Category Archives: For Parents

Volunteering at Base Camp

Use your Scouting experience to make a difference!

Volunteering is not only rewarding for you, it can change a child’s life. 

The New England Base Camps and the 7 satellite programs locations provide outdoor education and character education opportunities. The flagship location (Blue Hills – just outside Boston) provides year round programs for families and school age children each weekend.

You might be a Scouter whose kids are in college, in their 20s and Scouting was a huge part of the way you raised them. Working with all those kids and helping them grow and develop through Scouting, helped you become a practical expert at youth development. You can give the troop over to the next generation, serve on the committee, help out from time to time, and maybe teach a couple merit badges, but you might be looking for a more exciting Scouting opportunity.

Now, through our new service model the Base Camps and the satellites, you can volunteer a Saturday morning or an afternoon and work with kids in the outdoors. Thus putting all that great experience to work for another generation.

You might be an older teens looking for hands on experience in teaching, coaching or youth development. The volunteer hours are often recognized by school districts and other organizations to fulfill community service requirements. Young adults will be trained and often work along-side educational or recreation professionals.

It can be as simple as an afternoon a month. Teaching basic camping skills to Cubs and their parents. Teaching Totin’ chit to Scouts. Or, you can use it as a pathway to certifications in archery, shooting sports, rock climbing, ice climbing, or lifeguarding.

The short-term volunteer roles provide support and expertise. As a weekend program volunteer your role will be to impart skills that you’ve acquired to children. The program is so robust that virtually every life skill is a part of the curriculum, so even if you’ve never camped, or can’t navigate by the stars, it’s OK! We still need your unique skills so kids can learn about computers, citizenship, gardening and hundreds of other activities.

Check out our VolunteerMatch listing, and contact Chuck Blanchette at Chuck.Blanchette@scouting.org if you are interested in volunteering your time to make a difference in Scouting!

Learning About Lions

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

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

How Lion Dens Will Work: 

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

Activities: 

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

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

     

For more information about Lions and Recruiting contact Paul Gendreau. 

#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.

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!

     

New Eagle Scout Recognition Process

Eagle Court of Honor

One of the greatest moments in the Eagle Scout process is the Court of Honor. This is the event that celebrates your success with those who helped you and the rest of the community. We’d like to share some advice that may help make your special event even a little more special.  Please use this as a guide to help the community celebrate.

Invite the following to share in your special day:

Your Community

  • All the parents, Scouts, and leaders who assisted you on your trail to Eagle, including your project
  • Any vendors or donors who helped
  • The non-profit or recipient of your efforts
  • The Institutional Head of your chartered organization
  • Elected Officials or other community leaders
  • Extended family – they likely helped you in ways you may not yet realize

The Scouting Community

  •  Your troop
  •  Camp directors, merit badge counselors, and countless others that helped behind the scenes to help make Scouting thrive

In addition, your council would love to have a representative on hand to celebrate on that special day, and to present a certificate in recognition of your achievement. Once you have selected your Court of Honor date, please send an invitation to:

The Spirit of Adventure Council, 600 West Cummings Park, Suite 2750, Woburn, MA 01801

Send Out Public Announcements

  • List your Eagle Award in your chartered organization newsletter or bulletin
  • Send a press release to the local media.  
  • Take a picture RIGHT NOW with your family, and post to your social media outlets. Tag your Scouting Community and The Spirit of Adventure Facebook site.

 

  Other Helpful Information

  • The National Eagle Association offers several academic and merit scholarships.  Be sure to bookmark NESA.org, read about the offerings, and set a reminder for yourself to apply.  There is a fairly tight window of opportunity to do this and all submissions must be completed online by October 31 of each year.
  • As a bonus, each Eagle Scout who applies for a national NESA scholarship is automatically entered for consideration for our Spirit of Adventure NESA scholarship.
  • There is also the Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams Award.  This is a service project of the year award.  Each council selects one recipient and our selection is further considered at the regional and national levels, which have cash awards attached to them.  The form for this award can also be found on NESA.org.  Send the completed form, along with a copy of your Eagle project workbook by next January 21, to the Spirit Adventure Council at the Woburn address.
  • Finally, Scouts will receive an invitation in the future to attend our annual Eagle Scout recognition dinner.

Keeping up with the Spirit of Adventure!

 

Submitted by Maria Kaestner, Spirit of Adventure Communication Specialist

Do you ever feel out of the loop when people are talking about Spirit of Adventure events and programs that are coming up? You don’t have to worry about searching for news, because we can send all you need to know right to you!

Our Spirit of Adventure Newsletter has been revitalized and like the Scouts it features, it is embracing new opportunities.

Our scouting community needs to know about what’s new and what’s happening soon. We are committed to providing that information so that is is both readily accessible and easily understandable.

How to be sure you are receiving our updates:

  • Make sure you are subscribed to our weekly newsletter (which you can do at the top of our website) with an email address you check regularly
  • Check your email every Friday for a message from the Spirit of Adventure Council
  • Be sure to read over our featured announcements and calendar of upcoming events

Additionally, you can always find new updates and announcements on our home pages and our Facebook pages!

Spirit of Adventure: Home | Facebook

New England Base Camp:  Home | Facebook

Please feel free to send any questions about our newsletter or communications to Maria Kaestner.

This Old House: #ScoutingThrives

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive Spirit of Adventure Council

The second round of Adventure Cards been mailed out to over 2,000 new participants. There are now about 7,000 adventure cards in use. These cards are one of the most significant signs of our recent shift to our service model. There has been much discussion about the card itself. I’ve written a small series of posts to help illustrate the full service model change of which the adventure card is just one piece.

                                                                                                                                                                              

If I had the time and the ability, I would like to speak with everyone directly, face-to-face. Over the past year I’ve met with many troop and pack committee’s, unit volunteers and others. We’ve sent out videos, mailings, visited Scouting events and dozens of other efforts. I do hope that you read all of these articles and look for opportunities for the council to help you make Scouting Thrive.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO UNIT LEADERS: One thing that has become clear through this entire process is the need to communicate directly with parents while supporting the troop or pack leadership. In fact, that’s a significant objective of the business model shift. Please forward this message to the parents in your unit so they can take advantage of additional Scouting benefits.

This month the families involved with Scouting will start to see direct-mail postcards and information on the webpage with these logos. That’s a signal that the Adventure Card discounts are available and advancement opportunities are directly recorded into the child’s scout book account. These logos mean Scouts can participate in inexpensive (or free) outdoor activities that support their personal Scouting goals. Their parents can get excited and energized about their child’s progress and their involvement.

One of the technical enhancements is built into the webpage and the Scout Book application. Yet many families don’t realize this advantage or how to access these discounts.

PARENTS: You are already entitled to discounts for the entire family and activities, enrichment programs and training classes. Even if you lost your child’s card. Please call or e-mail the council to Heather.sheehan@scouting.org or Lindsey.dionne@scouting.org 617.615.0004 for a 2-minute tutorial in how to get your benefits and sign up for local programs for the whole family. Additionally, we have sent your information to your unit leader so they can help you access your benefits.

Revelations about the new service model: Several changes in perspective occur as people use the Adventure Card or see the value in the new service model:

1. This provides direct value to families and Scouts but comes through the unit

2. The council can now help unit leader increase capacity or skills around patrol method, youth leadership parent engagement or other core Scouting road blocks to thriving troop or pack.

Sadly, it took us almost 50 years to re-arrange our practices, and in those 50 years we lost credibility and units (groups of parents) decided to “go it alone.” During that time we lost so much more than just credibility, we lost resources and brand relevancy.

A pack’s view of Adventure Card

Activity Scout Discount With Adventure Card Savings
Pack Weekend $25 + food and lodging Free + food and lodging
Den Activity (base camp) $15 per Scout Free for Scout
Family Activity $15 per person Free for Scout
Visit Satellite Camp Free – Only available to Scouts Free – Only available to Scouts
Sub Total $55 FREE -$55

 

A parent’s view of the Adventure Card

School Vacation Camp $250 $200 -$50
Summer Camp (Day Camp) $295 $236 -$59
Enrichment Clinic (learn to ….) $250 $200 -$50
Family Weekend $100 $80 -$20
Birthday Party $250 (10 guests) $200 (10 guests) -$50
Total Annual Savings $1,200 $916 -$284


Expectations

We’d be crazy if we thought every family spent $1,200 on Scouting programs each year. We also realize that today all these programs and services are available at our Milton location and we are growing our Kingston NH location to match and serve the northern communities more effectively. The satellite locations are an attempt to provide value and convenience as we grow (more about satellites below).

As we re-designed our business model to provide programs and services that help engage youth and parents in Scouting it was important that the adventure card value could be delivered regardless of distance and convenience to Milton, or a family’s interest in summer camp or other Scouting programs. Each Pack attends one or two “big ticket” over nights. Most popular are Saturday into Sunday evening. The easiest way to receive the full value of the card is substituting one of those overnight or day trips – for a day or evening trip to either Location Milton MA or Kingston NH.

Comparative Cub Overnight Programs

Location Program Cost Brief description
Museum of Science Overnight – sleep on floor $65 per person Enjoy the museum with only 600 other Cubs, one show (electricity or other), coffee and Danish for breakfast
Paw Sox or Lowell Spinners Overnight – pitch a tent and sleep in center field $25.00 – 28.50 per person

(depending on which team and seat location)

Watch the game, sleep in your tent in center field, activities and /or movie on screen
Battleship Cove Overnight – sleep on a battleship $65 per person Learn about the navy, sailing, military, enjoy the ships, small Scouting museum sleep like a sailor.
New England Base Camp Overnight Heated Cabin or Tents $25 youth

$15 per adult (encouraged to shoot, climb, swim and actively participate with your child)

FREE with Adventure Card

and $12 for adults or siblings or guests

Swimming, rock climbing, shooting sports, outdoor camping, wilderness survival and cooking skills, ropes course winter camping skills and sports, skating, snow shelters, snurfing. Most advancements available and directly inputted to your Scout Book app.

The more often the pack attends the more value they derive and the more outdoor programs the Scout can enjoy. He can attend all year long for free with his family, friends or den. Admission for all those visits are FREE. Of course, the Scout can also receive discounts for summer camp (day camps are located throughout the council) and dozens of other activities throughout the year all adding value to his card and increasing his outdoor experience.

All these programs are open and available for Scouts within the Spirit of Adventure Council. Check out the programs and locations through NewEnglandBaseCamp.org Don’t forget to check in with Heather or Lindsey to activate your card. Summer programs are also now open at locations all around North Eastern MA are available for everyone. The online campership application is also available. February Winter Camps at both locations programs are filling up fast, but there are still a few slots open. April vacation camp registration opens soon. Find a satellite location near you for a great den activity this spring. Plan a birthday party at camp! Check out this calendar of great family events and special programs to see when you’d like to visit Base Camp in Milton! When you use your adventure card, all the appropriate discounts will apply!

Hope to see you at camp.

 

 

Why I Staff at Scout Camp

Submitted by Michelle Merritt, National Venturing Vice President and New England Base Camp Program Director

Over the past four summers, I have had the privilege of being outside on the hottest days of the summer, wrangling elementary aged kids into activities, sleeping in a cramped cabin, and not having access to the internet; and I have enjoyed every second of it. Camp staff know that the hottest days are those when the camp gets free swim, kids will love the camp program, the cabin is full of five of your best friends, and a lack of internet means that we can take a break from summer homework and internet.

**Apply to be on 2017 camp staff**

Being a camp councilor provided me with life experiences that I never could have dreamed of. I have the skills to be a lifeguard, work with kids, provide customer service to adults, manage and lead other staff members, and create a program that will keep kids entertained and learning for days on end. A unique facet to being a camp councilor is the responsibility placed upon you. I was trusted to teach kids sports and swimming, to guard kids-on-rafttheir swimming activities, and to ensure that they got to bed safely. This level of responsibility caused me to rise to the challenge and become more mature. Not many other summer gigs can get you life skills and experience like camp staff.

Every time I go back for one more year of camp, I always get asked “Why do you want to go back to camp again?”. I go back because nothing is more fulfilling than having a homesick camper stay at camp because you talked with them. Nothing is more fun than sharing the experiences of the day with other staff members back in the cabin late at night. And nothing can stop me from smiling during a heartfelt performance of “The Invisible Bench” skit. Yes, it is a lot of work, I’m always sunburned, and sometimes I can’t tell if I’m covered in dirt or bruises, but none of that matters if I have made a difference. There is a famous quote that reads “One hundred years from now, it won’t matter what car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much I had in my bank account, nor what my clothes looked like. But, the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child.” Many summer camps, including Lone Tree Scout Reservation, have this posted somewhere in camp to remind staff (and others) what is truly important. I know that I have helped keep kids in Scouting, inspire a love of the outdoors, discover a new passion, and feel accomplished.

Helping people is a great part of my job but I gain a lot from them as well. Camp staffs have to overcome unique challenges and this causes them to quickly develop into “camp families” with surrogate brothers, sisters, moms, and dads. My camp family always has my back and I have theirs. The relationships that started four summers ago have developed into lifelong friendships. Camp enabled me to develop a sense of confidence. I promise, if kids-with-chess-piecesyou get up in front of a large group and sing a songs about bears, moose, and red wagons enough times, any fears of public speaking will disappear. The responsibility that I felt for the campers and for the camp also instilled this confidence.

I could get an internship, a more typical summer job, or sit and watch Netflix in the air conditioning all summer but instead I work on camp staff. I am the person I am today because of the experiences I have had at camp and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Someday I will probably have to stop working at the camps I love so much but I know that while I was there I made a difference and learned something new. If you are looking for the experience of a life time and a way to grow as a person, I would suggest you apply to be on camp staff in the coming year.

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.

Type 2 Adventures

Submitted by Sue Ellen Briggs, Flintlock District Chair

Scouting provides wonderful ways to have fun in the outdoors. I would say that there are two types of experiences. The first kind is picture perfect; smiling scouts under sunny skies. The second type is the activity that is better talked about after the fact than it was during the event.

 p1030792I had the privilege of being an adult leader on one of those type 2 activities. My son and his patrol spent a sunny day on the beach at summer camp lashing together a raft using Styrofoam and pvc pipe. Their raft was ready for launch after lunch. They loaded minimal supplies and paddled off to a not too distant shore to prepare for a night in the woods. They spent the afternoon building shelters. Anyone who has done this knows it is pretty difficult. They compared their techniques. …

 I arrived at the site on foot with everything I would need for an overnight. I setup my tent in a clearing not too far from a fire ring.

 After dinner, thunder could be heard in the distance. We settled into our shelters for the night. Then the rain started. It was a soft summer rain. One by one the scouts abandoned their “shelter” and congregated around the fire ring complaining about the quality of their shelter and their lack of supplies. Then a scout suggested that they ask me to take them back to the Troop and their dry tents. The reaction of the rest of the scouts was amazing. They stopped complaining about what they didn’t have and talked about what they did have. They got to work creating a fire. They talked about the rain not being that heavy and reminisced about worse weather. In the early morning hours the rain stopped and we got a little sleep.

 p1030795As a parent I do want to protect my children, and scouts in my care. I would have packed up and taken the scouts to their dry tents if they had asked. With devices keeping parents and children connected it is easy for parents to assist a child with the smallest of obstacle, limiting the opportunities for children to build self efficacy by figuring out their own solutions. Because these scouts decided to stay they each earned the Wilderness Survival merit badge. In the morning they triumphantly paddled their raft to the beach. As an observer I left with hope for these young men in the future. In each life a little rain will fall. When it does these guys will not give up or just endure, they know how to lift spirits and provide comfort in those times.