A Boys Life

Last month I shot my seventh editorial assignment for Boys Life Magazine. 50.25% of you might remember this magazine from your good old days. You might also be surprised to learn its still around. Boys Life is the flagship publication of the Boy Scouts of America, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

On this most recent assignment I spent several days backpacking in the snow, in the mountains, with plenty of heavy weather and difficult terrain. If you aren’t involved in Scouts (I was not) you might be surprised to learn that this is a pretty typical Scouts outing.

Boys Life assignments I’ve been on in the past include kayaking to an island and camping off the Georgia coast, building and sleeping in snow shelters on frozen lakes in Minnesota, and a week-long backpacking trip through Isle Royale National Park.
Below: A group of scouts from coastal Georgia spend a weekend kayaking to Creighton Island and camping under the stars. We were accompanied by a film crew shooting and episode of Boys Life TV called “Scouting for Adventure” for the Outdoor Channel. This story is in the most recent, July 2010 issue of Boys Life.

Below: Scouts build snow shelters known as quinzees on a frozen lake in Minnesota. Using snow shovels, the scouts spent all day making mounds of snow which they would then bore into to create warm shelters which they spent a subzero night in. An unrelated but popular tool was a manual auger for drilling holes in the ice. This story appeared in the February 2009 Boys Life.


These kids have some great adventures, more than most of us in fact, and I’m always excited to get the call from Boys Life, because I know I’m in for another great trip. In addition, these kids and their adult leaders are some of the friendliest, most psyched people I’ve been  with “out there”.

You only have to witness a group of determined 9-12 year old kids fording a 50-foot-wide wild river, followed carefully (but not-too-closely) by their dads, to see that these trips can be life-changing for both father and son. That’s something I can appreciate as a dad myself.
Below: A group of cub scouts from Georgia spent a night in conestoga wagons at the Rock Ranch, a 1250-acre working cattle ranch in middle Georgia owned by Chick-fil-A founder, S. Truett. Along the way they learned a variety of basic camping and navigation skills. T
his story was published in Boys Life, June 2009.

Boys Life has a great, engaging website, and you can see right away who their audience is. But if there is a reason for maintaining a print magazine, it’s for a kid-oriented magazine like Boys Life. Their demographic probably doesn’t spend much time sipping coffee in front of a screen on a work break.

If you are like me, when your kid comes home from school, you want them to get into something tangible: paint something, go sledding, climb a rock, or share a book or magazine with the family.

Happy 100th fellas!

Below: Older scouts from Diamondhead, Mississippi donate their time to mentor the cub scouts of area packs that have been left leaderless from Hurricane Katrina. Many of the families of the scouts pictured here have lost most if not all of their worldly possessions in the aftermath of that disaster. It’s a testament to the strength of this scouting community that these scouts and their parents still find the energy and time to get together regularly for scouting activities. An inspiring shoot to say the least. From April 2010 Boys Life.



Nice! i loved boy’s life as a kid

posted by Andy on 06.16.10 at 12:18 pm

Great pics, brings back memories from my days in scouting and being stranded at Camp Ben Hawkins for a week during the Flood of ’94…good times!! I should look back and see if I ever earned the photography merit badge!

posted by James Davidson on 06.16.10 at 5:14 pm

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