Magic was rewarding experience
Thank you for the interesting article "Focus on Hocus-Pocus" in the September 2001 issue. As a semiprofessional magician, I have always credited my spark in magic to the rope tricks I learned as a Wolf Cub Scout. In fact, my very first magic book was Cub Scout Magic, which still sits proudly among the volumes in my magic library.
Any leader interested in teaching magic to his or her Scouts should check if t here is an Assembly of the Society of American Magicians or the Society of Young Magicians nearby. Members may be willing to help teach interested Scouts some simple, yet rewarding magic tricks.
Magic has taught me patience, creativity, and the ability to get up and speak in front of other people--#151;skills worthy of any Scout.
Michael A. Gagne
Snow Sports and Skiing merit badges
We have had some questions in our troop regarding the Snow Sports merit badge. Some say the new merit badge replaces the older Skiing merit badge and that a Scout cannot earn both.
Others recall hearing that they are two separate merit badges. Which is correct?
Snow Sports and Skiing are separate merit badges. A Scout who has earned Skiing can also earn Snow Sports. He must do so, however, utilizing a different venue.
For example, if he earned the Skiing merit badge using downhill (or Alpine) skiing, he must earn Snow Sports using either cross-country skiing or snowboarding.
A source for alternate requirements
Alternate advancement requirements are allowed to be established [for a Scout with a disability] in lieu of the swimming requirements for First Class. Is there a source for guidelines, examples, or case histories of such alternate requirements?
Information regarding alternate advancement requirements and their application can be found on pages 38-41 in the BSA publication "Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures" (BSA No. 33088C). A Scout's physical or mental disability must be of a permanent rather than a temporary nature.
Weather forecast on the Web
It's been a long time since I was a Scout (I'm 68 years old), and I can't tell you how many times we were rained out on camp-outs. I wanted to make Scout leaders aware of our Web site, dryday.com, which provides free, daily 30-day planning forecasts, available at any time. Users can search the site by city for specific locations.
Paul E. Ruch II
A Web site for camps
I created the Web site bsacamps.org to help Scouts and Scouters plan long-distance trips. The site includes a graphical directory of nearly every BSA camping facility in the U.S.
By clicking on any state, a user can access a map of its campgrounds. Clicking on any campground will give basic information on the camp, along with the council's address (and Web site, if available) and contact information.
Phase Ilisting camping facilitieshas been completed. Phase II will include more up-to-date and specific information, along with road maps showing each camp's location.
The Internet can be a source of much helpful information, such as that described in the two letters above. However, Scouters should always be aware that sites created and maintained by independent individuals are not official BSA locations and are not endorsed by the BSA.
An Eagle says thank you
For our Eagle court of honor, I asked each new Eagle Scout to write a brief autobiography that I would read to the audience during the ceremony. I thought the readers of Scouting magazine would enjoy the essay by a Scout who wrote not so much about himself but to thank Scouting and all those who helped him achieve Eagle rank:
...I want to thank every adult leader who put in the countless hours dealing with me and my headstrong ideas. Many times I was 'the bull in the china closet,' and those adult leaders [helped] me take a much more moderate, tactful path to accomplishing my goals. To these people, I not only owe my Eagle badge but also much of my present personality....
...the Boy Scouts takes boys and molds them into men. This is a daunting task taken on by every adult leader in this troop, not just every Monday and one weekend a month, but every day...They know what it feels like to watch a child grow up.
I used to get upset at my father for being a Scoutmaster, accusing him of not just being my father but a father to 60 or 70 other boys. All he would say was something to the effect that, "That's my job as Scoutmaster."
Other adults in the troop also take on the job of being everyone's father or mother, [and] they do it without expecting a "thank you." This ceremony is for Scouts receiving their Eagle award, but remember that Scouting is not about some kid getting a whole bunch of merit badges and some signatures. It is a process of learning and growing, an experience that every Scout will keep with him for the rest of his life...The lessons learned are life lessons, and I don't know of anywhere else they are taught.
...to all new Eagle Scouts who are thinking of becoming an adult leader ... do it! Watching someone succeed because of your help is one of life's greatest rewards. If it weren't, why would all of these adults keep showing up on Monday nights?
November-December 2001 Table of Contents
Copyright © 2001 by the Boy Scouts of America. All rights thereunder reserved; anything appearing in Scouting magazine or on its Web site may not be reprinted either wholly or in part without written permission. Because of freedom given authors, opinions may not reflect official concurrence.