Alumni Alive! - Spring 2018

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Scouting is a Family Affair!

Newsletter for Alumni and Friends SPRING 2018

Read Ray Capp’s Letter (Pg. 1)

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3 How to Earn Alumni Awards

5 Letters of Gratitude

8 Are You Ready for Adult Adventure Weekend?

11 A Deeper Look at Venturing on Its 20th Anniversary



A Celebration of Wood Badge

Meet the National Alumnus of the Year

Scouting is a Family Affair! Dear Scouting Alumni, After the Boy Scouts of America recently announced plans to extend its programs to all members of our families, I got to thinking about Scouting’s impact on MY family and those of my friends. My family came into Scouting reluctantly. Although I had been a Scout, when my older son approached Scouting age I told his mom that I really didn’t see him as a Boy Scout. He loved sports, had so many activities at school, and well…how would we possibly fit it all in the 24 hours of the day?

Ray Capp President, Scouting Alumni and Friends

Well, to our great surprise, he came home from school one day and said he wanted to join Scouting. We went along and our lives changed dramatically for the better from that day forward! After his first Cub Scout meeting, he said that in order to earn his first badge (called the Bobcat) he had to “do a good deed” for someone else! And, as with most “Bobcat-candidates,” our son decided to do his good turn right in his own house, which led to a family discussion where we suggested chores like washing the dishes or dusting the furniture. Once completed, a parent is normally charged with verifying the completion of the task to the Cubmaster. So right off the bat, parents are involved and the Scout is helping the family! In turn, our family decided to support him and slowly got involved. We agreed to drive carloads of (noisy) boys to certain events and helped cook at a barbecue, and our younger son came along, too. Before long we invited the kids to build a project in my workshop. We were getting in deeper. Since I was an Eagle Scout, the other adults asked me to teach a skill at one meeting, and before I knew what had hit me, they asked me to serve as Scoutmaster. My wife (I think having mercy on me) volunteered to keep up with all the rank and merit badge advancements. We were meeting other families and becoming part of a community that was closer than we could have imagined. I guess you would say that we were hooked. My wife made new friends among the other moms; 15 years later, they’ve backpacked national parks in 10 states, conquered every trail in our local community, and even ventured out together in two foreign countries. My sons’ best friends grew up with them in Scouting. Being active in the troop allowed me to better understand what kids their age talked, thought, and worried about, and were capable (and NOT capable) of doing. Knowing their friends kept me in much better touch with the things they might be getting into -- and how best to steer them, toward certain things and away from others. All this made me to be a much better Dad. Scouting gave our family many shared experiences that we probably wouldn’t have organized for ourselves. We spent endless Saturdays helping with service projects; that’s something we always wanted the family to do, but had never seemed to know where or when to do it. We were leading hikes and using our garage to collect donations for the troop yard sale. It became a family affair, not only among the four of us but among our much larger (and growing) Scout family.

All of this has caused me to wonder - was our family an exception? Maybe the national BSA, with its idea of supporting the FAMILY of Scouting, had this all wrong. Were we the only ones? I asked around, and here’s what I found out: Scouting IS a family affair. It has changed millions of lives, and not just for those lucky enough to wear the Scout uniform. Family members have been involved and benefiting all along. A dear friend from South Carolina told me that HIS wife also met her best friends through Scouting. And at least two marriages emerged from the values and experiences shared by the young boys and girls in his Venture Crew! Another friend served as Scoutmaster twice, as his boys were born 13 years apart. When his older son was thinking about dropping Scouts, he told his son this: he wished the boy wouldn’t quit Scouting, because if did, the DAD would have to quit Scouts, too -- and he was having way too much fun! The boy decided to “do it for his dad.” Their stories of Scouting adventures have become part of the family lore. To this day that son proudly includes “Eagle Scout” on his resume. An older friend far on the opposite coast told me a harrowing story. “Jim” has been a Scout for over 63 years. Shortly after earning his Eagle Scout badge long ago, in anger, he disassembled a classmate’s bicycle, piece by piece. Soon regretting his lapse of character, Jim told his parents about the pile of scrap he’d left for the other boy to discover as he left church. Jim’s parents and Scoutmaster took his Eagle away as punishment, making him earn it back by better living the Scout Oath and Law. It’s a lesson he still feels in every bone of his body some six decades later. You see, Scouts (and their affiliates) are not angels. They’re neither saints nor the Boy Scout stereotypes you see in the movies. They are real kids who join our program not because of its character development, morals, and lessons, but to go camping, canoing, and rock climbing. Their characters are developed along the way -- and this simply isn’t possible unless the entire family is involved. A Chicago Scouter has spoken of the intergenerational value that Scouting brought to his family. His grandfather, father, and now his daughter all have been active in Scouting -- she as a Venturer, who now works for the BSA. This intergenerational pattern in Scouting families is a common, powerful tale -- but not available to millions of young people today whose fathers were not involved in the program. Our job is to ensure that today’s parents with NO background in Scouting understand how Scouting can bring fun and value to today’s family. They can pursue it without the weight of history. I recently traveled to Indiana to participate in an Eagle Scout ceremony. The honoree, a world class athlete, spoke vigorously and convincingly about how his whole family had supported him in becoming both an all-state baseball player AND an Eagle Scout. The activities were inextricably intertwined, and mutually supportive. His time on the diamond reinforced his learning from the woods, and vice versa -- and his family was “all in.” Interestingly, I ended up sitting next to his teenage sister. She said SHE had gotten so much out of her brother’s being in Scouting, traveling with his troop to some neat places, helping with his service projects and fundraising work. AND she met other great kids in the troop, who are now HER friends. This family’s mom told a similar story. So even now, when the BSA talks about a family program, young women like this one in Indiana say, “Well of course; our family has been living that way for years!” So, what’s the big deal? Scouting has served families -- moms, dads, brothers, and sisters -- for more than a century. BSA’s national organization is now simply accepting the reality of how so many families, for many generations, have used the Scouting program to grow together. I’m glad I sat next to that young lady in Indianapolis. She sure gets it! Yours in Scouting, Ray Capp

ALUMNI NEWS It’s Awards Season at Scouting Alumni and Friends Awards season is over in the entertainment industry, but it’s just gearing up in Scouting. At May’s National Annual Meeting, the BSA will present the National Alumnus of the Year Award to Joe Weingarten of Indianapolis, the driving force behind the online stores that support Scouting Alumni and Friends ( and the National Eagle Scout Association ( (See pg. 16 for a profile of Weingarten.) The National Alumnus of the Year Award was created in 2011 to recognize Scouting alumni who have, over a sustained period of time, made significant contributions to our nation through their careers, avocations, community service and the BSA alumni program. “We are trying to recognize folks who are not only distinguished but are also continuing to give back to Scouting or share Scouting’s message with others,” says Rick Bragga, senior vice-chair of Scouting Alumni and Friends. Only one person a year can receive the National Alumnus of the Year Award. But Scouting Alumni and Friends has several programs to recognize outstanding alumni. Here’s a rundown of all the options.

Alumnus of the Year Award Organizationally speaking, the BSA operates on three levels: national, regional and local, and there are versions of the Alumnus of the Year Award for each level. Those whose service isn’t national in scope can earn the Regional Alumnus of the Year Award, which debuted last year; this award can be presented to one individual in each of the four BSA regions each year. A committee primarily comprised of past National Alumnus of the Year Award recipients reviews all nominations for the national and regional awards, and they make sure that alumni activities stand out. “They want to make sure people are actually getting the award for doing alumni recruitment and development, rather than having it be a ‘good guy’ award,” says Mike Movius, vice-chair for awards and recognition. In addition, each local council can present the Council Alumnus of the Year Award (at a rate of one per council per year). Qualifications are similar to those for the other awards. 3

Alumni Award Alumni of the Year Awards are limited in number and must go through a nomination process. This award recognizes registered Scouters who help unregistered alumni rejoin the movement. This task breaks down into four categories of requirements: alumni identification and promotion, alumni engagement, personal participation and personal education. All told, there are 16 requirements. The Alumni Award and Alumnus of the Year Award are unrelated. However, Movius says, “This year for the regional and council Alumnus of the Year Award, we have suggested on the form that they consider folks who have received the Alumni Award.” In other words, earning the Alumni Award is a good stepping stone toward being considered for one of the other honors.

Scouting Service Commendation Scouting Alumni and Friends’ latest offering is the Scouting Service Commendation, which recognizes cumulative service of 25, 50 or 75 years. The best thing about this award is it requires no application, no nominations, no approvals — nothing but serving for 25, 50 or 75 years (which of course is quite a big deal itself). According to Movius, the commendation was developed to recognize Scouting alumni who have long served Scouting and their communities, but might not qualify for other awards. “These folks have been demonstrating the values of Scouting throughout their community, work, church and family,” he says. “We wanted to celebrate that.” Recipients of the Scouting Service Commendation can be volunteers, professionals or staff members, and their years of service don’t have to be continuous. Individuals can order a commendation for themselves or another individual, and the commendations can be presented on any occasion. For more information, visit Forms must be postmarked by December 31 or submitted electronically by January 1 to be considered in any given year.

Alumni Training Goes On the Road and Online “Be prepared.” Scouts and Scouting alumni alike have been living by those two simple words for more than a hundred years. Whether you’re getting ready for a camping trip or a job interview, you instinctively know that you’ll be more successful if you are prepared. The Scout Motto also applies to alumni activities. To build and grow effective alumni programs, you have to be prepared. And now, two of the best ways to do that are to get trained. Starting later this spring, BSA volunteers and professionals will be able to take training both in person and online.

In Person A week-long alumni conference has been held most summers since 2009 at the Philmont Training Center. This year, the conference will occur there from June 10-16 and also at the Tickle Training and Leadership Center at the Summit Bechtel Reserve from July 22-28. That means easy access from nearly anywhere in the country. (Seventy percent of the U.S. population lives within a 10-hour drive of the Summit, while Philmont is just four hours south of the bustling Denver International Airport.) This year’s edition of the conference is dubbed “Scouting Alumni and Friends: Your Answer to Everything,” which emphasizes that strong alumni programs can help councils with everything from fundraising to membership to community engagement. “A council needs more people, more volunteers,” says Scouting Alumni and Friends’ Vice-chair of Training Tim Acree. “The idea is to get those folks engaged again.” During the week, participants will hear about successful alumni programs from across the country, share their own experiences and learn about the many resources offered by SAF and the NESA. “The goal is to give them a comprehensive download of the alumni program and all of its various components, and to have them leave with their next 12 months planned for alumni in their council — not a cookie-cutter template but something that they have put together as a result of the course,” says Scouting Alumni and Friends Senior Vice-Chair Rick Bragga. For more information and to register for the conference of your choice, visit the Scouting Alumni and Friends’ webpage.

Online If an in-person experience is not an option this year, online training is the next best thing. By late May, registered volunteers will be able to complete six online modules related to Scouting Alumni and Friends at the BSA LearnCenter. While these modules could never replace the summer conferences, they do offer valuable introductions to key topics. “Like all online training, you might consider this the equivalent of basic training for a commissioner or for a Scouting Alumni and Friends committee member,” says Acree. “Once they take this, their next point on their learning plan should be to go to Philmont or the Summit Bechtel Reserve.” The online modules, which run from six to 10 minutes each, were Acree’s brainchild. Acree wrote the modules in collaboration with fellow volunteers Kandra Dickerson and Craig Donais. Since the pros at Scouting U, the BSA’s training arm, were tied up with other projects, Acree enlisted the help of another volunteer, Alvah Downs, who spent 10 years in e-learning development at FedEx before he retired. Acree says Downs’ involvement is emblematic of how Scouting alumni can use their talents to give back to Scouting. “The BSA has a volunteer with an Adobe Captivate license creating modules for them at no charge,” he says. “Pretty cool, isn’t it? Downs (who also serves as an assistant council commissioner) agrees, pointing out that you don’t have to work directly with kids to make a difference in Scouting. “I’m not in direct youth service, but I still make a significant contribution because I have a particular skill they can use,” he says. “There’s got to be lots of other people that have skills like that we can use.” To access the new training modules (starting in late May), visit 4

Letters to the Editor I proudly display a number of plaques and diplomas in my office, but the one that sparks the most remarks and conversation, by far, is my Eagle Scout certificate. That’s fitting, because the lessons of responsibility, organization, and hard work learned in Scouting taught me to work with other people, focus on goals, and get things done. My Eagle accomplishment has followed me all my life: recognition by others of the achievement has opened many doors; self-esteem imparted and lessons learned prepared me to handle challenges. I am especially grateful to my Scoutmaster Bob Rose, whose constant encouragement and energy convinced many hundreds of Scouts we could accomplish our goals while having fun. The guidance of Scouting provides short-term enjoyment and rewards that pay life-long dividends. “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.” Dr. Brent Florine (right) with his younger brother, Craig, circa 1973.

- Dr. Brent Florine

I am...grateful I started my Scouting journey in Traverse City, Michigan, Scenic Trails Council, with Troop 230. And when the family moved to Caro, Michigan, I continued the adventure in Troop 160 [which I think has since been renumbered], Saginaw (now Huron?) Valley Council. During these years and long after for more than three decades, my dad, Harold E. Johnson, continued in Scouting holding several Scoutmaster positions, and working with countless young Scouts, many of whom made it to the rank of Eagle. He was instrumental in the development of Camp Greilickville/Camp Rotary near Traverse City as well as Camp Pine Acres near Caro. He was generous with his time, labor and lucre notwithstanding the demands placed upon a successful businessman, for which he was recognized with the Silver Beaver Award. Or, to put the whole thing in Dr. Clark Johnson’s Eagle Scout card, showing wear a little different perspective, he lived the lessons and rules of Scouting as have I, and from being carried in his wallet. for which I will be forever grateful. Scouting laid the foundation which served me well all through my life. I served arduous military service and came out smiling. I served my civilian government, and still do. I produced two Eagle Scouts of my own, Spencer and Sterling, Birmingham, Michigan, and have quietly lent a hand to many others coming along the way of their own successful lives. I am truly grateful for the lessons, values and guidance Scouting provided to me and my family. I would not be where I am today, working harder than ever and enjoying every minute of it, had I not had these gifts. Thank you, Scouting. - Dr. Clark Cumings Johnson 5

Do you have an amazing Scouter story you would like to share with Scouting Alumni and Friends? We want to hear it! Send your story and pictures to bsaalumni@scouting.

Alumni Spelling Bee Champions Cong ratulations to this qu ar te r ’s winne rs! You r get ting go o d at this! If you would like to b e featu re d in a fu tu re e dition of Alu mni Alive , c he c k you r inb ox for details . You may just f ind what we’re lo oking for !

Rich Coster Horseshoe Trail District Chairman, Chester County Council

Michael W. Michelsen, Jr. Property Committee Member, California Inland Empire Council

Former Member of Troop 156, Oakmont, PA Troop 16, Coatesville, PA

Eagle Scout Former Member of Troop 80, Palm Springs, CA

Nancy Ratliff District Roundtable Commissioner, Cub Scouting Pine Burr Council

Zachary Whirley Committee Chairman Pack 1965 Clear Lake, TX Sam Houston Area Council

Former Den Leader and Cub Master, Pack 90 Hattiesburg, MS 6

HAPPENINGS Order of the Arrow Hurricane Relief Efforts in Puerto Rico In September of 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico with its strong winds and widespread flooding. Countless people’s homes were destroyed or left without power, and to this day there are still widespread gaps in the power grid.

Based on the conditions of the camp when the event was announced in early January, a cap was set at 100 volunteers. In under a month, every spot had been filled with an excited Scout or adult leader.

Included in the long list of damaged properties were the Puerto Rico Council office, and Camp Guajataka. Without an office or a camp, the council lacked the resources to continue providing the Scouting program to the thousands of active Scouts who live in Puerto Rico.

When the volunteers arrived on March 11th, Camp Guajataka was littered with bamboo and downed trees, and almost every building and trail had sustained noticeable damage. The camp’s Friendship Bridge, which connects the two halves of the camp, was also in need of significant work.

To help ensure that Scouting would stay strong in Puerto Rico in spite of the hurricane, members of the Order of the Arrow decided to take action.

Aided by local firefighters, the Arrowcorps volunteers worked tirelessly to help fix the camp. Some projects were expected to take almost the entire week, but the team worked so diligently that they were completed in a day.

Starting in early October, the leadership of the Order of the Arrow Section NE-5 started a patch fundraiser to help support Camp Guajataka. What started as a small patch fundraiser that would hopefully raise $5,000 from people in the section quickly became a nationwide sale that raised nearly $60,000. Along with the patch sale was the idea for a more tangible service effort. A team of the area director, the section and regional leadership from the OA, and the professional staff in Puerto Rico worked for months to plan a week-long service event to help make Camp Guajataka usable for the summer 2018 season. This event became known as Arrowcorps Puerto Rico.


By the end of the week all of the campsites were reopened, hundreds of feet of trails had been cleared, and the beloved Friendship Bridge was standing once again. The Scouts and adult leaders who came to Camp Guajataka gave of their time and talent to leave the camp better than they found it, and left with new friends and experiences that they’ll never forget.

Adult Adventure Weekend If the adult volunteers at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree had one complaint, it was that the Scouts were having all the fun. Oh, they may not have said it out loud, but it was undoubtedly hard to stand on the sidelines as Scouts enjoyed some of the best adventure sports facilities on the continent, including America’s largest canopy course, largest man made outdoor climbing site, second-largest outdoor skate park, second-largest BMX facility and third-largest shooting venue. In fact, a measure of jealousy was evident when staff members were surveyed after the event. “We got so many positive responses from the surveys, but the one thing we kept hearing was ‘Gosh, wouldn’t it be great if we adults got a chance to do all the fun stuff that the kids get to do at the jamboree?’” says Toby Capps, base camp operations lead. Soon, they’ll get that chance. This summer, the Summit Bechtel Reserve, permanent site of BSA jamborees, will host its first Adult Adventure Weekend. From June 20-24, Scouters will have their turn to ride the zip lines, climb rocks, shoot guns, ride bikes, fish, tour, eat great food, hang out with friends and experience programs typically reserved for Boy Scouts and Venturers.

“There’s no set schedule; you decide (when you register) what you want to do for those three days,” Capps says. “It’ll just be a really good time of fellowship and saying thank-you to all the volunteers who work so hard to serve this organization.” If participants are inspired to bring Scouts back to the Summit or take them to another high adventure base, they’ll have a chance to learn more during evening programs. “There will be folks from all the high adventure bases there, as well as the whole Outdoor Adventures team of the Boy Scouts, to talk about how to do a high adventure experience in your own council,” Capps says. Adult Adventure Weekend is open to any registered adult in the BSA, and participants can come alone or with a group of friends from back home. The cost is $295, which covers housing, 11 meals and all program activities except rafting (an additional $75) and an underground mine tour (an additional $20). For more information, visit “It’s a chance to be a kid again,” Capps says. “Who among us wouldn’t want to do that?”

“The whole idea is to have adults come and act like teenagers again, for us to be the ones to go on the zip lines and shoot the guns and do the high-ropes courses and go fishing and whitewater rafting — all the things we don’t get a chance to do when we serve at the jamboree,” says Capps, who’s chairing the event. “We’re really, really excited about it and hope it’s something a lot of people can find time to do.” Although “weekend” is in the title, Adult Adventure Weekend actually spans five days. On each of the three full days (Thursday through Saturday), participants can sign up for morning and afternoon activities, six activities in all. These activities range from the intense — whitewater rafting and rock climbing — to the sedate — fishing and tours of the Summit.


Survival Hacks with

Former President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” This is precisely what Creek Stewart, our contributor to this new series, had in mind for Survival Hacks with CR///EK. Creek gives the definition as: Sur-VIV-al Hack-ing: (v) The act of using what you have to get what you need to stay alive in any situation. He continues to say that “hacking” is making due with what you’ve got. It has three aspects: using knowledge of basic survival principles; innovative thinking; and exploiting available resources. We think he is right! Scouts are resourceful and prepared. And, they are always open to learning new things. So take a look and maybe you will learn a new trick or two!

About Creek Stewart CR///EK Stewart: Survival Instructor, Author, Host. Creek’s survival knowledge comes from experience. His life-long study of outdoor living and survival skills is backed by thousands of man-hours in the field. Creek is a frequent guest survival expert in the media and has been featured in/on magazines, talk shows, and countless radio and online events. He is a regular contributing author to the hugely popular men’s interest blog, and his survival writings have been featured on thousands of websites. Creek is a published author of many titles, including Survival Hacks available here. In 2015, Creek was presented with the NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award (NOESA) by the Boy Scouts of America. The NOESA is a prestigious recognition granted to Eagle Scouts who have demonstrated outstanding achievement at the local, state, or regional level. Creek recognizes his experiences while earning the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge in the Boy Scouts of America as the fuel for a lifelong passion in learning and teaching self-reliant skills. Creek is the owner of and lead instructor at Willow Haven Outdoor Survival School in Central Indiana. He is also the owner and curator of APOCABOX, a bimonthly subscription survival box. Currently, Creek is the lead survival instructor for the traveling survival training and competition series, ESCAPE THE WOODS.


Cr///ek Stewart here! I am extremely excited to be a contributor to Alumni Alive and share some more of my favorite survival hacks! If you’re in need of an eating utensil, bowl or funnel, this first hack is for you! The second hack is a way to quickly start a fire. But be sure to have a good tinder bundle ready because you’ll only have about three seconds of flame! Enjoy! And remember, it’s not IF but WHEN.

The Two-Liter Spoon Did you know a 2-liter pop bottle can yield 5 spoons? If you look closely, you will see several spoon-bowl shapes along the bottom. Cut out one of those extrusions along with an extended piece for a handle to extract a nearly perfect spoon for wild soups and stews or scavenged urban canned goods. The leftover top of the 2-liter bottle makes an excellent bowl with the cap on, or a funnel with the cap removed! Did you also know the mouth of a 2-liter bottle fits perfectly into the fuel tank of a car or truck for an emergency refueling funnel?

Gum Wrapper Fire A foil-backed gum wrapper (or any foil-backed paper candy wrapper) can be used to start a fire if you have a battery source, such as a AA battery from a flashlight or remote control. Start by trimming the wrapper to an hourglass-shape. Touch the positive and negative terminals of the battery with the foil side of the wrapper simultaneously. The electrical current will converge on the thinnest part of the hourglass-shape and ignite the wrapper to flame. If the battery is too weak to bring the wrapper to flame, consider adding a second battery for more electrical current.


Program Venturing: Celebrating 20 Years of Adventure The writer Anne Lamott once said bringing up a teenager is as challenging as bringing home a newborn baby. “And it turns out there are no operating instructions and no owner’s manual that come with a teenager either,” she said. Lamott may be wrong about that last part, however. Some would say the Venturing Advisor Guidebook offers pretty good instructions for dealing with a group that Mad magazine creator Harvey Kurtzman said “act like babies if they’re not treated like adults.” This year, Venturing marks 20 years of treating teens like adults — and helping them become adults in the process. To learn more about the program, Alumni Alive caught up with Kris Zahrobsky of Willowbrook, Ill. An Eagle Scout, Zahrobsky serves as National Venturing Advisor, but he was also one of the first Venturers in the country. (“I actually went out and recruited my own adults,” he says. “It was pretty wild.”) He also led Venturing’s rollout in his council — at age 18 — and became the area Venturing advisor the day he turned 21. In his current role, he advises the national Venturing officers. Here’s his take on how Venturing works and how it’s celebrating its birthday. What is Venturing? Venturing is the BSA’s co-ed program for young adults ages 14 through 20. Its appeal to youth is that it can be whatever you want it to be. Whatever fuels your passion, we’ll connect you to somebody who can help you learn and network more and further your love of whatever discipline you want to pursue. Isn’t Venturing all about high adventure? No. You will find crews whose whole goal is high adventure, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But Venturing is really capable of anything. There’s a roller-coaster engineering crew. There are historical battle reenactment crews. I met a culinary crew that actually staffs a restaurant once a month. Adventure is a key component of Venturing. “Adventure” doesn’t just have to refer to outdoor exploration; it could be facing your fear of heights, trying a new food or exploring a new travel destination. What’s the secret to success in Venturing? I think program fuels membership and the desire to be a part of something. To do more than conference calls and meetings is essential. Get 11

out there and do things and have new adventures and make sure the youth are integral in the planning and execution, so they share the ownership and responsibility. How does the co-ed aspect work? It changed the dynamic for me as a Venturer. Girls develop a lot quicker than boys do, and it helps boys mature a little bit. With the guys you’re horsing around or doing stupid things you’d probably get yelled at for. But with the girls you kind of act a little smarter and try to care a little bit more. In Boy Scouting, advancement provides a road map. What about Venturing? For Venturing, the awards are not mandatory. The focus isn’t on the awards. If you want to earn them, they’re there for you. They’re going to give you a challenge and help you develop character and citizenship and personal fitness in many different ways. So we don’t have thousands of Venturers earning the Summit Award (Venturing’s highest award) each year? Not yet. The Summit Award doesn’t have the place in culture that Eagle Scout does, just because it’s younger. I’m hoping in 50 years — and really a lot sooner — when you put “Summit Award recipient” on a job application, it’ll make some eyes open, just like Eagle does today. How is Venturing marking its 20th anniversary? Venturing is throwing a celebration called VenturingFest that we’re saying has been 20 years in the making. It will be the largest national gathering of Venturers and will be held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia from July 1-6, 2018. Come join thousands of Venturers, Venturing-age Scouts and Scouts from around the world, and participate in all your Summit favorite activities experienced at the National Scout Jamboree — but without the lines and for a fraction of the price! In addition, we will have concerts, nightly parties and memories that will last a lifetime! For more information, visit How can people learn more about Venturing? The biggest way is to go to It is our one-stop resource for all things Venturing, including connecting to our social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

Wood Badge Celebrates Two Anniversaries in Two Ways Susie Blaylock called it the best experience of her life, aside from her wedding day and the births of her children. Steve Rich called it a life-altering experience. Patricia Gibbons said it’s the reason she’s stayed involved in Scouting for nearly four decades. It is Wood Badge, the BSA’s premier leadership development course for adult volunteers, a course celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and its 100th anniversary in 2019. How does that work? Read on to find out.

A Special Award for Wood Badge’s 70th Birthday Seventy summers ago, 29 Boy Scout leaders (all of them men) gathered at Schiff Scout Reservation in New Jersey to test a new training course called Wood Badge. Directed by legendary Scouter William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt, the nine-day course focused on Scoutcraft skills and the patrol method. The nine days of training were just the beginning, however. To earn their Wood Badge beads, participants had to complete a “ticket” of goals after they returned home. To mark 70 years of Wood Badge in America, American Wood Badge Alumni (an affiliate group of Scouting Alumni and Friends) has created the American Wood Badge Alumni 70th Anniversary Award. Anyone who has attended since that 1948 course can earn this award by completing five of nine requirements during 2018, such as registering as a member of Scouting Alumni and Friends, at any level; recruiting an individual to attend and volunteer at a Boy Scout training even or Wood Badge service activity; promoting Wood Badge training at a unit, district, council area, region, or national event; or contributing to an existing council custodial fund for Wood Badge Scholarships. Those who complete the requirements will receive a certificate and can order a patch for $7. For more information and an application, visit

An Updated Syllabus for Wood Badge’s 100th Anniversary So where does the 100th anniversary come in? Although American Wood Badge began in 1948, the world’s first course occurred in 1919 at Gilwell Park in England. Leading that course was none other than Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell.

To mark that occasion — and more importantly to bring Wood Badge up to date — a 28-member volunteer task force has been working since 2015 on the Wood Badge Centennial Update. The new version focuses on 12 competencies of effective leaders, leveraging decades of experience both in Scouting and in the field of leadership development. Leading the effort is long-time Scouter Randy Cline, who first took Wood Badge in 1972 (just after the course shifted its focus from outdoor skills to leadership development) and served on the task force that created Wood Badge for the 21st Century nearly two decades ago. “It’s been a labor of love,” Cline says. “This has been a wonderful group; people have really stepped up to the plate.” Cline notes that much has changed in Scouting (and society) since his own Wood Badge experience, including the broader inclusion of female leaders and a closer connection between Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting and Venturing. The new syllabus, which is being piloted around the country in 2018, reflects those changes. It also reflects the reality that few people can give up nine straight days (as they did in 1948) or three weekends (as they did a few decades ago). The task force is piloting a five-day model that includes one three-day weekend and one two-day weekend. While there are some changes in Wood Badge, the most important things are staying the same. Cline expects the updated course to answer the same questions previous versions did: “What did you learn in Wood Badge that made you a better Scout leader? What did you learn about leadership that helps you back home in your workplace? How did it improve your relationships with others? Those are the questions that attending Wood Badge ought to help people focus on,” he says.


Scouts: Then and Now If we look at photos from those two phases of life, the visible changes will be obvious. The non-visible changes — more confidence, better character, stronger leadership skills — are there, too. This life-changing power of Scouting inspired Scouts Then and Now, a Bryan on Scouting ( blog series. The premise is simple. He shares two photos of the same Scout or Venturer: once in their early Scouting years, and again in their later Scouting years. We are continuing his project here in AlumniAlive!


Christopher from California

Elijah from Oklahoma

Eng from Illinois

Eric from Texas

We are excited to see our alumni and friends as they have progressed in Scouting! If you would like to feature your young Scout, or even yourself, in Bryan on Scouting’s blog, here’s how. Send two photos of your Scout(s) or yourself: one in their early years and one in their later years - and include their name and home state. The photos will be combined as a side-byside, so no need to fret about that. Send the images as attachments in an email to with the subject line “Scouts Then and Now.”

Jeff from Ohio

Kevin from Florida

Lucas from Pennsylvania

Wyatt from Maryland


Profiles Larry Bacow, Incoming Harvard President On July 1, Larry Bacow will become president of Harvard University — just the 29th person to hold that position since 1636. In many ways, B a c o w ’s a p p o i n t m e n t is not surprising. He currently serves as the Hauser Leader-inResidence at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Center for Public Leadership and served with distinction as president of nearby Tufts Larry Bacow Photo Credit: Harvard University University for a decade. Before that, he taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 24 years. But dig deeper into Bacow’s background, and you’ll discover that he’s no Ivy League scion. Instead, the Pontiac, MI native is the son of two Jewish immigrants. His mother was the only Auschwitz survivor among her family members; his father grew up in inner-city Detroit and worked a host of jobs — parking cars, sales, construction — while attending college at night. Bacow credits his parents and teachers for much of his success, but he also credits Scouting and the fact that both he and his father, Mitchell, earned the Eagle Scout rank. “I think Scouting gave him access to a whole range of opportunities that he would not have had otherwise,” Bacow says. “I think it instills a lifelong love of the outdoors, which he instilled in my sister and in me.” As for himself, Bacow says Scouting taught him a host of values, perhaps the most important of which is found in the Scout motto. “I would say, arguably, the most important thing is to be prepared,” he says. “It’s such a simple but powerful concept, and I think applicable in virtually all walks of life, but especially in leadership positions. People sometimes take it for granted, but there’s probably no better advice I could give


to somebody embarking on any kind of a challenge than to be prepared.” Through Scouting, Bacow also learned the value of diversity, in part because his troop, Troop 7, was chartered to Bethany Baptist Church in Pontiac. “I always like to joke that as a Jewish kid I spent a lot of time in church, because that’s where the troop met,” he says. “My reflections back then about Scouting were that it was a very welcoming place for people who might have felt differently from others, and that was certainly the case a bit for me.” Bacow also experienced diversity when he attended the 1967 World Scout Jamboree in Idaho — not as a participant but as a member of the host corps. “I spent a lot of time with the Scouts who came over from Belgium, helping them set up their camp and get oriented at the jamboree,” he says. “That was a very memorable experience.” Bacow’s interest in diversity and the individual shone through during his decade at Tufts. Besides doubling the university’s endowment and raising average SAT scores by 100 points, he worked hard to connect with and support the university’s 10,000 students. He and his wife, Adele, hosted dinners for seniors each spring, he invited students to go running with him (he has completed five marathons) and he held meetings with students hospitalized for excessive alcohol consumption — not to interrogate them but to counsel them. He and Adele were also regulars at campus events, even dancing at performances of the Tufts Dance Collective. Beyond the fun, however, Bacow is dead serious about the importance of higher education. When he was elected Harvard president in February, he said this: “Where else can one go, in one generation, from off the boat, with literally nothing, to enjoy the kind of life and opportunity that I and my family have been fortunate to enjoy? It was higher education that made this all possible.” Higher education — and two generations in Scouting. Note: Eagles’ Call magazine, will feature more on Bacow’s story in its fall issue.

Joe Weingarten, National Alumnus of the Year What do you give a man who has earned 11 patents, a fistful of honors from the U.S. Air Force, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Lawrence Sperry Award? The BSA’s National Alumnus of the Year Award, of course. Joe Weingarten of Indianapolis is the award’s 8th honoree, and will receive the award at May’s National Annual Meeting in Dallas. Weingarten, also a Distinguished Eagle Scout, grew up in Manhattan, NY, where he was active in Pack, Troop and Post 529. “The troop was kind of different from most in New York City in that we were a camping troop,” he says. “Every month we went up into the Catskills or Adirondacks, except for once a year when we had to go to a Boy Scout camp.” After graduating from Brooklyn Technical High School, Weingarten earned a degree from New York University, followed by a direct commission into the U.S. Air Force. “I was just told to put on a uniform and get to work,” he says. “So my basic training turned out to be being an Eagle Scout.” Weingarten worked at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where he applied his engineering skills to air cargo and air drop. Among his many innovations was a rope/parachute cargo extraction system to launch a Minuteman missile in mid-air. That test, conducted just before the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in 1969, showed the Soviet Union that the U.S. could deploy a mobile-launch system. But Weingarten’s biggest contribution to aeronautics was calculating the required G forces for airplane components and cargoes. Engineers had long relied on a World War IIera rule of thumb that he eventually disproved. Among other things, Weingarten determined that engine mounts didn’t need to withstand the same G forces as, say, passenger seats. It made more sense to let engines break away in a crash landing, reducing the likelihood of a catastrophic fire. “What really made me proud is that every aeronautical authority in the world has adopted it,” he says. “How often do you get every country in the world to adopt something?” NASA borrowed Weingarten from the Air Force to do similar

work leading to the space shuttle program. Again, he found that the planned criteria were too rigorous. “I told them what would happen in a landing crash and that their criteria were too high,” he says. “So the shuttle and all satellites going forward were based on G loadings that correspond to the takeoff loadings, not the landings.” Despite a busy career, We i n g a r t e n s e r v e d a s Joe Weingarten Scoutmaster for his son To b y ’s t r o o p , g r o w i n g it from 5 Scouts to 30 over a five-year period. (Toby is also a Distinguished Eagle Scout, making the Weingartens one of a handful of father-son DESA pairs in history.) He also served as an assistant council commissioner and first chairman of the Wright Brothers District, Miami Valley Council. Along the way, he has served on five national and two world jamboree staffs and is a member of both the Scouting Alumni and Friends and NESA committees. In recent years, Weingarten’s biggest contribution to Scouting has been to create and manage online stores for both SAF and NESA. The stores offer unique gift items for Scouting alumni of all types. Weingarten estimates that he spends 20 to 30 hours a week minding the stores, all as a volunteer. Why would a retired rocket scientist take on an unpaid, parttime job selling Scouting merchandise? “I look at it as payback and how to help other people get the Scouting experience and the knowledge that I got,” he says. And he has a message for his fellow alumni: “Whether they were an Eagle or a Tenderfoot doesn’t matter. They should – through the alumni group, their local councils or troop or pack – help people coming up the ladder.”