Boy Scouts of America is the organization for every child in America to develop into their full potential. Being a scout leader in one of the Boy Scouts of America organizations is also an incredible experience. The essential trait to the responsibility and privilege is being resourceful.
Yes, resourcefulness is critical as a scout and a scout leader. If your scouter experiences are anything like my last ten years of scouting, then you are not seeing any help from anyone outside of your unit. If you are, it might more closely resemble intrusiveness in the form of fundraising and/or bad advice. In my geography, I was compelled to be independent or fail. As failure was and is not an option, I have become successful due many reasons; prime among them was that I relied on many on-line resources that have helped me and will also be an excellent resource for you.
My favorite resources are as follows:
All Boy Scouts of America Scouting Resources (Boy Scouts, Venture, Cub Scouts)
Being the “Official Blog” Is a big boast and when you have been a Scouter for a while, you will learn that Boy Scouts of America official is not always the best. However, this is a very handsome site and I was drawn right in and subscribed and watched a YouTube on building a campfire. Scouts and fire…. They seem to fit a niche towards educating leaders on BSA activities but also mixing in fun things like campfire recipes. The site complements the other sites listed here which I am seeing as a pattern. There is not any one site that will fulfill all of your needs.
Scouting.org is the de facto site for the most recent scouting information pertaining to policies, training, processes, etc of the Boy Scouts of America. You are guaranteed to find the most up to date and accurate OFFICIAL information from BSA at this site. It is not the best resource for searching for creative ideas or imaginative ways to do things. In fact, the search mechanism is weak at best and returns non-pertinent results. The best way to use Scouting.org is through a google search that will show you accurate results within Scouting.org. To fully gain access you will nee a Scouting ID which you gain upon becoming a registered unit member.
The key thing you and your leaders will need to know from Scouting.org is this is the site for on-line training.
As a link from Scouting.org or direct is my.scouting.org which is a site specific for unit management. If you are a registered unit leader or assigned access, you will be able to access tools like:
- Be A Scout for new membership
- Tour Permits to ensure outings are covered under Scouting Insurance
- Internet Rechartering
- Internet Advancements
- Training Manager – shows unit training
- Member Manager – shows your membership
- Organization Manager – allows you to assign leaders
A fun read as a magazine and a site. Make sure your children get the magazine as it is a highly effective Scouting retention tool. I confess that even many of us gray hairs like to read Boy’s Life. Good information on a wide variety of topics including outdoor gear and funny jokes for around the campfire.
Specifically focused on Scouters with very helpful information on running your program. I would encourage you to also subscribe for the magazine. After all, you have plenty of time to read as being a Scout volunteer is only an hour a week. 🙂
The Non-Official Boy Scouts of America Sites for Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Venture Crews
These sites are where I go to tap the millions of Scouter’s intellectual property they have been creating and sharing for decades. If you want to keep Scouting alive and stem the massive attrition then you must take the time to keep the kids engaged and coming back for more. Don’t stick them in a classroom for crafts after a day filled with being in a classroom!! Use these incredible sites to run your programs.
I believe these independent sites illustrate one of the best things about Boy Scouts of America: They have created a system that allows and promotes autonomy and individuality. That philosophy has spawned incredible ideas and resources for all of us to benefit from so read on!
Scouter August’s Tarbubbles – Shameless Plug for my own site which provides novel guidance on leadership, running a unit, working with parents, gear reviews, recognition and more.
Bob White Blather – It isn’t frequently updated but does offer sage advice.
Boy Scout Trail – A nice site that offers advice and information for every level of scouting.
MeritBadge.Net is another forum with active topics and thousands of people contributing.
Meritbadge.org is the quickest, easiest and most comprehensive site for all things rank related for all scouts. The name is a misnomer as complete rank information for Cub Scouts and Venture Crew are also here. You will find those essential worksheets for merit badges and Webelo pins here as well as tiger and all the other achievements. I have spent a lot of time on this site and it is kept updated through constant change so hats off to the hard workers trying to keep up with Scouting’s constant changes.
Clarke Green has done an amazing job on this site. I truly have blog envy and really am compelled to whine about someone that is so talented that he knows so much about both scouting and blogging!! Practically everything you could hope to know you will find at this site. Be it which type of gear to buy or about leadership Clarke Green has it done. He even has a podcast. Well done sir!! 🙂
A classic forum rather than a blog with a wealth of information grouped by conversations. Ask questions or search through the forum and you will have a wealth of info available. Some of the topics have over 100,000 replies so you will certainly not lack from opinions at this site!!
ScouterMom – I have used this site a lot and it always has good creative ideas for what you are trying to accomplish in all levels of Scouting. Like all of the recommended sites, they keep it updated and fresh. This is one of my favorite, reliable sites.
http://www.scoutingnews.org/ Looks to be a thorough site including all levels of Boy Scouting as well as girl scouts.
The United States Scouting Service Project Website and also their Blog
This site is excellent and very, very comprehensive. I have used this for unique Blue & Gold and other campfire ceremonies. What is great about a site like this is that most information oriented around running a scouting program that isn’t sourced by scouting never is outdated. It is akin to your young ones watching Gilligan’s Island or The Three Stooges and laughing hysterically. Humor and fun are timeless and this site has numerous skits and songs and everything else you can imagine.
Baloo’s Bugle is focused for Cub Scouts and is a very creative and inspirational resource for your program.
I have no idea how they keep this site updated but it must take a lot of staff and/or a great amount of coffee.
MacScouter is where I learned what a Scouter meant.
If you are paid to do Scouting, you are called a Professional.
If you are not paid to do Scouting, you are called a Volunteer.
If you pay to do Scouting, you are called… … A Scouter.
Cub Scout Specific Sites Official and Unofficial
You have a den meeting in two hours and you have no idea what to do. The boy scout leaders have it easy as the boys do most of the work. You are in a panic. Go to any of these sites and you will have a fun activity in minutes. Just make sure you run those boys before trying to make them focus. They have had a long day in school and are ready to run!
The Cub Scout Learning Library All About the fun ones.
This is an official BSA site recently launched and the website description is below but is still a work in progress. There is helpful information here for certain but they have not fully launched all aspects of the site. Definitely worth a visit to gain useful information on how to run a cub scout program.
Welcome to the Cub Scout Learning Library, the Boy Scouts of America’s on-demand library for adult leaders, volunteers and parents that contains information and resources for carrying out a more effective and more engaging Cub Scout program. Dig in and find the tools you need to provide you with the confidence to deliver the best possible Cub Scout experience.
Baloo’s Bugle is focused for Cub Scouts and is a very creative and inspirational resource for your program.
Cub Scout Ideas is a very fun site oriented towards what to do with the little wild ones after they have been sitting in classrooms all day.
Acclaimed International Scouting Sites
Jamboree on the Air – International Site with a radio broadcast jamboree connecting Scouts from all over the world.
Ireland – Irish Scouting Site
ScoutMaster Jose Jose is new to me but he has incredible Scouting credentials and a very nice site on Scouting activities.
Focused Sites on Boy Scouts of America
Scout Stuff – After you spend all of your time in Scouting, this is where you go to spend all of your money! 🙂 Great store for everything in scouting you need and a great amount of what you don’t!
STEM Scouts – Interesting site about a new focus for Scouts and STEM.
CyberChip Site – The site for CyberChip information for Scouting.
The National Eagle Scout Association – For those boy scouts that went all the way to the top. Fun fact: Every male astronaut was an Eagle Scout.
The site dedicated to helping Scouts become Eagle Scouts! They’ve collected a lot of resources to assist you in achieving Eagle Scout rank and planning the celebration to follow – everything from Eagle planning guides to extensive court of honor materials.
Philmont – The Mecca for Boy Scouts. I can dream can’t I? I cannot seem to get there but I sure can visit them virtually.
Girl Scouts – Where the young ladies go to build character and experience the outdoors.
Girl Scout Cookies – – Admit it. You love them more than the popcorn and you are going to buy them anyway so this is how to get the details on where to buy and even recipes!
Sea Scouts – The Fabled Sea Scouts is most Scouts and Scouters dream. Definitely something you want to research and try to do!
Scholarship Opportunities for Boy Scouts of America
The American Legion has some very interesting resources for Boy Scouts including, a $10,000 scholarship for Eagles. Something to know about!
The Veterans for Foreign Wars also offer a scholarship for Eagles. $5,000
Scouts who are registered, active members of a Boy or Girl Scout Troop, Venturing Crew, or a Sea Scout Ship who have received the Eagle Scout Award, Girl Scout Gold Award, Venture Summit Award or Sea Scout Quartermaster Award.
Other Organizations for Scouting Activities
National Park Service Patches and Recognition – Scouts participate in organized educational programs or volunteer service projects for a minimum of five (5) hours at one or more national park sites.