You can measure the success of Scout Saturday Live! — the biweekly web series created by and for Scouts with a new episode coming on the Fourth of July — in a number of ways.
You can point to the tens of thousands of viewers who have tuned in so far, representing every U.S. state and a dozen foreign countries.
You can consider the transformative experience for the Scouts involved in creating this series. Eighty-three Scouts from 23 different councils worked on the latest episode.
Or you might zoom in even closer to a single household and a Cub Scout in need of some good news.
Last week, Jeff Rudner, a Western Los Angeles County Council volunteer and the show’s executive producer, received an email from the mom of a Cub Scout. The mom said her son “was experiencing depression and anxiety as a result of what’s happening in our world,” Rudner says.
He was tired of being at home all the time, tired of virtual birthday parties, tired of canceled events.
“But their discovery of Scout Saturday Live! created a welcome distraction,” Rudner says. “The mom told me that her Scout had been doing every single project and activity seen on the show. Scout Saturday Live! had put a big smile on her Scout’s face.”
No matter which metric you choose, Scout Saturday Live! has been a success. And the show, which debuted on March 28 and releases new episodes every other Saturday, is about to have its biggest moment yet.
Watch the Scout Saturday Live! Fourth of July Special
The Scout Saturday Live! Fourth of July Special will air at 1:30 p.m. EDT on July 4. Watch on the Scout Saturday Live! page or using the embedded video player at the end of this post.
On Independence Day, Scout hosts from across the country will take viewers to some of the nation’s most patriotic landmarks, share some delightful (and delicious) at-home projects, and deliver a musical performance you won’t soon forget.
“Just sit back, relax and enjoy the show,” Rudner says. “After the show, Scouts and their families can visit the show’s website to download the materials list for the projects featured on the show.”
That added layer of interactivity is what takes Scout Saturday Live! to another level.
Recognizing that Scouting is immersive and hands-on, each episode is paired with a list of materials and instructions for activities families can complete at home. Scouts who finish the at-home projects can (with a parent’s permission) submit photos or videos of those projects for a chance to be featured on a future episode.
Run by Scouts (as you’d expect!)
As you’d hope when it comes to Scouting, the young people run the show. The Fourth of July episode was created by 83 Scouts from 23 different councils (see the list below). Two adults help support the show behind the scenes.
Each episode starts with a production meeting where the Scout hosts, Scout crew and adult volunteers gather on a video call to brainstorm ideas and sketch out the episode. Segments are filmed by the Scouts in their backyards, living rooms and kitchens. And the editing that ties everything together? A Scout does that, too.
In early April, soon after the first episode of Scout Saturday Live! aired, Rudner received an email from Kyle Wrigley, an Eagle Scout from Troop 10 of the Western Los Angeles County Council.
“As an aspiring film editor, Kyle asked if he could help edit the show, and we enthusiastically said yes,” Rudner says.
All editing was previously done by an adult volunteer named Steve Vincent. At first, Kyle edited a single segment. Then several. Today, Kyle edits the entire show.
“I really want to work in the film industry when I get older, and all of my summer internship opportunities disappeared this summer,” Kyle says. “I’m very thankful that I can be a part of Scout Saturday Live! and learn from industry professionals.”
Meet some of the Scouts involved
We asked four of the Scouts behind Scout Saturday Live! to give us an inside look at the show and its impact on their Scouting experience.
Miranda Jenne, host
Star Scout from Troop 10G of the Western Los Angeles County Council
“It is incredibly important for Scouts to remain connected, even while we’re at home. Even though we are living through a troublesome time, it doesn’t mean our existing friendships can’t prosper and new ones can’t be made. Because they most definitely can.”
Sam Yamashita, host
Life Scout from Troop 719 of the Greater Los Angeles Area Council
“I think it’s very important for Scouts to stay connected during this time. Even though we must be physically distanced from each other, we don’t have to be socially distanced. We are all in this together.”
Cameron Irvine, host
Star Scout from Troop 22 of the Western Los Angeles County Council
“Scout Saturday Live! gives me this great opportunity to mentor Scouts I’ve never met before. We’re able to teach younger Scouts important skills but also fun projects to do while we’re sitting at home.”
Kyle Wrigley, associate editor
Eagle Scout from Troop 10 of the Western Los Angeles County Council
“The best part of editing for Scout Saturday Live! is when I finally get a scene or a transition edited just right, and I get to see the work I’ve done on the show when it airs.”
The Fourth of July Special, by the numbers
- 58 Scout musicians using 17 different kinds of instruments will deliver an incredible musical performance.
- 13 guest Scout hosts will share segments filmed in New York, D.C., Philadelphia and the Black Hills of South Dakota.
- 7 regular Scout hosts will showcase fun activities families can try at home.
- 5 Scout staff members have been working behind the scenes to support the show’s efforts.
- 83 Scouts worked on the latest episode with the help of just two adults
- 23 different councils are represented by Scouts in the episode. Is your council on the list?
- Black Hills Area Council
- California Inland Empire Council
- Circle Ten Council
- Cradle of Liberty Council
- Denver Area Council
- Far East Council
- Garden State Council
- Golden Empire Council
- Greater Los Angeles Area Council
- Greater New York Councils
- Greater Tampa Bay Area Council
- Green Mountain Council
- Mid-America Council
- Middle Tennessee Council
- Montana Council
- National Capital Area Council
- North Florida Council
- Sam Houston Area Council
- Spirit of Adventure Council
- Texas Trails Council
- Transatlantic Council
- West Tennessee Area Council
- Western Los Angeles County Council
What he’s learned
With eight episodes of Scout Saturday Live! now “in the can” (to borrow the Hollywood phrase), I wondered what Rudner has learned about Scouting through this process.
He said he’s been reminded of the national and global community of Scouting, where people from all backgrounds can unite around a common set of principles. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, where it’s easy to feel isolated and alone, Scout Saturday Live! reminds us that we’re all in this together.
“In this unprecedented time of uncertainty and unpredictability, there is comfort in the fact that we are not alone,” he says. “There are people just like you and me, people striving to keep Scouting strong in England, Uganda, Hong Kong, Australia, Nepal, Germany, Japan, Venezuela and throughout the U.S.
“Scout Saturday Live! has reminded me of what Scouting stands for, and the common bond of the Scout Oath and Law that we share with Scouting friends around the world.”