and avid cyclist, I am glad to see Cycling among the three "aerobic activity" badges that Scouts now must choose to earn the Eagle Scout Award (the other two options being Swimming and Hiking).
The Cycling badge requires a knowledge of safety, first aid, and basic maintenance. And a Scout must take several rides of 10, 15, and 25 miles in preparation for a 50-miler. It's good to see Cycling next to the other merit badges required for Eagle, recognized as offering skills and values which have lifelong application for the Eagle Scout.
Kathy Brandt's excellent article "Teaching Children to Manage Money" in the November-December Scouting describes a lesson that far too many children do not learn until they become debt-ridden adults.
As an Eagle Scout, I found it refreshing to see this point of the Scout Law, thrifty, being emphasized. In today's "got to have it now" world, children need to understand that money is something that demands respect and, like anything else, can cause problems if abused.
However, many parents struggle with how to present the idea of financial management to their kids. The article offers some simple, practical ideas that no parent should be without.
I am now in my late 20s and preparing to start a family. By using [the ideas in the article] and other techniques, I hope to be able to help my children enjoy a life without the burdens caused by financial irresponsibility.
Thanks again for the terrific article.
John J. McLain
I discovered an error in the "Astro Quiz" on your November-December Family Fun Page. Pluto, at 1,413 miles in diameter, is the smallest planet in our solar system, and not Mercury (3,032 miles in diameter).
I just wanted to help you correct the mistake. Our family reads both Boys' Life and Scouting magazine cover to cover. Thanks for a great magazine and keep up the good work.
Life Scout, Troop 39
Thank you, Joshua, for the correction. Some reference books published as late as the early 1990s still listed Pluto as larger than Mercury. Until recently the distant planet could not be imaged (photographed) from Earth, and its size was figured by measuring its brightness, causing some astronomers to estimate it as larger than Mercury. In 1993, however, the Hubble orbiting telescope was repaired, allowing Pluto to be photographed and its size verified as the smallest planet in the solar system. Pluto also has caused major updating of science books twice before, following its discovery in 1930, and when its moon, Charon (which has a diameter of 730 miles), was identified in 1978.
It was great to see "There's Magic in Music" in the November-December issue, showing the enthusiasm that a Webelos Scout den and their leader have for music.
The Marblehead All Scout Marching Band, currently in its fourth year, is another example of how stimulating and interesting music can be.
The band started with seven Webelos Scouts; we now have 25 musicians and 15 color guard members, aged 8 to 13, all members of BSA or Girl Scout units.
The band plays 30 songs with a quality sound highly respected in our area. Over the past four years they have played in 10 parades and events, including the Memorial Day parade, the parade for the U.S.S. Constitution (when the historic ship sailed into Marblehead harbor for the first time in 200 years), and the Yankee Clipper Council camporee.
More information is available on our Web site, http://www.Marblehead.com/commun/scoutband.
Cubmaster, Pack 76
I was glad to see the article "There's Magic in Music" in the November-December Scouting. A music program also works on the Boy Scout level.
Several months ago I started a band that was open to any Scout in our troop who played an instrument. I started with a survey and received a good response.
We began by learning "The Star-Spangled Banner"; after about five practices, we played for the opening at our September court of honor. We are currently working on the theme from "Mission: Impossible" and will add other pieces as we go along.
It does involve discipline as well as a time commitment, but it is very rewarding and a lot of fun, too.
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