Category Archives: News

#ScoutingThrives Update

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive & CEO

Spring marks the start of summer programming, the end of rechartering season, and the continuation of #ScoutingThrives! Here is an update on how we have been progressing and growing this year and what we hope to see in the future:
Program

Stem Camp, Satellite Camps, Adventure Card sales, Boy Scout Summer camp attendance are all on or above expectation year to date. Not that we hit every benchmark – but we are serving about 750 – 1,000 Cub Scouts and their families every weekend throughout spring through the Base Camp model! Here are a couple FaceBook Reviews

Lynne, Re: Scouts (May 7, 2017)“We spent the best rainy day ever at NE Base Camp!! Even in the rain my boys were all smiles on the COPE course. The sun came out and even more smiles after lunch at the BB, Archery, and Tomahawk throwing ranges!! ALL the staff was great with the kids and all us adults even got to have some fun!! We can’t wait to go back to do the climbing!!! (Closed because of rain and safety) Pack 17 from Franklin Ma will be back for sure…as well as my family!!”

Erica, Re: Home School Network (May 11, 2017) “Thank you all for being so welcoming to us today. My boys and I had a great time and are looking forward to joining in the fall.”

Some pictures from a rainy weekend – with over 800 campers at our Base camp Locations!

Development – Thank you!

Brand new pledges and contributions this month!

  • $10,000 pledge from our new friends DivoWest Real Estate
  • $10,000 from our alumni through our new Alumni on line giving program!
  • $25,000 from the Boston Foundation!
  • $7,500 in support from Sun Life as well as dozens of folks who spend the day at Base camp working to improve and set the camp for spring – fall programs

Maintaining our recurring contributions

Our annual campaign (Friends of Scouting) continues to track ahead of the same time last year and while they still have a lot of work ahead, things continue to look good!

Membership

You may recall at the end of last year we sustained a mild overall growth. Our membership continues to climb. After the first four months of the year we are ahead 5.3% in traditional membership and the strongest performance in New England Area. We are looking good for May as well, and have our sights set on a strong second quarter performance.

Diversity

Our diversity task force has been hard at work, leveraging the last few years of recent announcements and the work of Base Camp to deepen our understanding of the challenges we face regarding diversity. There are already tangible results of their work, and we continue to be a leader in the national dialogue. More to come ….

Thanks for your support and commitment to helping us make #ScoutingThrives in all our communities.

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

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

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

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

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

The Retreat from Concord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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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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ScoutBook: What’s in it for US?

Submitted by Chris Rogers, Scoutmaster, Troop 507, Winchester

I have been adult leader in Scouting for around 22 years.  Finding better ways to stay organized has always been important to me, as there is only so much time in the day to balance family, work, church and Scouts.

In Scouting, it is important to NOT reinvent the wheel, but to talk to other leaders by attending Roundtables, taking advantage of adult training opportunities and being present at Council gatherings.  Find out who else is doing something better… and do that, is my motto!   We are always better off when we share ideas and experiences, right?

When I first heard about ScoutBook, at the 2013 National Jamboree, it only took one quick demo and I knew that having this program would make my life as a Scoutmaster so much easier.  Why?… because advancement and personal information records would be stored all in one place, in a secure place, but viewable by the whole Troop.  Last October, when I found out that BSA National had bought the program, I signed up our Troop.

Some of the neat features of ScoutBook, are as follows:

  1. Youth are empowered to take control of their own advancement.  Parents know where their sons are in terms of their advancement as well.  No longer do they have to search for the Scout Handbook.  Wherever and whomever is allowed electronic devices, this information is available.
  2. Each Unit sets the parameters of what is viewable and able to be entered.
  3. Nobody needs a list of emails or phone #’s of anyone in the Unit.  Youth protection exists, as the parents linked to the Scout are copied on communications.
  4. Youth and adult leadership positions are recorded.
  5. Merit badge counselors are listed for quick reference (for Boy Scouts).
  6. Keeps track of the dates of your medical record, swim test classifications, and adult training… which is important to trip planners.
  7. Calendars, with reminders and attendance is all part of ScoutBook records.
  8. Can create reports by patrol of who is working on what requirement to help patrol leaders and for planning activities.

leader-with-laptopWe can have discussions regarding: does ScoutBook do this or does ScoutBook do that?  But, the bottom line is, ScoutBook is here to stay and will improve with time.  Persons like myself, across the country are helping to make suggestions and prioritize future enhancements to ScoutBook.  There is NO perfect program, for any organization.   I recommend you embrace ScoutBook for what it can do for US now!

Telling Our Story: Promoting Your Cub Scout Pack

Submitted by Matt Bailey, Cubmaster, Pack 28 Wenham

Last year, I recall reading a Council blog about a focus group held at New England Base Camp with non Scouting families. My takeaway was families once exposed to the Scouting program thought it was awesome but they also told us they saw Scouting a closed system and as outsiders did not know how to access Scouting.

I thought this was a terrific insight and thought if we can get our message out and promote an invitational environment, we may just be able to grow the program.

Now, I have enjoyed some recent success getting our Pack’s story in the local press. It wasn’t easy.

I spent a year submitting photos and articles and getting no results. My wife and I spoke with reporters and editors at our local weekly and delivered a similar response.

“We have been sending pictures and articles but nothing gets published. I’m good if you don’t print our stuff, just let me know and I won’t bother taking the time to submit articles”.

What changed? We did.

Our media friends, want photos and stories about our Scouts doing something exciting. Let our Scouts tell the story. Show the Scouting spirit.

So, here are the secrets:

  1. Make it easy for the press.
  2. Give them action photos and an engaging headline.
  3. Close up photos work best.

So, if we write the story we want to tell, in they way the press likes they may just print the whole thing.

Wow! Think about that for a moment…

We have an opportunity to engage potential recruits, stakeholders and the communities we serve at zero cost. We also get to define the Scouting brand in our community. People have a fuzzy impression of what Scouting is about and so if we create a mental picture of Scouting in our local community we may be more successful recruiting new members and engaging adult participation.

So, why would the press be interested in Scouting?

  • We have great activities no one else is doing.
  • Cub Scout photos show authentic excitement.
  • We are local.
  • Our content is free. No payments to freelancers or staff reporters.
  • Cub Scout parents are a demographic that might not buy newspapers and who the print media may want to engage…and the demographic that buys newspapers loves Scouting.

Here an example of a good, but ineffective, effort…

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Headline: Pack 28 Pinewood Derby Race Winners Announced Group shot of a Pinewood Derby finalists. (NOT Published)

This is an example of why close ups are important. A good close up eliminates visual clutter that may not be appealing to an editor. It is also a lot easier to take a three great individual photos than a group shot.

The below articles were published and I included one photo from the final article; however each article had a multiple photos that made it to print and I did not include the narrative portion. A common theme among all that were printed were great photos of Scouts genuinely excited about Scouting. All three events, were also open to new recruits and we had new visitors.

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Headline: Cub Scouts Ignite Interest in STEM / Photo Caption: Caeden and Owen very proud of the rockets they made (PUBLISHED)

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Headline: Pack 28 Holds Annual Fishing Derby / Photo Caption: Pack 28 held their 2016 Fishing Derby at Pleasant Pond in Wenham. Gabe won the award for the smallest fish. (PUBLISHED)

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Headline: Wenham Cub Scouts Catch Olympic Spirit / Photo Caption: Avery clears the mud pit and stays dry.(PUBLISHED)

So, you may say, that’s great but: 1) you aren’t a professional photographer, 2) you are not in PR and 3) you don’t have time.

No worries. Most of these photos were taken on a smartphones, all by amateurs.

The story is a simple one to write using a common recipe. It does need to be produced soon after the event to be newsworthy.

  • Headline: Cub Scouts did something fun, outdoors and unique
  • Story: Pack 1 Cub Scouts had a great experience doing something fun, learning something new.
  • Pictures: Close ups of excited Cub Scouts doing an activity. Send files as a .jpg attachment.
  • Closing: Cub Scouts is a year-round outdoor program for boys in grades 15. For more information contact: _____________.

So, why make the effort?

We have a great story to tell. Press coverage instills as sense of pride in Scouts about their program and unit. It helps define the Scouting brand in your town. It validates our Scouts. At our feeder school, press clippings of students are posted in a prominent location a common practice. Because of the nature of our program as civically engaged and offering unique programming we have the ability to generate press other youth activities can only hope to create. Finally, telling our story in an invitational way will help to address a perception of Scouting as a closed system and open for new members.

Our Council also has the ability to help your Pack get PR at a greater level for seriously awesome events and activities. Check out the examples from Pack 126, Wilmington this Spring:

If you are having an event of this nature that you feel deserves broader press than just within your community, please contact Brice Pearce, our Communications and Sales Manager via email or Facebook.

Our Pass to Family Adventure

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

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

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

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

family

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

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

Creating Engagement for Scouting and Families

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive and CEO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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