Boy Scouts of America Seeks to Inspire Next Generation of Explorers with the Launch of the New Exploration Merit Badge

National Geographic to sponsor the interactive Exploration Merit Badge Experience at the 2017 National Scout JamboreeExploration

Irving, Texas – (February 23, 2017) New discoveries are made every day, thanks to technological advancements and the keen curiosity of today’s explorers. To encourage future discoveries, the nation’s largest youth-serving organization is working to inspire the next generation of explorers by introducing the new Exploration Merit Badge. Created and developed by experts in the field, the Exploration Merit Badge is the 137th addition to the BSA’s bank of merit badge programs and is now available to Scouts nationwide.

“We have a wealth of experience encouraging Scouts to use their natural curiosity to learn how the world works, and now we’re putting that energy and adventure into a new merit badge,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive. “The Exploration Merit Badge adds to our broad range of STEM topics and programs Scouts can experience.”

To earn the Exploration Merit Badge, Scouts will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of exploration, as well as its history and importance in today’s world. They will complete hands-on projects about real-life explorations and have the opportunity to complete an exploration in a lab or in the field. The badge culminates with the Scout planning, preparing for and completing their own expedition. Throughout the program, they will also learn more about career opportunities across various fields such as oceanography, archeology, weather and biology, drawing inspiration from famous explorers and expeditions of our time.

To create this dynamic program, the BSA partnered with a diverse group of exploring experts from a variety of fields, organizations, professions and programs. These experts live and breathe exploring and their stories give Scouts great examples and advice of how to turn curiosity and interests into a results-driven adventure.

Michael Manyak, Distinguished Eagle Scout and expedition medicine expert, led the charge for the development of this merit badge and worked closely with the BSA and other explorers to make it come to life.

“Exploration is what drives innovation, whether in science, economics, or business – we need exploration to spur discoveries that help enhance their lives and improve our world,” said Manyak. “The possibilities for exploring are endless and require teamwork and dedication. We look forward to seeing Scouts become future change-makers through their experiences with this badge.”

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and Paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, who is also an Eagle Scout, contributed to the guidelines for the Exploration Merit Badge. That’s why this summer, National Geographic is thrilled to team up with the BSA as a presenting sponsor to offer Scouts the opportunity to begin earning the badge during the 2017 National Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. At the Jamboree Exploration Merit Badge Experience, Scouts will learn alongside real-life leaders in exploration while also attending Scouting’s premier destination for high adventure and fun. Additionally, as part of National Geographic’s ongoing support of the badge, Scouts will be able to enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to the 2018 Explorers Symposium at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The Exploration Merit Badge is available to Scouts in print format to youth members, ages 11-18, who participate in the Boy Scouts program. For more information, visit

Under New BSA Transportation Policy, Drivers Must be Licensed and at Least 18

Posted on February 13, 2017 by 


The Boy Scouts of America’s updated transportation policy now requires all drivers to be at least 18 and have a valid driver’s license.

Scouting youth under age 18 are not insured under the BSA’s commercial general liability policy and cannot be allowed to drive to or from Scouting activities.

This includes an under-18 Scout or Venturer driving himself or herself to a Scouting event, even if he or she is the only one in the car. It includes short trips across town and long trips across the country.

There are no exceptions, and the new policy is effective immediately.

Previous exceptions to this policy, including those outlined in this blog post from 2014, were a source of confusion for volunteers. The BSA is listening to your concerns and eliminated the exceptions to simplify and reduce the complexity of the policy.

As with everything outlined in the Guide to Safe Scouting, the purpose is clear: keeping Scouts and Scouters safe.

BSA transportation policy

Read the BSA’s transportation policy at this link. Pay particular attention to the sections on:

  • 15-passenger vans
  • limits on an individual’s driving time
  • hand-held cellphone use

Driving to/from troop or crew meetings

What about a 16- or 17-year-old Scout or Venturer driving to or from a troop/crew meeting? This one qualifies as “not applicable.”

Richard Bourlon, BSA team lead of health and safety, says, “Driving to or from a standard meeting place isn’t an official Scouting activity or part of any tour planning.”

Adds Mark Dama, BSA team lead of risk management, adds, “It’s similar to you going to work and coming home from work. You are not considered an employee at both of those times.”

So, as always, these teens should practice safe driving habits but are neither prohibited from nor required to drive to and from unit meetings.

Easter Candy Sale

Troop 883 is selling Log Cabin Easter candy to support our Troop program.

Featuring Hand-Made Gourmet Products From

log-cabin-chocolates-logoA Baltimore Institution for more than 95 years!

Log Cabin Chocolates is a family owned business that has been hand-making old-fashioned chocolate candy favorites for generations.  They use only the finest ingredients and handcraft their chocolates using recipes that date back over 95 years.  Log Cabin Chocolates has been making and selling chocolates at their facility in Fallston, Maryland since 1961.

Ordering is Easy!

Boy Scouts will take orders from neighbors, friends, and family members until Sunday, April 2.

The Seller (a Boy Scout) will hand-deliver your order on the weekend of April 8/9 – the week before Easter.

All orders must be pre-paid (cash or check).

Make checks payable to “Boy Scout Troop 883”

Link to the Order Form:  Order Form

If you are interested in purchasing Easter Candy to support our Troop program, please email or call 410.977.2956.

Troop Historian Report on This Weekend’s Outing

After meeting at the shed on Friday night for packing, we went to Freedom Optimist Hall to complete Module 1 of ILST – troop-level leadership training. We planned some exciting outings for the upcoming year. After we completed that, we went outside to play football, then inside to sleep.
     The next morning we ate, packed up and left for the farm. The drive was interesting because of the fog across the Susquehanna river, arriving at the farm around 10:30. We all started to build shelters and/or put up hammocks which took a good chunk of the morning and a little of the afternoon. Dillon took us on a short hike where we climbed two hills that overlooked the river, found burnable fungus, a radish patch and a deer carcass. We all helped cut firewood, when we started the fire.  Alex hosted it. We had dinner, talked, played card games and went to sleep. Ms.Melissa got to try her new hammock.
Sunday morning we rose at around 7:00, packed up our things and departed at around 9:00 and reaching the church at 10:30.

Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser

Spread the word!

Boy Scout Breakfast to benefit Boy Scout Troop 883

pancakes_tallStack Sunday, January 29, 2017

8 AM to 12 Noon

Formation & Fellowship Center

St. Joseph Catholic Community – Eldersburg


Adults – $7

Children (5 – 12) – $5

Children (under 5) – FREE

Family Maximum – $35


“All You Can Eat” Pancakes

Scrambled Eggs

Breakfast Meat

Milk, Juice, Coffee, Tea



Martin’s Cash for Causes Program (a/k/a “Martin’s Cards”)

3212ceee-6dca-4b90-a2d4-941c5b6a43d8Continuing our conversation from last night’s parent meeting, here is an easy way to offset the cost of Troop activities and outings – at no additional cost to you or your family:

Our Troop participates in the Martin’s Cash for Causes program.  

Purchase Martin’s gift cards through the Troop and 5% of your purchase is deposited into your son’s Scout account.  It’s “free money” if you shop (or purchase gas) at Martin’s!

If you spend $100 per week on groceries or gasoline, your son will accumulate more than $250 per year in a Scout account in his name!

Kristen Bird runs the program for us, and any questions can be directed to Kristin at 443.286.4121.

How it Works:

  1.   To purchase cards:
    1. Kristen sends out a note to let the Troop know she is accepting orders for Martin’s cards.  Just let her know the value of cards you would like to purchase.
    2. Bring a check payable to Troop 883 for the face value of the card.   
      1. PLEASE NOTE:  You must pay for the cards before the order is placed.
    3. Kristin will bring the cards to the next Troop Meeting, or you can make alternative arrangements with her to pick them up.
    4. You use the full face value of the cards (just like a debit card) at all Stop & Shop, Giant, Super Giant, Tops, and Martin’s store locations.
  2. Five percent (5%) of the value of the card is deposited into your son’s Scout Account.
    1. The proceeds from the account can be used to pay for Scouting-related items for your son, including:
      1. Trips and outings
      2. Troop dues
      3. Uniforms
      4. Other reasonable, Scout-related expenses

Troop Historian Report – Antietam Hike

On September, 16, 2016, 14 Boy Scouts, six Webelos, and five adults participated in a camping trip at Antietam.

When we got to the campsite, it was getting dark. and we had to carry our supplies through acorn field and a little bit of woods to our campsite. We helped the Webelos set up their tents, and we all ate our cracker barrel around the fire.

We awoke early Saturday morning. Many of the patrols made hot breakfasts. We hiked 10 miles around Antietam battlefield. It was the battlefield’s commemoration of the battle at Antietam. We were able to talk to many reenactors, rangers, and watch live cannon fire.

When we got back, we played man hunt. Our campsite was perfect for it. Many of the adults took a nap. All of the patrols made awesome meals including spaghetti and meat balls, Asian chicken with mango and pineapple, and hamburgers cooked over an open fire with a fixings bar among other things. We relaxed by the fire and eventually went to bed. In the morning we broke down camp, had a Scouts Own service, and returned to Saint Joseph.

It was a perfect weekend with perfect weather!

  • Carter M. – Troop Historian

Leave No Trace Trainer Course


WHEN:  October 7-9, 2016
WHERE:  Downs Memorial Park, Pasadena, MD
WHO:  Course Director: Beverly Goetz




This course is designed to train Boy Scouts (age 14 and older), Venturers, and Adult Leaders to serve as Leave No Trace Trainers for Scouting and the 
wider public.  
(For a Scout to serve in the position of Leave No Trace Trainer,
he must complete the Leave No Trace Trainer Course)
The youth leaders of a busy outdoor adventure program must be able to apply Leave No Trace to a variety of activities in differing environments during all seasons of the year, all done in the company of Scouting youth and adults with varying levels of outdoor skills, self discipline and commitment to an outdoor ethic.
Additionally, the course will provide participants with a deeper understanding of Leave No Trace to help individuals make and guide others in making good choices to minimize recreational impacts to help protect the wonderful outdoor locations they choose to enjoy.
Individuals planning trips to National High Adventure Bases, Camp Staff members, Unit Leaders, and those in District or Council training positions are urged to attend.

What it Means NOT TO “Live” the Oath and Law

One of the amazing traditions of the Olympic Games is that athletes – even from the days of the ancient Olympics – put aside any political concerns and compete against the world’s best athletes.  At any Olympiad, there are stories of athletes who – despite the fact that their respective countries might be at war with one another or who might have opposing political views – become friends.  The TV commentators are usually quick to point this out when athletes enter the closing ceremonies – not by country but as a mixed group. The symbolism is that the athletes entered the stadium for the opening ceremonies as separate countries, but they leave as friends.

It doesn’t always work out that way.  You have probably seen this story coming from Rio:

RIO DE JANEIRO — An Egyptian athlete who refused to shake his Israeli opponent’s hand after their judo bout has been reprimanded and sent home from the Rio Olympics, officials said Monday.

The International Olympic Committee said Islam El Shehaby received a “severe reprimand” for his behavior following his first-round heavyweight bout loss to Or Sasson on Friday.

When Sasson extended his hand, El Shehaby backed away and shook his head, injecting Middle Eastern politics into the Rio Olympics. The referee called the 34-year-old El Shehaby back to the mat and obliged to him to bow; he gave a quick nod and was loudly booed as he exited.

Judo opponents typically bow or shake hands at the beginning and end of a match as a sign of respect.

El Shehaby, an ultraconservative Salafi Muslim, had come under pressure from Islamist-leaning and nationalist voices in Egypt before the Rio Games to withdraw, but competed anyway.

The IOC, which set up a disciplinary commission to investigate the incident, said the Egyptian’s conduct “was contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic values.”

The Egyptian Olympic Committee also “strongly condemned” El Shehaby’s actions “and has sent him home,” the IOC said.

The IOC also asked the Egyptian committee to make sure that all its athletes “receive proper education on the Olympic values before coming to the Olympic Games.”

Immediately after the bout, the Egyptian Olympic committee had called it a “personal action” by El Shehaby, adding that he had been “alerted before the match to abide by all the rules and to have sporting spirt during his match with the Israeli player.”

Sasson, who lost in the semifinals but later won a bronze medal, had said he was not surprised by El Shehaby’s actions because his coaches had warned him he might be refused a handshake. “This was his decision,” he said.

Similar incidents have happened before at judo competitions between Israelis and Arabs.

Egypt was the first country in the Arab world to sign a peace treaty and normalize relations with Israel after decades of war.