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Boys Life

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Our Pack rarely made use of Boy's Life though occasionally I heard some boys reference an article or comic. At the Troop level it appears effective for Merit Badge news--if it appears in Boys Life it is an "official" announcement.

 

As a parent, while I am continually irked by the high expense of the gear featured in Boys Life, I see the value in it. Both my sons as cubs and scouts enjoyed getting their copies and would thumb through it and neither were big readers. It gave them some inspiration for camping adventures (why doesn't our Troop do that? sort of thing)and they took pride in getting their own magazines as well as being an "official" scout.

 

Now that they are hitting 13-14 and are bigger readers it is loosing its allure.

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Cub Age: loved it.

Scout Age: occasionally read it. (Troop made it optional for families. Tried to make sure only one per family was being ordered.)

Venturing Age: couldn't care less. In fact, I think this is one of the weak parts about the venturing program. There's no web 'zine with a graphic novel that includes the teen drama, tough ethical decisions, and physical challenges.

 

I think everyone agrees that BL rightly skirts around choices about pornography, smoking, military life, college choices, marriage, following your parents' religion, etc ... Venturing leaves those up to the units. (Although national does produce some materials that addresses date rape and sexual harrassment.)

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We don't use it in our pack activities, but my son enjoys reading it and doing the puzzles. As a Webelo, he's looking forward to doing the "cool" Boy Scout activities that he reads about. He has his heart set on one day going to the Sea Base in Florida.

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Each family is encouraged to subscribe when they pay their annual dues. We do not use it in the program, but sometimes one of the parents will find something in there that will work for the program like the passport to fishing program. That might have been in Scouting magazine. I pay for my son's subscription because I want to encourage him to read, and it's so cheap: 12 issues for $12!

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First son grew out and past Boy's Life, even once he was in the Boy Scout edition.

 

Second son, who is a reluctant reader, takes it to bed. He likes all the gear, the rescue stories, and I just saw him read the service article (inner city) from this month. I think the magazine reinforces his view of himself as an adventurer through scouting. I liked the short stories that ran about two years ago.

 

I used BL in my den programs about twice a year only, but it was high interest when I did. I always had back issues in the car when I transported to camp.

 

When I had new scouts I'd run by the scout shop and pickup a couple copies of BL to hand over as a joining gift. That was well recieved.

 

None of the Packs or Troops we have been involved in have included BL as part of the dues. It has always been extra. My dens would run about 70% subscribers.

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I think BL has value, it has some decent information and I know my sons love it.

 

We do not specifically use it in our program.

 

Subscriptions are paid for by the parents when they register if they want it. We bring in a few issues and let them see if it is something they want.

 

I have gotten some ideas on activities for the boys but as a pack I can't think of a use it has served specifically. This is why the pack doesn't cover the cost.

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We often get two or more back issues at a time due to the way magazines are shipped to APOs. The boys and parents like it, but I don't know any DLs who use it.

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Do you see value in Boys Life? Does your pack make use of Boys Life in their program? Does your Pack purchase Boys Life subscriptions for all Scouts when rechartering? Personally' date=' I don't see much value for Boys Life for my pack unless Den Leaders wanted to use it as part of their program on a regular basis. My pack has quite a few low income families, and spending another $10/year is not something I would ask unless there is a good reason for doing so. So..... What use do you get from Boys Life if you subscribe, and what use is made of it as part of your den and pack program, if any?[/quote']

 

When I was a Cub leader, we made it an option. I didn't pay for it for a couple of years, but then found that my sons were checking them out from the school library. Decided it was worth it after that. Mainly my sons like to read the jokes and the scout heroes.

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Since we are no longer a "make do or do it yourself to avoid needing to buy something" society, BL hasn't had many How To articles of late. I have noticed a slight change in that, however, as frinstance in this month (March) which has 6 (7?) pages on household repairs (plugged toilet, toilet flush valve, furnace filter, faucet washer,) and this is a Good Thing. I do notice more How To articles about MB stuff and camp tips. Mebbe we have had an effect.

As to Cubs, there is still BALLOO'S Bugle on line and (?) is the Program Tips still published? DLs can certainly use BL for their activities, as appropriate. Use the last month as a guide, and have the boys read and do. We only get the Boy BL at our house, not the Cub BL. I could not tell you what the difference is in the two issues, only that there is a differrence, you receive the one or the other , depending on your registration.

 

AND... if you are looking for a place for the old issues, assuming you don't want to keep them yourself, bundle them up and pass them to your local public or school library.

AND... your unit might consider giving that library a gift subscriptiion! Good, inexpensive PR!

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A little bit

no

yes

 

My son likes to get it each month, but I'm noticing the ecitement has greatly fallen. I think he has started to realize that there's just not that much in it for his age......

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I think BL really needs to be in the same category as Scouting. If you register you get a copy.

 

Most boys (especially Cub Scouts) only exposure to scouting is through their home unit. BL helps the realize they are part of something much, much bigger.

 

We make it optional our pack. When I look at the records of who gets it and who does not, it's interesting that it's usually the most engaged scouts are the ones that get it. I know that they probably get BL because they are already excited. The don't become excited simply from reading BL. However every little bit helps.

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Here's another Boys Life issue:

 

 

If the pack requires Boy Life as part of the annual membership, that makes it easy to handle when rechartering.

 

 

But if families have the OPTION to subscribe to Boys Life, that creates yet another obstacle and burden when rechartering. WHO is going to promote Boys Life subscriptions? Who's going to collect the money and account for it?

 

 

IF den and pack leaders desired to use Boys Life in their program and the pack therefore wanted to pay for Boys Life subscriptions for everyone, that would make handling subscriptions relatively easy when rechartering or taking new Cub Scout memberships.

 

But no one in this thread has said that they use Boys Life much in their den or pack program, or that they want to do so. That being the case, I don't promote Boys Life subscriptions in my pack.

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I personally have used the activities out of the BL magazine at a camp out we did. The boys had fun with it and I've found a couple other things I'd like to try to make.

My son loves getting them in the mail and will read em a few times. His older sister will even steal em to read.

 

Our Pack includes subscription in the dues. We have one family that got 4 BL and a Scouter mag in the mail in one day.

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