Tag Archives: adventure card

What the Adventure Card Can Do For Your Unit

Submitted by Jeff Reynolds, Scoutmaster Troop 58 Danvers

If you are like me, you wear many hats.  I work a lot, and that includes more travel than I care to admit to.  I have a wife and daughter whose idea of camping is a budget hotel, making full integration of Scouting for the family unit a challenge.  My son seems to enjoy Scouting as much as I did as a youth, but has way more going on outside Scouting than I ever did.  

I took on the job of being the Scoutmaster of Troop 58 this year, ensuring that I live that family time constraint about 25 times over.  And continue to serve on the Council Executive Board and as Treasurer.

An hour a week they said.  No stress they said.  Time is at a premium for everyone.

But it is worth it.  When you see a kid that says “I can’t” that suddenly “does”, whatever time you put in isn’t enough for the gratification of that moment.  

If you are reading this, you are invested in Scouting too, know all the good it does, and get jazzed up about it for similar reasons.  

But this writing is not about that. This article is about the Council Adventure Card. I wanted to share some overall perspective on the the genesis of the card, and how it can extend beyond Cub Scouting to give Scouters another tool to help craft a successful Troop program.

 

Why the Card?

Simply put, the return on time invested in Scouting is high, but time is short.  Through the merger process, one of the things that was loud and clear is that Cub Scout leaders want to do the work running a Den but often feel they lack the knowledge or resources (time included) to do it.

Enter the Adventure Card and Base Camp Concept.  

If for a reasonable fee a leader could line up a series of activities for the year that would enable you to guarantee a successful learning experience and requirement completion for Cub ranks…would you?

Base Camp gives Cub Leaders that opportunity. From Saturday program at the Milton Camp Sayre property, to Lone Tree Scout Reservations activities, to satellite programs throughout the council foot print at properties that are Scout friendly. This is the intent of Base Camp and the Adventure Card. The Council wants to better utilize resources to make the Scouting experience successful for all involved. Base Camp is the place, and the Adventure Card is the Ticket.

But is it just “a Cub thing”?  An objective view of the current landscape might suggest yes.  There certainly is more program designed for Cubs than Scouts.  But this is fluid.  

The Adventure Card is a camping program loyalty card for Scouts. The more your Troop takes advantage of what the Council offers, the Lower the cost of some great Scouting experiences.

A Boy Scout Troop embraces the Card

I had 5 Scouts this year that wanted to attend Brownsea.  I am all in.  Great program.  Brownsea changed my life in ways I can’t give justice in this space.  So “YES”, if my guys want to go, I am all in.

But the cost!  $475? It was quickly pointed out to me that Adventure Card holders get a 20% discount.  The math isn’t hard:  our Troop and our Scouts save $475 if they have the Adventure Card.  Huh?   That means with the same cash outlay for Brownsea, our Troop can also pay for about 16 Adventure cards.  Hummm.

What else could I do?  

  • Spring Shooting sports at Lone Tree.  .22, Black powder, and archery. And the shooting program was included with the card!  What is a full day of NRA instructor time worth?  What is the experience of casting lead ball shot for a black powder and actually shooting worth?  Priceless based on the feedback from the guys.
  • Use of canoes.  Perfect 2 night May trip.  $30 discount off the site and cabin for 2 nights (17 cards now paid for)
  • Summer camp:  20% discount if you use a Spirit of Adventure camp.  Have not in the last few years…should reevaluate.
  • 20% off rental fees at any council property for the next year.  Planned on Lone Tree twice this year.  
  • A weekend day this summer in Milton to show recent crossovers from Webelos what summer camp is like when they didn’t have the confidence to go this year. Great experience and HUGE retention tool…free (all Cubs get the Card with registration).  
  • Winter mountaineering program:  deeply discounted.  I will make these buggers LOSE MONEY on this card!  **insert maniacal laugh here**

As I thought about it, the financial incentive of buying in and swimming with the tide helped shape some of my program this year and next year.  And with staff and materials provided, my job is a heck of a lot easier.

The Reality

Putting my Treasurer hat on, I can tell you the Council does not want to lose money.  We need more membership, a strong retention rate, and have a massive sunk cost with our various camp properties.  

This is why the Base Camp concept and Adventure Card works.  

  1. We want to increase the utilization of our properties.  Check.
  2. We want some pre-canned program that helps our volunteers that are short on time or knowledge put on a great program.  Check.
  3. We want to see Cub and Boy Scouts have opportunities to advance in skill and rank.  Check.
  4. And (most important) we want to see that our youth are taking in all the outdoors have to offer from a learning perspective.  Check.

 

In Closing

From popcorn, to Friends of Scouting, to activities, to camp , to training, to advancement camps, we all support the mission of our Council and what it is intended to do to varied degrees.

Some of us have traditional Troop programs that are more self sufficient and successful, blessed with a leadership team that makes it so.  

Some of us have programs that need some help; full of the best of intentions but in need of guidance and structure to make Scouting thrive.  

Regardless, nobody wants to do work they do not have to do.  Plug and play is so much easier than programming.  I found that if I used the card for my Troop a couple times, the cost recovery was quick and I still have 6 months to go before it expires.

What can the Adventure Card do for you?  If you are a unit leader, you owe it to yourself to have a look to see…

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.