Making the most of every moment

As many of us know, it’s tough for parents to best manage the time spent with their children. With so many competing youth activities, it can be particularly difficult for working parents who have busy calendars of their own.

Many parents are eager to find ways to make the most of every moment with their children, but so often kids find themselves in front of a screen anytime they get a spare moment, instead of participating in real world experiences.   The parents I’ve talked with tell me that they’re doing their best to balance screen time with youth sports, music, academics, and church or community activities. As a youth-serving organization, the Boy Scouts of America is committed to helping parents find this balance and make the most of every moment.

Scouting Construction Zone

As a youth-serving organization, we continually review these needs and look for opportunities to assist parents by providing life-changing experiences through Scouting that their children can’t find anywhere else.  We realize there’s a small window to make a meaningful impact on children and shape who they may become as adults. Research shows that young people who participate in out-of-school activities are more likely than their non-participating peers to do well in school, get sufficient physical exercise, and avoid involvement in risky behaviors.

That’s why our new recruitment campaign that we are launching this fall is so important. The campaign, “Build an Adventure,” features fun and diverse adventures for youth, and demonstrates that Scouting builds a solid foundation of character, values and education that will stay with them throughout adulthood.

Boy Scouting Rocketman Build an Adventure

We want parents to know that there are new, innovative programs available through Scouting that provide fun ways for their children to do the right thing and have a positive impact on their communities. At the same time, they still get a chance to have fun while catching fish, climbing rocks, exploring caves, helping people, racing cars, camping out, making friends and much more.

It’s an exciting time for Scouting, and we hope parents will share in that excitement and explore how Scouting can provide new adventures for their children. The start of a new school year always brings fresh opportunities and challenges, and we hope Scouting can help bring some fun, life-changing experiences to youth across the country.

How do you strike a balance between what your children ought to be doing versus what they are doing?  Are you finding that time is slipping way that you could be spending with your children to keep pace with their lives?  These are difficult questions that many parents face and we hope to share some answers here on what’s working in your household – let us know!

If you’re involved in Scouting, I urge you to invite other families to a meeting. And, if you’ve never been asked to give Scouting a try, please accept this as my personal invitation. You can learn more at



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Shaping young lives

I think we all need an occasional reminder of how our work impacts others in a positive way – whether it’s Scouting or another organization – and hearing encouragement from third party sources is a great motivator. To that end, I’d like to share a guest column that recently appeared in a Pennsylvania newspaper.

This column was submitted to The Mercury by U.S. Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who is also an Eagle Scout. He shares a wonderful account of how Scouting became part of his family as he grew up and how that Scouting tradition continues with his son today.

It is a reassuring reality that we live in the most generous nation in the world. Our American generosity manifests itself in many ways. Some choose to make a quiet donation to a worthy cause while others give the gift of time or talent to service organizations and mentorship programs.

But of these many programs, one organization holds a special place in my heart: the Boy Scouts of America. Its mission is simple, yet timeless: Prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout oath and law. Read more »

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Good Turns continue during summer vacation

As kids are heading back to school – moving away from beach vacations and summer camps toward textbooks, laptops and whiteboards, I’m reflecting on the summer vacation experience and the opportunities within those months to use that time for something great.

Traditionally, many service and charitable organizations see drops in volunteer and donor participation during the summer months, due to children being off from school, vacations, and other departures from daily routines.

But even though this decline in service hours is often expected, it’s important that to continue to focus on serving the needs of our communities all year.  Many of those in need don’t have the privileges that many of us take for granted and have to continue to struggle for proper food, housing and medical care for themselves and their families, no matter what time of year it is.

I’ve received many examples of how our Scouting units have continued to drive service projects in their communities through the summer months. I’m glad to see how their leaders have guided these young people along the path of community service on a year-round basis. In addition to benefitting their neighbors, it helps keep our Scouts busy and learning new skills to help them be Prepared.For Life.

Whether it’s scouting out weed control in Oregon, litter removal in California, collecting coats for the needy in Pennsylvania, or hacking through brush to build a new biking trail in Missouri, the actions of these Scouts and Scouting volunteers have the same focus – making things a little better for the people in their communities.

Good Turns continue during summer vacation

Scout Matthew West, pictured here, led a weed cleanup of Waterfront, Wilderness and Pioneer parks in Oregon, targeting invasive species such as English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, Scotch broom and Canada thistle. // Photo courtesy of Statesman Journal

Read more »

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