As we are returning back to school and work, Troop 649 is here and ready to welcome our youth! While carefully following safety guidelines, we are anxious to share the scouting program to ALL youth.
For those new to the scouting program, our units offer programs for both boys and girls ranging from 11 to 20! Troop 649 is for boys ages 11-17 (who have not yet reached their 18th birthday). Troop 1649 is for girls ranging in age from 11-17 - for those of you who were unaware, girls can now earn the highest rank in Scouts BSA, the Eagle Rank! And for those youth ages 14-20, you may want to consider Venture Crew 649. All three units work together, and separately, to offer a variety of activities directed towards youth and the adventure, including cycling, water sports, hiking, snow sports and above all community service! Scouting offers an opportunity for youth to learn life skills, explore future career opportunities, and build on hobbies and personal interests.
I hope everyone is staying well (and safe) at this time...over the past month, we have had the opportunity to learn (and practice) a few new concepts such as "sheltering in place," "social distancing," and I'm sure your favorite "E-Learning." So, what are you doing during this time to further advance your scouting career?
You can hold remote patrol meetings! There are a variety of platforms out there such as Google Hangouts, Zoom and Discord, to name a few. We are gearing up to have our first PLC meetings as well as Troop-wide "virtual" meetings! These meetings will be held on Zoom. Remember to communicate with your patrol advisor and parents before signing up or onto any video conferencing system. Once you've established a meeting date and time, think about asking a friend who is not in scouting to join in so they can learn about Scouting.
Did you know that there are 58 merit badges you can complete from home? These merit badges don't involve a visit to a public place or companies and all of their requirements can be completed indoors or an average-sized yard. Want to work on a merit badge that requires special materials? There are plenty of on-line resources or you might be able to secure them from someplace like Michaels or Jo-Ann's Fabrics that offer on-line ordering with curbsite pick-up! If you don't already have it, I would highly recommend starting your Family Life Merit Badge, after all, you are already stuck at home! You could even earn a merit badge while working with your patrol with many of the online social networking tools! Before starting any merit badge, make sure you know all the requirements. Go to http://usscouts.org/mb/worksheets/list.asp to download requirements and worksheets.
If you want to know what the other 57 merit badges are, you can find the list here > https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2020/03/20/merit-badges-for-social-distancing/
Merit badge counselors can be found on the San Diego Imperial Council website (https://www.sdicbsa.org/Advancement/CounselorLookup.php) or send me an email and I will let you know if we have a merit badge counselor within the troop that can help you.
I have just three words: "Camping Is Back!"
After staking out a spot in seventh or eighth place in popularity from 2014 to 2018, the Eagle-required Camping merit badge jumped to third place in the 2019 rankings, released this month. The 52,328 young people who earned Camping in 2019 accounted for a 5% increase over 2018’s total.
Still, that wasn’t enough to unseat the First Aid merit badge, which extended its reign at No. 1 to five years. Camping also couldn’t pass the Swimming merit badge, which picked up the silver medal.
2019 was a big year for the American Business and Backpacking merit badges, too. The pair saw their earn totals skyrocket by 166% and 78%, respectively. The news wasn’t so great for the Plant Science merit badge (down 21%) or Dentistry merit badge (down 22%), however. Let’s take a deep dive into the complete list — from 2019’s most popular merit badge to its rarest.
The actual top 10 merit badges in 2019 has something in common: it’s required to earn the Eagle Scout award, Scouts BSA’s highest honor.
The BSA didn’t select its Eagle-required badges at random. Together, they represent a set of essential skills for life.
Rank Merit Badge 2019 earned
1. First Aid - 62,352
2. Swimming - 59,074
3. Camping - 52,328
4. Citizenship in the World - 50,700
5. Personal Fitness - 49,802
6. Cooking - 49,039
7. Personal Management - 48,464
8. Citizenship in the Nation - 48,182
9. Communication - 48,117
10. Family Life - 47,788
The alternative top 10 (Now let’s grade on a curve). If we eliminate the Eagle-required merit badges from the list, which do Scouts earn most? You’ll find a common theme in the list below. These are offered at most summer camps, giving Scouts an excellent opportunity to complete them.
Rank Merit Badge 2019 earned:
1. Fingerprinting - 36,510
2. Rifle Shooting - 34,049
3. Archery - 31,934
4. Leatherwork - 31,397
5. Wood Carving - 28,599
6. Kayaking - 28,093
7. Chess - 25,999
8. Wilderness Survival - 25,863
9. Fishing - 23,589
10. Art - 23,074
Do you want to see the rankings of the Bottom 10 or the entire list? Just go to the following link to read the entire article:
August 28, 2019 Bryan Wendell Cub Scouts, Fun, Scouts BSA, Sea Scouting, Venturing 40
In the BSA’s early days, councils assigned numbers to new troops numerically. The first troop in a council was Troop 1, the second was Troop 2 and so on.
Today, Cub Scout packs, Scouts BSA troops, Sea Scout ships and Venturing crews get to pick their own one- to four-digit number.
The only rule, in most councils, is that two units from the same program and in the same district can’t have the same unit number. So you won’t see two Troop 57s in the Thunderbird District, for example.
The exception is linked troops, where a Scouts BSA troop for girls and a Scouts BSA troop for boys share a chartered organization and troop committee. Linked troops have the same troop number but are actually separate troops.
Over the years, we’ve heard from a number of packs, troops, crews and ships with the fascinating story behind their unit number. I’ve collected 17 such stories below and would encourage you to share the reason behind your unit number in the comments section at the end of the post.
Let’s get to the numbers.
1. Some historical humorScouts BSA Troop 927’s founding chartered organization was the Los Angeles Police Department. At the time, 927 was the radio code for “investigate unknown trouble.”
2. A nod to a university Sea Scout Ship 1876 of College Station, Texas, is chartered to A&M United Methodist Church. Its number was selected to recognize Texas A&M University. The university opened in 1876.
3. Some wordplay Venturing Crew 820 of Minnesota is a scuba-focused crew.
Its founders wanted the crew’s number to be H2O, but you can’t use letters in a unit number. So they picked 8, for the eighth letter of the alphabet, and a 0 to represent the O. Thus, 820 was born.
4. A high school throwback Scouts BSA Troop 1632, according to troop legend, selected its number to match the locker combination of one of its members.
5. A world geography lesson Boy Scout Troop 38 (which is no longer in operation) of the BSA’s Far East Council was formed in South Korea by a volunteer who was stationed there with his family. The number is in reference to the 38th parallel, which was the pre-Korean War boundary between North Korea and South Korea.
6. A Scouting history lesson Scouts BSA Troop 28 of Missouri is named after the anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.
The BSA was founded on Feb. 8, or 2/8.
7. A U.S. history lesson Scouts BSA Troop 1920, an all-girl troop from Montgomery Village, Md., is named after a significant moment for women’s rights in this country.
The Scouts selected 1920 because that’s the year the 19th Amendment was ratified, granting women the right to vote.
8. A favorite passage from the Bible Scouts BSA Troop 4031 of Lexington, Tenn., is named after a verse in the Bible: Isiah 40:31. The Scouts in the troop recite this verse at the end of every meeting.
That passage reads: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” “Wings as eagles”? How fitting.
9. One of the 613 commandments given in the Torah Scouts BSA Troop 611 of Brooklyn, N.Y., is named after the 611th commandment in the Torah.
The commandment encourages people of the Jewish faith to “walk in His ways,” which sounds a lot like the Scout Law.
10. A reminder that all Scouts can use Scouts BSA Troop 247 of Concord, Ala., selected its number as a persistent reminder that Scouts should live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law 24 hours a day and seven days a week. They should act like Scouts 24/7.
11. The month and year of the unit’s founding Scouts BSA Troop 498 of Orlando, Fla., like many BSA units, was named after the month and year it was formed.
The troop began operations in April 1998, or 4/98.
12. A bit of amateur radio lingo Venturing Crew 73 of Gwinnett County, Ga., is a ham radio-focused crew. So the Venturers chose Crew 73 because “73” in ham radio lingo means “best regards.”
13. The numbers on a keypad Scouts BSA Troop 577 of Clifton, Va., is named after its chartered organization: the Little Rocky Run Homeowners Association.
The nickname for the neighborhood is LRR, so just guess how you’d dial “LRR” on a phone number pad.
Yep, it’s 577.
Here’s another example: Scouts BSA Troop 4673 of Atlanta was formed to serve under-represented families in the Korean American community.
On a phone keypad, that number spells out H-O-P-E, which is “what they have a lot of for their next generation of kids,” commenter Shawn says.
14. The answer to the most important question ever Venturing Crew 42 of the Transatlantic Council selected the “answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.”
According to the 1979 science fiction novel The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, that answer is 42.
15. The uniting of Scouts from two other units Scouts BSA Troop 1221 of Amarillo, Texas, was formed when Scouts from Pack 12 and Pack 21 moved from Cub Scouts into Scouts BSA. So it only made sense to combine the two pack numbers into a single number that honored both units.
16. A chartered organization Scouts BSA Troop 1187 of Rapid City, S.D., like a number of units across the country, honors its chartered organization by sharing its number.
The troop is chartered to Elks Lodge 1187. Both Troop 1187 and Lodge 1187 celebrated their 50th birthday last year.
17. The last three numbers of a ZIP code Scouts Troop 422 of Montgomery County, Pa., was named after the last three digits of its ZIP code.
The troop’s ZIP code is 19422.
What’s the best way to pick a number? There’s no single answer.
The best pack, troop or crew number is one that’s memorable and has some type of significance to your unit.
Commenter Phu Tran says that “when I was a BSA professional staffer, I used to suggest new units to use numbers that are associated with their chartered organizations. If not, they should pick a number that reminds them of the time their unit was formed. That way, they could remember their anniversary.”
So a unit formed on Aug. 1, 2019, could be Troop 81, troop 819 or even troop 8119.
Your Scouts can take flight and earn a cool new STEM Nova Award, thanks to a collaboration between iFLY and the Boy Scouts of America. iFLY indoor skydiving gives Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA members, Sea Scouts and Venturers a chance to fly high while working on the “Up and Away” STEM Nova Award. They’ll focus on physics, specifically learning about fluid dynamics — the movement of gases.
Just book a time for your unit at any of the iFLY locations nationwide for an experience, which includes a lecture, demonstration, classroom time and flights. A field trip at iFLY takes about 3 hours. For an online booking form and to find a location near you, click here. The STEM Nova Award is available for Scouts of all ages. iFLY’s STEM program can cater to anyone, including those with physical or cognitive challenges. It’s a program that has educated more than a quarter of a million youth since its inception, providing a really cool and fun way to learn about science, technology, engineering and math.
Wind turbines feed air through a flight chamber where Scouts, donning flight suits and helmets, can feel like they’re skydiving as they’re lifted into the air. Parents should sign any required consents, releases, risk acknowledgments or waivers of liability on behalf of their children. This is not a unit leader’s responsibility
It all started with open minds and empty stomachs.
A troop in Illinois, fed up with soggy pancakes for breakfast and boring hot dogs for dinner, launched a cooking competition that has improved the Scouts’ culinary skills and promoted healthier eating on camp outs.
They call it the Golden Spoon Award.
Patrols in Troop 237 of Frankfort Square, Ill., part of the BSA’s Rainbow Council, compete for the coveted prize each camp out by preparing their most delicious dish.
The competition is so fierce that Scouts have been known to practice their cooking at home so they’re better prepared.
Recipe for Success
Scoutmaster Earl Bonovich serves as judge and helped the Troop 237 patrol leaders’ council (PLC) come up with the idea.
“We discussed with the PLC that we wanted to push Dutch oven cooking and get away from the same old, same old on camp outs,” Bonovich says.
Rather than telling the Scouts about the merits of Dutch oven cooking, the adults showed them. The adults prepared their own meals in the cast iron cookware, but they intentionally made more than they could eat.
“We cooked extra, on purpose, so that the Scouts could taste some of it — and realize what they could cook,” Bonovich says.
It didn’t take long before the Scouts’ passion for cooking started boiling over. Bonovich and the PLC channeled that energy into a friendly competition.
The Golden Spoon Award
Troop 237 held its first Golden Spoon competition in May 2018. Two patrols entered. One cooked chicken jambalaya with rice; the other prepared Swedish meatballs and pierogies, which are filled dumplings.
“Both dishes were outstanding, and the youth ate like kings,” Bonovich says. “They loved the challenge.”
Bonovich had a tough decision to make. He ultimately crowned the chicken jambalaya, which meant the dish made by a Scout named Ryland Hart came up short.
Ryland was a rising star in the troop’s foray into improved camp cooking. For one of his first dishes, Ryland made tasty tacos from scratch — with no seasoning packet in sight.
But this was a setback, and Bonovich could see the disappointment on Ryland’s face. That night, he got a message from Ryland’s mom on Facebook.
“At first, I thought it was going to be, ‘how could you not give my son the award, etc.,’ but it wasn’t,” Bonovich says. “He was asking permission to up his game for the next campout.”
Ryland wanted to bring food samples to the next troop meeting so his fellow Scouts could try different dishes. Turns out Ryland was more interested in preparing Scout-approved dishes than winning an award.
A new troop position
Seeing Ryland’s passion for cooking gave Bonovich an idea.
At the next troop meeting, Bonovich congratulated the winners of the Golden Spoon Award. Then he asked Ryland to come forward.
Bonovich, with approval from the PLC, wanted to launch a new, unofficial troop position: Troop Chef. This person would teach cooking basics to his fellow Scouts and promote better, healthier camp meals.
“He accepted, and the entire troop welcomed him with a cheering ovation,” Bonovich says. “The smile on his face was priceless.”
Now you’ll find Ryland at every campout wearing his black Troop 237 chef’s hat.
And you’ll find him at every troop meeting listening to menu ideas from his fellow Scouts. One Scout suggested bringing live lobsters on the next campout, but that idea was nixed because of budget.
“I love the ideas they’re coming up with,” Bonovich says. “I’m excited to see what they do.”
Behind every Eagle Scout, there’s a story.
A story of perseverance. Of parents and adult volunteers offering guidance and support. Of merit badges, camping trips and service projects.
Multiply each individual Eagle Scout story by 52,160, and you’ll begin to see just how much impact Eagle Scouts had on their communities in 2018.
Exactly 52,160 young men — representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia — earned Scouting’s highest honor last year.
Let’s dive into the numbers.
Putting the number in perspective
With 52,160 Eagle Scouts, the Class of 2018 is officially the eighth-biggest Eagle Scout class in history.
For comparison, 2012’s record-setting class had 58,659 Eagle Scouts. (See the full year-by-year numbers later in the post.)
If all of those Class of 2018 Eagle Scouts wanted to gather to watch some Major League Baseball, there’s only place they could go.
With a capacity of 56,000, only Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles (seen above) is large enough to hold everyone.
To see the full article go to the following Link
When Baden-Powell said “Be Prepared,” I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about income tax returns.
But still, there’s no better advice than that two-word phrase during tax time.
Scouters who heeded the Scout Motto last year remembered to track and document their Boy Scouts of America-related expenses. And now, they know that they can include those expenses if they plan to itemize their deductions.
But what if you didn’t know that BSA expenses were deductible? Or what if your “filing system” is really your glove compartment that’s stuffed with gas receipts and crumpled-up napkins? And what qualifies as an eligible expense, anyway?
Your fellow Scouters and I are here to help. Along with other Scout leaders on Facebook, I’ve collected some tips to help you track and deduct your BSA-related expenses.
And with the April 15, 2019, deadline approaching fast, there’s no better time than now to get started.
General facts you need to know Further clarification for this section comes from the Taxwise Giving newsletter (November 2016 edition).
Some items that you purchase to benefit your unit can be deducted, provided your unit didn’t reimburse you for them. You’ll want to check with your tax professional to be sure, but Scouters have told me they deduct merit badge pamphlets, den meeting activity kits, Wood Badge course fees and much more — again, as long as their pack or troop didn’t reimburse them.
However, there’s one expense that I’m certain you can deduct: the cost of driving to and from BSA events.
How to include driving expenses Here’s what the IRS says about mileage:
This is where it gets tricky. You can’t deduct travel expenses if there’s a “significant element of personal pleasure, recreation or vacation.” But enjoying your volunteer time doesn’t rule out a deduction.
For example, if you’re an on-duty troop leader who takes Scouts on a BSA camping trip, you may deduct those travel expenses even if you had a good time.
Important caveats Next, there’s the tricky part of “gifts from which you receive benefit.” Let’s say, for example, that you attend your council’s annual dinner. Can you deduct that expense? Sort of.
Here’s what the IRS says: “If you made a gift and received a benefit in return, such as food, entertainment, or merchandise, you can generally only deduct the amount that is more than the value of the benefit.”
So if tickets for the council dinner were $75 and the value of the dinner was $35, you can only deduct $40.
Or if you paid $110 for a $100 gift card at a silent auction, you can only deduct $10.
Also, you’ll want to consult a tax professional or the IRS site for individual gifts of $250 or more. There are special rules that apply to those larger gifts.
How to deduct gifts of more than $250 Here’s what Carr says:
If the leader is deducting more than $250 in a single charitable contribution, he or she should maintain a record of these expenses (credit card receipts for travel, copy of a cancelled check for cash donations), as well a letter from the charitable organization showing:
For tax year 2018, the threshold for itemizing (filling out the Schedule A) increased from $12,700 for a married-filing-jointly (MFJ) return to $24,000 for an MFJ return.
As a result, a lot of the detailed tracking Scout leaders may have done in the past for charitable givings will no longer be necessary in 2018.
Unless charitable givings, mortgage interest, and state and local tax deductions are greater than $24,000 (MFJ) or $12,000 (single), a Scout leader won’t be itemizing, and as a result the charitable donation won’t be deductible.
Ten tips for keeping track of it all Here are 10 tips your fellow Scouters offered:
Oh, and good luck!
The Boy Scouts of America turns 109 years old on Feb. 8, 2019.
What do you get the youth movement that has everything? A list of 109 Scouts who became famous. The list includes presidents and Pulitzer Prize recipients, astronauts and athletes, celebrities and CEOs.
Astronauts, doctors, explorers and inventors
Athletes, coaches and sports executives
Authors and journalists
Civil rights leaders
Politicians and public officials
Soldiers and war heroes
By Aaron Derr
Earning the rank of Eagle Scout isn’t supposed to be easy. If it were, everyone would do it.
The fact that it’s difficult is what makes it so great.
In addition to continuing to live the Scout Oath and Scout Law, before you earn the rank of Eagle, you must be active in your troop for at least six months as a Life Scout. You have to explain how your understanding of the Scout Oath and Scout Law will guide your life in the future.
You have to earn a total of 21 merit badges (10 more than required for the Life rank), including 13 Eagle-required and eight optional. And you have to serve actively in your troop for a minimum of six months in one or more positions of responsibility.
Whew! That’s a lot of stuff. And we haven’t even gotten to the part where you have to plan, develop and lead others in a service project helpful to any school, any religious institution or your community.
Don’t worry. You’ve got this. We’re here to show you the way.
Here are the most important steps in completing the most challenging — and rewarding — part of Scouting: the Eagle Scout service project.
EARN THE RANK OF LIFE SCOUT - First things first. While there’s no harm in talking at any time with a parent, Scoutmaster or other trusted adult about what might make a good project, we suggest you focus on the present. The first four words of the Eagle Scout service project requirement stated in The Boy Scout Handbook, Boy Scout Requirements book and section 184.108.40.206 in the BSA’s Guide to Advancement read: “While a Life Scout … ”
Check out the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook and the Guide to Advancement topics 220.127.116.11 — 18.104.22.168. It’s a lot of reading, but there’s tons of valuable information in there — and knowing this stuff in advance will keep you from wasting your time working on a project that doesn’t even qualify.
GET WITH YOUR UNIT OR DISTRICT’S LIFE-TO-EAGLE COORDINATOR Get with your unit or district’s Life-to-Eagle Coordinator (or similarly named adult leader) and avoid these common mistakes:
• Eagle Scout projects can’t be fundraisers. You can raise funds necessary to execute your project, but you can’t stage an effort that primarily collects money, even if it’s for the worthiest charity of all time.
• Your project must benefit an organization other than the Boy Scouts of America. So don’t worry about doing anything for your local council, district, unit or camp. Focus on something like your unit’s chartered organization or another worthy organization.
• Wait for your project to be approved before you start. The form for preparing a proposal appears in the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, No. 512-927. Again: Don’t waste your time raising funds and recruiting volunteers for a project that might not even be approved. It happens. It stinks. Don’t be that person.
THINK OF WHAT YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT - Does your house of worship mean the world to you? Maybe there’s a project there. Talk to your religious leader about what they need. Are you a sports fan? Maybe your local youth sports leagues need some help with their facility. Do you have fond memories of a particular park or playground in your neighborhood? Talk to local officials about what can be done to improve it. Love to read? Visit your local library and see what it needs. Were you ever under advanced medical care? Did you ever need physical therapy? Health-care-related places would be excellent beneficiaries of an Eagle Scout project.
PLAN AND DEVELOP YOUR OWN PROJECT - Volunteering at a blood drive that’s already been organized would not be an Eagle Scout project. Organizing a blood drive using a set of instructions from the blood bank would not be an Eagle Scout project. However, creating a blood drive from scratch — with your own marketing plan and everything — could meet the requirements.
GIVE LEADERSHIP TO OTHERS - An Eagle Scout project should not be so simple that you can do it on your own. You need to give leadership to at least two other people. The helpers can be of any age appropriate for the work, and they don’t have to be already involved in Scouting.
BE SAFE - An Eagle Scout project is an official Scouting activity. Everything in the Guide to Safe Scouting applies. You don’t have to read the whole thing, but you can search for terms such as “tools” or “helmets” in the online guide. Additionally, projects are considered part of the troop’s program and are treated as such with regard to policies, procedures and requirements regarding Youth Protection, two-deep leadership, etc. Your troop’s adult leadership has the same responsibility to ensure safety in conducting a project as with any other unit activity.
HAVE FUN! - Completing an Eagle Scout project is a lot of work. It will also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Take a deep breath and do your best. It’s something you’ll remember forever.