Category Archives: Boy Scouts

Scouting in Today’s Society

Utilizing our Diversity Task Force

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive

In the past nine months, we assembled a diversity and inclusion task force to review, and better understand Scouting’s relationship toward our diverse, melting pot /pluralist society. Our mission was to develop a roadmap that would ultimately unlock the program of Scouting for all families that want to raise children of character. It’s part of our strategic plan which is still under review – but diversity road map was met with enthusiasm and broad support.

I deeply enjoyed working with the folks on this task force. Over the nine months, the size and make up of the group accordioned with various projects. There were nine formal members, yet in its widest interputation there were about 20 diverse people who contributed to build the roadmap.
 

 

While we were conducting our work to present our proposal, the national organization began researching and considering allowing girls to join the BSA at all levels.

 

It seems to me during Scouting’s hey day the 1930s through the late 1960s Scouting enjoyed universal appeal. Yet today, only a percentage of American families consider Scouting as a valuable, fun, community character education program for their kids. Ironically the American public widely views Scouting and it’s activities and outcomes in a positive light. When you talk to non-Scout families it sounds like this “I know Scouting does good things for the kids involved, it’s just not for us.” Or “Those activities seem exciting and valuable to my kids, but we do something else.” That sentiment is not just my opinion and observation, the BSA has done an enormous amount of market research and that is the common and consistent response.

 

Sadly, even with so much market research over decades all pointing to the same truth, Scouting still didn’t know what to do. Although there have been sincere, genuine efforts over the past few decades, those efforts never seem to make long lasting sustainable impact. The key ingredient that was missing the willingness to widely and truly embrace.

 

It’s my observation that in the 30s through the late 60s when Scouting enjoyed universal appeal. It did so because America valued a homogenous society. (Admittedly – I am not a sociologist!) Whether you were black, white, buddhist, gay, straight, male, female, Latino, immigrant or native society pushed you towards the American dream of apple pie and a white picket fence. Scouting tapped into and reflected that idea. Today, while the white picket fence is still a highly regarded ideal, we more willingly embrace each American’s right to determine “The pursuit of happiness” in their own terms.

 

This is a culture change and this is hard work.

 

However, a core belief in Scouting has always been that communities self-determine. Our common ground is that every family agrees to the ideals of the Scout Oath and Law:
A Scout is friendly. A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He offers his friendship to people of all races and nations, and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different from his own.

 

Beyond that common ground (and safety!) all Scout communities self determine how they utilize the curriculum. To that end, each scout troop reflects its own community and culture. And the Scouting organization understands that, respects that, and defends that. While respecting and supporting each community’s unique culture and self determination we will simultaneously offer friendship to all.

 

Family Engagement is the Name of the Game

BSA Announces New Member Coordinator Position

Submitted by Paul Gendreau, Membership Campaign Manager, Spirit of Adventure Council

I find myself thinking of the great number of times over my career that I’ve heard a leader bemoan, “Parents think BSA means Baby Sitters of America”. These leaders are wonderful people who have caught the “Scouting bug”, believe wholeheartedly in what we do for young people, and who have jumped in with both feet. That’s an understatement. They’ve jumped in with their whole being. These leaders just cannot understand why parents won’t “step up” when they announce a position that needs to be filled or when some job to be done in the unit. I think the truth lies in the fact that despite all of the training available along with enough three-hole punched literature to fill a library, BSA has never done a very good job teaching leaders how to draw others into the fold. I know that I’ve coached countless volunteers in the process of recruiting the right person for the right job over the years.

 

Locally, we’ve come to recognize that for us to both gain and keep new members, we need to draw the whole family into our program. Our council has set a course designed to help units engage families. By providing planned programs at our Base Camp sites and satellite locations, programs that at the unit/den/family level require no effort other than showing up, we continue to create an environment where parents and their children can have fun together within a Scouting framework. Smart leaders will keep a watchful eye on these families enjoying Scouting together and use these feel-good times to get parents to take the next step. Usually, that next step is ask them to help out with something small within the unit and have it happen soon – before that good feeling fades. It is called cultivation and the desired end point is having many people do a little so that nobody has to do a lot within the unit. I am sure that those who follow this prescription will have no problem in getting people to step into leadership or committee roles as needs arise in their units.

Nationally, the need to engage families has also been recognized and is being addressed at perhaps a more elemental level, one that can work hand in hand with what we are doing at The Spirit of Adventure Council. Units at all levels of Scouting are encouraged to add one or more adults to the newly created position of New Member Coordinator. Let’s face it. With a culture and language all our own, uniforms bedecked with an assortment of patches and awards, not to mention a host of real and imagined rules and regulations, we are often our own worst enemy. Without meaning to be, we can be intimidating to the uninitiated, particularly if you were not exposed to Scouting as a child. Do you remember how it was for you when you attended your first meeting or sign-up event? Somehow, though, you got past that trauma. For every one of you who survived, there are plenty who didn’t. Scouting is trying to remedy that with this new position.

 

The main requirement for the New Member Coordinator is to be someone who wears a smile and warmly welcomes new youths and their families. These people are communicators, inviters, and follow-upers (if that’s a word!). In doing so, they have an impact on recruiting, retention, leader cultivation, and ultimately growth in their unit and, by extension, our national movement. They can be the one who says, “We’re planning on an outing to Base Camp at Camp Sayre or Lone Tree in two months, but you don’t have to wait for that. You can go online and sign up to take part in program offerings any time you have a free day or part of a day. Here’s how…” If you happen to be a Cub Scout Pack (or a Boy Scout Troop that has purchased the Adventure Card), your boys can take part for free as often as they wish. Adults can attend with their child and there is a modest discounted fee for an adult to participate with their card-holding child (if they want to shoot BBs or jump in the pool, for example). In short, the New Member Coordinator gently serves as a guide to new members and their parents in navigating Scouting and all it offers to enrich their family life. The coordinator encourages families to participate in unit and local events early and often. It won’t take long for them to stop feeling like the “newbies” and start feeling like a valued part of the Scouting family.

 

Well, that’s my spin on how this new position could mesh with what we are doing in our council. Nationally, the approach doesn’t drill down quite to that level and currently the guidance is more general. BSA will continue to add content to its page for the New Member Coordinator. There you’ll find a short video about the position and some downloadable resources. There is a brochure, a position description, and other items. There is training coming for the position too. Currently there is a welcoming video available and that is enough to start. There are three other modules for this position that are coming too. Here’s a helpful hint: The New Member Coordinator page notes that the video is located in my.scouting.org. This is true but I had a hard time finding it. Do not look in the training center in your dashboard (where you go for Youth Protection Training). Look in the BSA Learn Center. You’ll see the box on the right when you log in to my.scouting. Strangely, it makes you enter your login and password again.

 

One last thing: In June, both national podcasts, CubCast and ScoutCast joined forces for the June podcast which introduced this position. It is well worth a listen as you consider how adding New Member Coordinators can help you engage new families, increase volunteerism in your unit, increase retention and unit health, and put an end to the baby sitter syndrome.

 

Pursuing the History of Our Nation: The Inaugural Hike of BSA’s Historic Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail

Submitted by William Cline, Eagle Scout, Troop 11 Dorchester, MA

On April 19, 1775, after a shot was fired in a conflict between an elite group of Colonial Militia, known as “Minutemen,” and British Soldiers, the Minutemen pursued retreating British Soldiers from Merriam’s Corner in Concord to Prospect Hill in Somerville.

Ralph Waldo Emerson coined the first shot of this historic day, “the shot that was heard around the world,” this gunshot started the American Revolution. The “shot” location has been attributed to the Old North Bridge in Concord and the Lexington Battle Green in Lexington, both historic points of interest in the area. A tribute to this historic pursuit was the creation of a 15 mile BSA National Historic Trail, the “Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail,” which is a new historic trail in the Spirit of Adventure Council.

On April 19, 2017, exactly 242 years after what was one of the most significant points in the freedom of our country, which led to the creation of the greatest democracy in the world, I had the privilege to be one of five Scouts (three from Troop 11 in Dorchester, two from Troop 132 in Concord) and two leaders to take part in the inaugural hike of the Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail. The trail consists of three primary legs, which is the actual trail, and two adjunct legs. We hiked the three primary legs and one of the adjunct legs so we could qualify the hike for Hiking Merit Badge, requirement 5: a one day 20 mile hike. Several of the Scouts hiking the trail also applied the 20 miles to the Hiking Segment of the National Outdoor Achievement Award.

The Retreat from Concord

The trail provides an opportunity to experience many points of historical importance including: Minuteman National Park, Captain William Smith House, Lexington Battle Green, The Foot of the Rocks, Old Schwab Mill, Menotomy Indian Hunter Sculpture, Jason Russell House, Uncle Sam Monument, Whittemore Park, and the concluding point of the trail – Prospect Hill in Somerville where the first America Flag was flown.

On our hike we had the opportunity to meet Captain William Smith (a reenactment actor) who played his fife and travelled with us for several miles on the trail explaining much of the history of the area. We completed our hike ascending the many steps to the top of Prospect Hill Tower, which has one of the best views of Boston. I would like to thank the Somerville Department of Public Works for opening the tower for us on April 19, 2017.

North Bridge to Merriam’s Corner marker (l to r: William, Brandon, Nick, Logan, and Justin)

A unique part of the trip for the Scouts from Troop 11 in Dorchester was the experience we had taking the MBTA Commuter Rail from North Station in Boston out to Concord to meet our fellow Scouts from Troop 132 in Concord. The cost was very reasonable at $4.50 per Scout and it was really nice to experience the train ride. Having public transportation out to Concord, from the middle of Boston, opens up a world of opportunity for Scouts in the urban areas of Boston to experience their own pursuit of our nation’s history. The train ride makes it very convenient for Scouts visiting the Boston area from all over the country to experience an awesome historic hike.

Beginning our “Pursuit” from the Concord Station (l to r: Justin, Brandon, William, Logan, and Nick)

I highly recommend the Minuteman Pursuit Trail. We stopped for Ice Cream at Rancatore’s in Lexington and had a late lunch at the Menotomy Grill in Arlington which has many historic flags, Revolutionary War reproductions, and great hamburgers!

The top of Prospect Hill Tower 20.29 miles later (l to r: Justin, Mr. Cline, Logan, Brandon, Mr. Owen, Nick, and William)

The Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail is very well documented and there is a Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail Medal a Scout can earn by completing a questionnaire about some of the historic points on the trail.  I love the history of our great area in the United States. I hope Scouts will seize the opportunity to explore a lot of our Nation’s history on the Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail. I give this trail a 10 star rating!

On April 19, 2018, there will be the 1st Annual Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail hike. This will be an awesome opportunity for Scouts from all over the country to take part in a historic hike to commemorate the original pursuit 243 years later.

For more information about the trail please send an email to David Owen: committeechair@troop132.com

New Eagle Scout Recognition Process

Eagle Court of Honor

One of the greatest moments in the Eagle Scout process is the Court of Honor. This is the event that celebrates your success with those who helped you and the rest of the community. We’d like to share some advice that may help make your special event even a little more special.  Please use this as a guide to help the community celebrate.

Invite the following to share in your special day:

Your Community

  • All the parents, Scouts, and leaders who assisted you on your trail to Eagle, including your project
  • Any vendors or donors who helped
  • The non-profit or recipient of your efforts
  • The Institutional Head of your chartered organization
  • Elected Officials or other community leaders
  • Extended family – they likely helped you in ways you may not yet realize

The Scouting Community

  •  Your troop
  •  Camp directors, merit badge counselors, and countless others that helped behind the scenes to help make Scouting thrive

In addition, your council would love to have a representative on hand to celebrate on that special day, and to present a certificate in recognition of your achievement. Once you have selected your Court of Honor date, please send an invitation to:

The Spirit of Adventure Council, 600 West Cummings Park, Suite 2750, Woburn, MA 01801

Send Out Public Announcements

  • List your Eagle Award in your chartered organization newsletter or bulletin
  • Send a press release to the local media.  
  • Take a picture RIGHT NOW with your family, and post to your social media outlets. Tag your Scouting Community and The Spirit of Adventure Facebook site.

 

  Other Helpful Information

  • The National Eagle Association offers several academic and merit scholarships.  Be sure to bookmark NESA.org, read about the offerings, and set a reminder for yourself to apply.  There is a fairly tight window of opportunity to do this and all submissions must be completed online by October 31 of each year.
  • As a bonus, each Eagle Scout who applies for a national NESA scholarship is automatically entered for consideration for our Spirit of Adventure NESA scholarship.
  • There is also the Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams Award.  This is a service project of the year award.  Each council selects one recipient and our selection is further considered at the regional and national levels, which have cash awards attached to them.  The form for this award can also be found on NESA.org.  Send the completed form, along with a copy of your Eagle project workbook by next January 21, to the Spirit Adventure Council at the Woburn address.
  • Finally, Scouts will receive an invitation in the future to attend our annual Eagle Scout recognition dinner.

Keeping up with the Spirit of Adventure!

 

Submitted by Maria Kaestner, Spirit of Adventure Communication Specialist

Do you ever feel out of the loop when people are talking about Spirit of Adventure events and programs that are coming up? You don’t have to worry about searching for news, because we can send all you need to know right to you!

Our Spirit of Adventure Newsletter has been revitalized and like the Scouts it features, it is embracing new opportunities.

Our scouting community needs to know about what’s new and what’s happening soon. We are committed to providing that information so that is is both readily accessible and easily understandable.

How to be sure you are receiving our updates:

  • Make sure you are subscribed to our weekly newsletter (which you can do at the top of our website) with an email address you check regularly
  • Check your email every Friday for a message from the Spirit of Adventure Council
  • Be sure to read over our featured announcements and calendar of upcoming events

Additionally, you can always find new updates and announcements on our home pages and our Facebook pages!

Spirit of Adventure: Home | Facebook

New England Base Camp:  Home | Facebook

Please feel free to send any questions about our newsletter or communications to Maria Kaestner.

This Old House: #ScoutingThrives

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive Spirit of Adventure Council

The second round of Adventure Cards been mailed out to over 2,000 new participants. There are now about 7,000 adventure cards in use. These cards are one of the most significant signs of our recent shift to our service model. There has been much discussion about the card itself. I’ve written a small series of posts to help illustrate the full service model change of which the adventure card is just one piece.

                                                                                                                                                                              

If I had the time and the ability, I would like to speak with everyone directly, face-to-face. Over the past year I’ve met with many troop and pack committee’s, unit volunteers and others. We’ve sent out videos, mailings, visited Scouting events and dozens of other efforts. I do hope that you read all of these articles and look for opportunities for the council to help you make Scouting Thrive.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO UNIT LEADERS: One thing that has become clear through this entire process is the need to communicate directly with parents while supporting the troop or pack leadership. In fact, that’s a significant objective of the business model shift. Please forward this message to the parents in your unit so they can take advantage of additional Scouting benefits.

This month the families involved with Scouting will start to see direct-mail postcards and information on the webpage with these logos. That’s a signal that the Adventure Card discounts are available and advancement opportunities are directly recorded into the child’s scout book account. These logos mean Scouts can participate in inexpensive (or free) outdoor activities that support their personal Scouting goals. Their parents can get excited and energized about their child’s progress and their involvement.

One of the technical enhancements is built into the webpage and the Scout Book application. Yet many families don’t realize this advantage or how to access these discounts.

PARENTS: You are already entitled to discounts for the entire family and activities, enrichment programs and training classes. Even if you lost your child’s card. Please call or e-mail the council to Heather.sheehan@scouting.org or Lindsey.dionne@scouting.org 617.615.0004 for a 2-minute tutorial in how to get your benefits and sign up for local programs for the whole family. Additionally, we have sent your information to your unit leader so they can help you access your benefits.

Revelations about the new service model: Several changes in perspective occur as people use the Adventure Card or see the value in the new service model:

1. This provides direct value to families and Scouts but comes through the unit

2. The council can now help unit leader increase capacity or skills around patrol method, youth leadership parent engagement or other core Scouting road blocks to thriving troop or pack.

Sadly, it took us almost 50 years to re-arrange our practices, and in those 50 years we lost credibility and units (groups of parents) decided to “go it alone.” During that time we lost so much more than just credibility, we lost resources and brand relevancy.

A pack’s view of Adventure Card

Activity Scout Discount With Adventure Card Savings
Pack Weekend $25 + food and lodging Free + food and lodging
Den Activity (base camp) $15 per Scout Free for Scout
Family Activity $15 per person Free for Scout
Visit Satellite Camp Free – Only available to Scouts Free – Only available to Scouts
Sub Total $55 FREE -$55

 

A parent’s view of the Adventure Card

School Vacation Camp $250 $200 -$50
Summer Camp (Day Camp) $295 $236 -$59
Enrichment Clinic (learn to ….) $250 $200 -$50
Family Weekend $100 $80 -$20
Birthday Party $250 (10 guests) $200 (10 guests) -$50
Total Annual Savings $1,200 $916 -$284


Expectations

We’d be crazy if we thought every family spent $1,200 on Scouting programs each year. We also realize that today all these programs and services are available at our Milton location and we are growing our Kingston NH location to match and serve the northern communities more effectively. The satellite locations are an attempt to provide value and convenience as we grow (more about satellites below).

As we re-designed our business model to provide programs and services that help engage youth and parents in Scouting it was important that the adventure card value could be delivered regardless of distance and convenience to Milton, or a family’s interest in summer camp or other Scouting programs. Each Pack attends one or two “big ticket” over nights. Most popular are Saturday into Sunday evening. The easiest way to receive the full value of the card is substituting one of those overnight or day trips – for a day or evening trip to either Location Milton MA or Kingston NH.

Comparative Cub Overnight Programs

Location Program Cost Brief description
Museum of Science Overnight – sleep on floor $65 per person Enjoy the museum with only 600 other Cubs, one show (electricity or other), coffee and Danish for breakfast
Paw Sox or Lowell Spinners Overnight – pitch a tent and sleep in center field $25.00 – 28.50 per person

(depending on which team and seat location)

Watch the game, sleep in your tent in center field, activities and /or movie on screen
Battleship Cove Overnight – sleep on a battleship $65 per person Learn about the navy, sailing, military, enjoy the ships, small Scouting museum sleep like a sailor.
New England Base Camp Overnight Heated Cabin or Tents $25 youth

$15 per adult (encouraged to shoot, climb, swim and actively participate with your child)

FREE with Adventure Card

and $12 for adults or siblings or guests

Swimming, rock climbing, shooting sports, outdoor camping, wilderness survival and cooking skills, ropes course winter camping skills and sports, skating, snow shelters, snurfing. Most advancements available and directly inputted to your Scout Book app.

The more often the pack attends the more value they derive and the more outdoor programs the Scout can enjoy. He can attend all year long for free with his family, friends or den. Admission for all those visits are FREE. Of course, the Scout can also receive discounts for summer camp (day camps are located throughout the council) and dozens of other activities throughout the year all adding value to his card and increasing his outdoor experience.

All these programs are open and available for Scouts within the Spirit of Adventure Council. Check out the programs and locations through NewEnglandBaseCamp.org Don’t forget to check in with Heather or Lindsey to activate your card. Summer programs are also now open at locations all around North Eastern MA are available for everyone. The online campership application is also available. February Winter Camps at both locations programs are filling up fast, but there are still a few slots open. April vacation camp registration opens soon. Find a satellite location near you for a great den activity this spring. Plan a birthday party at camp! Check out this calendar of great family events and special programs to see when you’d like to visit Base Camp in Milton! When you use your adventure card, all the appropriate discounts will apply!

Hope to see you at camp.

 

 

Why I Staff at Scout Camp

Submitted by Michelle Merritt, National Venturing Vice President and New England Base Camp Program Director

Over the past four summers, I have had the privilege of being outside on the hottest days of the summer, wrangling elementary aged kids into activities, sleeping in a cramped cabin, and not having access to the internet; and I have enjoyed every second of it. Camp staff know that the hottest days are those when the camp gets free swim, kids will love the camp program, the cabin is full of five of your best friends, and a lack of internet means that we can take a break from summer homework and internet.

**Apply to be on 2017 camp staff**

Being a camp councilor provided me with life experiences that I never could have dreamed of. I have the skills to be a lifeguard, work with kids, provide customer service to adults, manage and lead other staff members, and create a program that will keep kids entertained and learning for days on end. A unique facet to being a camp councilor is the responsibility placed upon you. I was trusted to teach kids sports and swimming, to guard kids-on-rafttheir swimming activities, and to ensure that they got to bed safely. This level of responsibility caused me to rise to the challenge and become more mature. Not many other summer gigs can get you life skills and experience like camp staff.

Every time I go back for one more year of camp, I always get asked “Why do you want to go back to camp again?”. I go back because nothing is more fulfilling than having a homesick camper stay at camp because you talked with them. Nothing is more fun than sharing the experiences of the day with other staff members back in the cabin late at night. And nothing can stop me from smiling during a heartfelt performance of “The Invisible Bench” skit. Yes, it is a lot of work, I’m always sunburned, and sometimes I can’t tell if I’m covered in dirt or bruises, but none of that matters if I have made a difference. There is a famous quote that reads “One hundred years from now, it won’t matter what car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much I had in my bank account, nor what my clothes looked like. But, the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child.” Many summer camps, including Lone Tree Scout Reservation, have this posted somewhere in camp to remind staff (and others) what is truly important. I know that I have helped keep kids in Scouting, inspire a love of the outdoors, discover a new passion, and feel accomplished.

Helping people is a great part of my job but I gain a lot from them as well. Camp staffs have to overcome unique challenges and this causes them to quickly develop into “camp families” with surrogate brothers, sisters, moms, and dads. My camp family always has my back and I have theirs. The relationships that started four summers ago have developed into lifelong friendships. Camp enabled me to develop a sense of confidence. I promise, if kids-with-chess-piecesyou get up in front of a large group and sing a songs about bears, moose, and red wagons enough times, any fears of public speaking will disappear. The responsibility that I felt for the campers and for the camp also instilled this confidence.

I could get an internship, a more typical summer job, or sit and watch Netflix in the air conditioning all summer but instead I work on camp staff. I am the person I am today because of the experiences I have had at camp and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Someday I will probably have to stop working at the camps I love so much but I know that while I was there I made a difference and learned something new. If you are looking for the experience of a life time and a way to grow as a person, I would suggest you apply to be on camp staff in the coming year.

Lone Tree is joining the New England Base Camp Network

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive and CEO

Can Lone Tree become Base Camp of the North?” has perhaps been the most common question that has come from our leaders from the North of the Spirit of Adventure Council since the merger of the two councils.  This serves two purposes:

  1. Create a place for the programs and services available at Lone Tree for all the Packs, Troops and Crews who hope to avoid the traffic – knowing that part of the appeal for Base camp is the convenience of the location.
  2. To breathe new life into Lone Tree.

After much discussion, the Executive Board approved the concept in the spring of 2016. Since then, volunteers and professionals have been crafting a plan that will best serve the all Scouts in the Spirit of Adventure Council.  Although the plan is still being formed, we are able to conclusively show the initial steps that have been taken and an outline of the basic time line for the programs and services that will be delivered at Lone Tree

Here is a little FAQ to answer some of the questions that you might have:

  • Can we use the Adventure Card at Lone Tree?
    • YES!  Your family, Pack, Troop and Crew can register now for those programs (at no cost if you are a Spirit of Adventure Cub Scout family or Adventure Card member!). Summer camp program dates will be released shortly and the 20% discounts for Adventure Card holders will be applied to summer programs.ltsr-archery
  • When will these programs begin?
    • Immediately! Like the evolution of the physical program support, the number of weekends the program is available will also increase over time. The dates for the “Wrist Band Programs” can be found here.
  • What will be the biggest differences between Sayre and Lone Tree as the “wrist band program” evolves?
    • Lone Tree doesn’t have the same year round facilities (heated / insulated dining hall, indoor pool, year round showers) Those infrastructure elements are VERY costly and won’t be part of the initial evolution. However, we will see renovations to some facilities, specifically the dining hall. This rustic feel that Lone Tree combined with its comparatively more remote location will cause it to maintain the rustic stature, and keep it a camp used primarily for the Scouting population.
  • Will Lone Tree be “open to the Public” like Sayre / Base Camp?
    • Not at this time, and unlikely for the next several years. The overall process will take years so that different elements can be added or renovated during the evolutionary process.ltsr-canoeing
  • Will there be physical changes to Lone Tree? If so, what will they be?
    • Yes, it’s critical that we make the infrastructure changes that’ll allow the camp to better serve year round and enhanced program capacities. But, the changes will also be evolutionary and therefor will take some time based on how Scouts use the property and programs. Over the past few years one of the most popular programs at Lone Tree comes from a group of dedicated shooting sports volunteers and since we know that’s popular we’ll enhance that program first. Look for a much larger and diverse shooting sports program to be developed over the next few months and years. We’ll look to add action archery, shotgun, .22, black powder, and handgun program for Venturers and Explorers.
  • Will Lone Tree be using the Scout Book App to help units with advancements?
    • Yes!  We’ve been testing the use of Scout Book app for units throughout the satellites and summer camp and it’s become clear that the entire council will be using Scout Book, including all our camps and programs.ltsr-fishing
  • Does this impact other programs at Lone Tree?
    • Yes and No. Yes, it’ll impact the property and the usage, but no it won’t inherently cause programs to be cancelled. The idea here is to share the resources to better serve the demand. Cabin and campsite rental process remain unchanged. Other facilities like the Dining Hall, the Fort or the campfire area will become shared space for multiple programs.

Type 2 Adventures

Submitted by Sue Ellen Briggs, Flintlock District Chair

Scouting provides wonderful ways to have fun in the outdoors. I would say that there are two types of experiences. The first kind is picture perfect; smiling scouts under sunny skies. The second type is the activity that is better talked about after the fact than it was during the event.

 p1030792I had the privilege of being an adult leader on one of those type 2 activities. My son and his patrol spent a sunny day on the beach at summer camp lashing together a raft using Styrofoam and pvc pipe. Their raft was ready for launch after lunch. They loaded minimal supplies and paddled off to a not too distant shore to prepare for a night in the woods. They spent the afternoon building shelters. Anyone who has done this knows it is pretty difficult. They compared their techniques. …

 I arrived at the site on foot with everything I would need for an overnight. I setup my tent in a clearing not too far from a fire ring.

 After dinner, thunder could be heard in the distance. We settled into our shelters for the night. Then the rain started. It was a soft summer rain. One by one the scouts abandoned their “shelter” and congregated around the fire ring complaining about the quality of their shelter and their lack of supplies. Then a scout suggested that they ask me to take them back to the Troop and their dry tents. The reaction of the rest of the scouts was amazing. They stopped complaining about what they didn’t have and talked about what they did have. They got to work creating a fire. They talked about the rain not being that heavy and reminisced about worse weather. In the early morning hours the rain stopped and we got a little sleep.

 p1030795As a parent I do want to protect my children, and scouts in my care. I would have packed up and taken the scouts to their dry tents if they had asked. With devices keeping parents and children connected it is easy for parents to assist a child with the smallest of obstacle, limiting the opportunities for children to build self efficacy by figuring out their own solutions. Because these scouts decided to stay they each earned the Wilderness Survival merit badge. In the morning they triumphantly paddled their raft to the beach. As an observer I left with hope for these young men in the future. In each life a little rain will fall. When it does these guys will not give up or just endure, they know how to lift spirits and provide comfort in those times.

These Are Troubling Times

Submitted by Komba Lamina, Urban Scouting and Exploring Executive

When I saw the video of Alton Sterling’s killing for the first time, it frightened me. The video evokes memories of waking up to sounds of gunshots and artillery fire on one beautiful October morning in Koidu Town, Sierra Leone; rebels had attacked the city that morning. I felt broken, my spirit dampened, and experienced fear on that day like I never felt before. It was as if hope had left my being. I felt exactly the same way today, after viewing the video again.

I was equally horrified when I woke up to news of another police involved shooting in Minnesota, and the senseless killing of five police officers in Dallas, Texas.

I’m sure that the perplexed feeling I had was shared by many here in America and across the world. And like many of you, I asked myself these questions: what are we becoming and what are we to make of these tragedies? I also asked myself what can I do to help put a stop to it?

It was with that feeling that I called a few of my team members to see how they were coping. I wasn’t shocked to hear that they were also confused, fearful and broken. They also asked themselves the very questions I was grappling with.

img_20160419_131505As the professional overseeing the inner city program for the Boy Scouts of America in Northeastern Massachusetts, most of our Scouts are minorities. I have often wondered what our Scouts are feeling during moments like this. I wonder if they have the avenue to express themselves in a positive manner and come to grip with this reality — and most importantly, what can I and the Boy Scouts do to stop these tragedies.

Many Americans and citizens around the world are asking themselves similar questions as to what they can do to ensure these tragic and hurtful occurrences come to a stop. That’s what I heard speaking to my teammates, and that’s what I derived from Chuck Eaton, our Scout Executive’s (CEO) email:

  • Komba,
    The news for the past couple years regarding race relations has been troubling – to say the least. Scoutreach obviously has more to do with financial and parenting support then race, however we all know the majority of those scouts are people of color, while the majority of our council is white. We should be an organization of action, not rants or blogs. But it’s so hard to figure out what to do, and stay away from the political aspect of things. I have a few ideas, but I think it’s more important the ideas come from you, or your Scoutreach staff, or others. If you have any ideas I’d like to support them if not, maybe we can brainstorm together. I hope you and your family are doing well. Thanks
    Chuck

Chuck is right, we must act, but act in a meaningful way. We understand that this is a very sensitive issue, therefore, many organizations stay away from it for fear of antagonizing the public. Because of what we (the Boy Scouts of America) do, (which is helping to shape the lives of youth), we cannot shy away from these issues. As a professional tasked with overseeing Scouting in urban areas, and as an Exploring Executive that works with police officers, I see community and the very best in each of us.

As an organization, we must take a stand for what is morally right, not convenient. We must foster an environment that allows our Packs, Troops and Crews to become places where genuine interaction between youths and adults occur regardless of political association, skin color, or profession. That is by facilitating a space for genuine interaction that celebrates all of our differences and help bridge gaps that exist in our communities. A space where young people are equipped with life skills. In this space, our focus is youth and equipping them with character that builds a healthy nation.

img_20160219_083017This space brings all of us together and in the process helps us learn a bit more about the other. In the end, we define ourselves less by our profession, skin color, political affiliation or financial aptitude. Widening this space is what I intend to do to help put an end to these hurtful times.

Please join us on Saturday, October 29th, at New England Base Camp’s Camp Sayre in Milton, MA

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