For Veterans Day:
11 Things You Might Not Know About the U.S. Army
11 Things You Might Not Know About the U.S. Air Force
11 Things You Might Not Know About the U.S. Navy
11 Things You Might Not Know About the U.S. Marine Corps
11 Things You Might Not Know About the U.S. Coast Guard
All BSA employees, including us here at Boys’ Life, received the following letter from Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock today:
As you can imagine, a number of our councils in the Northeast are still struggling mightily to recover from the devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy. And a Nor’easter is bringing even more weather damage to the region this week with snowfall and other hazardous conditions.
Reports are still coming in concerning any injuries to our people and damage to BSA facilities, and the National Office stands ready to assist in any way we can. We ask you to join us in keeping the councils in this stricken area in your thoughts and prayers. They have a long road ahead of them to restore their homes and property as well as their programs to support our Scouts.
Many of you have asked how you can help. For any neighboring councils that have the people and resources to lend a hand with transportation, supplies, or other immediate needs, we ask that you work through Jim Hans, associate regional director/support for the Northeast Region, to coordinate your relief assistance. For councils in other parts of the country, we believe monetary assistance would be the most valuable resource you could provide at this time.
The worst damage seems to be in several council camps where many trees are down and some have destroyed buildings. Some council offices have had water damage and several staff members have experienced damage to their personal property. Many Scouts and units have probably lost camping gear, uniforms, trailers and other supplies. If you would like to make a donation to aid councils recovering from Hurricane Sandy, please go to theBSA Disaster Relief Fund page for instructions.
Meanwhile, we have already seen tremendous examples of how our commitment to serve others is rising to this occasion. Here are just two examples of many Scout troops that are responding with service. Boy Scout Troop 683 in Pamlico County, North Carolina is establishing drop-off locations for the public to donate non-perishable food, water, and clothing to Sandy victims. And in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, Scouts from Troops 109 and 1910 – many who experienced problems of their own from Sandy’s wrath – have assisted the National Guard with people who have lost power and are out of their homes.
I am very proud of how these Scouts and others have volunteered to assist so many people in need. Let’s all muster whatever support we can to assist our people through this difficult time.
As a guy who not only writes for a living but also judges other people’s writing for that same living, I’m a sucker for tip lists from famous writers. They always make it seem so simple.
Which, in fact, writing is. Simple. If only we “writers” would get out of our own way and stop trying so hard.
2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
7. Laugh at your own jokes.
8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.
I went to my daughter’s middle-school open house the other night and learned about something I probably should have already known. (Or, more likely, I had been taught this at some point and promptly forgot it.)
It’s a paper called “Describing 16 Habits of Mind” by Arthur L. Costa, Ed.D., and Bena Kallick, Ph.D., and it’s a highly recommended read. The paper describes how we can best use our brainpower to solve problems, questions, tasks, etc.
The 16 habits of mind are:
• Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision
• Managing impulsivity
• Gathering data through all senses
• Listening with understanding and empathy
• Creating, imagining, innovating
• Thinking flexibly
• Responding with wonderment and awe
• Thinking about thinking (metacognition)
• Taking responsible risks
• Striving for accuracy
• Finding humor
• Questioning and posing problems
• Thinking interdependently
• Applying past knowledge to new situations
• Remaining open to continuous learning
Google and ye shall find the complete paper. It’s worth your time.
Picking a destination for a super outing is fun. It can also be overwhelming, with hundreds — if not thousands — of opportunities to choose from in nearby national parks, state parks, local parks and the like.
If only there were a simple app that could help you narrow down the choices.
Enter Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder™, your virtual guidebook to the outdoors. Just tell the free mobile app what you want to do or where you want to go (or both), and you’ll get a personalized list of recommendations.
Features include the ability to check in, add your own comments and pictures, post to Facebook and Twitter and share your experiences at any park you visit.
And here’s a secret tip for Boys’ Life readers: For each download, Ford will make a donation to one of four nonprofit organizations, including the BSA. Download the app and vote today!
A new Scouting Around blog post, courtesy of senior writer Aaron Derr:
Just because a Scout is thrifty doesn’t mean you never need help monitoring your spending.
Specifically designed for Scouts, the Boy Scouts of America Discover® Prepaid Card is a prepaid, re-loadable card (not a credit card) that is safer and more convenient than carrying cash.
So let’s say you give yourself a budget. Say, $50 per week. You (or a parent) put $50 on the card and you literally can’t go over your budget. Then you replenish it the next week.
BL’s Gear Guy tackles a question on the minds of many guys this time of year: How to get those knives sharp…
Hey Gear Guy, which devices (other than a traditional whetstone) can I use to sharpen my knife? How well do they work? – Dull Tyler, Libertyville, Ill.
A. There are many types of sharpeners. To help you wade through it all, I contacted a friend at Gerber Legendary Blades. They make some of the best knives and know more than a little about sharpening blades. Here are the tree main types of sharpeners:
Diamond-coated rod sharpeners (work with fine or serrated blades). This one is most similar to a whetstone.
Pros: lower cost.
Cons: takes more time, tough to maintain the correct angle while sharpening.
Ceramic pocket sharpeners (work only with fine-edge blades).
Pros: lightweight, easy to carry, low cost, quick and easy to use
Cons: will create just an average edge and cannot sharpen serrated blades
Diamond fingers sharpeners (work with fine or serrated blades).
Pros: quick, easy to use, can sharpen a variety of angles and create sharper edge
Cons: more expensive
The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy is working hard to make STEM fun.
Check out all the great resources they have to help get youth interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, including this great stop-action video tool that’s simple and fun to use.
You can find them all at the Computer Science Student Network site.
Another plus for Scouts and Scouters: Carnegie Mellon has created Robot Virtual Worlds programming specifically for the new Robotics merit badge. Scouts and leaders use ROBOTC Robot Virtual World software to learn how to program both LEGO and VEX robots. That is highly cool.
Mike Rowe, star of TV’s Dirty Jobs and a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, referring to Boys’ Life’s famous “True Stories of Scouts in Action” feature.