All posts by Rochelle Randles

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

OA Hackathon Brings Opportunities for Innovation

Photo: Bryan on Scouting

This Fall, tech-savvy Arrowmen from across the country will gather at the Intel offices in Folsom, Calif., for the OA Hackathon, bringing new innovations to the Order of the Arrow.

From October 6 to 8, 2017, participants will be offered hands-on opportunities to develop their skills and “reimagine the way the Order of the Arrow uses technology,” according to Bryan Wendell of Bryan on Scouting.

In his recent blog post, Wendell explains, “this is what cheerful service looks like in the era of smartwatches, self-driving cars and Snapchat.”

Wendell reports that Arrowmen attending the OA Hackathon will learn from Intel engineers and other technology experts, enhance their coding expertise, and collaborate on a range of projects, such as:

  • Developing an OA app
  • Revamping LodgeMaster— OA’s online system for managing lodge membership
  • Experimenting with new technologies, such as NFC (near-field communication) and facial recognition

Participants will even be able to focus on their areas of interest by joining one of three leagues—the Games League, the Communications League, or the Delivery League.

Learn more about how the OA Hackathon will help bring more innovation to the world of Scouting by reading the full blog post from Bryan on Scouting.

Scouts’ Experiment Launches into Outer Space

(Photo credit: Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)

Monday, a team of Scouts watched in amazement as the project they had diligently designed and built over the last two years blasted into outer space.

The launch is part of a unique partnership between the Boy Scouts of America Pathway to Adventure Council and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) —a non-profit organization that manages the U.S. National Laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS).

The project, now headed for the ISS, is an experiment in DNA mutation. While among the stars, the experiment will test a range of biological samples to see how E. coli cultures mutate in a low-gravity environment.

The experiment will test DNA mutations in space. (Photo credit: Kate Jacobs)

“At the beginning, it’s just really cool to do something that’s going into outer space,” the team’s mentor Norm McFarland told the Chicago Tribune. “By the end, the Scouts were coming up with their own solutions to problems they were finding.”

In about one month, astronauts aboard the ISS will send the experiment back to Earth, where the Scouts will then compare these cosmic mutations to how the same cultures mutate on Earth.

If the Scouts and scientists find gravitationally-based variances in the mutations, the discovery could carry tremendous implications for medical science, such as new methods for growing tissue, or even fighting cancer.

(Photo credit: Kate Jacobs)

“It’s been a huge learning experience,” Scout Andrew F., 16, told the Chicago Tribune.  “I had never done anything like this.”

Learn more about the Scouts’ out-of-this-world experiment by reading the full story from the Chicago Tribune and the official announcement from Pathway to Adventure Council.






How the 2017 National Jamboree Will Spotlight Local Agriculture

Those attending the 2017 National Jamboree are in for a delicious treat!

As part of a new partnership with the Boy Scouts of America, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture will bring locally sourced food to campers at the Summit Bechtel Reserve during next month’s national event. This dynamic relationship will benefit not only the organizations, but also surrounding communities.

“Hosting Scouting’s biggest adventure in West Virginia is a great source of pride for us,” Summit group director, Todd McGregor said in a news release Wednesday.  “Extending our support of this great state by sourcing food from local producers is a natural extension of this deep and valued partnership.”

From fresh honey, to mouthwatering maple syrup, Scouts and Scouters from around the U.S. will get to experience West Virginia’s local fare as they nourish themselves to Live Scouting’s Adventure.

“Working with the Boy Scouts and our West Virginia producers, we will open up huge opportunities for economic development within agriculture,” Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt explained.

Of course, this growth opportunity doesn’t end with the 2017 Jamboree. According to Leonhardt, the Department of Agriculture and West Virginia producers are working on a plan to provide future Summit events with fresh, local provisions.

“The Scouts have an amazing commitment to local food and helping West Virginia. This is a win for our state and the New River Gorge region,” Leonhardt said.

Read more about this partnership and learn about the West Virginia-based farms attending next month’s jamboree in the full article by the Register-Herald, and the news release from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

How This Troop Celebrates Diversability Through Basketball

Photo: Bryan on Scouting

These Massachusetts Scouts are touching lives in a big way through a service project that teaches skills both on and off the court. Troop 4 of the Mohegan Council recently formed not one, but three Special Olympics Unified Sports basketball teams.

Unified Sports teams include both members with and without intellectual disabilities, giving everyone on the team a unique opportunity to learn from each other. After all, playing sports is one of the most exciting ways to develop strong teamwork skills, so what better way to foster an active and inclusive environment than through team spirit?

Photo: Bryan on Scouting

In a recent blog post, Scouting expert Bryan on Scouting explains, “Through on-the-court teamwork, these Scouts have developed a better understanding of individuals different from themselves.”

Members from all three teams demonstrate the true meaning of “diversability,” celebrating teammates’ disabilities as something empowering, not limiting.

“It’s a way to spend time with people that I normally wouldn’t get to spend time with,” Star Scout Rosend told Bryan. “All the stereotypes that I believed in are gone. Now I believe that my teammates with disabilities are awesome, and I want to thank Special Olympics for giving me this special opportunity to change my perception.”

According to Lauren Hopper, the troop’s assistant Scoutmaster, the Scouts who participate on the teams are developing leadership skills that go beyond the court. Hopper explained, “we have found that our Scouts who participate have developed a broader understanding of their role in the community.”

Learn more about how these Scouts are using the excitement of basketball to make a positive impact in their community by reading the original story from Bryan on Scouting.

STEM Scouts’ April McMillan Talks Career Success & More in Huffington Post Interview

April McMillan, BSA’s National Director of STEM Programs, has accomplished a lot in the world of STEM. She’s earned a B.S. in microbiology and Ph.D. in materials science engineering, worked as a biomedical researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and even holds 13 patents.

Additionally, BSA’s STEM Scouts pilot – which teaches science, technology, engineering, and math to girls and boys – has been a continuing success under McMillan’s diligent leadership.

So, what does this renowned scientist point to as the reason for her professional success? In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, McMillan explained, “I credit the opportunities I have had as a leader to a lifetime of unending family support and amazing mentors throughout my career.”

For many women, working in a male-dominated field isn’t always easy, but McMillan says she has her mentors to thank for helping her develop a strong professional identity.

“Interestingly, nearly all of my mentors have been men – they prepared me for the many challenges, and importantly, helped me embrace that I am a scientist – not just a ‘woman in science’,” McMillan said. “Those men… were essential in helping me understand the power of letting the quality of my work speak for itself and to never allow myself to be seen as ‘less than’ simply because I’m a woman.”

Although she’s done extensive work for the STEM Scouts pilot, McMillan’s Scouting experience isn’t limited to the lab. Alongside her daughter, she also enjoys outdoor adventure through the Great Smokey Mountain Council’s Venturing program.

Get more of McMillan’s take on Scouting, STEM education, and women in the workplace by reading the full interview from the Huffington Post.

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!

Young Scientist Shares STEM Inspiration with “TIME For Kids”

If you’ve ever wanted to know how to help others using science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), who better to talk to than a STEM Scout?

That’s exactly what TIME For Kids magazine’s “kid reporter” did in a recent interview with Anjali R., a STEM Scout from Tennessee.

Anjali’s new device uses a thermography camera to assess snake bites. (Photo credit: Middle Tennessee Council)

We introduced you to Anjali back in February, right after she was dubbed Middle Tennessee Council’s STEM Scout of the Year. Unsurprisingly, the semester hasn’t even ended yet and she’s already finding new ways to share Scouting’s values and spread all-around STEM power.

Anjali, who invented a life-saving device for snake bites, opened up to TIME for Kids about her passion for science and her dream of one day becoming a geneticist or epidemiologist. She explained she’s keeping her mind open though, and for this STEM Scout, the sky is the limit!

When asked what tips she would give to other aspiring kid scientists, the ingenious inventor shared this golden piece of advice:

“Don’t give up if you don’t find a solution. Always ask the question ‘Why?’ I have always enjoyed the process of researching and finding a solution. If I fail, I will come back and try a different method. I would say to never give up and have fun!”

See what else Anjali had to say about her latest inventions, forensic science, girls in STEM, and more by reading the full 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!

Eagle Scout Tees Up for the 2017 Masters Tournament

Eagle Scout Daniel Summerhays will play in the 2017 Masters. (Photo: PGA Tour)

From earning his first merit badge as a Scout, to teeing off today in the 2017 Masters Tournament, professional golfer Daniel Summerhays has continued to live the Scout Law in true Eagle Scout fashion.

Summerhays qualified for the 2017 Masters Tournament after an impressive third-place finish in the 2016 PGA Championship last July. However, his commitment to excellence started long before his days as a professional athlete.

Even with a busy practice schedule, this Eagle Scout found a balance between sports and Scouting activities. His determination to reach Scouting’s highest rank paid off when he received his Eagle Scout Award in 2002.

Summerhays became an Eagle Scout in 2002.
(Photo: PGA Tour)

In a recent interview with Bryan on Scouting, the professional golfer opened up about his favorite memories in both the PGA and BSA, how Scouting’s values relate to golf, and even a few tips on perfecting your swing!

You can get Summerhays’ playing schedule and learn more about his journey from the Great Salt Lake Council to Augusta National Golf Club in the full interview from Bryan on Scouting. 

Watch Summerhays in action here!

How This School Empowers Girls to Be STEM Leaders of Tomorrow

STEM Scouts from Frankie Woods McCullough Academy for Girls building a free-standing structure from pasta and marshmallows. (Photo: Jim Karczewski / Post-Tribune)

Marshmallows, raw spaghetti, and lab coats may seem like an odd combination to most, but as a group of young scientists recently learned, lessons in STEM often include unexpected materials and surprising results.

D’Jharea J., a student from the Frankie Woods McCullough Academy for Girls in Gary, IN, was under the clock. She and her classmates were challenged with building a free-standing structure able to support boxes of spaghetti, using marshmallows and uncooked pasta—a task that at first, may have seemed impossible.

But in less than 20 minutes, this group of skeptics transformed into young engineers when they successfully completed the task and won their first STEM Scouts activity.

“It was just suspense and surprise,” D’Jharea told the Chicago Tribune when describing her team’s victory.

In the piece entitled “Defying gender stereotypes, Gary school pushes girls into science,” the Chicago Tribune features D’Jharea and her classmates as they navigate lessons in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Students working together to complete the STEM activity challenge. (Photo: Jim Karczewski / Post-Tribune)

The story highlights the value of STEM-oriented programs for girls, and how schools like McCullough can empower young women to take initiative to become more independent in their academic pursuits.

“In doing so, then we can see the progression of their learning,” kindergarten teacher Antonia Escobedo told the Chicago Tribune.

In 2005, McCullough Academy shifted its educational focus to the areas of science and math, “encouraging girls to defy gender stereotypes and embrace science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at an earlier age,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

Thus, BSA’s STEM Scouts program is a natural fit for the all-girls school. The pilot program, now in its fourth year, encourages girls and boys to pursue interests in STEM-related topics by engaging with them through exciting experiments and character development.

Developing future STEM professionals is a vital step towards strengthening our nation’s growing economy, and it all starts with helping young people uncover new passions in STEM. You can find out more about the innovative STEM Scouts program on

Learn more about how the Frankie Woods McCullough Academy for Girls is working to develop future STEM talent by reading the full story from the Chicago Tribune.

Meet the Unexpected Inventor Behind This Life-Saving Device

Imagine you’re on a weekend hike, enjoying beautiful weather and scenery. Suddenly, the unexpected happens—you’re bitten by a snake. It’s not something we like to think about, but in the great outdoors, this is a very real scenario and as we all know, it’s important to Be Prepared.

If the snake happens to be of the venomous variety, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. It’s best to play it safe and get help, even if you aren’t sure what kind of snake bit you. The time between being bitten and receiving medical treatment is imperative—it can even mean the difference between life and death, depending on the species of viper.

Thanks to modern technology and an ingenious young mind, a new device has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of time between a snake bite and receiving medical treatment.

STEM Scout Anjali R., 10, explains how her device uses a thermography camera to assess snake bites. (Photo credit: The Tennessean/ Middle Tennessee Council)

The prototype includes a non-contact thermography camera that gauges the temperature of the affected area. This sophisticated device has three settings to assess snakebite injuries as accurately as possible, reporting the severity of the bite, the kind of toxin injected, and the amount of toxin injected.

 The Tennessean recently shared a video introducing Anjali R., the 10-year-old scientist behind this life-saving invention.

Anjali, who was recently named the Middle Tennessee Council’s STEM Scout of the Year, came up with the idea while pursuing her passion for medical science through BSA’s STEM Scouts pilot program.

“I would like to be a geneticist or an epidemiologist because I can work in the fields of diseases and learn about different diseases and soon find cures,” Anjali said.

For today’s young people, a passion for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) could eventually translate into careers in STEM-related fields—a crucial element to our country’s growing economy. STEM Scouts works to encourage these pursuits by encouraging children’s natural curiosity to develop interests in STEM fields.

Anjali was recently named “STEM Scout of the Year” by the Middle Tennessee Council. (Photo credit: The Tennessean/ Middle Tennessee Council)

And these aren’t your everyday science lessons. The pilot program, which kicked off in 2013, puts an exciting spin on traditional STEM topics by engaging Scouts in activities and experiments, all while building important life skills.

 “Scouting has allowed me to develop leadership skills, work with a team effectively, and also understand others’ opinions,” explained Anjali. “I enjoy Scouting because it has several fun experiments, which I could never do at home.”

Learn more about Anjali’s life-saving invention in the video below, then head to to find a lab near you!

Distinguished Eagle Scout Rex Tillerson Named Secretary of State

Rex Tillerson swears into office as the 69th Secretary of State (Photo credit: NBC News)

Wednesday, Rex Tillerson was sworn into his new office as the nation’s 69th Secretary of State. However, his leadership skills stretch back far before his time as a member of the Presidential Cabinet.

The former CEO of Exxon Mobile has roots in Scouting that have underscored his journey to the White House, starting in the Cimarron Council more than 50 years ago.

Tillerson served as BSA’s national president—the organization’s top volunteer position— from 2010 to 2012, and has received multiple honors throughout his time in Scouting, such as the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, which recognizes Eagle Scouts who have made a significant impact in their field, and have demonstrated a solid record of serving their community.

The new Secretary of State has also received BSA’s Silver Buffalo Award—Scouting’s highest commendation for volunteers who have contributed extraordinary service to youth.

Tillerson’s involvement with Scouting spans more than half of a century. (Photo credit: Bryan on Scouting)

Even while running a company, Tillerson has always made time to give back to Scouting. During the 2015 Order of the Arrow conference, Tillerson shared words of wisdom and encouragement to what he called, “the largest group of Eagle Scouts that I’ve ever had the privilege to stand before,” according to Bryan on Scouting.


“People trust you. They count on you,” Tillerson beamed. “Your personal integrity, once established and earned, people don’t have to think about it. They know. They know you. They know you’ll do the right thing every time.”

Tillerson on the cover of Eagle’s Call magazine. (Photo credit: Bryan on Scouting)

When it comes to leadership in Scouting, this business-turned-government leader advocates for what he calls, “the Main Thing,” which is to serve more youth in Scouting.

“Our objective is to get them captured, get them into this structure that is Scouting,” Tillerson said in a recent interview with Eagles’ Call magazine. “If we can capture them for three or four years, we’ll change the adults they’ll become; I know that as sure as I live and breathe today.”

Watch the videos below to hear what the Secretary of State has to say about the role of Scouting in his life, then head to Bryan on Scouting to learn more about Tillerson’s Scouting journey.