An Update from the Michigan Crossroads Council

Dear Scouting Friends:

The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America (the “National Council (BSA)”) has confirmed that a Youth Protection oriented segment that was expected to run on the TODAY Show tomorrow (July 10th) has been postponed and that a new air date has yet to be confirmed.  As the nature of content could change in the interim, the National Council (BSA) will continue to stay in touch with the producers of the segment so that it can provide our Council and other Councils with helpful information before the expected airing of the segment.

Like the National Council (BSA), we will continue to monitor these news reports and endeavor to keep you appraised of further developments.  We also will provide you with information relating to these matters that you can share with business associates, friends or Scouting leaders and families.  [READ MORE]


Scouts BSA Video Contest – Deadline June 28

Do you want to be a part of history? As a member of Scouts BSA, you can!

On June 3rd we kicked off our first ever Scouts BSA Video Contest and we want to hear from you, the members of Scouts BSA. We want to know things like:

  • What are you and your troop doing?
  • What are you learning?
  • What are your plans for the year?
  • How do you like being a member of the program and a part of history?

We want to hear all of this and more! Your videos can be fun or serious, the choice is yours. Whatever you choose, flex your creative muscles and share your best videos with us!

Videos should be 1-3 minutes in length and you’re welcome to submit as many as you’d like. The contest ends on June 28th, 2019 so make sure to submit yours ahead of time so you can be entered to win an amazing prize package from ScoutShop.org

Make sure you and everyone in your video abide by the rules of the Guide to Safe Scouting. If you’re selected as a winner, we’ll need a signed Affidavit of Eligibility and Publicity Release (we’ll send these before posting on our YouTube Channel).

To enter the contest, submit your videos by sending a link to joinscoutsbsa@gmail.com

Winners will be chosen by July 12th, 2019 by a panel of Scouts BSA members, leaders, and staff. Winning videos will be posted to the Scouts BSA YouTube channel.

Thanks and good luck to all of you!


Summit 2020 High Adventure

Looking for High Adventure Opportunities for your Scouts?  Then check out the Summit 2020 Council Contingent information here.


Theme and logo for 2021 National Jamboree Revealed

Scouting instills confidence, helping young people discover they can achieve more than they thought possible.

That’s the uplifting message behind the logo and theme for the 2021 National Jamboree, which the BSA announced today.

Using Scouting’s highest-profile gathering to deliver a distinct thematic message signals a bold new approach for National Jamborees. It ensures that the theme, “Face the Challenge,” will leave a lasting impression on Jamboree participants and our entire movement.

Jamboree organizers will weave the theme throughout the event. They’ll reinforce it before, during and after the Jamboree. They’ll showcase it at stadium shows, deliver it using wearable technology and highlight it at special flash challenges that pop up wherever participants congregate.

Smartphone integration and a pre-Jamboree survey will ensure that each participant embarks on their own Jamboree journey. Even with tens of thousands of participants, no two Jamboree experiences will be the same.

“From an overall programmatic design, we want to customize the Jamboree to an individual’s area for growth,” says Ed Lynes, the volunteer serving as Jamboree Thematics Lead.

‘Face the Challenge’

So what does “Face the Challenge” mean? Here’s how Jamboree organizers explain it in a document summarizing the vision for the 2021 National Jamboree:

  • The truth is that young people can achieve more than they believe is possible. Scouting uniquely prepares its members to redefine their boundaries, push past them and emerge from the experience with the confidence that no matter the challenge, they can meet it.
  • Nothing is impossible for the prepared young person — no future is out of reach for a group of committed people who care.
  • It’s important to signal that the limits people perceive are self-imposed, and that with an embrace and application of the 12 points of the Scout Law and three points of the Scout Oath, there is a bright and positive future.
  • Participants in the 2021 National Scout Jamboree will learn that character is created when you achieve more than you thought possible.

A new Jamboree vision

The inspiration for this exciting new approach comes from a desire to make the National Jamboree about more than a collection of awesome activities and a few words on a patch.

A Jamboree should inspire a Scout or Venturer to be more. It should show them how to use their Scouting skills to transform the world. And it should engage them in a way that makes their Jamboree experience transformational — not just for its memories but for how it shapes their life.

To be clear, the National Jamboree model has worked well for decades. Each instance of the quadrennial event offered fun, fellowship and unforgettable adventures.

But with the 2021 event, organizers plan to more deliberately embrace and celebrate the impact Scouting has on each of us. As a Jamboree veteran who has attended or served on staff at every National Jamboree since 1997, let me say this: I’m fully on board.

The reinvented approach means transforming a theme into a call to action — sparking an energy that Scouts and Venturers will take back to their troops, crews, schools and communities.

This approach is not unlike the one used at the National Order of the Arrow Conference, or NOAC.

NOAC events, like the one I covered for Scouting magazine in 2015, expertly carry a single theme throughout the week.

The 2021 National Jamboree will feature a similarly bold call to action, inspiring young people to identify, confront and overcome whatever challenges life has thrown into their path.

Unit leaders have an important role

True, unit leaders always have a critical role at a Jamboree. But this time, unit leaders will spark meaningful discussions before the event begins.

“It starts at the unit level,” Busby says. “We’re going to make an effort to really arm unit leaders.”

Scoutmasters, working with their youth leaders, will lead group discussions during their Scoutmaster’s minute and at Jamboree shakedown events.

This will get Scouts and Venturers in the proper mindset before they even arrive at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in 2021.

By the time the Jamboree begins, young people will be thinking about ways to overcome negativity and push past adversity. At the Jamboree, they’ll get the tools to help them do so.

What else we know about the 2021 National Jamboree

Lynes shared with me some more details about the 2021 National Jamboree, which I’ll summarize in a bulleted list:

  • The official patch design will be unveiled this summer. What you see above is the 2021 National Jamboree logo — not the design for the patch.
  • 2021 National Jamboree staff registration is scheduled to go live in August. Participant registration will open in December.
  • The Jamboree will feature TED-style talks where young people can share how Scouting helped them overcome challenges. Those talks will be recorded so others can watch them later.
  • As part of a unique leadership experience, ticketed for each participant, Scouts will spend 90 minutes better understanding their own leadership style, and then applying it alongside different groups of leaders.
  • The Jamboree smartphone app and wearable technology will encourage Scouts and Venturers to participate in slightly different activities that match with the results of their survey prior to the Jamboree.


The Adventure Plan (TAP) Resource

The Adventure Plan (TAP) is a tool to guide unit leaders—Cubs, Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts— through all stages of Adventure planning.

Outdoor adventure is a key element of youth development in the Boy Scouts of America programs. Just as young people grow, learn and mature in a continuing progression of experience so, too, do the camping and outdoor programs of the BSA. The BSA offers a continuum of experiences based on the age, interest and ability level of youth, and also offers recognition awards for all levels of Scouting outdoor Adventures.


Internet Advancement 2.0 is Here

The new tool to quickly input advancement data, Internet Advancement 2.0 (previously known as Scoutbook Lite) is now live. This free solution replaces the previous Internet Advancement platform, which will be retired (for all programs except Exploring) on June 10, 2019.

Internet Advancement 2.0 will feature a clean, new user interface and will be optimized to whatever device you use: desktop, tablet or smartphone.

Internet Advancement 2.0 will offer optimized functions for everything found in the current Internet Advancement platform and can be accessed by Unit Key 3 users, Unit Key 3 delegate users and Unit Advancement Chairs.

End users will access Internet Advancement 2.0 via one of the following locations using their my.Scouting credentials:

After initial release, the BSA IT team will continue to add additional features on a regular basis. Updates and new features will be communicated with the field as they are delivered.

Visit http://help.scoutbook.com for answers to commonly asked questions. As we are learning this as you do, we don’t yet have any information on our council website about this. But we’ll work to add some as soon as possible.


Put Your Scout Unit on Google Search

Do you know that the highest Google Search term is “Find ______[BLANK]_____ near me?” If someone was looking for a Cub Scout Pack, Scouts BSA Troop or Venturing Crew near them, would they find you and would your unit appear in the Google Search? Check out this video tutorial to help your unit appear in Google Search so parents can find you easily and join Scouting all year round.


Two essential Scouts BSA resources for new and longtime leaders

Better make room on your bookmarks bar.  The BSA has refreshed and retooled a pair of online resources for Scouts BSA volunteers.

The first is the Program Resources page. Think of it as your quick-start guide to Scouts BSA. Here, you’ll find a collection of links for starting a Scouts BSA troop, helping Scouts earn merit badges, guiding youth leaders toward more effective troop meetings and more.

The second is the Program Updates page. This one’s for both newcomers and veterans, and it’s where the National Scouts BSA Committee posts the latest information on any changes to the program. If there’s a new program initiative, updated requirement or any change to Scouts BSA printed material, you’ll find it there first.

https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/04/11/bookmark-these-two-essential-scouts-bsa-resources-for-new-and-longtime-leaders/


Take the Weather Safety Quiz

Taking your Pack or Troop Camping?  How prepared are you for the weather? Take this safety quiz and find out.  Every leader should complete Hazardous Weather training at my.scouting.org

https://scoutingmagazine.org/2019/03/safetyquiz


Tips for working with school digital communications platform Peachjar

Many school districts are beginning to use digital communications platforms like Peachjar for delivering items like activity fliers to parents. For Scouting, that means learning how to follow some basic guidelines to optimize communications items for that platform. Here, we explain more about what Peachjar is, how to follow their guidelines, and their expert design tips!

How Does Peachjar Work?

Peachjar streamlines school-to-home communication by distributing fliers, community resources, and vital school updates directly to parents through their digital service.

Over 600 school districts and more than 20,000 community organizations use this tool to deliver communications to school parents. And if a school district is using Peachjar, then they are contractually obligated to send all school communications through the Peachjar digital platform rather than through printed materials.

Every Flier Must Be Approved by the School District and Must Follow Their Individual District Guidelines.

Yes, that’s right. Each district has a set of guidelines that determine what kids of fliers they will approve to be sent out to parents. Peachjar links these guidelines in their program provider accounts under a “District Guidelines” tab. An example may be requiring your flier to have both an English and Spanish version.

Peachjar Fliers are ADA Compliant!

Peachjar fliers adhere to ADA compliance. That means, for example, that parents that have visual impairment can receive information from Peachjar fliers via screen reading devices that detect text, then read it back to them.

For this process to work properly, there is a step in the flier upload process that populates the text from your flier into a box as it will be “read” by Peachjar systems. If the text in that box does not match what is on the flier, you run the risk of the flier being denied by the district, so be sure to check that it is correct.

Over 14,000 schools use the Peachjar system.

That’s close to 20 percent of all schools in the United States who use the Peachjar system. The platform has heavy coverage on the West Coast, East Coast, and throughout the South. To see if your school is a Peachjar school, check this list.

Peachjar Design Tips are Easy to Follow!

Peachjar recommends strong, clear calls to action, simple copy, and large images. This fits our Scout Me In! fliers perfectly! If you’re looking for some great fliers to get you started, check out the options in the BSA Brand Center. You can find fliers for Cub Scoutsfliers for Scouts BSA, and more!

Although the Peachjar system is free to school districts who utilize the platform, there is a fee for organizations, such as the Boy Scouts of America, to distribute their fliers through the platform. Costs can vary by timing and number of schools.

This article is part of an ongoing series that covers digital platforms used to deliver items like our Scout fliers. Please be sure to look for more of our other articles on different platforms.