Mark Ray

Mark Ray

I'm a freelance writer.

Magazines, books, corporate communications, and more.

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Cubserviceprojects article
Scouting magazine

Five secrets to successful Cub Scouting service projects

Warder Park in Jeffersonville, Ind., attracts its share of casual walkers, concertgoers and homeless people looking for a place to rest. One Saturday last December, it attracted a different crowd: 35 or so Cub Scouts and parents from Pack 4043, who were there to complete a service project they began the month before.

Cubscoutcarnivals article
Scouting magazine

Tips and tricks for planning an awesome Cub Scout carnival

If you think no carnival is complete without sideshows, cotton candy, a Tilt-a-Whirl and that Zoltar machine from Big, you might find it a little daunting to plan a Cub Scout carnival, which is the focus of the Bears’ Grin and Bear It adventure. But one Scouter says you can run a successful carnival even if you don’t know a carny from a corndog.

Fpc baird2 500x375 article

And the walls came tumbling down

For more than a century, the manse next to First Presbyterian Church in tiny Baird, Texas (population 1,600), served many functions: as the church’s first sanctuary, as a home for a string of pastors, and as space for vacation Bible School and adult Sunday school classes. In recent years, however, it had become an albatross, a dilapidated structure that was too expensive to repair and too expensive to demolish.

New leader opener article
Scouting magazine

The get-started guide for new Scouting leaders

Welcome to Scouting! You’re joining a force of volunteers a million strong, some who started in Scouting before you were born (see tip No. 38). Yet you may be uniquely qualified to have a powerfully positive impact on the young people in your unit (see tip No. 43). No pressure, huh?

Scmayjune13 homesick article
Scouting magazine

How to head off homesickness before and during resident camp

The road to homesickness is paved with good intentions, as James Feuerstein discovered last summer at Akelaland, the Cub Scout camp he directs for Pennsylvania’s Minsi Trails Council.

Superscouters article
Scouting magazine

How to find time for Scouting, family and your busy life

Whether your Scouting role requires an hour per week or an hour per week per Scout, finding enough time can be a challenge. Yet countless Scouters have figured out how to balance their Scouting jobs and “real” jobs.

A first01 article
Scouting magazine

First among equals

Morning assemblies at last fall’s first-ever Philmont Leadership Challenge (PLC) course included the sort of groan-inducing humor that’s familiar to Scouts around the world.

There was a “spot” announcement (“Arf! Arf!”), a less-than-helpful weather forecast (“progressive lightness through the day, followed by darkening around dusk”), and the latest scores from the world of sports (team names omitted, of course).

Marapr12 nob play article
Scouting magazine

Learn how outdoor 'free play' helps Scouts grow

WHEN A CHILD IS ABDUCTED from any street corner in America, the story understandably leads the evening news and earns a “breaking news” banner on So what happens when millions of children disappear from America’s backyards and playgrounds? No one notices.

Cubscoutprogramopener article
Scouting magazine

Everything you need to know about the new Cub Scouting program

Adventure ahead! By now, you’ve heard that Cub Scouting is getting a big upgrade on June 1 of this year. We’ve got your road map to the new Cub Scouting program, including what’s changing (and what isn’t), the new adventure loops and tips on how to transition your pack to the revised program.

Familyties article
Scouting magazine

How to strengthen family ties with traditions

“What should we do for New Year’s Eve?” That common question at year’s end isn’t something Krista Gilbert’s family needs to ask.

Starwarsblueandgold article
Scouting magazine

Amp up your next Blue and Gold with ideas from Star Wars and more

EVERY FEBRUARY SINCE Baden-Powell was a Cub Scout, packs across the country have held blue and gold banquets to celebrate Scouting’s birthday, hand out awards and eat spaghetti. But blue and gold can become blah and old, and the event can turn into a race to see which will run out first: the piles of awards or the patience of Tiger Cubs.

Open uri20160602 8805 1fpjf1w article
Scouting magazine

Teaching children that failure is an option

Raising children to understand that failure is an option, in a ‘participation trophy’ society....

Helicopter parent tips article
Scouting magazine

Tips for grounding your own helicopter-parenting behaviors

As dean of freshmen at Stanford University, Julie Lythcott-Haims encountered her share of helicopter parents, as well as students who’d been impaired by overparenting. “I’ve come across college students who....

A westward02 article
Scouting magazine

The new Brownsea boys

On a Wednesday morning last July at the Del-Mar-Va Council’s Rodney Scout Reservation, staff members Tommy Golden and Aaron Schilling told a group of campers about their Tuesday—a day they’d barely survived. Among the calamities that befell them were cuts and scratches, blisters, broken bones, nosebleeds, bee stings, both hypothermia and heat stroke (in dizzying succession), and an encounter with an elusive, bear-like squirrel that’s distantly related to the jackalope.

Open uri20160602 8805 fqj1my article
Scouting magazine

How to help youth leaders build a Scout-led troop

Does your youth-led unit display more chaos than control? Use these tips to help support youth leaders when establishing a Scout-led troop....