Category Archives: Cub Scouts

Welcome to your Scouting Journey!

Welcome to Scouting! Scouting is an adventure for YOU and your children.

For your child, it’s an adventure filled with camping, swimming, learning new and unique skills and making new friends. For you, it’s actually much of the same. You’ll likely find many new friends through your local Scout unit, other parents who are dealing with the excitement and challenges that come from parenting.

There is no greater joy than watching your child learn a new skill and beam with pride as he or she yells “Mom, look at me!” or “Dad, look what I can do!” as they demonstrate that new skill.

The Scouting curriculum has enough depth for everyone! Unlike many enrichment programs, Scouting follows your child’s natural curiosities. If she finds herself interested in science, the program has badges and opportunities for her. If he finds himself interested in music or theater, he’ll probably want to work on those badges. Of course, the core curriculum includes camping, first aid, wilderness survival and citizenship, so those aspects are core to every Scout’s experience.

YOU are in charge of your child’s Scouting experience. Scouting builds community because through Scouting all the parents in your community will work together to help raise each other’s kids. In Cub Scouting, the leadership shifts from person to person based on the situation.This is a big part of the secret of the Scouting curriculum. By collaborating as a group of families, your child benefits from the best skills and talents each family has to offer.

Of course, Scouting needs some parents to step forward and serve as leaders to facilitate the activities, but every parent has a role. The parent who is great with woodworking can share his or her talents to help families build pinewood derby cars, whereas the parent who is naturally organized may coordinate the camping trips, and the foodie parent might help design the camping menu or the year end banquet. Regardless of your skill – there is a place for you in Scouting and a place for you in the Scouting community.  

The curriculum support is more than the book. The curriculum is best described as your child’s handbook. However, Scouting provides the resources to help the parents deliver the curriculum, far beyond those activities found in the book that many parents can’t pull together on their own. Most often this means camps, canoes, archery equipment, lakes and pools, lifeguards, rock climbing equipment and staff, 3D printers, robots, and thousands of other activities that are called on by the curriculum.

WE WANT YOU TO USE ALL SCOUTING’S RESOURCES. We operate about 2,000 acres of camp property in MA and NH, own over 215 buildings, are blessed with over 4,000 volunteers, and  have corporate relationships with dozens of Boston area family activities and attractions. You should seek to use as many as possible! Your Adventure Card, which is part of your Cub Scout membership, is the ticket to all these resources.

As always, if you have any questions about this blog or the resources mentioned – please don’t hesitate to call the local Scouting help desk 617-615-0004.

Rocket Into Scouting!

Here’s all of the Membership Recruiting Information for the 2018- 2019 year!

The Theme for this year’s membership Campaign is Rocket into Scouting!

All youth that signup during the fall campaign this year from qualifying Packs will receive a Rocket to launch at one of the 3 exciting council- sponsored launches.

To qualify for the Rocket into Scouting Program, units must:

  1. Commit to holding 3 signup events this fall.  Each of the 3 signup opportunities must be held before November 1st. The Council can provide both flyers and invitations for these events. Or units can create flyers of their own. These events can be whatever a unit usually does to be successful in Fall recruiting.  Suggestions and examples are:
    • A Pack run Signup Night Rally
    • A Bring a Buddy Event such as a Halloween Party or Ice Cream Social; Download invitation HERE
    • A library signup night which the Council can help you arrange
  2. Fill out this form with signup event details by July 31st
Council-Wide Launches

Start your school year with a BLAST! Every NEW Scout who registers by October 31st will receive a FREE model rocket to launch! This will kickstart both their Scouting career and a lifelong love of STEM. This is a great first event for all of our new Scouts to attend! Launch Day events will be at three different locations around our council area. Find the one that’s most convenient for your pack or family:

At the launches, each NEW Scout will receive a free launch engine. Launch Day Events will offer Rocket Building Stations (although we still recommend you build your rockets beforehand). Other fun Scouting activities will be provided and vary by location. All of our Launch Sites will provide a great time launching Rockets with your Scouts and family!

The entire family and current Scouts are welcome, and additional rockets kits can be purchased and built at the event.

Share the Rocket Giveaway and Launch Information and Download the Rocket Into Scouting Flyer!

Membership Kickoffs in August

The Rockets, flyers and invitations will be ready by the August Membership Kickoffs:

At the August Kickoffs, we will also distribute Lawn Signs and  Membership Posters. The Kickoffs will feature experts in Membership Recruiting who’ve had success in the past to share best practices on reaching out to new families. Please make every effort to register for and attend one of the Kickoffs. These are easily one of the most important Scouting events of the entire year.

Lion Program

  • The Lions pilot of the last 2 school years has been extremely successful
  • The National Executive Committee has voted to make it an official part of Cub Scout program for all Packs across the country.  It’s a rank like Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos
  • All Packs should be actively recruiting Lions this fall once school starts

Boy Scout “Bring a Buddy”Events

Boy Scout Troops are Actively encouraged to hold fun ‘Bring a Buddy’ events such as fishing trips, camp outs, Troop Outdoor Campfire Parties with Scouting Skits etc. to encourage recruiting.  Bring a buddy invitation to your events can be  downloaded HERE.

Welcoming Girls

All Packs and Troops are actively encouraged to have a discussion with their Chartered Organization Representatives to consider inviting girls into their units.  Girls who are Cub Scout age, now can be registered right away once the unit “opts-in” in My.Scouting.org  and girls at the Troop level will be able to register as of Feb 2019.

For all Council-provided Membership Resources, visit ScoutSpirit.org/leaders/

Added Value to the Adventure Card

Submitted by:  Mariama Sano, Spirit of Adventure Council’s Development Campaign Manager

By now – most Cub Scout packs, dens and families have started using their Adventure Cards for several purposes. Entrance to either Base Camp (Lone Tree or Milton), discounts for Winter Camp, STEM camp, Day Camp, cabin rentals or other programs and services offered through the council. Additionally, most of our Venturers and Boy Scouts are also starting to increase the usage of card through high adventure programs, training programs and summer camp. Also, we are seeing a dramatic increase in Scoutbook usage which stitches all the programs together creating an individualized learning experience for each Scout.

But that’s all old news – Now your Adventure Card is gaining a new set of benefits! Be sure to check out the website and Facebook for updates and discounts for family attractions all around Boston! Below read about the first few benefits that are included in with your Adventure Card.

 

Boston Duck Tours

Boston Duck Tours is a great way to start off a visit to Boston. You get a great overview of the city through many unique neighborhoods as you splash into the Charles River for a breathtaking view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines.

A Scout group will receive a special group rate for 10 or more guests (normally 20 or more guests) when you present the New England Adventure Card at their Museum of Science location. Scouts will also receive $2 off Kids tickets and $4 off Adult tickets for groups of less than 10 at the Museum of Science location with the Adventure Card!

 

Historic New England Properties

Historic New England Properties such as Historic New England Phillips House and Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm offer 2-for-1 admission (a 50% discount) to all Scouts and their families/chaperones with the Adventure Card! This is for general admission museum tours and does not include programs, events or private group tours. Please show your card at the Museum of Science ticket booth and mention the code C-Scouts.

 

Salem Trolley

Ride the Red Trolley – Salem Trolley – Salem’s Original Trolley! Scouts get a 20% Discount on a group private one hour narrated historical tour of Salem with their Adventure Card. Trolleys hold 30-38 passengers. Contact salemtrolley@gmail.com or 978-744-5469.

 

Ecotarium

The EcoTarium in Worcester, MA is a family-friendly, indoor-outdoor museum of science and nature. Scouts can print this special coupon for $2 off. If a group of 10 or more visits the museum, admission would be $8 per person, instead of the $18 (adult) and $14 (child) rate. To get the group rate, call in advance: 508-929-2700

 

SCOUTbox

SCOUTbox is a monthly subscription box service built specifically for scouts, by scouts. Keep your scouts excited each month when they receive a box filled with awesome gear for camping and other outdoor adventures as well as educational materials to enhance scouting programs.

For those in the Spirit Adventure Council, if you use the code SPIRIT888 you’ll get $8.88 off your first box when purchasing a subscription. It can be used on any of the 3 lengths; monthly, 3-month, or 6-month. Check out SCOUTbox online.

 

Plimoth Plantation

With the Adventure Card, Plimoth Plantation has 15% admission discount for Scouting families, Packs and Troops that may be less than the traditional group minimum of 15 people with the opportunity to visit Plimoth Plantation, Plimoth Grist Mill and Mayflower II (scheduled to return early summer – 2019) on the day of their choice.  A tremendous value for Boy Scouts (13 – 17 years) that reflects a 50% discount.

2018 Season Schedule: March 17th through November 25th, 9 AM until 5 PM daily. There will be an exciting STEM patch program for the Plimoth Grist Mill that will be a complimentary question/scavenger activity sheet for use at the mill, with patches available for sale through the retail store.

 

Salem Witch Museum

Salem’s most visited museum is the perfect starting point for your visit to the historic city. Explore the story of the Salem Witch trials with your group (ten or more visitors receive group discounts).

Through the Adventure Card, museum-goers will receive $1.00 off adult and $.50 off of child tickets for up to a family of six when presenting their card. This offer excludes weekends in October or Halloween Day. See their website for more information.

 

Attitash

Attitash Mountain Resort & Wildcat Mountain invite Scouts and their families to join them for weekends on the snow and ski slopes at exclusive discounted rates. 

Special Pricings for Lift Ticket, Ski or Snowboard Rental Package, Learn to Ski or Snowboard and Groups 15+. Login with the Spirit of Adventure code to receive discounts, included in this flyer.

 

The Best Seats VIP

New England’s largest entertainment concierge – The Best Seats VIP offers customized entertainment experiences. Their VIP Hosts will work with you on any organizational outing for the scouts to take advantage of and provide unique, once-a-lifetime experiences.

All members within Spirit of Adventure can receive 10% off on all orders by using promo code SCOUT10 at checkout. For more information, contact Brandon Gilson at 781 201 0347, email: Brandon@TheBestSeatsVIP.com or visit their website. Please mention your Scout affiliation when you contact them. This offer has no expiration date.

 

Wonder Dads

Dads of Boy Scouts  in the Spirit of Adventure Council can now get their first month free of WonderDads with this special URL for Scouts in our Council.

WonderDads is the largest membership-based association of Dads with kids ages 0-16, with over 50,000 members nationwide. Members get access to WonderDads This Weekend digital magazine, critically-acclaimed Dad resources, and their own online account where they can do everything from create an interactive Dad-Kids bucket list to plan a Dad-Kids trip. WonderDads entire mission is to help members be even better and “funner” Dads, and help them make the most of their kid’s childhood years.  Check it out and get your first month free!

Planning to Welcome Girls in Your Pack?

A Discussion to Have With Your Chartering Organization and Fellow Parents

Submitted by the Council Key 3:

 

ACTION STEPS IF YOUR CUB PROGRAM WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME GIRLS:

If your parents and organization are already in agreement, you will be welcome to become one of our Council’s early adopters.

  1. Contact the Council (617-615-0004) and us know your pack would like to welcome girls
  2. Create a plan for Cub Scouts to complete rank requirements in a compressed timeline and send it to Jon Pleva
  3. Update your BeAScout Pin. Options will be “All Boy Pack” “All Girl Pack” “Family Pack”
    1. Chartering Organization Rep. must set this first and then the Pack Leadership
    2. The option to update the pin will be closed March 15th

         4. Starting January 15th, register a minimum of 4 girls, which must be done through Online Registration

If discussions lead you to believe your unit requires more time (later than March 15th) or won’t be able to deliver a program in a compressed timeline, your unit has the option of starting in mid-June.

ACTION STEPS IF YOUR CUB PROGRAM WOULD LIKE TO REMAIN ONLY AVAILABLE TO BOYS

If your Scouting community decides to remain a single gender Cub Program, simply update the BEaSCOUT information to state that your Pack is a “single gender – all boy pack.”

CHANGING YOUR Be A Scout PIN

The Be A Scout pins are ready to be updated for Family Scouting! Have your Charter Org Rep update, followed by your Cubmaster or other designated leader. (Your charter must be processed to accept online applications)
• Log on to my.scouting.org
• Click on the “Menu” button on left hand side
• Under your Cub Scout Pack, click on “Organization Manager”
• Under “Organization Manager” click on “Settings” at the top of the page
• On the settings page, scroll to the bottom
• At the bottom there is a section called “Family Scouting,” fill out this section and hit “commit”


 

This is a very exciting time to be a part of the Boy Scouts. As you might already know, the BSA will offer Cub Scouting to girls in 2018 and by 2019 all Scout programs will be open to girls, allowing them to earn the rank of Eagle.

Our character education program has been used successfully for over a century. A few years ago, Tufts University conducted a study to measure the effectiveness of Scouting with very strong and positive results, including Scouts being more likely to embrace positive social values and longevity and dedication in Scouting being correlated with higher character attributes.

It’s part of our continuing mission to unlock Scouting for all families who wish to use our curriculum to raise children of character.

EXPERIENCE SERVING THE WHOLE FAMILY

Scouting has had co-ed programs and co-ed camping for over 40 years. Exploring became co-ed in the ’60s and Venturing become co-ed in 2000. All our camp staff are co-ed and all our camps have experience dealing the nuances of co-ed Scouting.

In 2014 – 2015 we re-branded our camp in the Blue Hills, now called New England Base Camp, which is just 2 miles from Boston, as a camp open to the public. Our other camps are still primarily reserved for Scouts. The Base Camp is the embodiment of Boy Scout Handbook, yet because it’s open to the public, everyone plays and everyone learns. This means we have a LOT of experience with girls and boys sharing the same camping facility, programs and activities. Similarly on the national stage, the BSA has been adapting policies to help local councils better serve their communities by eliminating restrictions on members yet retain our core elements of the program. Scouting is very much still a private organization, and still supports the core concept that parents deliver the program.  

HOW THIS MIGHT AFFECT YOUR CUB PACK

Our focus moving forward is to enable any family that wants to utilize our curriculum, to join and work collaboratively with other families to deliver the program. Therefore, it’s imperative that each family joins a local Cub Scout Pack, Troop or Crew that best matches their family’s beliefs and values. That’s where our chartering organization relationship comes into the conversation. 100+ years ago much of our community values and goals were understood to be similar or identical. Today, our American society recognizes a much greater diversity of thought and beliefs. Scouting seeks to serve all families and respect each family’s unique identity while simultaneously supporting each chartering organization’s rights. We believe a growing community requires a respect for all people while we teach our children to adhere to the characteristics of the Scout oath and law.

This is undoubtedly a challenging road – but one we believe is critical for the future development of our young people. Therefore, the parents and chartering organization need to be in alignment regarding core issues, discussing and coming to agreement on questions like:

  • Will our Cub program (and eventually our Boy Scout program) accept girls?
  • Who will be the leaders in Pack, Troop or Crew?
  • How often will the boys and girls participate in Scouting together, and when will we provide single gender environments?
  • How do we discipline Scouts? How do we interpret (strict or lax) the advancement program? How do we handle special needs? How do we handle spiritual diversity?

Scouting provides the curriculum, resources and the safety boundaries for the families to use in their work to deliver the program. By developing a common ground understanding, chartering organizations and parents will be able to work better together. The advent of girls in the program simply heightens the need for these types of discussions which we recommend occur annually. Families will then be less apt to make assumptions about the program. Families who cannot align themselves with the group’s decision will still be welcome in Scouting, but it wouldn’t be in the child’s best interest to be in a group that doesn’t agree with their parent’s values. In that case, it will fall to the Scouting organization to help that family find the right parents and organization to work with to provide Scouting experience.

In many cases, the advent of girls in the program doesn’t require much conversation: the parents and chartering organizations are quickly in alignment. “We’d love to welcome girls!” or “We believe in the single gender environment and have a great program for girls in our community – so in our unit there will be no change.” Either position is OK with us! We simply need to know your collective decision.

A Unit Leader Webinar and additional program information will be available on January 8th for units still making their decision.

 

Read this for info about updating your BEaSCOUT pin

IF YOU NEED HELP WITH THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

Also, if you need help conducting the conversation with your parents or additional information, we’ll be happy to help. You can call 617-615-0004. But, please keep in mind, it’s a local community decision, we can’t make it for the organization or for the parents. All the information about serving the whole family can be found here.  Questions can also be directed to family.scouting@scouting.org.

The conversation and the updated BeAScout information should happen as quickly as possible. Girls will be welcomed in Scouting as soon as January 15th 2018. However, your Scouting leadership does NOT have to rush the conversation.

Thanks so much for your time and consideration. Please contact us at any time with any questions and we’d be happy to speak with you about the future of Scouting.

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 George O’Loughlin.

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!