Category Archives: Cub Scouts

What the Adventure Card Can Do For Your Unit

Submitted by Jeff Reynolds, Scoutmaster Troop 58 Danvers

If you are like me, you wear many hats.  I work a lot, and that includes more travel than I care to admit to.  I have a wife and daughter whose idea of camping is a budget hotel, making full integration of Scouting for the family unit a challenge.  My son seems to enjoy Scouting as much as I did as a youth, but has way more going on outside Scouting than I ever did.  

I took on the job of being the Scoutmaster of Troop 58 this year, ensuring that I live that family time constraint about 25 times over.  And continue to serve on the Council Executive Board and as Treasurer.

An hour a week they said.  No stress they said.  Time is at a premium for everyone.

But it is worth it.  When you see a kid that says “I can’t” that suddenly “does”, whatever time you put in isn’t enough for the gratification of that moment.  

If you are reading this, you are invested in Scouting too, know all the good it does, and get jazzed up about it for similar reasons.  

But this writing is not about that. This article is about the Council Adventure Card. I wanted to share some overall perspective on the the genesis of the card, and how it can extend beyond Cub Scouting to give Scouters another tool to help craft a successful Troop program.

 

Why the Card?

Simply put, the return on time invested in Scouting is high, but time is short.  Through the merger process, one of the things that was loud and clear is that Cub Scout leaders want to do the work running a Den but often feel they lack the knowledge or resources (time included) to do it.

Enter the Adventure Card and Base Camp Concept.  

If for a reasonable fee a leader could line up a series of activities for the year that would enable you to guarantee a successful learning experience and requirement completion for Cub ranks…would you?

Base Camp gives Cub Leaders that opportunity. From Saturday program at the Milton Camp Sayre property, to Lone Tree Scout Reservations activities, to satellite programs throughout the council foot print at properties that are Scout friendly. This is the intent of Base Camp and the Adventure Card. The Council wants to better utilize resources to make the Scouting experience successful for all involved. Base Camp is the place, and the Adventure Card is the Ticket.

But is it just “a Cub thing”?  An objective view of the current landscape might suggest yes.  There certainly is more program designed for Cubs than Scouts.  But this is fluid.  

The Adventure Card is a camping program loyalty card for Scouts. The more your Troop takes advantage of what the Council offers, the Lower the cost of some great Scouting experiences.

A Boy Scout Troop embraces the Card

I had 5 Scouts this year that wanted to attend Brownsea.  I am all in.  Great program.  Brownsea changed my life in ways I can’t give justice in this space.  So “YES”, if my guys want to go, I am all in.

But the cost!  $475? It was quickly pointed out to me that Adventure Card holders get a 20% discount.  The math isn’t hard:  our Troop and our Scouts save $475 if they have the Adventure Card.  Huh?   That means with the same cash outlay for Brownsea, our Troop can also pay for about 16 Adventure cards.  Hummm.

What else could I do?  

  • Spring Shooting sports at Lone Tree.  .22, Black powder, and archery. And the shooting program was included with the card!  What is a full day of NRA instructor time worth?  What is the experience of casting lead ball shot for a black powder and actually shooting worth?  Priceless based on the feedback from the guys.
  • Use of canoes.  Perfect 2 night May trip.  $30 discount off the site and cabin for 2 nights (17 cards now paid for)
  • Summer camp:  20% discount if you use a Spirit of Adventure camp.  Have not in the last few years…should reevaluate.
  • 20% off rental fees at any council property for the next year.  Planned on Lone Tree twice this year.  
  • A weekend day this summer in Milton to show recent crossovers from Webelos what summer camp is like when they didn’t have the confidence to go this year. Great experience and HUGE retention tool…free (all Cubs get the Card with registration).  
  • Winter mountaineering program:  deeply discounted.  I will make these buggers LOSE MONEY on this card!  **insert maniacal laugh here**

As I thought about it, the financial incentive of buying in and swimming with the tide helped shape some of my program this year and next year.  And with staff and materials provided, my job is a heck of a lot easier.

The Reality

Putting my Treasurer hat on, I can tell you the Council does not want to lose money.  We need more membership, a strong retention rate, and have a massive sunk cost with our various camp properties.  

This is why the Base Camp concept and Adventure Card works.  

  1. We want to increase the utilization of our properties.  Check.
  2. We want some pre-canned program that helps our volunteers that are short on time or knowledge put on a great program.  Check.
  3. We want to see Cub and Boy Scouts have opportunities to advance in skill and rank.  Check.
  4. And (most important) we want to see that our youth are taking in all the outdoors have to offer from a learning perspective.  Check.

 

In Closing

From popcorn, to Friends of Scouting, to activities, to camp , to training, to advancement camps, we all support the mission of our Council and what it is intended to do to varied degrees.

Some of us have traditional Troop programs that are more self sufficient and successful, blessed with a leadership team that makes it so.  

Some of us have programs that need some help; full of the best of intentions but in need of guidance and structure to make Scouting thrive.  

Regardless, nobody wants to do work they do not have to do.  Plug and play is so much easier than programming.  I found that if I used the card for my Troop a couple times, the cost recovery was quick and I still have 6 months to go before it expires.

What can the Adventure Card do for you?  If you are a unit leader, you owe it to yourself to have a look to see…

Why is the New Member Coordinator so Important?

Submitted by Paul Gendreau, Membership Campaign Manager

In addition to surveying our member families and leaders (voices of the Scouts), BSA also takes the pulse of non-member families. It seems that nationally lots of people leave Scouting before they even get their feet wet. This appears to be particularly evident with the current generation of parents, a generation that we need to improve on reaching. Millennials as a group tend to value inclusiveness and being included as well as having what they do for work and social activities be meaningful pursuits. A simple internet search points one to many sources of information on Millennials, who are now making up the group whose children are eligible to enter Scouting. Here is one link to a brief outline for those who’d like to see a handy synopsis on this generation

The position of New Member Coordinator (NMC) strives to have a non-uniformed person whose job it is to smile, welcome them, cut through Scouting jargon and help engage them with all that Scouting can do for their family as well as all they can do with their family. While Millennials are not big into hierarchy, they want to be part of a team of people who achieve some goal. Other aspects of this generation’s general outlook make it appear that Scouting should be particularly attractive as they espouse conventional values and views.

Lots of our units have parent orientation meetings to explain how Scouting works in their unit. The NMC position substitutes one on one relationship building for the traditional group orientation. Remember, Millennials as a group are the ones who’ve been protected/sheltered all their lives and have been brought up to believe that they are special. The NMC uses that view to the unit’s advantage by forming a special bond with new parents and the family as a whole. Where the role has been used, it appears to have the desired effects of increased parent engagement and eventually, greater ease in cultivating these parents to help with the unit as well as becoming registered as leaders or committee members, and with that comes improved youth retention. That’s the bottom line after all – keeping young people in Scouting long enough for it to work its magic.

This just in from National BSA:

We recently announced the New Member Coordinator position (NMC) that is available for every type of unit. New Member Coordinators guide new members and families through joining and engagement, share the benefits of Scouting and help coordinate recruitment. They are essential in relationship building and membership growth.

As an incentive for units recruiting New Member Coordinators, the first 2,500 registered New Member Coordinators that complete the online New Member Coordinator Welcome Course, will receive an email to choose a free New Member Coordinator hat or shirt.

There aren’t too many people registered in this position yet. As an example, we have yet to receive an application for a New Member Coordinator in our council. Jump in now to get your free hat or shirt! Note that a requirement is to take the welcome course. You get to it by logging in to my.scouting.org and then clicking on BSA Learn Center. If you have trouble with your browser, try either Chrome or Safari.

This week, I sent an email to Cub Scout and Boy Scout unit leaders and Committee Chairs asking if they had someone who was fulfilling this role, even if unofficially and how it was going if you did. If you did not reply and still wish to let us know how it is working out for you, you can email Paul.Gendreau@scouting.org.

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.

 

Learning About Lions

How does a Lion Den work? What kind of Scout programs can Lions do? Every Cub Scout Pack can now recruit Kindergartners into a Lion Program!

 Click here for an informational PDF to share with new parents! 

How Lion Dens Will Work: 

  • The Lion program year runs from September through May. At that point, they cross over into Tigers.
  • Like Tigers, each boy is accompanied by an adult partner who attends all meetings and outings with the boy.
  • There is no Lion den leader. The den follows a shared leadership model in which the adult partners take turns running the meeting and outing.
  • Each month the Lion den gathers twice.  There is one den meeting and either an outing (open to the whole family) or a Pack meeting. Lion dens typically attend two or three pack events per month. These should be special or especially fun gatherings. You may want to consider a holiday pack meeting, blue and gold banquet, or other really special meeting.

Activities: 

All Lions get the Adventure Card with their registration, which means they are able to receive all of the benefits when they book outdoor adventures!

  • New England Base Camp’s Open Program on Saturdays is free for all Cubs with the Adventure Card, including Lions. Come to Milton, MA or Kingston, NH to play in the outdoor activities.
    • Learning to camp
    • Hiking
    • Outdoor cooking
    • Native American activities
    • Wilderness skills
    • Swimming
    • STEM center
    • Ecology: Dinosaurs & Honey bees
    • 3-D printer
    • Game room with Oversized chess & 3D dinosaur puzzles
    • Indoor climbing program
    • Sledding (Winter)
    • Ice skating (Winter)
    • Snow shoeing (Winter)
    • Winter wilderness survival (Winter)
  • When Lions come to New England Base Camp, they also get 20% guest admission and 20% meals at both locations.
  • Special Lion Programs at Satellite locations: “Lions Fun In the Outdoors”
    • Guided Hike
    • Learn about the nature and animals around you
    • Get ready for Tiger Scouts

     

For more information about Lions and Recruiting contact Paul Gendreau. 

Summer Camp: Endless Opportunities

Submitted by Jenn Erickson, a Wilmington Cubmaster

Summer Camp…two words…endless opportunities.

Summer camp is so much better than a placeholder for your kids until you get home from work. So much better than a babysitter or electronics that keep them occupied. Summer camp is the time for kids to be kids. To get outside and learn the skills that will assist them in being better friends, prepared students and some day, engaged parents and productive adults.

The days are filled with fresh air, fun, learning (shhh!), dirty knees and hopefully sun. If not, they learn the importance of being prepared and having rain gear or learn how to be safe in a thunderstorm. They can do individual activities that strengthen their hand eye coordination, their creativity and imagination through woodworking, leather crafting, and arts and crafts. They do team building activities and learn to work and share with others. They learn new sports or maybe strengthen the skills of old ones. They learn they don’t have to be the best to have fun but they need to try their best. For many, a love of a new interest is borne or a skill crafted that they had never tried before. Who knew they were good at archery and slingshots? Who knew they could build a chair from a pile of wood? They get scrapes and splinters and learn how to treat them. They learn an appreciation of the outdoors and how to take care of it. They explore and discover new things in the world around them. They learn to care about the well-being of their friends by instilling in them the buddy system.

Summer camp is an opportunity for kids to be away from their parents. They discover what they can do without Mom or Dad there. We as parents learn what they are capable of when we step back and let them be, they truly can do so much more than we give them credit. They gain some independence, some confidence and learn from some mistakes. As they do these things, they build up their self-esteem and their self-worth. They become leaders and decision makers. They have choices that they are responsible for, they make new friends and are introduced to new types of people and situations. They grow.

Summer camp is childhood wrapped up in one week and I wouldn’t want my son to miss it for anything in the world. Summer camp is calling and he MUST go!

     

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.

 

 

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.

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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