Scouting, Electronics and Technology

In the last 100 Years technology has taken on many shapes. It’s hasn’t all been about computers and staying connected. In the early days of Scouting so were the early days of aviation. Then came advancements in electronics, medicine, nuclear science, space exploration, the micro chip, and the list goes on. Scouting needing to stay true to its origins also had an obligation to keep up with the rest of the world and attract what I call “the youth of the moment” over the last century of its existence. The Merit Badges over the last 100 years are the most obvious examples of the changing world.

With these constant changes in the world around us, comes more demand. The youth of today find the use of a computer to be second nature and so obvious. Many wonder how the “old folk” got by without it.

But the facts are certain. If youth are to be given and attracted to the opportunity to learn about the principles of Scouting found in the Scout Oath and Law, then Scouting has to keep up with them or risk the losing interest in being part of this great program.

Well the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America provided a wonderful opportunity to make a significant leap forward. Recently Bob Mersereau National Director of the 100th Anniversary at the Boy Scouts of America said in an interview focusing on technology: “We realized this (100th Anniversary) was our once in a lifetime opportunity to remind the nation in a big and bold way that Scouting has never been more relevant or needed than it is today. The BSA has made significant strides in using technology to reach and engage young people. We’ve gotten active on social media channels like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter and have incorporated really fun and even cutting-edge technologies into our programming routine including:

  • The 12th edition of the Boy Scouts of America Handbook is available via an iPhone app plus there is an accompanying website that is designed to enhance the overall experience.
  • Over the next year, we are introducing three new technology-oriented merit badges including Robotics, Inventing and Geocaching.
  • During our centennial celebration in Washington D.C., the BSA hosted Scout Quest, its first digital scavenger hunt using smart phones, QR codes, Facebook and Twitter.

One of the greatest things about Scouting is that we have stayed true to our mission for one hundred years.  The fundamentals of Scouting — service to others, respecting and embracing the outdoors, doing your best, achieving your potential — are timeless. As long as our country needs strong leaders and healthy young people, it will need Scouting.

Although, we do recognize that more than ever we must be nimble and flexible in the ways we reach out to young people and parents in today’s fast-paced, high-tech world.”

Bob is right. So all of us “old folk” come onboard and embrace the next generation of Scouting. Need a little help? Here is a guide to what Scouting is involved with in Technology. Go and play with these tech tools and “talk the tech” with your Scouts even around the campfire.

About RSS
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a XML file format designed to display news from particular Web sites without having to visit the site. You can receive news from any RSS-enabled Web site by subscribing to their RSS feed.
Typically, the feeds are displayed as a series of headlines and brief summaries with links to the source of the full text. Many Web sites offer several RSS feeds for specific sections or channels of their site.

About ScoutCast
Scoutcast is a central location where we locate all our podcasts. A podcast is a media file, typically audio or video, that is distributed by subscription over the Internet using feeds. These syndication feeds are then collected by applications called “aggregators” and can then be played back on mobile devices and personal computers.
It is not necessary to own an iPod in order to view or listen to a podcast; the name is merely a holdover from the device on which they were introduced.
Likewise it is not required that you have iTunes on your computer to listen to podcasts. Other applications can manage your podcast subscriptions.

About Facebook
Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers. The company develops technologies that facilitate the sharing of information through the social graph, the digital mapping of people’s real-world social connections. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment. Go to http://facebook.com and sign up for a free account.

Also check out the Facebook page of The Bechtel Summitt, home of the 2013 National Jamboree at http://www.facebook.com/TheBechtelSummit.

About Twitter
Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 bytes in length. Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends (delivery to everyone being the default). Users can send and receive updates via the Twitter website, SMS, RSS (receive only), or through applications such as Tweetie, Twitterrific, Twitterfon, TweetDeck and Feedalizr. The service is free to use over the web, but using SMS may incur phone services provider fees.

Go to http://twitter.com/signup and sign up for a free account

About YouTube
YouTube allows people to easily upload and share video clips on www.YouTube.com and across the Internet through websites, mobile devices, blogs, and email.

Everyone can watch videos on YouTube. People can see first-hand accounts of current events, find videos about their hobbies and interests, and discover the quirky and unusual. As more people capture special moments on video, YouTube is empowering them to become the broadcasters of tomorrow.

Go to http://youtube.com and sign up for a free account.

About Scouting Community
With Scouting Community, you can blog, join a discussion forum, send e-mail to friends, listen to podcasts, view videos, and generally communicate with people about Scouting. This community is a safe environment for members and leaders of Scouting to interact and share best practices for all things Scouting.

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