All posts by Rochelle Randles

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About Rochelle Randles

Rochelle Randles is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She enjoys sharing incredible adventure stories within the Scouting community and beyond. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at

How STEM Scouts Creates a Learning Culture Beyond the Classroom

Photo: FiOS1 News

A group of scientifically-inclined 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students in Northern New Jersey Council are learning lessons beyond just science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Through team work, experiments, and exciting topics, the STEM Scouts program is helping these young geniuses develop character, leadership, and academic strengths they’ll use long after their school days are behind them.

Teacher and STEM Scouts lab leader Diana Robles knows the importance of a curriculum that teaches kids in a way that’s both fun and relevant to modern science, and with the help of the STEM Scouts program, she’s filling that need for her students. In a recent interview with FiOS1 News, she explained how this updated approach to learning augments her teaching and helps her students.

“As we know, we live in a very technology-driven world, so we need to make sure that we are adapting our teaching methods to meet the needs of the changes that are going on around us so that we can really prepare these kids for the future.”

The STEM Scouts program, which is offered to boys and girls from elementary to high school, teaches science, technology, engineering, and math in a fun and engaging way though learning modules. As pictured in the video below, the “What’s the Matter?” module teaches students about the states of matter though discussions and fun experiments with solids, liquids, and gasses, and how they can change.

According to Robles, the benefits of the STEM Scouts curriculum don’t end in academia. Through hands-on activities, STEM Scouts have an opportunity to build skills like teamwork, communication, and critical thinking.

Fifth grade STEM Scout Archie M., who wants to be a scientist one day himself, explained to FiOS1 News, “It helps me talk to my friends easier because we work as a group now and it helps me in science class.”

See for yourself how STEM Scouts is providing kids with exciting learning experiences in the video below from FiOS1 News, and the full article here.

For more information on the STEM Scouts program, and to find a lab near you, visit

Philmont Scout Ranch Announces Backcountry Closure for 2018 Summer Season

The safety of our youth participants, volunteers and staff is the priority at Philmont Scout Ranch and for the Boy Scouts of America.  Because of the unprecedented risk of fire and the risk this poses to the safety of those in available trek areas, we have made the difficult decision that the Philmont Scout Ranch backcountry will remain closed for treks and individual programs for the remainder of the 2018 summer season.  This closure applies only to Philmont’s backcountry programs.  All other areas and programs at the Philmont Scout Ranch, including the Philmont Training Center, will remain open all summer.

Unfortunately, the extremely dry conditions at Philmont have continued unabated since June with fire danger in northern New Mexico currently classified as “extreme.”  The fire danger has led to closure of most public lands near Philmont Scout Ranch.  State and federal lands surrounding the Ranch have remained closed or have since been closed to public access due to the fire danger, including large areas that were closed in the last week.

We have been monitoring the situation since the Ute Park fire began earlier this summer. A few days ago, the Morris Creek fire was discovered in the southern portion of the Ranch. This was part of the area being considered for alternative trek routes that had to be re-routed due the damage sustained in the Ute Park Fire, which forced the cancellation of the first part of the season. Because of the Morris Creek fire, these alternate trek routes have now been eliminated. Additionally, two new fires have been reported in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado that highlight the continued high fire danger in the area, which is currently experiencing exceptional drought – the most severe classification associated with water shortages.

Over the next few days, our staff will be contacting the lead advisor or contingent leader of affected crews confirming the refund, offering a trek at Philmont for the 2020 season, and answering any questions. Please wait and allow the Philmont team to contact your crew – your assistance will help make sure that Philmont phone lines remain open.

The Philmont ranger motto is “scramble – be flexible,” and our inspiring staff is living up to that spirit. Although they expected to be delivering backcountry adventures to Scouts and Scouters this summer, they have enthusiastically taken on the difficult work that needs to be done, ensuring that we will be ready to fully re-open next year. We are humbled and thankful for their willingness to roll up their sleeves, pitch in and meet the challenges we have faced; truly, they reflect the very best on Scouting and our nation’s youth.

As difficult as this situation has been for our Philmont family and for Scouts across our country, we have been truly inspired by the incredible perseverance and commitment shown by our staff, the resourcefulness displayed by displaced crews to find other summer adventures, and the understanding and good wishes from thousands of Scouts and Scouters from around the world.

We thank you for your continued understanding, your support, and your cooperation.


Q: Does this mean that Philmont Scout Ranch will be closed this summer?

No, this closure applies only to Philmont’s backcountry programs.  Philmont’s Camping Headquarters and Base Camp area, the Philmont Training Center, the new National Scouting Museum, the Chase Ranch, and the Kit Carson Museum at Rayado will remain open all summer.  Training courses at the Philmont Training Center and the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) will proceed as scheduled.  This decision does not affect Philmont’s fall programs, including Autumn Adventure and fall PTC training conferences.

Q: Which programs are affected by the closure?

The following programs scheduled for this summer are cancelled:  7- and 12-day treks; and individual backcountry programs, including Rayado, ROCS, Trail Crew, STEM and Ranch Hands.

Q: Will refunds be issued to the affected crews?

Yes, refund checks for all affected crews will be sent to the lead contact advisor on Monday, July 9, 2018.

Q: Will affected crews be offered high adventure opportunities elsewhere?

We will encourage crews to attend programs that still have capacity. While Sea Base is at capacity right now, the Summit Bechtel Reserve is ready to help deliver a great adventure program this summer, and there is limited space still available at Northern Tier, too. Crew advisors and councils can call SBR directly at 304-465-2800 or Northern Tier directly at 218-365-4811.

Q: What will happen if our crew already paid for airfare?

Our National BSA leadership has been working with airlines to assist crews with refunds, changes, and credits. Please refer to the following contacts for support.

American Airlines         1-800-221-2255

Southwest Airlines       1-800-435-9792

Alaska Airlines              1-800-654-5669

Amtrak                         1-800-872-7245

Q: What is the financial impact of this closure?

Although we know there will be a significant impact, it is difficult for us to assess the entire financial impact at this moment. Even so, we know that this is the right decision because the safety of our youth participants, volunteers and staff is our priority.

Q: What will be the impact to the seasonal staff?

Philmont seasonal staff will be given the opportunity to stay and continue to work on projects at Philmont, but they can also choose to go home if they prefer.


Ute Park Fire Prompts Philmont Program Announcements

The safety of our youth participants, volunteers and staff is a priority for everybody at Philmont Scout Ranch and the Boy Scouts of America.  While efforts continue to extinguish the Ute Park fire currently burning in the back-country, the anticipated damage and inability to access the affected areas makes it currently impossible to host back country programs.  Until the fire is extinguished, the areas are inspected and the damage assessed, it is impossible to definitively state when those programs will resume.

At this time, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all backcountry treks that were scheduled to take place in the Philmont backcountry from June 8 – July 14, 2018.  We hope that back country treks may resume after July 14, 2018 with altered itineraries, assuming the back country is safe and infrastructure is restored.

Additionally, programs scheduled to take place at Philmont Training Center will also be canceled through June 23, 2018. The Philmont Training Center expects to welcome back participants beginning with Philmont Family Adventure on June 24, 2018.

The NAYLE program, which takes place at Rayado Ridge Leadership Camp seven miles south of the Philmont Base Camp and is unaffected by the Ute Park Fire, will go on as scheduled.

Over the next few days, we will be contacting the lead advisor or contingent leader of all crews that are impacted by this decision, starting with those that are scheduled to arrive first, as well as affected PTC coordinators. Thank you in advance for allowing the Philmont team to contact your crew – your assistance will help make sure that Philmont phone lines remain open.

We will continue to work with local, state and federal authorities to continuously evaluate the fire and air quality to ensure that we can safely deliver outstanding program.

Thank you for your support and patience.

Ute Park Fire Impacting Philmont Scout Ranch

The Boy Scouts of America has confirmed that the Ute Park fire in New Mexico is affecting the Philmont Scout Ranch. Thankfully, youth members have not yet arrived at Philmont for the summer so there are no youth participants on-site.

Our Philmont staff are now back on the unaffected areas of the Ranch with the clearance of the authorities overseeing the situation after having been previously evacuated. All are safe and in good spirits. Additionally, livestock have also been moved to unaffected areas of the Ranch and are safe.

Currently, there are numerous resources from local, state and federal partners working to suppress this fire on the ground with support from multiple aerial firefighters. Additional incident management resources have also arrived to reinforce operations.

Damage assessments are difficult to assess currently, so we don’t know the total toll the fire has taken on structures and facilities.

We are thankful that no staff have been harmed, and for the outpouring of support from the community in response to this incident. Our thoughts are focused on the wellbeing of those responding to contain the Ute Park fire. We are grateful for their continued efforts.

For more information on the fire, please visit:

Clarifying Misinformation About 2019 World Scout Jamboree Policies

Despite recent media coverage, it is important to clarify that the Boy Scouts of America does not promote the policies that Trail Life USA recently published.

Our expectation regarding the behavior of BSA youth members and adult leaders remains the same as it is for when they are at every other BSA program or event. The BSA is focused on directing our energy to all our youth and families around the values found in the Scout Oath and Law and what we do best  character, outdoor adventure and leadership. 

The World Scout Jamboree is an official program of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. As a world Scouting event, WOSM previously established the requirements and guidelines.

The World Scout Committee of the World Organization of the Scout Movement has offered the following clarification: 

The 2019 World Scout Jamboree will focus Scouts from around the world on personal development, faith and beliefs, sustainability, adventure and other topics that cross cultural lines. Scouting’s founder Lord Baden-Powell of Great Britain believed that bringing youth of the world together would help foster greater cultural awareness, acceptance and cooperation. 

The 2019 World Scout Jamboree is being planned with this spirit in mind and planning is currently underway between the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and the three National Scout Organizations who are co-hosting the event – Scouts Canada, the Scout Association of Mexico and the Boy Scouts of America. 

The World Scout Jamboree organizing team has worked with the co-host countries to align these previously set requirements, which have been in existence for more than two World Scout Jamborees, in a manner that is respectful to local laws and preferences.

Given that the vast majority of the attendees, adults and youth, male and female, will be from all over the world, the 2019 World Scout Jamboree host countries arranged with WOSM so that the host facility could adhere to the existing health requirements developed to address the needs of international health norms in a manner more aligned with local practices. For instance, alcohol will NOT be offered at the 2019 World Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

Scout Organizes Family Conference for Developmental Disabilities

Photo: Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen

Service and family are important parts of any Scout’s life. So when service is inspired by one’s own family, it’s sure to have an incredible impact on the community.

Scout Lance D., 17, of Longhouse Council recognized the challenges his family faced. To ensure Lance’s brother, who has autism, received the best care, his parents routinely had to travel as far as 70 miles.

It was this dedication to family that inspired Lance’s Eagle project. The determined Scout decided he would help other families experiencing similar challenges by organizing a conference on autism and other developmental disabilities.

“Just seeing my parent’s experience, I don’t want other people to work that hard to get that type of help,” Lance shared with the Citizen. 

Lance’s Family Conference for Developmental Disabilities, held earlier this April, provided families with an opportunity to learn from experts — and each other — about caring for loved ones with developmental disabilities.

Anyone who’s dabbled in event planning knows it’s certainly not easy. However, in true Scouting spirit, Lance went above and beyond to make sure the event catered to the needs of both caretakers and people with disabilities. In addition to the panel of experts, the conference also featured fun and engaging activities, such as therapy dogs, teddy bears, and more.

Of course, there’s always plenty of the Scouting spirit to go around. Scouts from Lance’s troop joined the initiative by volunteering at the conference, while citizens from all corners of the community — from young people to adults — found a way to help.

Planning this conference would have been quite an undertaking for anyone, let alone a high school student, but Scoutmaster Andy Roden had no doubt Lance could pull it off.

“He had a vision for this and wasn’t really intimidated by the scope of it,” Roden explained to The Citizen. “But I think that’s really a special thing to see in a young man, to have that vision and follow through on it.”

Lance’s project truly demonstrates what it means to make a meaningful community impact by providing families with new, positive experiences. We can’t wait to see what this incredible Scout does next!

Read more about Lance’s conference and his mission to help his community in the full story from The Citizen. 




Cub Scout’s Invention Debuts on the Steve Show

Photo: The Steve Show

What if we told you that you’d never have to step on another Lego again? For those who know the agony of taking a stray Lego to the foot, worry no more—you can now walk more confidently across any room, all thanks to this Cub Scout’s brilliant invention.

Webelos Scout Colten B.’s Lego Scoop invention started as a project for his school’s “invention convention” with the STEMIE Coalition, but before he knew it, he was showcasing his ingenious creation on the Steve Show with Steve Harvey, who also happens to be a former Cub Scout.

Photo: The Steve Show

As you know, helping other people is a crucial part of being a Scout, and Colten’s invention is sure to help kids and parents alike.

Speaking of helping, Colten even got to help Harvey recite the Scout Oath! Be sure to check out the video below to see Colten show Harvey how it’s done:

BSA offers all kinds of ways for kid inventors to spread their STEM-wings—just ask Anjali Rao, who was recently dubbed America’s Top Young Scientist by 3M! Anjali is a STEM Scout who has created life-saving inventions such as this thermography camera device that assesses snake bites.

There’s more to come on Colten! You can read more about him and other award-winning Scout inventors in the September issue of Boys’ Life.

And the 2017 Eagle Project of the Year Goes to…

Photo: Bryan on Scouting

Blake D. of the East Carolina Council had a brilliant—and seemingly impossible—idea for his Eagle Scout service project. But as you know, if anyone can achieve the impossible, it’s a Scout!

Inspired by his twin brother, who has autism and is legally blind, Blake helped to take his school’s special-needs resources to the next level. With the help of his brother’s teacher, Blake developed a plan to build a sensory room for students with autism, complete with special lighting, padded floors and educational toys.

The only issue was the high-cost of building the room—a hefty $10,000. Blake turned to his community to raise money for the project, which he dubbed, “Wings for Autism,” because “I’ve always believed that those with special needs are God’s special angels,” Blake says in a recent Bryan on Scouting story.

Thanks to the giving spirit of many people, Blake was able to raise more money than he had initially needed, and was even able to build a second sensory room!

The story of this Scout’s resolve to help others was even highlighted in a recent feature on, which means even more people will be able to see what Scouting is all about.

Learn more about Blake’s project in the full story from Bryan on Scouting, then see how you can get involved in your community at!

Jumanji’s Jack Black Talks Scouting with Jimmy Kimmel

Photo: Jimmy Kimmel Live/ ABC

Earlier this week, actor Jack Black revealed a surprising goal from his childhood on Jimmy Kimmel Live —he always wanted to be an Eagle Scout!

In his younger days, this multi-talented comedian participated in both the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs, but he aged out of Scouting before he was able to reach his life-long wish to reach the Eagle Scout rank.

His love of the great outdoors didn’t end after Scouting, however. Black explained to Kimmel that as a young adult, he continued to pursue outdoor adventure through other avenues. This just goes to show, the skills and passions youth develop in Scouting are, without a doubt, tenacious.

“I was a rambunctious youth… I was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout, and I didn’t reach the level of Eagle Scout and I do plan on doing that. I want to go back. You can go back and get that later, right?” Black joked to the late show host.

Kimmel replied, “I don’t think so, no.”

Sorry, Jack, but Jimmy was correct— all Scouts must meet Eagle Scout rank requirements before age 18. But that doesn’t have to mean your Scouting days are over!

While the Jumanji star may have already aged out of Eagle Scout eligibility, we’re certain Black could find the outdoor adventure he loves, should he ever decide to join the fun as a parent volunteer.  

What do you say, Jack?

STEM Scout Named America’s Top Young Scientist

Photo: Andy King, Discovery Education

Last week, STEM Scout Gitanjali “Anjali” Rao was named the winner of the 2017 Discovery Education and 3M Young Scientist Challenge, making the world a better place in the process.

Anjali’s award-winning project, the Tethys, enables users to test for lead levels in water with greater ease and effectiveness than many existing testing processes. This tool, named after the Greek goddess of fresh water, has potentially life-saving implications for communities around the globe.

However, this isn’t Anjali’s first Good Turn in the world of STEM. We met this 11-year-old innovator back in February, after her life-saving device for snake bites earned her the title of Middle Tennessee Council’s STEM Scout of the Year. Flash forward to October, and she’s already invented yet another way to save lives before the year has even ended (classic Anjali).

Be sure to check out Anjali’s Tethys device in the video below from Good Morning America.

Read more about Anjali’s inventions, her thoughts on girls in STEM, and more by reading her recent interview from TIME for Kids magazine.

Find out how you can follow your curiosities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math by heading to to find a lab near you!