Category Archives: Boy Scouts

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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Making the World Safe for Diversity

Sincerely submitted by Francisco Guzman, Scout parent, Cubmaster Pack 109, Leader Troop 109, Chelsea

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”  – Maya Angelou

Three boyhood friends, one Asian, one African American and one Caucasian walk into the Bar at the Ritz.  They all grew up together, went to Milton Academy, and recently all graduated from Harvard Business School…  This may be the beginning of a joke, but the question I would ask is, are they a diverse group?  My answer would be NO!  Diversity is more that race or ethnicity; it is a group of people from diverse racial, ethnic, social, religious, educational, financial, life experience and cultural backgrounds working together for a common goal.   The above group may be of different races, and possibly other factors, but the all share an equal cultural and social foundation.img_20150731_145854

The recent acts of race and ethnic base violence became a catalyst for my second blog.  Part of the reason is that I am trying to come to understand something that is beyond my understanding, how people make decisions and act on them based solely on someone’s race or ethnic background.  The other part is to share how lucky I am that our Scout group in Chelsea has remained free of any ethnic or racial discord.

My upbringing did not prepare me for the racial tensions that are so much in the news.  Having grown up in Puerto Rico, a community as racially diverse as you will find, we could not understand the racial tension shown on American TV during the 60’s and 70’s.  Our running joke in those days was that if we were racist, we would start by hating ourselves!

When my wife and I restarted the Cub Scout Pack in Chelsea, we made a decision to actively recruit Scouts from every race, ethnicity, social class, religion etc.  We did not want a Hispanic or any specific ethnicity group.  img_20160315_190121It was important to me to try to recreate the Scout experience I was involved in as a youth.  Fortunately our neighborhoods are exactly like that.  The Chelsea schools are integrated regardless of any traits from preschool on.  All kids learn early on to work with other children regardless of appearance or any other differences.

As much as younger children do not have any preconceived ideas of hatred or racial bias, unfortunately parts of our society seems to very easily teach our children about it.  It has been our priority as Scout leaders to keep those divisive issues from our Boy Scout program.  We emphasize from day one, that we are stronger because of our differences, not in spite of them.  Our Scouts learn to judge each other based on actions and behaviors, not on skin color, country of origin or language spoken.

By using the values taught in Scouting, we are able to keep at bay the negative values that seem to run freely thru our society today.  We teach our scouts to value cooperation vs. winning at all cost; the importance of community betterment vs. self gain; the importance of trustworthiness vs. selfishness.  These are the values Scouting instills on our children and teen agers, and we must continue focusing on those values.

Unfortunately, the foundation of Scouting as a community base organization, can also be use to foster those negative values.  We must remain vigilant against some of the more narrow minded and bigoted views within our movement that want to return to the “olden days”.  The future of our communities and our program will be on how it deals with those that are different from “us”.  Every time I hear the old “but this is how we have always done it” my stomach churns.  This excuse has been used for generations to allow for everything from slavery to segregation; from withholding education from girls and children with special needs to withholding equal pay for women or other special or disenfranchised groups.

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Presently we have 25-30 Scouts from several countries, religions, races and at least 5 different languages.  We have Scouts with physical, emotional and intellectual disabilities.  We have Scouts from financially challenged families and Scouts whose families can help and contribute.  At our recent summer camp I was stuck by the fact that on the second night of the week long summer camp I had 3 homesick Scouts, all three were different races, ethnicities and which all spoke different languages.  When the tears came, some of the other Scouts jumped into action.  Amazingly, they did not jump in to comfort the children that were “similar” or the same ethnicity or spoke the same language as them, they just helped a Scout. It was not based on race, or ethnicity or language, just simply Scouts helping other Scouts.  That was all the proof I needed that we are on the right track, we just need to persevere.  MLK’s famous speech was about his dream, I am happy to see Chelsea’s Scout group bringing that dream a little closer to reality.

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

“The war we have to wage today has only one goal and that is to make the world safe for diversity.” – U Thant (Former Secretary General of the U.N.)

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All You Have To Do Is Ask!

My dad always told me “all you have to do is ask”. Yes, that statement has very much to do with a father daughter relationship, but being a Scouter for me has always been about the “Ask”. My dad taught me that it is ok to ask people for help and in return be at the ready to help others if asked.   What does my relationship with my dad have to do with helping Scouting Thrive?

Sometimes just asking is the hardest part. Over the course of my years as a Scouter I have never succeeded at anything on my own. I have had to ask 100’s of people to help make it happen: a Blue and Gold for almost 400 people, a raingutter regatta for a district, selling $57,000 in popcorn, and Pumpkin Fest for 3000 people at New England Base Camp. I have had to do a lot of asking and thankfully enough many, many, many people have said “Yes, I will help!”
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Collectively we have delivered great programs to thousands of Scouts over the years and I am inspired by the level of commitment and talent you can find within the Scouting community. It is amazing how someone can take a simple idea and deliver something that will last in the minds of our young Scouts for a lifetime just because they were asked.
Sometimes we prompt the ask in a conversation with other leaders and parents by saying “What can I do to help?” Because we all want to help, Don’t We? We often just do not know how. Well here it is how the “Ask” helps Scouting Thrive, someone tells us what they need us to do by asking us a very specific question.

pfestI was asked to be the Registrar for S.OA.R – Scouting’s Outdoor Adventure on the River, they asked “Can you help us get 10,000 people to come to the Charles River in October of 2016”. A specific question…okay, I was crazy enough to say yes (my dad would remind me that it is good to be helpful) and now it is my turn to ask you something.

Have you registered for S.O.A.R? You can help us by signing up your Troop, Crew, Post,
Pack, or Ship to come and joins us on the Banks of the Charles River! Visit http://soar2016.us

popcorn-1Have you encouraged others to attend Scouting’s Outdoor Adventure on the River? You can help us by working with the Pack’s in your town to coordinate Webelos Camping Overnight for the event with your Troop.
As a unit leader have you shared S.O.A.R. information about how to register with your families if needed? You can share event details and registration information. Share http://soar2016.us

Have you signed up to volunteer for S.O.A.R.? You can help us by signing up to volunteer! Visit http://staff.soar2016.us/ to sign up today!
You can share with others and let them know that your unit has registered for Scouting’s Outdoor Adventurer on the River and that you are ready to for a memorable adventure with 10,000 new Scouting Friends on Columbus Day Weekend.
You can help us by joining our S.O.A.R. Facebook Event Page let us know you are coming. Better yet Join and Share our S.O.A.R. Facebook Event Page!

Don’t know how you can help – Guess what? Ask me! Email register@soar2016.us – I have just the Job for YOU!

soar-meeting-1Over this past year, teams of volunteers have been planning, emailing, phone calling, attending countless meetings, all to make S.O.A.R. a quality event that will be sure to provide countless memories that will stay with you and the youth we serve for years to come , all because someone asked. Now it is your turn, I ask you to help us by saying yes to any or all of the questions above!

See you on the Banks of the Charles River October 8-10, 2016…Come Join the Adventure!

Troop 3 Milton Comes Home

Submitted by Assistant Scoutmaster Ron Gauld

On July 16, 2016, Troop 3 Milton came home to T.L. Storer.  The troop had not attended a summer camp there in twelve years. So at 9:00 AM on Saturday July 16th, Scoutmaster Dave Humphreys and Assistant Scoutmaster Ron Gauld along with Troop 3 parent Andy Synnott arrived at Adams Field to witness the graduation of four of their Scouts from National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT).  The NYLT contingent along with two younger siblings and two senior scouts who had had been NYLT staff formed the advanced party for the troop’s arrival the next day. So with high spirits after a successful NYLT course, the scouts moved over to Campsite Chippewa and dropped off their gear before heading off to do some required laundry and enjoy some celebratory pizza.

The calls of the ravens with the rising sun woke the early arrivals and breakfast was made and preparations for the Troops arrival were completed. Soon enough the Troop started to arrive and eager scouts started to unload footlockers and bags and unhook bicycles for the upcoming week. Senior Patrol Leader Jackson Humphreys gathered up his key leaders and got the Troop organized. Tents were assigned and the all-important bug netting was set up. The troop then gathered up and off they went on a tour of the camp finding the waterfront for swim testing, COPE and Climbing, the all-important dining hall and the trading post was located for later attack. The final stops on the tour were shooting sports, nature (yea nature!) and the chapel.  Then it was back to Chippewa to finish getting settled and get ready for the first meal of the week. The Troop’s 29 scouts, two adult leaders and two additional parents soon found themselves sitting in the dining hall enjoying a good meal and quickly found the old Troop 3 sign nailed up in the rafters and determined that a new one needed to be made.IMG_0877

Monday morning broke with a little light rain as the Troop raised the colors in the campsite and preparations were made for the first full day at camp.

Locations for merit badges, Trailblazers and Older Scout program were all determined and soon after breakfast off the scouts went eager to start the week off with a bang. Monday afternoon the troop’s senior scouts went up the rifle range where they learned how to load and shoot black powder rifles.  This was a Rare Adventure that they had chosen.

On Tuesday the Magee Cup relay race plan was developed and put into effect. After dinner the runners, bikers, swimmers all were in place. The race was close and the Troop wasIMG_0875 in second place until Quartermaster Andrew Viola, paddling in the kayak leg, powered across Adams pond and took the lead that was never surrendered again. Soon anchor leg runner Patrick Fox crossed the finish line and the Troop had won the Cup. The entire Troop mobbed the winning team and the cup was carried back to the campsite amid laughter and shouts of joy.
A happy group gathered around the campfire that night as each leg of the race was retold in exacting detail and after some impromptu singing and comedy the troop settled into some well-deserved rest.

Wednesday was a big day as soon after lunch the scouts in the Older Scout program left for a bike trek, the troop also had a large group heading off for the Wilderness Survival merit badge overnight. It was a much smaller group that night in the dining hall and enjoyed a meal with the usual singing and silliness that is a part of a scout camp meal.

Thursday morning came as the groups returned to main camp after surviving a night off by themselves. They came home tired but happy and after some showers, food and rest they were off again to play Camp wide games after dinner.

Friday was the lets finish up the merit badge day and get ready for the final campfire. Troop 3 scouts gathered at the fire to watch Scoutmaster Dave Humphreys get his Woodbadge beads before the fun that is a scout campfire started. Songs were sung, jokes were told and James” Jiggles” Disandro and Carl Williams represented the Troop in the program with a well done skit about a ship hitting an iceberg. Soon enough Scout Vespers was sung and the troop quietly returned to Chippewa for the final night of camp.

Saturday morning came all too soon and the troop went to the dining hall for the last breakfast of summer camp 2016. Back in the campsite trunks were packed in preparation for departing Camp TL Storer. Troop 3 had a successful camp, several scouts advanced in rank, and lots of merit badges were earned. The Troop scouts and leaders decided that it was good to be home again.  In that spirit the Troop is hoping to return to its historical roots and stay out at Campsite Sioux and run an old fashioned patrol cooking summer camp in 2017.

Troop 3 Milton would like to say thank you to the Directors and Staff of Camp TL Storer and the rest of the Northern Nexus for a great week. We would also like to say thank you to the parents of the Troop 3 scouts that came up and spent time at the camp assisting the Scoutmasters.  We cannot do it without you.

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Climbing Toward Adventure

Submitted by John Iler, BSA Climbing Instructor, former Scoutmaster of Troop 103, Burlington, MA, and dad.

“OK, I’m going to do this exactly once in my life.” That was my daughter Sarah as she prepared to rappel down a 40′ foot rock face at Quincy Quarries. Climbing/rappelling is just one of the many ways to ‘play outside’ provided by New England Base Camp at Camp Sayre.

Sarah leads a busy life with many high school activities, but she was never really a big outdoors person. However, her Eagle Scout twin brother Luke was very active in his Boy Scout Troop. Sarah enjoyed Luke’s stories of adventure and misadventure as he returned from campouts. She wanted a taste of the camaraderie with good friends, the fun of a campfire and outdoor cooking, and a little adventure. When Burlington’s Venture Crew started two years ago, she jumped at the opportunity to be a founding member.

One of the first adventures the Crew had was the Quincy Quarries rock climbing trip IMG_3611mentioned above. Shortly after that trip, the Crew enjoyed the Venturing Klondike at Base Camp in February 2015. In the abundant snow, Venturers hiked about in snowshoes, went Ice Climbing, and practiced making climbing snow anchors, all within Base Camp. One station embedded in Sarah’s memory was the simulated crevasse rescue. As the first volunteer ‘victim’, Sarah began to lower off the edge of a very real ice and snow covered cliff being used to simulate a crevasse. She gasped slightly, exclaiming, “this is a lot higher than I expected!”. Fortunately, her Crewmates working with the instructors set up the rescue rope and pulley system and hauled her back up over the edge.

The following year (February 2016), Base Camp hosted another Venturing Klondike in
decidedly less Klondike-like conditions. The Base Camp staff and Ice Climbing instructors adjusted the program to deal with the balmy weather and snow-free conditions. The Crew particularly enjoyed the fat-tire bike riding and Base Camp’s High COPE course. When Sarah walked along the COPE course’s 50′ high ‘Burma Bridge’ cable, she let go of another fear.

As Sarah and the Crew prepares to go to Philmont this summer, I know their various Base Camp experiences were a good part of giving them the confidence to try any challenge.

JohnIn parallel with the Crew’s growth, I was also able to have some of my own. Just before the Crew formed, I was a student in a BSA Climbing Instructor’s course. This led to me becoming a rock and ice climbing instructor in the council, which allowed me to help provide many of the Crew’s experiences above. I am fortunate to have worked with so many scouts and for my new friends in the instructors’ community.

Are instructing and participating in Base Camp’s climbing opportunities right for everyone? You will know as soon as you try.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Rock Climbing and COPE Instruction

Submitted by Darrin Johnson, General Manager of New England Base Camp

The first time I went rock climbing was at summer camp.  You had to be 13 years old and they only offered it on Thursday morning.  I skipped Reptile Study Merit Badge to go and to give it a try.  After all, I had been waiting to try rock climbing for 3 years.  My response was an instantaneous love of the sport.  A love that would stick with me for almost 30 years.  We went back to the campsite and tested out our new skill using bailing twine and the cliff next to our tent.  Needless to say, that did not go well.

The next 25 years I would go climbing with the Scouts at summer camp, weekend climbing with friends and worked in the industry for a while.  When my oldest came home from a school trip to the local climbing gym and wanted to go climbing all time, was when I determined that I needed to refresh my best practices.  Even though I had learned new skills along the way, I knew that I needed to get better and safer.

Picking the right climbing course (or any course for that matter) is not easy.  I did not want one that was too basic.  I also did not want one that was way over my head.  I looked all around, and in the end I decided on the Spirit of Adventure Climbing Course.  For me, the reason was convenience.  The timing of the course worked and the location was right for me.  I was not sure what to expect, but my goal was to refresh my skills.

I sat by two people that I did not know.  On my left was a person who had never gone climbing before in her life and just wanted to “give it a try.”  To the right of me was a former White Mountain Guide who wanted to get his certification to take his Scouts climbing.  I was pretty much right between the two of them in my skill level, so the seat was perfect.

The course succeeded with something that is not easy to do at all- they managed to relate and to teach at all the different levels.  The person who had never climbed before, now takes her Scouts climbing regularly, helps out at Base Camp and is planning on taking her COPE certification.  The former guide added a ton to the discussion during the course, helped everyone, learned several new safety skills and now teaches Climbing Merit Badge for units, districts and at Merit Badge University.

I got something out of the course that you really cannot put a price tag on.  I did learn a ton (more than I ever thought that I would) and it did help make my best practices a whole lot better.  The biggest thing though, without question, is that I feel safe taking my daughters climbing.  We have gotten closer by climbing together on the weekends and bonding over the difficult climb that they managed to climb.

Come join us at New England Base Camp to become a Climbing Instructor and learn how to impact not only your life, but those of countless youth as well by registering HERE