Category Archives: News

Finding a Better Way Forward

Submitted by Ahmadou Balde, District Executive

Five weeks ago, I returned to the United States from a trip in West Africa that profoundly affected me. I saw at first sight how the desertion of the youth and young adolescents can affect a society. From the media and family members, I was already aware of some of the societal realities, however, I soon realize that no amount of stories could have prepared me for what I was witnessing. All the initial excitement I had of going back to a place I had been away from a eight years dissipated. Instead, I was ecstatic to get back to start my new job with the Boy Scouts of America. 

The only knowledge I had of this organization was based on the research prior to my interview. I knew I was aligning myself with the right organization to learn for the purpose of eventually giving back. What I did not know was the fact that I was joining a deeply misunderstood organization with a deep seated history. 

A few weeks into my new job, I came to realize the mainstream view of the organization as WHITE ONLY or UPPER MIDDLE CLASS ONLY perpetuates a misunderstanding and prevents the active participation of many individual communities that can profoundly benefit from the Scouting movement. And frankly, I think viewing the Boy Scouts through those lenses is doing injustice to all of us.  Undoubtedly, an organization that is 106 years old has a long and diverse history with its own stereotypes and reputation. However, I strongly believe that it has the solution to the moral decay going on in our respective communities that none of us can afford to ignore.  

Recently, I heard a compelling story from a Scouter. As a child, his single mom dropped him at Scout meetings. With her competing priorities and responsibilities, she barely had the time, but she was entirely committed to having her son participate in Scouting. I guess she saw how the different camping activities would teach him how to live in a pluralistic society and how the respective field trips would open his sense of curiosity. But I think most importantly, she realized how the Scout Law and Oath that he was routinely reciting would forever be ingrained in the psyche of her son. More than 40 years later, she was right. Her child has become a decent man, dedicated to giving back to the world.

Now, I am in no way stating that this man is a decent person only because he joined Scouting. I am sure we can find plenty of examples that provide supporting details. Nevertheless, his story and stories of others show that the historical contribution of the BSA to America was unquantifiable. Just like Scouters, this mother understood early on that with the decline of institutions like families and churches, the presence of an entity with the sole purpose of inculcating people with certain moral values is essential to the well-being of our society. We are beginning to quantify that value today, with longitudinal research.

Before every Scouting meeting, all Scouts are expected to recite the Scout Oath, which goes begins this: “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my Country…” As a black African immigrant with a double consciousness, I grapple with the meaning of this phrase. I surely knew duty to God and to country means different things to different people. I wondered if I was just pledging blind loyalty to America or simply reciting a slogan. Fortunately, I came to realize that this one phrase is an affirmation of the longest lasting American promise expressed differently by each generation: the responsibility to leave a better world for our children. It is the God-given duty of self-responsibility for a greater good ingrained in the collective psychology of everyday Americans.

The rising moral decay expressed by rising attitude of indifference, egocentric motivation, perverted aspiration (win at all cost) or the rise of demagogues is a product of our failures to properly react. Consequently, individualism is on the rise with all its ramification. Now, it is of utmost importance that we acknowledge the current reality to properly shape the youth and create a better world. The approach of community based activities and leaderships practiced by BSA in respective neighborhoods to responsibilize adults and prevent children from lionizing morally bankrupt folks and teach them decent moral values will only help reconnect with this promise.

In reality, this situation is a generational challenge that will require the commitment of each and all of us. The Boy Scouts of America has much to offer; however, I know many youth and parents are distancing themselves from the Scouting movement simply due to misunderstanding or historical missteps. The goal of Scouting is to prepare young people for life, to cultivate a higher sense of positive character and decency. At the end, what makes America great is not the fighters or the wealth of the nation. It is the affirmation of social responsibility acted upon by each of generation and expressed by this one phrase recited by every Scout. Now, the continuity of this tradition will depend on our current actions and choices.

Focusing on the Future

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive and CEO

Our Council, Spirit of Adventure is in transition. That’s pretty clear by nature of the merger, and our strategic objectives:

  • Build the Northern NeXus
  • Open Camp Sayre to the public as New England Base Camp
  • Reinvigorate Scouting by making it Thrive in Our Communities

This can be a tough and confusing process. Some Executive Board and District-level volunteers – as well as some Council Staff – have, for their own independent reasons, separated from the council. Regardless of their individual reasons, each one of them still expresses a long-term commitment to our new direction.

The transition itself causes ambiguity, causing “the council” to ask a lot of questions. Focus groups, anecdotal stories, analysis of trends, and a host of thoughtful exercises work together to help develop a detailed plan. This strategic plan will ultimately end the ambiguity and develop a council that can help Scouting thrive.

As we listen and craft this Council together, we can start to see some pieces of the new culture come clearly into focus.

We are dedicated to the following:

  1. ScoutBook – this new software and its ability to directly impact online registration, program enhancement, and the empowerment of units
  2. Program development – providing resources that help the Scout program come alive
    • (For example: helping Den leaders provide hands-on advancement-oriented, and exciting outdoor activities at convenient locations)
  3. Customer service – training and retraining staff and volunteers around customer service to provide the standard of care to which families are accustomed
  4. Exciting volunteer opportunities – creating easy volunteer on-boarding programs and increasing volunteer satisfaction

These positive additions will come at a price. We have to reorganize and reinvest. We understand that the transition is difficult. Each District’s Key Three members will meet on February 25 to refine these plans. The officers and board have been reviewing draft plans for the past six weeks. We have been holding listening sessions and focus groups since the very beginning 11 months ago.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” – Abraham Lincoln

This quote is quite appropriate for the stage of development for our Spirit of Adventure Council. If we use Lincoln’s analogy, we have been sharpening the ax for 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Thanks for your patience
Chuck

Birthday Adventure Is Yours Here!

All across the country, Troops, Packs, and Venture Crews find ways to celebrate and recognize and share their enthusiasm for Scouting is part of the anniversary.

Everyone understands the character and leadership building value of the program. And everyone in the program understands the fun excitement of the scouting activities. Yet, in many communities we also struggle with attracting new families. Ask any Cubmaster with growing membership and will all say the same thing “The secret is program first! Make it fun for the scouts, siblings and the parents!”

What could be more fun than an outdoor adventure birthday party!?
Plan your birthday party with us this month and save $50.
Think about the invitation list. All their friends would enjoy a day that includes rock climbing, archery, swimming, Native American games, and all the great outdoor activities.

So plan today, and register with your Scout’s birthday party between April – October 2016 during the month of February and save!
Email Heather Sheehan or call her at 617-615-0004 to schedule your party now.

Here We Go!

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive and CEO

Two New Convenient Scout Shops
Starting later this winter two local stores in the Northern portion of the Council will start providing limited Scout supplies, books and uniforms.

Ben’s Uniforms Inc.                                                                                        All Sports Heroes
http://www.bensuniformsonline.com/                                                      http://www.allsportsheroes.com/
20 Main St, Amesbury, MA 01913                                                               18 1st St, Lowell, MA 01850
Phone: 978-388-0471                                                                                    Phone: 978-452-1976
Fax: 978-388-7878                                                                                         Fax: 978-452-2707

Other Administrative and Physical Changes
The North Andover Scout Shop will be closing on February 19th
The Haverhill Office will be closing on or before March 1st
The Scout Office aspect of the Egan Center will close on or before March 1st (Scout Shop will remain, of course!)
The Woburn Office will open for Business on or before March 1st

How this will workThe Woburn location is considered to be the most central location – both geographically and based on traffic patterns for the council footprint. The location will now serve as a primary Scout Shop (600 Cummings Park suite 1250) and the business operations headquarters (600 Cummings Park suite 2750 – just upstairs) for Spirit of Adventure. Over time we will look to expand the sales floor for the Woburn Scout Shop to accommodate for the additional traffic.

Council Service Center – who really uses the Scout Service Center?
The new business format for Spirit of Adventure will minimize trips to the council office by all volunteers. Through use of technology, conference calls, video conferencing and a highly mobile staff we want every ounce of volunteer energy to go toward the Scouts – not spent in your car driving to an office. Our office staff will be all together in one building and they will serve as the nerve center for operations. A phone call to that location will provide quick and courteous answers about camp registrations, advancement concerns, membership questions, donations or training information etc. The Commissioned Staff will be out in the field – ready willing and able to meet with unit committees, community leaders, and others. Their responsibilities are to roll up their sleeves and dig into more detailed and complex situations that ultimately make SCOUTING THRIVE.

Therefore during the day the space in Woburn will serve as a “hotelling” location for those commissioned staff in between meetings in the field. This provides maximum flexibility of the space (and a smaller footprint) so during the evening that same “office space” will be used for council and district meetings.

What about the space at the Egan center? #letsPLAY
The Egan Center and the New England Base Camp are the program delivery hub for Scouting across Eastern MA and soon New England. While we will maintain a small administrative staff in that location the majority of that highly valuable indoor space will be used for program delivery. Likely an improved STEM Center, Birthday party rooms, Handicrafts and other program features that’ll enhance the quality of the program.

New England Base Camp’s 2015 Top Ten

ice board

2015 has been an incredible year for New England Base Camp. So much has happened that it is near impossible to make a top list for the year. With that being said, here is our top ten moments or events for 2015:

10) We started to host Birthday Parties at Base Camp
This is a new way for us to reach out to families that are involved in Scouting and to families that are potentially interested in Scouting. Families can come and for a low price get 4 hours of program for the group, a room to host their party and a birthday cake. This service is offered every weekend that program is being offered. My favorite moment with the parties was the Sweet 16 party that we hosted.

9) Andrew Kelly
You may not have heard about Andrew Kelly, but you will. He is an 18 year old swimmer from Belmont that trains with our friends at the Shamrock Swim 5 days a week and he made the Olympic Tryouts. This summer he was invited to a special training session where he got to swim with Michael Phelps! This is not a one off with Shamrock. This is the second year in a row where we have had a swimmer be invited to try out for the National Team!

shamrock8) Changes to the Egan Center
If you walk straight to the program areas instead of walking into the Egan Center when you come to Base Camp, you are missing a HUGE difference from last year. When you walk in, you will see our display of famous Massachusetts scouts on the wall. 56 Scouts and former Scouts are being displayed and more are being added on a regular basis. Walk down the hall and you will see kids working on their climbing skills on our bouldering wall. Once you get to the end of the hall, you will walk straight into the STEM Room where you can spend hours building dinosaurs, identifying the animals of the Blue Hills or designing the tree house that we are going to build. Before you walk about the door, take a look to your right. We hope you will never need it, but there is our new 1st Aid Center.

egan center  egan 2

7) Service Projects
Several groups and Scout Units have come out to Base Camp this year and worked on service projects. Companies like Vertex brought a whole crew of volunteers to work on painting the walls, installing the program signs around the camp and getting the cabins ready for renovation. Several units have done service projects at camp. Some of them, like Pack 42’s owl houses, worked on a service project at the Pack level and then installed them on a day outing to camp. Are you or your unit interested in helping out and doing a service project? Contact us today to let us assist you.

birdhouse 2 bird houses

6) Will Bales and HyperShock
Eagle Scout Will Bales has become a huge part of the New England Base Camp experience. Will has been very generous with his time and came out to Day Camp this summer, along with his robot HyperShock, and spent the day talking about robotics. You may know Will from the TV show BattleBots. If you don’t, one of your Scouts will. Equally exciting is that Will has agreed to teach Robots Merit Badge at STEM Camp this April Vacation. I am sure that will make a highlight for 2016 as well!

will

5) Boy’s Life and P.R
New England has been getting lots of exposure for the program that we have been developing and rolling out. If started with an article in the Globe on March 1st about the year round program that we offer (https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/south/2015/03/01/move-boy-scouts-camp-for-all-seasons/yeRbQFNP3vkg5IGkEp29AI/story.html). Not to be outdone, the Patriot Ledger ran an article this fall about Base Camp being open to the public (http://www.patriotledger.com/article/20150918/NEWS/150915802). The biggest press came this December in Boy’s Life. If you missed it, we are featured in the center of the magazine about our amazing winter program.

Boys life

4) STEM Camp
Once again we hosted an amazing STEM Camp at New England Base Camp. This year we hosted Scott Lagasse Jr. at camp along with his NASCAR. Every participant got to spend time talking to Scotty and take a look at his car. Scouts in the Nuclear Science Merit Badge took a field trip to MIT where they took a tour of the Fusion Department.

IMG_1989

3) Peter and Paul Reynolds
Twin brothers Peter (and Eagle Scout) and Paul (a Star Scout) stopped by Pumpkinfest this year where they hosted a little drawing session and a book signing. Not only is an Eagle Scout, but he is also the author and illustrator of “The Dot”. One of the many jobs that Peter and Paul do is the CEO’s of the animation company FableVision. I am always excited to see Peter and Paul, but this time they announced that they, along with FableVision, will be hosting Animation Merit Badge at STEM Camp in 2016. As an added bonus, Peter produced an amazing piece of artwork for the Famous Scout exhibit in the Egan Center

https://www.facebook.com/nebasecamp/videos

peter

2) The Winter Program
in 2014 we started to play with the winter program. In 2015 we expanded what we offered. The big program being offered is our Ice Climbing, but Scouts, groups and families can come and enjoy ice skating, swimming, shooting, sledding and snurfing, how to build a quincy, and much more. The ice climbing is already sold out for 2016, but that does not mean that you can not come and enjoy the other program. Call today, 617-615-0004, to book your winter adventure

SnowProgramIMG_3113

 

1) Change of names
There is a big difference between Camp Sayre and New England Base Camp. Camp Sayre is a beautiful place to come and go camping. After all, you are in the middle of the Blue Hills. New England Base Camp is the premiere location to do outdoor activities. With 15 different program areas and over 250 different activities that are offered every weekend, you will find yourself coming over and over. So come and camp at Camp Sayre and enjoy a day that you will not soon forget at New England Base Camp.

NEBC logo

Website Preview: Boy Scouts

When we listen to Boy Scout leaders it’s clear that for 10 months a year they take pride in their outdoor self sufficiency. An average Troop simply needs a few acres of wooded green space and the SPL and the SM will develop the program from there. Most commonly we hear about “Iron Chef” competitions, building snow shelters, hikes, and other outdoor activities to prepare for camp-o-rees or Klondikes derbies.

Our camps in Scouting reflect that need and that service. Camp Sayre, Lone Tree, Wah Tut Ca, Storer and Parker Mountain all provide basic weekend camping opportunities between September and June. Campsites and cabins are inexpensive and the program development and services at these camps are minimal. Troops also like to branch out and explore other Scout camps and often find unique exciting features.

Through all that self sufficiency and all the outdoor skills that our Scout Masters and leaders exhibit month in and month out, we also recognize more and more troops don’t go much beyond “car camping” and high adventure is something we often “outsource.” Older Scouts often express mild frustration in their troops ability to expand their outdoor horizons beyond typical weekend camping trip. Troops sometimes add a white water adventure, or a trip to Rock Spot to help expand those horizons.

Expanding your Troop Horizons
This is where the collective resources of the council can provide additional value.
Summer Camp and the Northern NeXus! 
By connecting all three of our Northern NH properties we have created up 30,000 acres of adventure than none of the individual properties could attain on their own. Now Scouts can enjoy everything from mountain top experiences, to vertical caving, to water park style activities and unique boating, horseback riding, and back packing!
Patrol Leaders Council and Leadership Opportunities
It’s clear that every troop wants to expand and empower their youth leaders. We provide a suite of programs throughout the year to help youth leaders expand their skills and send them back to the troop enthusiastic and motivated.
Every Weekend at the New England Base Camp, ScoutMasters enjoy the added support and patience required to help patrol leaders expand their skills and practice leadership. For the very adventurous older Scout or Venturer there are Specialty Programs for extreme activities like Ice climbing, rock climbing, weekend COPE, staff opportunities and much more.
Every Summer through NYLT, Brownsea and Summer camp staff opportunities older Scouts can expand and develop their skills to better serve in leadership roles for the coming year.

Contact Us
Our Scout Representatives are happy to meet with Your Patrol Leaders Council or your Troop Committee to help develop your annual plan and get the most out of the council resources. Click HERE to set up a meeting!

Website Preview: Cub Scouts

Camping is the cornerstone of all Scout Programs, and one of the primary reasons councils exist. Spirit of Adventure has listened to our unit leaders and re-tooled our camp properties to best suit the needs of our Troops, Packs and Crews.

Packs – The Annual Pack Outdoor Calendar
A typical pack has 2 -3 overnight experiences each year. Often one or two of those experiences are held at family attractions like the USS Salem, Museum of Science, Lowell Spinners or the Pawtucket Red Sox. Those are always fun and typically attract great participation from the Pack and all the family members.
Often the second or third trip is a family campout. These are also very fun and exciting but often attract less participation from the Pack families due to the logistical concerns. Packs often site family members concerned about showers, cooking for dozens and dozens of people and of course – once we are out there “what do we do?”
In addition to the over nights, Packs typically have a few one day activities – a hike, a parade, a service project etc.
Based on the Cub Scout Adventures we anticipate more and more need for Packs to camp or provide quality outdoor program. Additionally, it’s in everyone’s best interest to have the highest number of participants at all Scout programs (especially camping) as each happy camper = happy Scout and happy family!

Two Year Round Camps – Two Ways to Camp
Spirit of Adventure has two local campgrounds with two distinct advantages

Lone Tree is located in Kingston NH. It is available every weekend and has cabins and campsites. It’s a beautiful space with a great pond and a sports field. The program delivery at Lone Tree is dependent upon the parents in the pack. Like all weekend Boy Scout properties, it is a “do it yourself camp.” Therefore, it’s up to the parents in the pack bring the fishing poles and the fishing skill, so the boys can bait the hooks and go fishing (A Bear Goes Fishing). Or it’s up to the parents to bring the maps, compasses and GPS to teach land navigation (A Wolf finding his way).

Camp Sayre in Milton MA has the New England Base Camp attached to it and through New England base Camp is a Full Service Camp. This location provides lifeguards, archery instructor’s, BB range instructors, Native American activities, Scout Craft, Science programs, outdoor cooking a full complement of equipment, as well as short-burst-intense-training for parents every weekend, as well as modern bathroom facilities. The easiest (year round!) place a wolf to take his Spirit of the Water Adventure!

HOW TO USE BOTH CAMPS FOR THE BEST PROGRAM
When making your Pack’s annual plan, think about a couple of outdoor adventure trips. Most commonly packs have an overnight trip in the fall and another trip in the spring. With the new requirements we anticipate packs camping more often.

We recommend a carefully planned annual program with several camping and outdoor activities. Most commonly a pack with a robust camping program benefits from a ratio of 2:1 Lone Tree (DIY) to Sayre (Full Service) visits.

The New England Base Camp at Camp Sayre (Full Service)
The full service trip to Sayre, using Base Camp is great for brand-new families, never been in the outdoors before, or experienced Cub leaders learning new skills and setting the bar higher. In addition to great program it provides wonderful parent engagement opportunities. Those parents sitting on the sideline will more easily fall in love with Scouting, so the pack can engage those parents and families in future activities.

Lone Tree – Do it Yourself (separate page coming soon)
Do it yourself at Lone Tree is where the pack really shines. More parents, more engagement and more comfort in the outdoors. Now your pack is ready! To deliver the program your scouts and siblings look forward to on your own! “My dad taught me how to use a compass, whittle, and light a fire!”

Your Pack’s Annual Outdoor Adventure’s Plan
Cub Packs, of course, come in all shapes and sizes with different ability levels. Sometimes they find one trip to New England Base Camp for every three trips to Lone Tree (or other DIY outdoor programs) others Packs are completely reversed.

We would be happy to meet with your pack leadership to help develop your annual plan. Our Scouting representatives are well versed in the Cub Scout Adventures and the properties and programs across New England. They often know about special Scout deals for programs at attractions like Museum of Science or the Ecotarioum as well as all the programs offered through Spirit of Adventure Council. Contact us HERE to set up an annual planning conference.

Directions and Traffic
We recognize the traffic headaches for folks living north of Boston on their way to the New England Base Camp, and those living south when travelling to Lone Tree. Most commonly packs show up Saturday morning – no traffic. The Camp check-in begins as early as 7 AM and at New England Base Camp program opens at 10AM. Sometimes packs stay overnight, other times the program is best as a day activity and scouts go home Saturday night.

Please follow us on Facebook for updates and announcements

Camp Sayre can be used as a “do it yourself” camp. But we don’t recommend it for that purpose if you live north of Boston.

Website Preview: Training

Training
“Every boy deserves a trained leader”
We all know this is true – yet it is difficult to make it happen. Spirit of Adventure has multiple venues and styles of training to meet everyone’s needs.

Online
The basic trainings and information are all on line through the my.scouting.org portal
New England Base Camp – Every Weekend
These are typically Short-Burst-High-Intensity-Skilled trainings. Often just an hour or two to help a Scout leader perfect or refresh a skill like orienteering, outdoor cooking, etc – great for Cub leaders looking to deliver Cub Adventures at Den meetings and pack meetings.
Classic Scout Trainings
Long term Scout volunteers schedule these programs throughout the year at various locations throughout the council. These are official Scout trainings. Neighboring Scout volunteers often host these training too and we encourage our leaders and parent to attend the course that’s most convenient for them.
Week Long – or multi Weekend Programs
These advanced Classic Programs are offered annually. They include programs National Youth Leadership Training, Wood Badge, Scouting University and others. These are great programs for those folks already deeply invested in Scouting.

These trainings are listed in the training search engine. Also follow us on Facebook for updates and announcements.

Contact Us
Our Scout Representatives are happy to visit with your unit leadership to develop a custom cultivation / training plan for the parents and volunteers in your Scout Unit. Click HERE to set one up!

Who Do You Recognize?

It takes dedication and effort to work with youth in order to help them grow and thrive. When we think about some of the “faces” you see doing this in Scouting, we came up with six key players that help make Scouting Thrive in our communities:

  1.  

    Scoutmaster / Cubmaster / Den LeaderNo1
    Although we all know Mr. / Ms. Scout Master gets thanked by the families all the time, and everyone inthe neighborhood
    knows – “he is the Scout Guy.” No amount of thanks, plaques or recognition can match the commitment it takes to be the unit leader.
    They not only spend their weekends camping with the boys, their evenings at troop meetings, PLC’s and Roundtables – during their regular work day a coffee break is spent thinking about the Cobra patrol leader, and all the other folks on this list – and they are the people making sure they show thanks to others.

  2. The Unit Committee ChairNo2
    Dedicates their evenings, weekends, and lunch breaks to managing all the details of the trips, events, community service activities, and Courts of Honor, and relating with all the non-Scouting entities that help enhance program offerings.
    Can’t even count the number of hours spent doing the customer service work reassuring, explaining policies to, and encouraging parents and committee members.
    Rarely gets to go camping, but loves to see the smiles on the faces of youth returning from an activity.
  3. The Single ParentNo3
    Their son loves the program and this parent really wants to help – but with three kids and tight family finances it’s difficult. So when the compact Toyata shows up Friday night in the church parking lot with two little ones in car seats in the back, the Scout in the front seat and his Back pack in the trunk, they are ready to drive. They are ready to do their part to help caravan the Scouts to the camping trip. Of course the one Scout in the back seat, with his pack on his lap, could have fit in one of the mini vans. But at this moment it’s not about troop efficiency it is about community. We understand and appreciate that when her 11 year old and his buddy finally get out of the car to join their patrol, the parent turns around to drive the 70 miles home for a busy weekend at work and baby sitters, and missing the Scout.
  4. The People-Getter (Membership Coordinator)No4
    Spends 2-3 months twice a year planning the Spring and Fall youth recruitment events, in order to manage a two-hour onslaught of parent questions about paperwork, money, and commitment.
    Constantly thinking about how to set up a unique event that will allow families to have fun, get involved, and see a role for themselves in Scouting.
    Constantly told “but we still need more parents” at Unit Committee Meetings.
  5. “The Hand Shake Guy”No5
    Every successful Scout unit has a “hand shake guy” (or gal). They greet the new parents and the new Scouts and make them feel immediately welcome. They have an uncanny memory for names. They make introductions. They deconstruct the complicated unseen Scouting protocols about which patch goes where, and the difference between JASM, ASM and SPL and APL.
  6. The Set-Up / Clean-Up CrewNo6
    You know these folks – first ones in the church basement, turn on the lights, put the coffee on, move the tables and chairs, and prep the room for the committee meeting, the PLC or the roundtable. Everyone is talking after the meeting and they gently push folks into the parking lot. While the Scouters are chatting they scurry around cleaning up, and before you know you have a bunch of home baked cookies in your hand and your told “bring these home.”

Take a moment to share this and tag the people you recognize here – trust us, it will make their day! Use #ScoutingTHRIVES in your post, to help organize the conversation as it grows.

One last thing: If you’re one (or more) of these six people, thank you for everything; we couldn’t bring so much to so many without your efforts.

#ScoutingTHRIVES

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive and CEO

It’s far more than a hash tag: it’s the mission of our Council. I’d even say it’s the mission of every Council. We spent a lot of time during the merger process discussing possibilities, opportunities, and how we might create an entirely new entity devoted to the idea of helping Scouting Thrive in every community.

Since we merged, our committees have been busy planning, building, challenging past ideas, raising money, and – most importantly – listening to and vetting concepts.

People often find change unsettling, and bring personal paradigms and history to the change process. Just like we took six months to listen and and affirm the direction, so too the unveiling of our new Council takes time. Each little nuance effects every other decision, and often other committees, so the decision making process can be a complex. We can’t create a new Council oriented to deliver a comprehensive mission without comprehensive change.

Because of this, and the sheer volume of alterations, we’ve decided to release each decision as it is approved. We continue to welcome your feedback as we go. Over the next 45 days or so, through social media we will make announcements. Each announcement will share the hash tag #ScoutingTHRIVES

This will allow public dialogue about each specific item, and an easy way for anyone to go back through the hashtag to catch up on the conversation. Ultimately we will have a physical launch for the new programs and support during the first few days in January. These events will provide the materials and details for all the programs.

The basis for all changes are the listening sessions, feedback, and the ongoing discussions we’ve been providing since January. Many of the tactical steps are already well-known to the Scouting community (like Camp Sayre open to the public, or creating the Northern Nexus). Others include the live support on Saturdays, the simplification of the merit badge counselor process, increased media and external communication, SOAR 2016, and more. But the strategies behind those moves are less well-known, and they also come from the listening sessions and unit leader feedback. Most of the listening sessions provided insight into the struggles of running a scout unit and people sought ways to simply the process – remove obstacles. The top two things unit leaders asked for proactively are
1. Help recruiting adults (and scouts)
2. Help expanding the outdoor program

As you read the announcements please provide thoughts and feedback and keep those two elements in mind: they should be embedded in everything The Spirit of Adventure Council does.

Please share this blog with your unit parents or others in your scouting community. Also, take a moment to search #ScoutingTHRIVES: it’ll provide a few early announcements you may have missed, and provide an overall view of the tone.

Thanks again!
See you around the campfire