Category Archives: Teens

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!

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.

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.

Climbing Toward Adventure

Submitted by John Iler, BSA Climbing Instructor, former Scoutmaster of Troop 103, Burlington, MA, and dad.

“OK, I’m going to do this exactly once in my life.” That was my daughter Sarah as she prepared to rappel down a 40′ foot rock face at Quincy Quarries. Climbing/rappelling is just one of the many ways to ‘play outside’ provided by New England Base Camp at Camp Sayre.

Sarah leads a busy life with many high school activities, but she was never really a big outdoors person. However, her Eagle Scout twin brother Luke was very active in his Boy Scout Troop. Sarah enjoyed Luke’s stories of adventure and misadventure as he returned from campouts. She wanted a taste of the camaraderie with good friends, the fun of a campfire and outdoor cooking, and a little adventure. When Burlington’s Venture Crew started two years ago, she jumped at the opportunity to be a founding member.

One of the first adventures the Crew had was the Quincy Quarries rock climbing trip IMG_3611mentioned above. Shortly after that trip, the Crew enjoyed the Venturing Klondike at Base Camp in February 2015. In the abundant snow, Venturers hiked about in snowshoes, went Ice Climbing, and practiced making climbing snow anchors, all within Base Camp. One station embedded in Sarah’s memory was the simulated crevasse rescue. As the first volunteer ‘victim’, Sarah began to lower off the edge of a very real ice and snow covered cliff being used to simulate a crevasse. She gasped slightly, exclaiming, “this is a lot higher than I expected!”. Fortunately, her Crewmates working with the instructors set up the rescue rope and pulley system and hauled her back up over the edge.

The following year (February 2016), Base Camp hosted another Venturing Klondike in
decidedly less Klondike-like conditions. The Base Camp staff and Ice Climbing instructors adjusted the program to deal with the balmy weather and snow-free conditions. The Crew particularly enjoyed the fat-tire bike riding and Base Camp’s High COPE course. When Sarah walked along the COPE course’s 50′ high ‘Burma Bridge’ cable, she let go of another fear.

As Sarah and the Crew prepares to go to Philmont this summer, I know their various Base Camp experiences were a good part of giving them the confidence to try any challenge.

JohnIn parallel with the Crew’s growth, I was also able to have some of my own. Just before the Crew formed, I was a student in a BSA Climbing Instructor’s course. This led to me becoming a rock and ice climbing instructor in the council, which allowed me to help provide many of the Crew’s experiences above. I am fortunate to have worked with so many scouts and for my new friends in the instructors’ community.

Are instructing and participating in Base Camp’s climbing opportunities right for everyone? You will know as soon as you try.

#letsPLAYoutside

Changing the Future of Camping

Submitted by Rob McLaughlin, NeXus Counselor-in-Training Co-Director

Everything is getting shaken up this summer at the Northern NeXus of Adventure including our new approach to Counselors-in-Training. All aspects of the Northern NeXus are being re-evaluated, including the CIT program that has been historically offered. Beginning this year, CIT’s at T.L. Storer and Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation will become more a part of the camp staff than ever before. Now 14 year-olds will have the opportunity to experience a full summer learning at camp by participating in all staff activities from Staff Week all the way through take down, at no cost to the CIT. Also as part of the new CIT experience, all participants in the program will attend the exclusive Staff Training and Growth Course (STAG) which will teach CIT’s leadership and team working skills through the Rare Adventures of T.L. Storer and Wah-Tut-Ca. The opportunities presented by the NeXus make this program unique in Boy Scouts.

When I was fourteen I would have loved an opportunity like this. During my own summer as a CIT at Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation I had a lot of fun but this course was built to surpass that experience in every way imaginable. As a former staff member at the National Youth Leadership Training Course, a participant at Philmont’s National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience and a veteran of five years of camp staff at 3 camps, I was able to draw from a large box of involvement to develop a program that applies to the type of leadership needed not only for camp, but also for life. Some activity examples are Search and Rescue Training, Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience challenges, a youth planned backpacking outpost to a mountain in the NeXus and much more.

Another great benefit of this program stems from its change in the role of a CIT from a learning-camper to an apprentice staff member. By attending and participating in Staff Week, CIT’s will learn all the staff specific trainings and integrate fully into the camp staff. Following the completion of the STAG Course during the first week of program, CIT’s will apprentice in program areas for the rest of the summer, learning skills by being additions to the general staff members assigned to that area. As stated before, unlike previous summers participants in the program can spend their whole summer at camp for free, including the STAG leadership training course. They will even get the 25% Staff Discount at Spirit of Adventure Scout Shops to buy their summer uniforms and any other gear at the store. No other Boy Scout camp in New England offers a program like this for 14 year olds.

To apply to be a participant in the STAG Course and a CIT this summer all you have to do is fill out this electronic application. There will be two participant information meetings (both starting at 7:00 PM):

  1. May 17th in Chelmsford, MA, at Trinity Lutheran Church (170 Old Westford Rd)
  2. May 19th at New England Base Camp (411 Unquity Rd. Milton, MA)

Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to live the adventure at the Northern NeXus.

Let the Rare Adventures Begin!

Submitted by Joe Dailey, Northern NeXus Rare Adventures Director

As an avid camper myself, I’ve always been an adventure seeker. Philmont, Sea Base, mountain biking, skydiving, dirt biking, ice climbing, snowboarding, you name it, I’ve probably tried it! I love being at the center of the action, and when some friends told me about the plan for an all-new adventure base for our council, I knew I had to be a part of it.

You see, while I loved summer camp, sometimes it just didn’t provide enough adventure to quench my thirst…. I would return every year, but eventually, the normal routine lost a bit of its magic.

That’s why when I was asked to be the Rare Adventures Director, I knew that with the help of the Northern NeXus leadership team, we could make this something big. Being the adventure junkie that I am – but unable to pull myself away from the summer camp that had raised me – this was the perfect role for me to use my knowledge and love of the outdoors to bring those same experiences to scouts of all ages.

R2

Along with the rest of the leadership team, I promise every scout that enters a NeXus camp that they’ll get to enjoy a unique High Adventure experience, guaranteed!

My vision is that, together, we can build a new standard for summer camp experiences, the likes of which has never been seen, and show all the other Boy Scout camps and councils that here in the Spirit of Adventure Council, Scouting Truly Does Thrive!

Varying in length and difficulty, the Rare Adventures will provide new experiences to scouts of all ages and skill levels. Some examples are:

  • Learn advanced sailing techniques on the Craig Ryder, exploring the beautiful and expansive Northwood Lake!
  • Grab a friend and take on the allnew Vertical Caving Tower at T. L. Storer, climbing, crawling, and rappelling through a vertical maze!
  • Gather your patrol or troop and head out to Parker Mountain for an overnight survival simulation!
  • Units will even have the opportunity to work with the NeXus staff and build their own Rare Adventure.

R3 R

Whatever your path, you’re guaranteed a one-of-a-kind experience, only available at the Northern NeXus of Adventure.

In addition to this incredible new program, scouts will be able to earn points for participating in Rare Adventures, which can then be applied towards earning the all new Spirit of Adventure Camping Award! Multitiered and comprising a number of different components, this award will be offered on the individual, patrol, and troop levels, giving scouts the chance to challenge themselves not only individually but also as a team, working together to obtain the never before seen Spirit of Adventure Troop Award! Scouts will receive patches and awards as they progress through the various levels.

Spring into STEM Camp

Spring is almost here and the April vacation will be here before you realize it.  The question that always comes up is, “what to do with the kids?”  You could always keep them home and let them watch television all day, but we have a better idea!  Send them to New England Base Camp for STEM Camp!

Jobs within the STEM (Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering) industry are growing at nearly twice the national average, meaning there will be well over 1 million unfilled tech jobs by 2020! Careers in STEM foster valuable 21st century life skills like problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration, while providing opportunities to create positive change and innovate a better world.  Not to mention that it is fun.

STEM Camp 2016 is bigger than ever!  This year, we will be hosting Peter and Paul Reynolds who will be teaching Animation Merit Badge with the animators at FableVisionWill Bales, from the TV show BattleBots, will be at camp teaching robotics to Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. NVBots will be at camp teaching 3D printing.  We cannot forget about the paleontologists, meteorologists, astronauts, robots and drones coming as well.   Everyone will be taking a field trip this year.  Participants will be going to MIT, Lincoln Labs, iRobot, FableVision, Harvard, Wentworth Institute of Technology and many more.

We have added more sessions for the Boy Scout Merit Badge program.  Scouts can choose between Animation Merit Badge, Energy and Electricity Merit Badges, Inventing and Engineering Merit Badges, Nuclear Science and Drafting Merit Badges, Robotics Merit Badge, Space Exploration and Weather Merit Badges.  Cub Scouts will work on a multitude of Activity Badges.  Girl Scouts will be able to work on their awards and everyone works towards their NOVA award.

Bring your child to STEM Camp at New England Base Camp for chance to learn while having the time of their lives.

Rock Climbing and COPE Instruction

Submitted by Darrin Johnson, General Manager of New England Base Camp

The first time I went rock climbing was at summer camp.  You had to be 13 years old and they only offered it on Thursday morning.  I skipped Reptile Study Merit Badge to go and to give it a try.  After all, I had been waiting to try rock climbing for 3 years.  My response was an instantaneous love of the sport.  A love that would stick with me for almost 30 years.  We went back to the campsite and tested out our new skill using bailing twine and the cliff next to our tent.  Needless to say, that did not go well.

The next 25 years I would go climbing with the Scouts at summer camp, weekend climbing with friends and worked in the industry for a while.  When my oldest came home from a school trip to the local climbing gym and wanted to go climbing all time, was when I determined that I needed to refresh my best practices.  Even though I had learned new skills along the way, I knew that I needed to get better and safer.

Picking the right climbing course (or any course for that matter) is not easy.  I did not want one that was too basic.  I also did not want one that was way over my head.  I looked all around, and in the end I decided on the Spirit of Adventure Climbing Course.  For me, the reason was convenience.  The timing of the course worked and the location was right for me.  I was not sure what to expect, but my goal was to refresh my skills.

I sat by two people that I did not know.  On my left was a person who had never gone climbing before in her life and just wanted to “give it a try.”  To the right of me was a former White Mountain Guide who wanted to get his certification to take his Scouts climbing.  I was pretty much right between the two of them in my skill level, so the seat was perfect.

The course succeeded with something that is not easy to do at all- they managed to relate and to teach at all the different levels.  The person who had never climbed before, now takes her Scouts climbing regularly, helps out at Base Camp and is planning on taking her COPE certification.  The former guide added a ton to the discussion during the course, helped everyone, learned several new safety skills and now teaches Climbing Merit Badge for units, districts and at Merit Badge University.

I got something out of the course that you really cannot put a price tag on.  I did learn a ton (more than I ever thought that I would) and it did help make my best practices a whole lot better.  The biggest thing though, without question, is that I feel safe taking my daughters climbing.  We have gotten closer by climbing together on the weekends and bonding over the difficult climb that they managed to climb.

Come join us at New England Base Camp to become a Climbing Instructor and learn how to impact not only your life, but those of countless youth as well by registering HERE

Winter is Coming!

It may not feel like it, but soon the temperature will drop, the snow will fall and the water will freeze.  There is not much one can do about it, we are in New England after all.  Now is not the time to start to think about the ice damns on your house or the amount of snow that you shoveled last winter.  It is time to think about what you are going to do to get those kids that will be stuck indoors outside! WinterCamping

Winter is not the time to plan for only indoor activities for your family or Scout group.  It is the best time to get outside and enjoy what Mother Nature has given us.  Soon February vacation will be here and nothing is worse than being stuck inside with kids that are ready to be outside.  The Spirit of Adventure Council has opportunities for all ages of Scouts and for families to enjoy.

February Vacation Camp

With two different camps, both running out of New England Base Camp in Milton, your opportunities are almost limitless.

SnowProgramThe “traditional” winter camp is anything but traditional.  Cub Scouts will go on hikes through the Blue Hills using snow shoes,  go ice skating on our ice rink, learn how to cook in the snow and so much more.  Boy Scouts will have the opportunity to earn Wilderness Survival Merit Badge with their overnight be done in a quincy or the Eagle required Cooking Merit Badge with the meal done on a hike be done while hiking with snow shoes.  Everyone will be able to enjoy sledding, snurfing, our indoor nerf shooting range and the swimming pool. Sign up HERE

Need a little more adventure for your vacation camp?  Join us on our Mountaineering/Ice Climbing expedition week.  Scouts will spend the first two days at New England Base Camp learning how to Ice Climbing.  On Wednesday morning they will head up to New Hampshire to climbing on some of the best ice in New England.  You will return Thursday night and spend the last day at Base Camp showing the participants what you have learned and taking advantage of the water adventure course. Sign up HERE

IceClimbing

Weekend Program

Every weekend starting January 9th through the last weekend in February, New England Base Camp runs our Saturday winter program.  Come for the day and learn how to build a quincy, go ice skating, spend the afternoon at the pool and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate around a camp fire as the sun is setting.  If you are looking for more adventure, check out the ice climbing (as featured in this month’s Boy’s Life).  Call 617.615.0004 today, as limited space is available.

www.newenglandbasecamp.org

So let’s PLAY outside!  Grab those kids and join us at Base Camp to create memories that will last a lifetime.

The Value of Camp Staff

Submitted by Darrin Johnson, General Manager New England Base Camp

One of my fondest memories within Scouting was when we arrived at Worth Ranch in Palo Pinto, Texas, in the summer of ’87.  It was not my first summer camp experience, it would be the most influential though.  It was Father’s Day, it was about 100 degrees out and the parking lot was next to the swimming pool.  We got out of the van and ran to look at the pool.  The water was green and not just a little green.  Every one of us looked from the water to each other with two thoughts going through our heads: “That water looks absolutely disgusting” and “When can we get into that water”.

I really do not remember too many specifics of that week.  I remember walking up Hernia Hill about 100 times that week.  I remember going tubing down the Brazos River.  What I remember most though was the staff, and one staff member specifically-John Briggs.  He taught Swimming Merit Badge and was my favorite staff member that summer.  At the end of that week, I had a goal in Scouting.  It was not to get my Eagle and it was not to go to Philmont.  It was to work the swimming pool at Worth Ranch.

For the next several years, I went to camp every summer and every summer I knew that my goal was still to work the swimming pool.  In the summer of ’91, I finally started to work staff.  I did not know a single person on staff that summer.  No one from my Troop had ever worked at camp before, so I really did not know what to expect when I arrived.  I moved my stuff into my tent and went to the first meeting as a Worth Ranch Staff Member (just not at the pool).  We played a bunch of games to get to know each other better and spent the week getting the camp ready for campers.

That summer, I spent 8 weeks working at camp.  It would not be for several years before I finally reached my goal of working at the swimming pool, but that did not matter.  Along the way, I discovered something very important about working at summer camps.  You get to know people better then you ever would have if you were not living together at camp.  After a couple of days I got to know Mike, Jason, Chris, Travis and Daniel.  That was over 25 years ago and I still talk to them on a regular basis.  Even though we are spread across the world, we make sure to meet up once a year to reminisce about the “good ole days”.

Working staff at a camp is more than just  teaching pioneering or fishing.  It is about discovering who you are and about making friends.  I am forever grateful to John for being the type of staff member that made sure that kid wanting to take Swimming Merit Badge had a great time while he was at the pool and always said hi when hiking down the trail.  Working staff taught me how to talk to adults and kids. It taught me Scouting skills and life skills.  It gave me friends that I call family.  And it allowed me to learn and to grow.

New England Base Camp has multiple staffing opportunities.  Every weekend, our staff is ensuring that our guests have the opportunity to be out in nature learning new skills.  Each summer, you can chose between any one of the seven different locations to apply and work.  Working camp will be the best decisions you have ever made.