All posts by Brice Pearce

Wood Badge Helps Ensure #ScoutingTHRIVES

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Submitted by Michael Terry, Council Vice President of Program

Designed to help Scouters make scouting thrive in their communities, Wood Badge for the 21st Century is BSA’s premier training program.  It is typically run by councils, or clusters of councils in cooperation with one another, and consists, in one form or another, of six days and evenings of concentrated training on how to be better adult leaders.

The Spirit of Adventure Council is part of a cluster of councils that cooperate to run the course annually. Other cluster members include Old Colony Council and Cape and Islands Council. Annawon Council had been in our cluster until it merged into Narraganset Council.  Like most, our cluster runs Wood Badge over the course of two three-day weekends.  Our cluster just completed its second weekend this past Sunday, with 30+ learners finishing their course work at Lone Tree Camp.  There were just under twenty staff members – all volunteers — and I was lucky to be one of those.

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Wood Badge is built around the concept of a scout’s progression from Cub Scouts through Boy Scouts, with learners broken up initially into Cub Scout Dens. These groupings remain intact for the duration of the Wood Badge course, so the dens eventually become patrols. This approach is simply a device under which to organize the course, and to give adult scouters a sense of what it is like to be a Cub Scout and subsequently a Boy Scout.  Each den/patrol is assigned a Wood Badge staff member, called a guide.

Initially, the guide is extremely directive with his den, giving presentations, leading group learning and team building exercises, etc., but as the den becomes a patrol, the guide’s role evolves to be less directive and more advisory.

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Wood Badge instruction takes the best from corporate training and gives it a scouting twist:  Listening to Learn, Communications, Aims and Methods of Scouting, Managing Conflict, Embracing Change, Leave No Trace, Diversity in Scouting, and Scouts with Disabilities are just some of the topics covered during the course.  Interspersed among these presentations are worthwhile games and exercises that not only help the patrol gel as a team but instruct them as to the four stages of team development – forming, storming, norming, and performing.

Toward the end of the course, learners develop five “tickets” that they will work on and complete in the next eighteen months. Each ticket is intended to strengthen whatever part of scouting the learner is most involved in, whether a Cub Scout pack, a Boy Scout troop, Venturing crew, or district or council volunteer role.  These tickets are intended to spur the learner to take what he or she has learned over the Wood Badge weekends and put it into concrete action to make scouting thrive in his or her community.

A learner is considered to have completed Wood Badge training when he or she has completed the five tickets. At that point, the learner is presented with two wooden beads held on a leather thong, a distinctive Wood Badge neckerchief, and a leather woggle/neckerchief slide of turk’s head design.WoodBadge

So, who should take the Wood Badge course?  Anyone who wants to make scouting thrive.  Our course included Cub Masters, Committee Chairs, Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Venture Crew leaders, and district professionals. An added benefit?  Much of what is covered in Wood Badge is applicable at home and at work.

Already a “Wood Badger”?  Consider volunteering to serve on staff for the next course, to be held in the spring of 2017. Either way, please contact me at HERE for details.

Our Pass to Family Adventure

Submitted by Chris Jackson, Cubmaster, Pack 137 (Lexington)

Our family’s Scouting adventure started three years ago when our son saw some pictures of Pack 137 in Lexington’s previous trip to the Battleship Massachusetts. He HAD to go. He had no idea what else the Scouts did he just knew that if it included sleeping on a battleship he was in.

Since then we have become increasingly involved in the pack and with District events. Two years of Pumpkinfest (for 2 children), two years of Day camp, this year’s Overnight camp and a host of other events around our Council.

But while we have been able to do some fantastic things with the Scouts we still had to CHOOSE what events we took part in as the cost has just been prohibitive for a family of four. STEM Camp, several weekend events, and even family camp have all come second place for the main opportunities our family wanted to take advantage of.

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What the card will do for us is open up those missed opportunities.  With a large discount off overnight camp and STEM camp, we have the opportunity for him to work on Robotics and Chemistry while also keeping up with the archery, BBs, and outdoor camping he loves.  We can avoid the weekends where we struggle with “Tablet time/Screen time” and he and his sister can make New England Base Camp their second “outdoor” home.  Surprise weekend trips to one of the other camps for a day of waterfront hijinks he can share with his cousin (who he considers his best friend) now become an easy choice over a visit to a town pool or rec center.

Our son is 9.  After three years in the program he has set his sights on earning his Eagle, joining Venturing, and traveling the country (and the world) through Scouting activities. Lofty goals for sure, but not out of the question and our family will be behind him supporting him all the way. With the opportunities given to us by the New England Adventure Card program it feels like our Council is there supporting us, and allowing him to immerse himself in the Scouting experience at a level we would struggle to do without it.

Changing the Future of Camping

Submitted by Rob McLaughlin, NeXus Counselor-in-Training Co-Director

Everything is getting shaken up this summer at the Northern NeXus of Adventure including our new approach to Counselors-in-Training. All aspects of the Northern NeXus are being re-evaluated, including the CIT program that has been historically offered. Beginning this year, CIT’s at T.L. Storer and Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation will become more a part of the camp staff than ever before. Now 14 year-olds will have the opportunity to experience a full summer learning at camp by participating in all staff activities from Staff Week all the way through take down, at no cost to the CIT. Also as part of the new CIT experience, all participants in the program will attend the exclusive Staff Training and Growth Course (STAG) which will teach CIT’s leadership and team working skills through the Rare Adventures of T.L. Storer and Wah-Tut-Ca. The opportunities presented by the NeXus make this program unique in Boy Scouts.

When I was fourteen I would have loved an opportunity like this. During my own summer as a CIT at Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation I had a lot of fun but this course was built to surpass that experience in every way imaginable. As a former staff member at the National Youth Leadership Training Course, a participant at Philmont’s National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience and a veteran of five years of camp staff at 3 camps, I was able to draw from a large box of involvement to develop a program that applies to the type of leadership needed not only for camp, but also for life. Some activity examples are Search and Rescue Training, Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience challenges, a youth planned backpacking outpost to a mountain in the NeXus and much more.

Another great benefit of this program stems from its change in the role of a CIT from a learning-camper to an apprentice staff member. By attending and participating in Staff Week, CIT’s will learn all the staff specific trainings and integrate fully into the camp staff. Following the completion of the STAG Course during the first week of program, CIT’s will apprentice in program areas for the rest of the summer, learning skills by being additions to the general staff members assigned to that area. As stated before, unlike previous summers participants in the program can spend their whole summer at camp for free, including the STAG leadership training course. They will even get the 25% Staff Discount at Spirit of Adventure Scout Shops to buy their summer uniforms and any other gear at the store. No other Boy Scout camp in New England offers a program like this for 14 year olds.

To apply to be a participant in the STAG Course and a CIT this summer all you have to do is fill out this electronic application. There will be two participant information meetings (both starting at 7:00 PM):

  1. May 17th in Chelmsford, MA, at Trinity Lutheran Church (170 Old Westford Rd)
  2. May 19th at New England Base Camp (411 Unquity Rd. Milton, MA)

Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to live the adventure at the Northern NeXus.

Creating Engagement for Scouting and Families

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive and CEO

Somewhere along the way I realized I have to embrace the fact that I am a crusader. For all the good and the bad that term implies – I am not rational. I am irrationally dedicated to making Scouting Thrive. It is way more than my hashtag, or my job, it’s been my life’s mission. The short hand is that parents and kids of this generation deserve the same quality experiences of previous generations and we all need the benefits that come from raising a generation of character.

The crusade is to make Scouting Thrive – I am so excited about the future! Please save the date May 3rd 7PM at EDCO. Share this link and tell your friends. If you can’t attend – log in and watch it, ask questions and participate on line. Let’s work together to provide the council and the programs this generation of Scouts deserve! ‪#‎ScoutingTHRIVES

Participate NOW, by filling out this form and sharing with PARENTS and LEADERS in your UNIT.

Can’t attend in person – please participate on the 3rd from your computer via live stream (the event will also be archived). Thanks to the Key Foundation for providing the internet broadcasting technology!

The program is brilliant, yet the organization has struggled for almost 50 years. The bigger the struggle the more energy (time, money, effort) will be required to repair the problems. Success of the council only matters when it impacts the life of a Scout.

The most rational people involved in the BSA are the folks (typically parents and unit leaders) who understand the program’s value for youth, they have an altruistic calling and they put the program to work for their child and the kids in their neighborhood. They keep all “the council stuff” at arm’s length and take the support they need were they can get it. Sadly, there are less of those folks every year. The council NEEDS to be an active partner – not a bureaucratic entity to be tolerated.

I’m told my crusade is most evident in the techniques and tenacity I employ when I attempt to un-earth the core of a problem. I flatly refuse to accept mediocrity or partial answers – yet from time to time I’m forced to tolerate it and ask others to tolerate it TEMPORARILY as we dig deeper. I ask us collectively to look the problems in the eye, socialize answers and ultimately sequence and enact the answers. This takes time.

Here is an example: For 20 years I hear people say “the Boy Scouts should do more marketing” and for 20 years the organization replies “We’ve done a ton of marketing and it’s too expensive, and non-effective, therefore we think that’s a local responsibility.” That’s NOT the answer – nor is it really the right question. Every organization in America that thrives and grows uses some type of marketing and PR. Who are we to think we can grow without it? Everyone involved in our conversation is motivated to help Scouting, yet these two statements create an impasse. In short no one is wrong – yet no one is right, so in the meantime Scouting limps along. My crusade compels me to unwind the situation. To understand the complexities I throw myself into marketing efforts and opportunities, I learn about PR so I can finally address the situation with the right context. I know that seems like a simple starting point, but it turns out our paradigm doesn’t allow the discussion to start with that sentiment. Therefore it’s very difficult to ever develop a solution. On May 3rd we’ll share the detailed plans.

Marketing is an example: The WAY we discuss marketing is more critical to creating a successful marketing plan, than the energy we put behind the actual marketing. That’s the same for paperwork, program development, unit service, parent engagement, camp program, and district / board operations and on and on. The WAY we discuss it frames the conversation and our current paradigm inadvertently closes us to certain potential solutions.

The great thing about Spirit of Adventure – we’ve already done the hardest work. We worked to alter the paradigm and now we are in unchartered territory. I know it’s a little scary out here, I’ve been on the journey for decades and trust me … we are in the home stretch.

 

I Love Scouting for ME.

Submitted by Kim Lynch, Cubmaster (Pack 105, Burlington), Teacher, Mom, and Wife

My first year of being Cubmaster is coming to an end, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked why I do it. The answers always revolve around my sons: Jarrod (a Boy Scout), Dylan (a Wolf),  and another coming into Cub Scouts in a few more years. Lynch1I start my answer with a description of loyally cheering Scouts at a Pinewood Derby, or a thrifty and creative Recyclable Rain Gutter Regatta, occasionally I include the helpful relationships between Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts (I often use this one). Maybe I include the enjoyment of warm campfires, silly skits and scrumptious s’mores, but sometimes I simply focus on the morals that Scouting instills and how they revolve around teaching boys to be good men and dads later in life.

My answers always encompass what Scouting offers my children.

It’s here that I came to realize something a little different. I love Scouting for me. As new members to our local community, Jarrod and I forged relationships we still enjoy today; people I trust with my son in every way; people who have fought for him and supported him and helped me to feel trust. Now, as a Cubmaster, I enjoy friendships that extend well past Scouting. We look forward to our monthly leader meetings where we come together as friends and plan for our next meetings.

We all enjoy our Scouting fun and our many Scouting adventures and we have similar interests as well. This year a few of us from the Wolf den enjoyed a family adventure. Our Lynch4thrill ride took us up a mountain trail in New Hampshire together. We celebrate birthdays together or even just a fire side night out. Scouting brought us all together as friends. Our similar philosophies brought us to Cub Scouting and in turn to each other.

Our differences make us strong leaders. We have a tech-savvy spreadsheet creating wiz, a hands-on crafty queen, a saleswoman-forward-thinking diva, along with an innovative idea king and a Shriner Clown who’s always willing to share a laugh or twist a balloon. Our values tie us or should I say ‘knot’ us together both in and out of Scouting.

So when people say it’s hard to make new friends, I disagree. Knowing who you are and going out in search of it will bring you right to them.
From now on, when I answer the questions about loving Scouting, I will still start off with the many rewards my children reap, those all encompassing values, but I will equally emphasize what Scouting does for me!Lynch2

Let the Rare Adventures Begin!

Submitted by Joe Dailey, Northern NeXus Rare Adventures Director

As an avid camper myself, I’ve always been an adventure seeker. Philmont, Sea Base, mountain biking, skydiving, dirt biking, ice climbing, snowboarding, you name it, I’ve probably tried it! I love being at the center of the action, and when some friends told me about the plan for an all-new adventure base for our council, I knew I had to be a part of it.

You see, while I loved summer camp, sometimes it just didn’t provide enough adventure to quench my thirst…. I would return every year, but eventually, the normal routine lost a bit of its magic.

That’s why when I was asked to be the Rare Adventures Director, I knew that with the help of the Northern NeXus leadership team, we could make this something big. Being the adventure junkie that I am – but unable to pull myself away from the summer camp that had raised me – this was the perfect role for me to use my knowledge and love of the outdoors to bring those same experiences to scouts of all ages.

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Along with the rest of the leadership team, I promise every scout that enters a NeXus camp that they’ll get to enjoy a unique High Adventure experience, guaranteed!

My vision is that, together, we can build a new standard for summer camp experiences, the likes of which has never been seen, and show all the other Boy Scout camps and councils that here in the Spirit of Adventure Council, Scouting Truly Does Thrive!

Varying in length and difficulty, the Rare Adventures will provide new experiences to scouts of all ages and skill levels. Some examples are:

  • Learn advanced sailing techniques on the Craig Ryder, exploring the beautiful and expansive Northwood Lake!
  • Grab a friend and take on the allnew Vertical Caving Tower at T. L. Storer, climbing, crawling, and rappelling through a vertical maze!
  • Gather your patrol or troop and head out to Parker Mountain for an overnight survival simulation!
  • Units will even have the opportunity to work with the NeXus staff and build their own Rare Adventure.

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Whatever your path, you’re guaranteed a one-of-a-kind experience, only available at the Northern NeXus of Adventure.

In addition to this incredible new program, scouts will be able to earn points for participating in Rare Adventures, which can then be applied towards earning the all new Spirit of Adventure Camping Award! Multitiered and comprising a number of different components, this award will be offered on the individual, patrol, and troop levels, giving scouts the chance to challenge themselves not only individually but also as a team, working together to obtain the never before seen Spirit of Adventure Troop Award! Scouts will receive patches and awards as they progress through the various levels.

Pondering the Perplexing Puzzle Piece…

Submitted by Sam Plouffe, Council Program Director

Puzzles. We all remember doing them as kids, and the alternating frustration of finding and fitting together the correct pieces coupled with the immense satisfaction of completing the picture. Maybe your family was like mine and even spent time working on puzzles together.

This is a great metaphor for modern-day family life as well: sports, dance lessons, karate, school trips, performances, and other community activities all combine to make it difficult for us to simply find time to eat a meal at home together, much less spend time bonding as a family.

Last week, all registered Cub Scout families should have received a piece of mail from the Spirit of Adventure Council which included several puzzle pieces. You might have noticed that your son’s puzzle had an extra, special piece! Perhaps you’ve been pondering this perplexing piece…

Bring the “magic” puzzle piece to camp on the first day to receive your bonus starter kit: a spiffy special collector’s tee shirt with +2 Awesome!

“But, I already recycled that mailer…” you say? Never fear: Steve and Alex will also have starter kits for boys and girls who bring in a drawing of what they think their own Map To Adventure should look like! Go into Creative Mode, and show us what you’ve got!

Oh, and ANYONE reading this far down into the blog is entitled to our early bird rate of $225/child until May 15th! Just go to http://scoutspirit.org/Summer-Camping for details and registration links, then use the discount code #Puzzle at checkout

Take the time to puzzle with your family and engage with Minecraft in the outdoors! Connect with the conversation in these channels:

Making Friends through Scouting

Submitted by Diane Trubiano, Cub Scout Leader and Scout Parent.

Since Pumpkin Fest in October, my son Paul and I have had quite the adventure adding to our scouting story.  Paul ECoHHe started college, completed hiking all 48 of the 4000 footers in New Hampshire, and most excitingly earned the Rank of Eagle Scout. It was a great celebration (and moment of pride for me as his mom) to start 2016.

To pick up where I left off last year; it is safe to say that a good number of the people I am close to and call friends are people I have met through Scouting. If you look at my Facebook friends list, it is made up of all Scouts and family.  We see each other weekly in Pack and Troop meetings, then at the district and council level each month. I know families that see less of each other than that! We all of course bond over the common interest of Scouting and our commitment to the youth we serve. As we share stories about our favorite Scouting moments, it often feels as though Scouts and their parents become like family to you.

Some of the nicest people I have ever met are through the Scouting program. friendsAs
dedicated parents, we understand the long hours and time away from home, the need for taking our units camping for weekends and weeks at summer camp, hiking mountains with 50 pound back packs, passing swim tests at summer camp, challenging youth to do more than they thought they could. Shared interests, experiences, and campfires are what bring us together to meet and make new friends through the fellowship Scouting offers us as adults and youth.

When I was asked to help recruit 10,000 participants to join us at SOAR – Scouting’s Outdoor Adventure on the River in 2016,  I saw it as a great opportunity to make 10,000 new Scouting Friends. To share an event this big with so many Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Venturers, and Scout Leaders from all over the Northeast is an opportunity not to be missed!

Please join me and share in a memorable experience with thousands of new friends at SOAR 2016 – Scouting’s Outdoor Adventure on the River October 8-10, 2016! I am very much looking forward to the opportunity for fellowship with all of you 😊
SOARClick to reserve your spot on the banks of the Charles River for the day (10/9) or the whole weekend.

Spring into STEM Camp

Spring is almost here and the April vacation will be here before you realize it.  The question that always comes up is, “what to do with the kids?”  You could always keep them home and let them watch television all day, but we have a better idea!  Send them to New England Base Camp for STEM Camp!

Jobs within the STEM (Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering) industry are growing at nearly twice the national average, meaning there will be well over 1 million unfilled tech jobs by 2020! Careers in STEM foster valuable 21st century life skills like problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration, while providing opportunities to create positive change and innovate a better world.  Not to mention that it is fun.

STEM Camp 2016 is bigger than ever!  This year, we will be hosting Peter and Paul Reynolds who will be teaching Animation Merit Badge with the animators at FableVisionWill Bales, from the TV show BattleBots, will be at camp teaching robotics to Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. NVBots will be at camp teaching 3D printing.  We cannot forget about the paleontologists, meteorologists, astronauts, robots and drones coming as well.   Everyone will be taking a field trip this year.  Participants will be going to MIT, Lincoln Labs, iRobot, FableVision, Harvard, Wentworth Institute of Technology and many more.

We have added more sessions for the Boy Scout Merit Badge program.  Scouts can choose between Animation Merit Badge, Energy and Electricity Merit Badges, Inventing and Engineering Merit Badges, Nuclear Science and Drafting Merit Badges, Robotics Merit Badge, Space Exploration and Weather Merit Badges.  Cub Scouts will work on a multitude of Activity Badges.  Girl Scouts will be able to work on their awards and everyone works towards their NOVA award.

Bring your child to STEM Camp at New England Base Camp for chance to learn while having the time of their lives.

A Night at the Museum (of Science)

One Dad’s perspective on the Cub Scout overnight at the Museum of Science
By Ted Cormier-Leger, Pack 7 Dedham

Back in the fall, my son’s Cubmaster gave us the pitch about selling popcorn as a way to help support the pack and in return we would get some nice perks too.  One of those perks was my son would get to go the Museum of Science.

So like good Scouts we sold what we had to and eagerly waited for when our pack would get assigned its night at the museum.  I too was excited because I knew it was a parent and son program and something we could enjoy together.  After all, I remember going to the Museum as a kid many times on school field trips and such but I never got to sleep over.  I wonder if we can sleep under the T-Rex?  I wonder if they still have the planetarium?  Oh wow, I remember that lightning show being scary, so I hope my son is not freaked out.  These were a few of the things that passed through my mind.

So a few months later we got our date.  Sat night in mid February.  What I did not realize was MOST of the boys in my son’s Wolf Den were attending.  Now fear was starting to set in.  Were these little hellions going to be up all night?  What if they break something priceless? What if they accidentally reprogram the museum’s computers?  What if they take all the parents hostage and tie us up all night so they run free?  All very legit concerns for this particular group of 7 and 8 year old boys.

Charlie at deskThe afternoon had finally arrived and my son was very excited.  He wore his full uniform to the museum, proudly adorning all his accomplishments for the year.

We packed lightly but I was warned by more than one chaperone “bring an air mattress” so I did.  We got to the museum, checked in and soon I saw that not only was I chaperoning the scouts from my son’s pack but more than 200 boys were there from around New England.  Was I insane?  I was agreeing to spend the night in a science museum with 200+ little boys, surrounded by dinosaurs, relics of ancient civilizations, live animals and enough sugary snacks to keep them awake for a decade.  Luckily I was pleasantly surprised….

  • We got to see an awesome demo on the history of animation.
  • We enjoyed a live animal show.
  • We explored the dinosaur hall and other exhibits.
  • We saw the amazing indoor lightning show which was just as cool as I remembered.
  • We learned about space exploration and the distance of planets in relation to the sun.
  • We even got snack and all this before 11pm!

Bedtime came and we all got our stuff.  Air mattresses were being blown up everywhere you looked.  One family had a setup complete with sheets, pillows and a comforter.  It looked better than many rooms I have stayed in at 4 star hotels.  I think they even brought slippers!  I looked around and tried to find a spot near a power outlet so I could charge my cell phone.  I set up our mattress and sleeping bags and quickly more and more boys kept coming over to my general area.  Uh oh.

Turns out the glass display on the other side of my sleeping area was the baby chicken hatching station. Lucky me.  Three little guys decided that night would be their birthday!  The kids were excited but as the night went on, those little chicks went from being cute to being thought of in a delicious buffalo sauce.  They chirped and chirped and well, I did not get much sleep.  But it’s for the kids right?

Morning came and we got changed, got cleaned up as best we could and we got all our stuff packed away in our car.  We were treated to a nice breakfast and a morning full of more activities….an Imax theatre film, a planetarium show, more exhibit halls, another live animal show.  Good grief, they sure do pack it all in and 100% give you your money’s worth.  By noon on Sunday, no matter how strong the iced coffee was from the café, I was all done and we needed to get going so we headed home.

Cub Scout Charlie had another awesome experience and I lived to tell the tale.  And I am so glad and thankful for my night with the baby chicks.