Sunday, April 13, 2014

Annual Health & Medical Form: New or Old for 2014

There have been a lot of questions that have surfaced lately from scout leaders in our district regarding the new Annual Health Medical Record Form. The main questions that continue to come up include, "When is the new form required?" "Can I use the old form this year for our Summer Camp?" 

The BSA has provided information regarding this topic on scouting.org. An excerpt from Scouting.org "Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the Annual Health Medical Record" states the following:

Q. Can I use last year's Annual Health and Medical Record with a physical conducted in August 2013 for a summer camp in June 2014?A. Yes, because 2014 will be a transition year. An Annual Health and Medical Record that contains a valid physical exam can be used to meet your council's resident camp standards in 2014. It is suggested that those individuals who do not have a current pre-participation exam use the latest version now. The old versions will be obsolete as of April 2015. 

For additional questions and answers regarding this form please visit the link below.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Venture - April 2014

The April 4, 2014 Venture Challenge is cycling. To go along with that theme, here is a true story about an active scout who belonged to a strong scouting program in our district.  He and his fellow Boy Scouts were swept along in an efficient program that accomplished the noteworthy task of vaulting them to the rank of Eagle Scout by the time they were 14.  This particular scout had, in the course of his trail to Eagle, earned his Cycling Merit Badge.  Several years later that same young man joined in as a Venture Scout on a cycling trip around Bear Lake just months before he was to leave on his mission.  Part way around the lake the young man experienced a flat tire.  The SAG wagon pulled up with the tools and parts necessary to correct the problem, but the young man just stood there, waiting.  The leader exited the wagon and said to the young man, “Here are the tools. Get to work before you get too far behind”.  After some fumbling and mumbling the Venture scout admitted what the leader had already observed: he did not know how to fix a flat bicycle tire.  The leader replied, “You earned the Cycling Merit Badge, didn’t you?”  “Yes…” the boy said, “…I think I did.  I remember going on a couple of bike rides.”  With that the leader sat down with the young man and taught him how to correctly fix a flat bicycle tire.


Too often the quest for merit badges and rank advancements becomes such a focus that boys are run through the program as if on an assembly line.  What comes out at the end is a chest plastered with patches but with insufficient skills to put into real-life practice what should have really been learned.  The Venture Program is the last scouting “launch pad” before boys take off into the world. It is the place where critical skills should be learned and tested, and it is our responsibility as Venture leaders to make sure our young men have those skills they need to be successful in life.  One effective way to accomplish this is through the Venture Program Capability Inventory, a simple and organized way to leverage the experience and expertise of parents, adults and leaders of your neighborhood, church, and auxiliary organizations to help teach the Venture Scouts in areas of the boys’ interest. By effectively utilizing all of our available resources we can make sure our young men enter the world armed with skills and experiences to help them succeed.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Eagle Choir and 100 years of BSA in Utah

I am involved in Scouting on many levels…too many sometimes.  So when one more thing came up, I was hesitant to commit that much more time.  I decided, though, that joining the Eagle Scout Choir for the Century of Honor broadcast to celebrate the 100 year partnership between BSA and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.  It wasn’t something I could pass up.

Practices began on Sunday evenings in September.  It was fun to join with so many men in learning new songs.  There has always been a great spirit in this group.  I inherited my tears from my mother and there have been many moments where I have to fight to keep singing.  What an amazing group and experience.

The practice on Saturday the 26th was an all-day affair.  We gathered with all of the groups involved to run through the entire performance 4 times.  What a spectacle!  This will be an

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Venturing Update October 2013

There's an all-too-common misconception among members of the LDS Church, including Bishops and YM Presidents, that the Venturing Program is a BSA contrivance and that it is therefore "optional" at best in terms of dedication and following of the program.  Nothing could be further from the truth:  Seeing a need for a Scouting-style program for older boys, in 1928 the Church created an advanced curriculum called "Vanguard" Scouting.  Five years later the BSA asked for and received permission to use the Church's curriculum for older youth which it renamed "Explorer" and folded it into their "Senior Scouts" program. On Feb 9, 1998 the awards for the "Explorer" program were refined and the name was officially changed to "Venture Scouting", yet the core curriculum first created by the Church remained intact. It's important to note that it was the Church that initiated, created, and most greatly influenced this advanced program for older youth.  At no time since it's foundation has the Church dropped support for the "Venturing" program.  If you are not following the Venturing Program, you are doing it by "some other way" (D&C 50:18).

Varsity Update October 2013


At the Big Event in 2012, there was a Varsity Team that came up from Henderson, Nevada.   They had never been camping in a mountainous area before.  Some of the young men were unprepared for the cold and  inclement weather that frequents the high Uintah Mountain Range, even though their Varsity Coach had warned them and taught them what to plan for.  Even though they were cold and a bit miserable, they were excited to participate in the many activities offered at the Big Event.  One young man, who looked more 12 than 14, had never even held a shot gun or any kind of weapon before.  He was small for his age, very timid,  and was very self conscious of his size, or lack thereof.  When he got to the range he was very nervous at first, but after some individual instruction from the  Range Master, he went out with confidence and shot 5 out of 5 clay pigeons.  There were a bunch of other scouts at the shot gun range at that time who were of much larger stature and looked more mature than this young man from Nevada.  These scouts were bragging about how many clay pigeons they had hit.  Some hit 2, some hit 3 and after a while, the range master, knowing full well what the answer was, asked the younger scout how many clay pigeons he had hit.  He just beamed and exclaimed that he had hit a perfect 5 out of 5.  The other scouts looked at him for a moment and were a bit shocked as what he said registered in their minds.  Then they all cheered and patted (more like pounded) him on the back and congratulated him.  For this young man it was the most thrilling experience of his life.  For once he was the hero, he had been readily and enthusiastically accepted by the group and he had the tremendous satisfaction of accomplishing something very difficult.

This is what scouting is all about, giving these young men and young women experiences that build confidence and help them grow to their amazing potential.  Let us all strive to develop our program to give scouts the opportunity to grow, to recognize their great worth and their potential.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September Varsity Western Skies


To our great Varsity and Assistant Varsity Coaches:
Thanks to all those who participated in the great ideas for our calendaring last month.  We are all excited about the next 12 months and look forward to learning how we can build our Varsity programs. Special thanks to Jay and Mike for providing the cobbler treat!
Here is a look at what’s ahead for the next 12 months.

Month
Topic
Varsity Program
September
Dutch Oven
Personal Development
October
Geocaching / GPS
Advancement
November
Snowshoeing
Special Programs/Events
December
On Target Mirrors
High Adventure
January
Mountain Man Night
Special Programs/Events
February
District Banquet
 
March
Shooting
High Adventure
April
Primitive Fire
Personal Development
May
Utensil less Cooking
Special Programs/Events
June
Off - No Huddle
Summer Camps
July
Off - No Huddle
 Summer Camps
August
Calendaring
Personal Development
 
I also want to take a moment and thank all of our Varsity Coaches and Assistant Varsity coaches for everything you do. We appreciate what you are doing to build the young men in your teams.

Venture Scouts


“Venture”.  Think about that word and focus on the thoughts that it conjures. Perhaps other words come to mind, like “explore” or “explorer” (not coincidentally the name of this Scouting Family prior to “Venture”), or “adventure”. A dictionary search reveals the following definitions: “An undertaking that is dangerous, daring, or of uncertain outcome”. “A risky or daring journey or undertaking”. “Dare to do something or go somewhere that may be dangerous or full of risk”.  These are terms and definitions that are inherently youthful in their nature, being so characterized perhaps from the attraction that the young have to the electric emotion that is always associated with them.  We adults, however, have a tendency to conform more readily to caution and care – venture’s antonyms.  To an adult leader it may cause a quandary then when we attempt to box in our Venture-aged youth with our own proclivity for protective passiveness and thereafter see enthusiasm and participation wane.