Welcome to the LDS Scouter Blog. We hope to provide you with valuable information, share useful resources and maybe even improve some attitudes and Ward Scouting programs. The recommended way to use this blog is to start with the post, "Why I started this blog." Then browse through the post titles in the archive (found in the sidebar) for topics of interest.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Book Cover v2.0 (duct tape!)

Ever since I found this post last year about doing a duct tape wallet as a Webelos Craftsman project, duct tape has been a favorite medium, especially when it comes to Cub Scout things. We have several rolls of colored and patterned duct tape now (we buy them whenever we see them on sale; we also found some at the dollar store), which came in handy when we made "recycle regatta" boats. It was also one of the best things I brought with me to Wood Badge (I should have brought the Ductigami book with me too).

Inspired by another project in Ductigami, here are instructions for making a book cover for a scout book. I used a Webelos book, because I think this would also make a good Craftsman project, as well as passing off the book cover requirement for either the Art pin or the Reading and Writing pin (you could even make coordinating bookmarks from duct tape; then they could pass it off for BOTH pins). I am sure Boy Scouts would enjoy the project just as much.

Creating a duct tape sheet is the basis of most duct tape projects. For my book cover, I used a measuring tape to measure around the whole cover (front back and spine) of the book, then added 6" (3" for each flap). For a larger book, you may want to add as much as 8". The height of the sheet is just a little taller than the book. For my Webelos book, this came out to 18"x8".

Cut several pieces of duct tape a little longer than your sheet needs to be (so you have some extra to trim off at the ends - my strips were 19"). Lay one of those strips face up on your surface (a clean cutting board is a good place). Lay another piece face-down, overlapping the first about halfway.:

Now carefully fold down the exposed half of the first piece. This gives you your top edge:

Pull up what you have so far and flip it over.

Add another piece, again this will be face-down and will overlap the facing-up exposed portion.

Continue to "grow" your piece in this way, by pulling up the piece and flipping, then adding a new piece, until your sheet is a little taller than your book. Fold over the last bit of sticky on the bottom to create a nice edge, just like you did on the top. Trim your sides down to size.

Now wrap your sheet around the book to see where the folds will be.

Remove the book, and fold pieces of tape over the ends of each flap, trimming as needed.

When all four corners are taped up, your cover is ready!

You can add a pocket - or more - for holding a Faith in God book, Duty to God book, pen, merit badge cards, whatever you think would be handy. All you need to do is create another sheet the size you want your pocket to be (mine was 4"x5"):

And tape it onto the book cover:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Celebrating! (Giveaway)

This giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Fishgutts!

I do not think I have ever done a giveaway on this blog before. When I realized this week that this blog is three years old, I thought it was about time, and a three-year anniversary is as good a reason as any. This blog has evolved over the last three years, I have learned some things, I have made some great friends, and I hope that we have helped some people.

I also try not to promote myself on this blog, but I am so excited about my new Wood Badge fabrics that I thought they would be just the thing to give away, so please forgive me for self-promoting this one time.

The winner of this giveaway will be able to choose one of these Wood Badge stuffed critters:


A fat quarter (basic cotton) of one fabric from either my Wood Badge fabric collection or my Derby Cars collection

Derby Cars Fabric


A small decal (5") of your choice of Wood Badge critter.


One entry per person. To enter, simply leave a comment before Friday, September 27th, noon (PDT).

I must have some way to contact you. If I do not know your e-mail address, and it is not in your profile, and you do not leave it in your comment, you will be disqualified.

Open to U.S. residents only.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Century of Honor

If you have not seen it yet, there is a website for the celebration of 100 years of LDS Scouting. It has links about the museum exhibits, a couple videos and information about a broadcast coming up on October 29. The broadcast will be on the website as well as at church buildings. This could be an opportunity for community outreach by inviting other Scouters in our communities to celebrate Scouting history with us.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Church History Museum

We were in Salt Lake last week, and I was able to take the boys to the Church History Museum to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit and the exhibit about Scouting and the Priesthood. If you get a chance to check out these exhibits, I highly recommend it. They are very well done. (Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me that morning, but I did snap a few pictures with my phone.)

My favorite thing about the exhibits is that they have pamphlets for both Cub Scouts and Boys Scouts to help them earn awards using the two exhibits. The Cub Scout booklet is specifically aimed at the Rockwell exhibit. After looking at the exhibit, discussing it (using questions from the booklet) with a parent or leader, and creating a composition according to instructions, a Cub can earn both the Art Belt Loop and a special patch that can be purchased at Great Salt Lake Council service centers. For Boy Scouts, there are two booklets: Scouting Heritage and Art, which guide a Scout in activities to help him earn the respective merit badges (some activities can be done at the museum, and some will need to be done at home). You can find these materials upstairs with the exhibits or ask one of the very helpful museum workers about them.

The exhibit about Scouting and the Priesthood is especially impressive the way it was put together. It is interactive, with a place children (or adults) can write or draw about a good turn they have done and pin it to a board, as well as design a neckerchief. There is a display about the Unknown Scout and Boyce with a little audio thing (this and the bugle were my youngest's favorites). There are interactive knot-tying and flag signaling stations, and there are several other things to look at and do to experience the history of Scouting in the Church.

(Warning: There is also an exhibit right now to go with the Primary's Book of Mormon celebration that is on par with any children's museum we have been to, and it comes right after the Scouting and the Priesthood exhibit. If you are visiting the museum with younger children and you do not want to spend all day there, make sure to steer them toward the Rockwell exhibit before they see the Book of Mormon area. Otherwise you might have difficulty extracting them. If you brought a second adult with you - which I did not - sucker him/her into taking the kids through the Book of Mormon area while you enjoy the Rockwell exhibit in peace.)

The Norman Rockwell exhibit includes paintings Rockwell did about Scouting and Boys Life covers by Rockwell. There are discriptions and bits of history around the room as well. There are even a couple of interactive screens where you can draw or look at Rockwells (playing with these screens was my middle son's favorite part). Of course, being in a room with actual Rockwell paintings was amazing enough and the focus of the display; fancy interactive activities were not so important here.

I consider both exhibits to be those "once in a lifetime" experiences. The Rockwell exhibit runs through the end of this year. The Scouting and the Priesthood exhibit will be up until October of next year.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Uniform Library

We have been running a uniform library for over a year now. It has made it possible for us to require the boys to wear uniforms, because if they cannot afford a uniform themselves, we can provide one for them. This is something we do personally, but you can also set up a uniform library on a unit or ward level, or I have even heard of districts or towns with a uniform exchange program. I wanted to share how we run our library, what to expect and what has worked best for us.

The first thing you ought to know when setting up a uniform library is not to expect to get all of the uniforms back. It helps to track the uniforms carefully, keeping a list of everything that goes out. We also sew tags inside of each uniform, with our family name or the pack number on them. (You can make your own with printer fabric or get a swatch with sixteen tags here for $5, plus shipping.) People are generally well intentioned and want to give the uniforms back when they are done, but I find they forget. I often have to keep track of the boys or leaders who leave the program, and go to the person or parent and ask for the uniform back. Sometimes I have to ask a few times. The uniforms we have not gotten back were ones loaned out to people in other wards or people who moved.

For the above reason, you need to obtain the uniforms as cheaply as possible. It helps when people in your unit are willing to donate uniforms as the boys outgrow them. You may also need to be less picky about uniform library shirts. Shirts that are long-sleeved, have glue spots on them or are without collars tend to sell a little more cheaply on ebay. A troop in need may decide to go a little "retro" and obtain the older green shirts, as these often sell for a lot less than the newer tan ones. Have everyone you know keep an eye out at thrift stores. You never know when you might walk in and find a uniform jackpot where you have never seen uniforms before. This happened to us recently when we went into a local thrift store and spotted two Cub Scout shirts and a Boy Scout shirt all hanging together toward the front of the store. Never having sold any before, the lady at the register charged us $1.50 a piece for them. Score!

Not wanting to redo the library everytime we move, any uniforms we purchase, belong to our family. Any uniforms donated to us by other people belong to the unit that they are in. When we were part of a "quad-pack" (four wards' Cub Scouts meeting together), if someone donated a uniform, we wrote their pack's number on it, and when the quad-pack broke up, we gave those uniforms to the corresponding wards. We keep all of the uniforms together in one tote, with the labels and list to keep track of everything.

Despite the difficulties, the cost, and the missing uniforms, I am glad we started our uniform library. It is really a nice thing to have. If you have any experience with a uniform library or uniform exchange program, please tell us about it in the comments.