All posts by Communications

5 Gears of Programming

Below are the guidelines for the type of programming The Spirit of Adventure Council is going to follow in regards to the types of programming and activities that are being offered. We will meet or exceeds the level of strictness that the State or Local recommendations dictate. The current gear or phase that the council is in at any given time will be posted on the home page of the council website.

Local Scouting Units should apply the same standards when determining what type of activities they should be participating in. Like all safety protocols, failure to follow stated standards can put individual youth, and leaders at risk.  Actions that conflict with scout safety guidance should submit this Incident Report Form https://scoutspirit.doubleknot.com/survey/bsa-incident-reporting-tool/75867


Gear 1 – Strictest Social Distancing Restrictions in Place – 100% Virtual


Gear 2 – Slightly Eased Social Distancing Restrictions in Place – Virtual, Plus At-home Kits Available

Gear 3 – More Eased Social Distancing Restrictions in Place – Virtual, Kits and Family camping with strict protocols

  • Council delivers Online Programs, Individual Den and Patrol Kits, and Family Camping Allowed
    • Online Merit Badge Classes and Cub Adventures
    • Back Yard Virtual camping and other programs
    • Cub Scout Facebook Live Segments
    • Online Speakers Series
    • Den Kits (accommodates 8 Scouts) available for individual reservation
    • Patrol Kits (accommodates 8 Scouts) available for individual reservation
    • Family Camping at Base Camp
      • Small staff
      • Den and Patrol Kits issued to families to assist in program during their camping experience
      • Masks, hand washing, and other on-site protocols
      • 75 Families Maximum Limit allowed in camp
      • Tenting only
      • No Cabin Camping

Gear 4 – Small, non-family groups (no more than 12) with Social Distancing Allowed – Virtual, Kits and Den or patrol outings with strict protocols

  • Council Delivers Managed Small Group Programs
    • Online Merit Badge Classes and Cub Adventures
    • Back Yard Virtual camping and other programs
    • Cub Scout Facebook Live Segments
    • Online Speakers Series
    • Den Kits (accommodates 8 Scouts) available for individual or den reservation
    • Patrol Kits (accommodates 8 Scouts) available for individual or patrol reservation
    • Larger amount of staff delivering program to dens and patrols of 5-12 outdoors
      • 24 Dens/Patrols Maximum Limit allowed in camp
      • Set schedule to control the social distancing
      • Masks, hand washing, and other on-site protocols
      • Individual Tents
      • No Cabin Camping

Gear 5 – Back to “Normal”– Virtual, Kits and Typical unit functions

  • Council resumes full operations at Base Camp and all camps
  • When Vaccine is available

 

To see the State of Massachusetts four-phase approach for re-opening, click here.

Scouting Beyond the Coronavirus

Blog submitted by Scout Executive, Chuck Eaton

We hope you and your circle of family and friends are doing well during this crisis.

Earlier this week, we shared our plans for providing summer programs to our scout families through a series of virtual meetings. Our plans will meet or exceed all the health and safety protocols and provide outdoor experiences that serve children this year. You can  view the Slide Show that we presented.

We deeply understand that children are only eight, eleven, or thirteen years old once in their life and each childhood year has unique development needs and opportunities. Children grow so much during each year. Their sense of right and wrong, their self-esteem and ability for self-reliance are uniquely developed during these childhood and adolescent years. Camp supports the development of these lifelong attributes. Losing a summer experience for adults is a disappointment, but for a child it could alter or inhibit the growth of their sense of self.

In addition to these concerns, family dynamics are also rapidly changing. Family members are experiencing unemployment, while another family member may have extreme work demands. Instant homeschooling and the pressures of cabin fever have been building for months. Camp provides relief to all those family pressures.

To meet these competing needs, and in trying to navigate the rapidly shifting and unstable forecasting, we realize the greatest attribute for Scouting and camp will be nimbleness and flexibility. The curve could flatten, and we’ll want to open camp; the curve could spike, and we’ll want to support stay at home measures. To generate the greatest flexibility, we’ve developed a “multi-modal and modular” structure. You can learn more about our thinking through a recent interview and podcast through WBZ, WZLX, WHDH and 101.7, IHeart radio stations and their New England Weekend Podcast. 

You can also see the elements of our Multi-Modal Programs and Modular Programs approach through NewEnglandBaseCamp.org

These solutions provide so much more support than simply answers to summer camp. The multi-modal and modular approach will provide value to Scouts and children well beyond the current crisis. The Spirit of Adventure Council is able to adapt and deliver quickly because of our innovative approach to supporting Scouting. In addition to our summer and fall plans, we are in discussions with several school districts and families so we can anticipate needs as students go back to school in September. Schools will clearly have to adapt to new social distancing standards which will impact bussing, cafeteria, classroom size and team sports. We believe this multi-modal and modular methodology will provide solutions to serve family’s child-care and educational needs.

The articles below address the potential changes to the education system based on Covid19. When reading articles like these or speaking with educators it becomes clear that Base Camp and Scouting is uniquely positioned to adapt and meet these needs.

“Neighbors may decide to form their own in-home learning co-ops, taking turns caring for and educating each other’s children while balancing their own work schedules..” (from the Forbes article, this sounds a lot like a Cub Scout den)

Comments from parents of children currently involved in Base Camp Online or our Home School programs:

“Thank you for taking your time to help Scouts like my son continue to be productive during this time! Have a great day!” – George Knox, Dad.

“Thank you for all that the Council is doing with remote learning opportunities.  You guys have done a great job of delivering meaningful content and providing for group interaction. And you started it early.” – Alex Earp

“You have been much needed support and consistency during a really stressful time for our family.” – Amanda Ciccolo, mom

He said, “I just can’t explain how fun it was.” That must be the greatest compliment for you as a teacher. For me as a parent, well, I am just so grateful. Thank you for making learning a magical experience for my sweet River. You are both so special to us.

Volunteer Resource Groups

Volunteer Resource Groups 

Scouting is families working together to help raise each other’s kids. The curriculum is the books, what the parents and leaders do with the lessons and activities is their unique program. Each unique program is a reflection of the values held by that community of families and their charter organization. The Scouting organization provides the curriculum and the resources to ensure each community can deliver their full and robust program.

Over the next several weeks we will be launching new Volunteer Resource Groups. These groups are modeled after Employee Resource Groups – which are common among large companies. These groups are open to all Scouters, not just the members whose identify with the core affinity, but they are open to allies as well. These “VRG”s will create for folks with common identities and concerns to share and grow their ideas. They’ll be directly connected to the management and in that way their perspectives will inform the overall direction.

We will launch these VRGs through a social media page and a virtual orientation meeting. Specific staff and board members will be present to help facilitate the orientation and be in hand to assist and guide the group as needed.

LGBTQ+ in Scouting: Join the Group!
Multi-cultural VRG: Join the Group!

If you are interested in helping Scouting and providing the character education opportunities, Please consider joining these groups. VRGs are intended to be dynamic. Others groups my evolve and be created, or some groups may dissolve as interests and needs evolve. In many ways these groups will function as districts in the classic sense, in that they are volunteer affinity groups that provide a level of service and identity while informing the governance of the organization. Districts are essentially VRGs based on geography, these are based on identity. People are encouraged to participate in as many districts or VRGs as they choose.

As the curriculum and resources provider, we seek to build and support a diverse community of people who come from and interact with folks from every community we serve. Every person who participates has a right to expect an environment that is welcoming and values the richness of their lives and experience.

We believe the BSA curriculums (Cub Scouting and Scouting) have un-paralleled community parenting and character education value. We encourage and support all communities to work together while using this curriculum to help raise each other’s children. It is our intent to unlock the value of the Scouting for every family that wishes to raise children of character. To that end, each child will be the benefits of the best each family has to offer.

Scouting develops character in children and young adults – giving them the strength to do what they individually believe is right when faced with life situations. We understand that individuals and diverse communities utilize the Scouting curriculum may see the world differently, and through varying lenses. We believe mature, articulate and respectful conflict is part of personal growth and required for citizenship. The common ground is for all our members to do their best to adhere to Scout Law – to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

 

Coronavirus Updates

Our priority is to keep participants, instructors, and everyone’s family safe and healthy. We are continuously working with local health authorities, the CDC, and and our partner organizations with regards to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  We will continue to monitor information and recommendations from heath agencies, and provide additional information as it becomes available.

Event Cancellations and Rescheduling

  • Programs cancelled in March; relaunch in April: All programs at Base Camp, Express and New Hampshire camps will be postponed through the end of March. No new programs will be released until after the Governor lifts the State of Emergency for Massachusetts. Starting on the first weekend of April, we will relaunch programs including those being rescheduled following these guidelines with specific changes… Announced 3/13/20- Email from Chuck Eaton
  • Order of the Arrow Cancellations: All Pennacook Lodge activities scheduled for today have been cancelled. There will not be Block meetings nor the Lodge Executive Committee (LEC) meeting. No information is known or available yet about rescheduling.Information about planned upcoming events will be forthcoming, but Arrowmen and parents can plan that the Lodge Banquet scheduled for March 22, the NOAC Information Session scheduled for March 29 and the Day of Service scheduled for April 4 are all being postponed. Updates on these events to be sent out as soon as available. Announced 3/15/20- Email from Tom Markham
  • Merit Badge Classes Cancelled:  We will continue to sanitize all the facilities at both locations. This process will continue tonight, tomorrow and into the weekend.For this reason, we will not be offering any programs at Base Camp Express this weekend. Both “Signs, Signals and Codes” and “Surveying” Merit Badges will be rescheduled to a later date. No new programs will be released until after the Governor lists the State of Emergency for Massachusetts. Announced 3/13/20- Email from Darrin Johnson
  • Merit Badge University & Math Science Technology Expo rescheduling: Thank you for your feedback and questions about when the badges will be released. We are working with the instructors for each of the events to come up with the schedule. We will release these badges shortly after the State of Emergency has been lifted.We will share with you the dates and times for the badges. Registration for the badges will be opened to you first, before it is opened to the general Scouting community. Thank you for your patience during this time. Announced 3/12/20- Email from Darrin Johnson
  • Museum of Science Overnights: The Museum of Science has officially cancelled trips on March 13th and March 27th.  Groups who registered for these dates may either request a refund or reschedule to a date later this spring.  Announced 3/12/20- Email from Jenny Trickett
  • Math Science Technology Expo Change: We are continuously working with local health authorities, the CDC, and UMass Lowell with regards to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  Our priority will always be to keep participants, instructors, and everyone’s family safe and healthy.  For this reason, we have decided to cancel the Expo at UMass Lowell at this time. Instead, we will be offering all the Math Science and Technology merit badges at New England Base Camp and Base Camp Express throughout the rest of the year. It is important that Scouts still have opportunities to work on these badges and learn from our professional MSTE instructors. Therefore, you will be receiving another communication with two vouchers to be used toward other programs where you can work on merit badges. You will receive advance notice when the merit badge programs, taught by MSTE counselors, open for registration. Announced 3/11/20- Email from Darrin Johnson
  • Merit Badge University Change: We are continuously working with local health authorities, the CDC, and Harvard University with regards to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Our priority will always be to keep participants, instructors, and everyone’s family safe and healthy. For this reason, we have decided to cancel April’s Merit Badge University at Harvard at this time. Instead, we will be offering all the MBU merit badges at New England Base Camp and Base Camp Express throughout the rest of the year. It is important that Scouts still have opportunities to work on these badges and learn from our professional MBU instructors. Therefore, you will be receiving another communication with three vouchers to be used toward other programs where you can work on merit badges. You will receive advance notice when the merit badge programs, taught by MBU counselors, open for registration.  Announced 3/11/20- Email from Darrin Johnson
  • Museum of Science Overnights: The Museum of Science is allowing late cancellations and refunds for dates during this season.  Announced 3/10/20- Email from Jenny Trickett
  • How we make decisions about closings: We have received many questions about the potential need for the closing of programs, camps, and home school activities.  Because our programs are at different locations, of different sizes and have a variety of participants coming from different towns and cities, decisions about closures are very complex. The Spirit of Adventure Council and New England Base Camp will make decisions about closures on a case-by-case basis. We recognize that closing a program or activity has repercussions on every family.  We are working closely with the CDC, the local health departments, and the locations where activities and programs are being held.  Announced 3/10/20- Email from Darrin Johnson

Scouting Activities & Meetings

ONLY Virtual & Online Scouting Activities: Notice: Convert all Scouting activities to virtual meetings and lessons.We will be providing a host of online Scouting activities for families and units to conduct in their homes. Both Scout Shops will be closed. All customer service and council meetings will be virtual.We realize with schools closed for extended periods kids and families will be looking for educational and fun activities. These are great opportunities to review the depth of the Scouting program and work on badges not in your particular unit’s schedule. Here are a couple programs ideas for different ages to help you get started.

Announced 3/16/20- Email from Chuck Eaton

Scouting Activity Recommendations: The safety of our scouts and campers is our first concern. Our goal is to help families make informed decisions about programs and activities with regards to the Coronavirus.  We do this by working with our local health departments and organizations such as the CDC.  Of course, we want to follow the practical advice that has been shared already:

  • Social distance
  • Hand washing
  • Staying home with any symptoms
  • No physical contact

Indoor Activity/Meeting Considerations

  • Indoor meetings or activities with more than 12 participants should be postponed or broken down into smaller groups
  • Consider the size of the room and the ventilation for the room
  • For example, a pinewood derby could be broken down to individual dens showing up at different times. In this example, the track could be wiped down between races to limit any risk.

With regards to the outdoor activities, the CDC has continued to say that outdoor activities carry only a small risk.

Outdoor Activities

  • Camping is considered a low risk activity because of its remote nature and ease of creating social distance
  • Kids would have a space 3x the size of a classroom for their patrol sites
  • The ventilation of the outdoors is far better than any indoor ventilation
  • Adults should monitor behavior/activities to ensure hygiene and social distance
  • Outdoor activities should still follow the same methodology- small groups (patrols, dens and crews under 12 people)

Announced 3/13/20- Email from Darrin Johnson

District and Commissioner Level Meetings and Recommendations: The Spirit of Adventure Council remains committed to the health and safety of our Scouts, Scouters, and Staff. The Council has put together some guidelines for Council and District activities and events.

  • Roundtables
    • All April Roundtables should be moved to an online platform, or postponed.  The council is working on setting up a bunch of online platforms for districts that need assistance.
  • District Pinewood Derbies
    • March activities are to be cancelled or postponed to a later date.  Efforts should be made to minimize the total number of participants and spectators at any given time.  Specific time shifts for the different ranks and races should be set up, with strict rules on who can remain and watch.
  • District Dinners
    • The key items to keep in mind for the District Dinners is:
      • Considering capping the size of the group
      • Food distribution – boxed or plated servings is preferred, rather than family style or buffet.
  • Eagle Board of Reviews
    • If at all possible, these should be done by Skype, or Facetime, or some other online platform.  Another suggestions is to conduct them outdoors, rather than in a small room.
  • Advice for Units in regards to whether they should meet or not
    • Please refer them to the Scouting Activities & Meetings Section of the Council Corona Updates Page:
    • This can be an outstanding opportunity for our Scouts BSA Troops to practice the Patrol Method and conduct business in their Patrol Meetings.

Announced 3/14/20- Email from Jonathan Pleva

Our Camp Protocols

Service Center Closings: For the health and safety of our community, the Woburn Service Center and the Egan Center lobby at Base Camp are closed and only allowing pre-arranged appointments. We ask that those in need of customer service please call ahead to schedule an appointment or receive service over the phone. 617-615-0004. The Scout Shops remain open. Paperwork can be dropped off at the Scout Shop.  Announced 3/13/20- Email from Chuck Eaton

Policy Action Items. Working with professionals within the field, we have identified four areas where we will focus our energy to keep participants safe: Health Care, Facilities, Food Service, and Staff

  1. Health Care:
    • Medical staff will be on-site
    • All participants will be prescreened as per the CDC guidelines
    • We will continue open communication with local Boards of Health
    • We will have an Emergency Action plan in place
    • Different activities will consist of smaller group sizes
  2. Facilities
    • All facilities will be sanitized, according to the CDC recommendation, after usage
    • High usage items, such as light switches and door handles, will be sanitized
    • Extra hand sanitizing location, and additional hand washing facilities will be available
    • Indoor programs will be moved to outdoor locations
    • The pool and changing rooms at Base Camp will be sanitized nightly
    • Program supplies will be sanitized after usage
    • Additional signage will be instituted throughout the building
    • All outdoor tables and seating will be sanitized after usage
  3. Food Service
    • Hayden Lodge’s restroom and seating area will be closed
    • All meals will be turned into boxed meals
    • All meal consumption will be done outside
    • Extra cleaning and sanitation will be done in accordance to the CDC
    • Additional signage will be placed within Hayden Lodge and the outdoor eating space
    • Water will be served outside
  4. Staff
    • All staff will go through pre-screening as per CDC guidelines
    • All staff will go through additional training by UMASS Boston nursing school professors
    • Additional medical staff will be available onsite
    • We continue collaborating with local health departments and the CDC
  • Announced 3/12/20- Email from Darrin Johnson

Resources to Help Keep Your Family Safe

  • Talking to Your Child About the Coronavirus: The Boston Globe recently published an article titled, “Help enhance kids’ sense of control amid Corona virus concerns” (March 7th, 2020).  In it, it talks about nine different things that you can do or speak to your child about the situation.  Doing these nine things can empower your child by giving them a sense of control and teaches them how they can help others.  We recommend that you read through the article when you have the opportunity and share with your child. Announced 3/10/20- Email from Darrin Johnson
  •  Scouting and Public Health:  Like all activities, regardless if they occur daily like school and work, or occasionally like Scouting, we should be aware of our environment and how to keep ourselves safe. Scouting is a group activity and often in remote areas. Neither setting is appropriate for a person with a potentially communicable disease. We want to help all our scout families be prepared and stay safe. The educational fact sheet below comes from the CDC, and is encouraged for use with school parents and community programs. All Scout leaders should encourage volunteers and Scouts to stay home when ill and use this time as an opportunity to review public health common practices like covering your mouth when you cough and wiping down door handles and other surfaces. You can use the Scouting curriculum to help educate Scouts by incorporating activities and lessons from Personal Fitness Merit Badge and Public Heath Merit Badge into your current Scout programs. Everyone should follow local health recommendations for your community. Announced 3/2/20- Email from Chuck Eaton
  • For additional information on how to prevent the spread of Coronavirus at home, at work, and at school, please review the resources from the Center for Disease Controland theMasscchussetts Department of Health.

Base Camp at Camp Nihan

In our continued efforts to offer more program opportunities north of Boston, Base Camp is bringing our Open Saturday Programs, Merit Badge Classes, and Overnight Camping to Camp Nihan in Saugus!

These programs will be open for three weekends in the Spring! We will be utilizing Camp Nihan’s Education Center and surrounding campgrounds including a couple cabins. ALL PROGRAMS WILL OPEN ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4th at 2pm.

131 Walnut St, Saugus, MA 01906

Open Program

Join us on three Saturdays this Spring for Base Camp adventures north of Boston! Participants must register. No walk-ins.

April 18th 2020: Open Program

May 2nd 2020: Open Program

 May 16th 2020: Open Program

Open Program activities include fishing, ecology, pioneering, outdoor cooking and other Scout Skills! Explore the campgrounds and activities unique to this location.

We’ll be offering a 5-mile hike around the campgrounds, which will include plant and animal identification, that will fulfill Second or First Class rank requirements.

Merit Badges

Any Scout can come to Base Camp at Camp Nihan this spring and work on merit badges, including Eagle-required badges! Please register, no walk-ins. Max 12 Scouts. $25 per Scout.

April 18th 2020: Nature Merit Badge

May 2nd 2020: Plant Science Merit Badge

May 16th 2020: Soil & Water Conservation Merit Badge

May 2nd & May 16th 2020: Environmental Science Merit Badge

Overnight Lodging

On these three weekends, overnight camping will be available.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK LODGING.

April 17th -19th 2020; May 1st-3rd 2020; May 15th-17th

  • Book a Cabin (capacity 15) for $100
  • Book a Tent Site (capacity 20) for $35

There is no room outside the cabins to pitch tents, so you must book both if you’d like to. Cabins are equipped with electricity, a fridge, pellet stove, living room areas and kitchen areas, and a closeby outside faucet for running water. Showers and flush toilets are available at the campground.

Eagle Scout Showcase Series #1

Eagle Scout Showcase Series 

It seems to be that even when people don’t know much about Scouting, they know about Eagle Scouts. You might see your friends and neighbors snacking on our popcorn, you might drive by the occasional “Join Cub Scouts!” lawn sign, and you might not think twice about what any of that really means. But Eagle Projects tend to stand out. People notice Eagles.  

So for the next few weeks, here at the Spirit of Adventure Council, we’re going to do a little bragging. We’re going to showcase just a small sampling of some of our Eagle Scouts who have be standing out in their communities. Their friends, families, and neighbors have noticed them and we want everyone else to notice them too. 

In the first post of this series, we’re highlighting two unique Eagle Scouts: one of our oldest and one of youngest in the 2019 class. Each of their stories helps us showcase that Scouting isn’t about what you look like or how old you are, it’s about supporting anyone and everyone who wants to work hard to become a person of character.  

 

Shiloh Ellis, 13 years old
Troop 87, Groveland

Q: Why did you pick the project that you picked? What or who motivated you? 
A: In 2015 I got involved with kettlebells4kids, a nonprofit organization that is focused on raising funds and awareness for America’s 2.5 million homeless children. Through kettlebells4kids I learned about the educational, physical, and emotional challenges that homeless kids face. In 2018 I met the people from Emmaus, a homeless shelter in my community, and at the time I was doing a project for kettlebells 4kids in Newburyport. Then, in 2019, I reconnected with Denise from Emmaus and we proposed a playground project that they City of Haverhill which was ultimately rejected because of ADA compliance issues.  Denise let me know that they had a real need to improve the Early Education Center at Emmaus and they had tried, unsuccessfully, to get a grant to do something. Denise showed me the room and let me put together my vision for the space, and since Denise’s son is an Eagle, she understood the need to let me be a leader for the project. I then went to kettlebells4kids and they agreed to provide a grant to pay for the project. Aside from helping the kids that use the learning center, my friend Becky had recently passed away from a Brain Aneurysm. She was always helping others, so my project seemed a perfect opportunity to honor her memory. We had a plaque made that is on the wall at the Emmaus Center honoring Becky.    

Q: What you think you learned from doing the project? What was easier than you expected it to be? What was more difficult?   
A: The planning and organization of the project itself was easier than I expected, motivating the scouts to stay on task was hard and I did learn that at times, too much help becomes a hinderance.  Which is something my dad has always taught me, the difference between helping and hindering. 

Q: Aside from your project, what’s the thing you’re most proud of from your Scouting career so far?  
A: This year, as one of the requirements for the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement, I organized and led a Scuba BSA program with the help of Undersea Divers. 16 scouts from Troops 87 and 219 participated in the program. 

Q: What are you the most proud or excited about that has nothing to do with Scouts? 
A: Although I enjoy sports (I currently play baseball and football), I am most proud of my work with kettlebells4kids. I have travelled to 16 states raising awareness and funds to support various programs for homeless children. I have personally raised over $30,000 and worked with several other kids to raise another $20,000. In 2018, I funded the renovation of the Newburyport Early Learning Center at the Newburyport Housing Authority. 

Q: Did being a Scout help you do any of your non-Scouting work or activities? What skills have you acquired by being a Scout?  
A: I was a Cub Scout when I first started with kettlebells4kids and along the way, the skills that I have learned through merit badges like Communication and Personal Management, and trainings like NYLT and Brownsea, have helped further my leadership abilities. Both of my older brothers are Eagle Scouts and achieved it after turning 17, so they did have to cram at the end and didn’t get to enjoy being an Eagle in the Troop. Seeing their experience has motivated me to achieve Eagle sooner by taking advantage of the many opportunities the Spirit of Adventure Council offers such as the merit badge weeks at New England Base Camp and Merit Badge Universities. I am looking forward to spending the next 4 years in my Troop as the guide and helping others on their path to Eagle. 

Q: What was the most fun part of your Scouting career so far? Do you have one memory that stands out? 
A: This last summer I spent 6 total weeks at Summer Camp; 4 weeks of provisional, 1 week of Brownsea, and a week with my Troop. I participated in so many different adventures and activities and the provisional weeks I got to make so many lifelong friends. 

Q: Do you think you will continue to participate in Scouting as an adult? Could you see yourself being a Scoutmaster one day?  
A: Yes. I enjoy leading and teaching others, whether Coaching athletics or teaching Scoutcraft, so yes, I could see myself as a Scoutmaster someday. 

Q: If you have children in the future, do you think you’d encourage them to join Scouting? 
A: Yes, it is a great growth program. My father and my 2 brothers are all Scouts and they were a big motivation for me in my Scouting career. 

 

Ryan Carey30 years old
Troop 83Dracut
Achieved Eagle Rank: 5/16/2019 

Q: Why did you pick the project that you picked? What or who motivated you? 
A: This was my third try at an Eagle project. The first two had to do with handicapped access to my church and they, unfortunately, fell through. Then, I found out that the church had wanted to do something with a nearby piece of land. When it was suggested that it would be a great place for a community garden, they asked me if I would like to build the garden beds as my Eagle project. I thought it was a good idea so I went to some of the meetings at my church and at the Methuen Arlington Neighborhood (MAN) and got more information and thought it would be a great idea. A lot of the people who live around my church cannot have gardens where they live but would like to have fresh veggies. They also have trouble affording and getting to a place where there would be fresh veggies.  The idea of people not being able to eat well bothered me, especially kids. I agreed to take this project on and submitted it to the council. Laura Walta at my church really inspired me to take this on.      

Q: What you think you learned from doing the project? What was easier than you expected it to be? What was more difficult?   
A: I learned that people really come together to do something they all agree is good. We asked for donations of specific items and time. I got a lot of the items we needed donated and the church had asked for donations from members. I was surprised that most companies we contacted were willing to donate to the project. The hardest part was the first day of the build. I had over 30 people show up to help and I had to get them organized and put into the different groups so that each part of the job got done, getting adults to listen is not always easy. 

Q: Aside from your project, what’s the thing you’re most proud of from your Scouting career so far?  
A: I am proud of the fact that I learned to swim at camp. I am also very excited and proud of being able to hit the target in archery. I even got a bullseye once or twice. 

Q: What are you the most proud or excited about that has nothing to do with Scouts? 
A: I really love playing sports and play a lot of different things outside of Scouts. I play basketball, baseball, flag football, golf, and I go bowling with an organization called Kids in Disability Sports (KIDS).  I have volunteered at the food pantry in Lowell and Habitat for Humanities in Lawrence. I am also in Best Buddies. 

Q: Did being a Scout help you do any of your non-Scouting work or activities? What skills have you acquired by being a Scout?  
A: Having food drives has helped me in my work at the food pantry. The fact that I could take the extra time to get to the Eagle Rank helped me a lot. I have Down Syndrome and it takes me a little longer to learn and to complete things. If I had to have it done by my 18th birthday I would never have been able to do it. So the fact that I could stay in Scouts and keep working towards this goal meant a lot to me. 

Q: What was the most fun part of your Scouting career so far? Do you have one memory that stands out?  
A: I had a lot of fun winter camping, going to Wah-Tut-Ca, and going kayaking. I really enjoyed sitting around the campfire with all my fellow Scouts. 

Q: Do you think you will continue to participate in Scouting as an adult? Could you see yourself being a Scoutmaster one day? If you have children in the future, do you think you’d encourage them to join Scouting? 
A: My mom was a Girl Scout for a very long time but, having three sons, she switched to Boy Scouts when my older brother, Chris, wanted to join Cub Scouts. My Dad was never a Scout until us boys became Scouts. He was even my Scoutmaster for a few years. I would encourage kids to join Scouting.  It was a lot of fun and I got to do many things I would not have done if I hadn’t been in Scouting. I can’t see myself being a scout leader in the future, but I would tell others to join Scouts. If I ever had a kid, I would probably encourage them to do Scouting. 

 

“How Do You Scout?”- Unit & Family Alignment Survey

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive

Here is a BRAND NEW tool to help make sure that your unit values are aligned with the values of your Scout families!

DOWNLOAD the Facilitator Instructions
DOWNLOAD the Survey

Why Alignment is Important
Scouting is families working together to help raise each other’s kids. When we look at Scouting like this, it reminds us that Scouting is a community function. Each unit is a reflection of its families and charter organization.
There are some things in Scouting which we require be done the same way:

  1. We must adhere to Scouting safety guidelines at all times to ensure that everyone feels physically, emotionally, and socially safe.
  2. We require all our members to do their best to adhere to Scout Oath & Law – to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

There are other areas of Scouting that provide units the chance to make it their own. Each parent brings their unique skills to the group, and the Scouts learn skills that range from music, to camping, robotics, first aid and everything in between. However, like all communities and families, sometimes discord evolves out of the peace and fun. We understand that people see the world differently and therefore they have different expectations for how Scouting fits into their family.  It is important that we know that there are lots of ways to do Scouting.  

We find families and parents work best and develop harmony when all the families are aligned.
To help our Scout families self-identify what’s important to the group assembled, we recommend each family fill out the quick but insightful family alignment tool. This tool which we call “How do you Scout?” calculates the program features and intensity of those features that are most important to the families in your unit. Then it provides a simple chart for each of the 8 areas of alignment to help the families know their starting point on each topic, as well as the intensity level.

The purpose is to inform and equip you with some ideas and language to have conversations to figure out what your family priorities are and whether the unit can run in a way that is respectful of your wishes. By identifying possible areas mis-alignment, the adults can make conscious and intentional decisions about those topics.

We suggest an annual family meeting of all the parents in a unit to go through the group results. This way, each year all the parents can reaffirm “How they want to Scout.” Our hope is that if we all do this, we will increase the chance that everyone can find the right group of people to Scout with.
In order to get the most out of this experience, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Our plan is to understand how your family wants to participate in Scouting and use that to determine fit with the unit.
  • People don’t always agree, but that’s okay.
  • We all have a voice in the unit.
  • We understand that everyone is doing what they think is right for their family.
  • We must trust each other to be genuine.

Happy Scouting!

Chuck Eaton
Scout Executive

Coming Soon – Base Camp Express!

 

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive

Starting this summer with a soft launch, followed by a grand opening in September, Base Camp Express will provide various Scouting programs from our new Woburn location. This facility will be extraordinarily convenient to all Scouters and Scout families and will provide year-round Saturday and evening Merit Badge opportunities, Saturday Cub Scout programs, birthday party programs, as well as host the Scout Shop and the Customer Service Center all in one location.

This brand new location will be referred to as Base Camp Express. Programs hosted here next year will be in addition to the Scouting programs at Base Camp Milton, Lone Tree and select satellites locations. We will expand our den Adventure Kit program and provide Adventure Kits through the Milton Base Camp location as well. We hope this will be a step along the way in the process to effectively serve communities in the northern suburbs.

Since the very beginning of the council merger, we’ve always sought to serve in a way that would help Scouting thrive in your community. When asked, the answers have always come back loud and clear from Cubmasters, Den Leaders and parents: “Help make Scouting more accessible, and less complicated.” “Help us recruit more parent volunteers.”

From that feedback much of New England Base Camp was born. Unfortunately, the property that was readily available to develop Base Camp was in the south shore and most of our Scouts live north of Boston. Despite this, however, thousands of Scouts from northern suburbs and much further away attend Base Camp each year. For Scouts and Venturers, Base Camp has quickly become the popular home for ice climbing, Eagle Week, National Youth Leadership Training and sea kayaking. The weekend satellites, satellite day camps and den Adventure Kits have been growing in popularity and effectiveness for the past couple years. Since opening Base Camp to the public we’ve shared scouting with communities who previously felt excluded. Additionally, after two years, it’s clear that Cub Packs that utilize their Adventure Card frequently show 6% greater retention compared to Packs who do not use their Adventure Card.

That being said, we recognize the majority of programs and services are delivered through a physical asset that is a geographic a challenge for many of our Scouts. The cultural and traffic distance for Base Camp is a real issue. We’ve attempted to utilize Lone Tree Scout Reservation as our northern base camp. However, there are facility, distance and other concerns that prevent Lone Tree from attaining the same success as the property in Milton.

We do not envision the opening of Base Camp Express in Woburn as the final step in the process to effectively serve communities in the northern suburbs. Rather, it’s a step along the way and an opportunity to enhance our listening and feedback. For the 2019 – 2020 Scouting year, Base Camp in Milton, Lone Tree, Base Camp Express and select satellites will all be operational.

Please watch for additional announcements regarding the precise date for the soft launch and the grand opening. Subsequent announcements will also list year-round merit badge opportunities, programs, and hands-on activities for Scouts of all ages.

I, personally, will be at each of the district program launches to address any questions or concerns face-to-face.

#ScoutingThrives

 

How NeXus Camps Are Prepared for Girl Troops

Download this Guide 

NeXus Camps have accommodated co-ed and entirely female groups in the past with no significant issues. This is how we have developed procedures and prepared facilities to provide equal opportunity for all to enjoy our campgrounds.

Staff

  • All activities are appropriate for all campers. Regarding interaction with staff members, Youth Protection Guidelines are adhered to at all times. For example, there will never be any camper alone with an adult staff member. See YPT Guidelines and the Guide to Safe Scouting

 

  • Nurses at camp are medical professionals and are processed as BSA employees, whether they are male or female. The nurses station stocks feminine products.

 

  • With a female troop, at least one female leader is required to accompany the Scouts to camp. This female leader does not need to be present at all activities as long as the buddy system and Youth Protection rules are followed.

 

  • The Buddy System requires that a youth be paired with at least one other youth. Youth Protection Guidelines encourage self-selection and having the youths close in age.

 

  • Units and leaders are supported and empowered to increase the strictness of the buddy system or provide additional adults in their responsibility to ensure the safety of their Scouts.

 

Facilities

  • All campsite bathrooms (latrines) have enclosed walls and locking doors, even though the walls do not touch the ground. Camp-wide bathrooms have separate stations for males and females. Additionally, all around camp near to program areas, there are either latrines or flush-toilet facilities.

 

  • Shower facilities are fully enclosed and separate for male and females. If there is a large group of females in camp, then there will be a pre-set schedule to rotate the usage of the showerhouses as per Youth Protection Guidelines.

 

  • At the waterfront, there will be separate changing stations available.

 

Campsites

  • Only boy troops and girl troops that are chartered with the same organization, “linked troops,” are permitted to share a campsite. A shared campsite must be large enough to allow for a clear separation of youth housing sections.

 

  • All units must follow Youth Protection Training tenting policy, which states that youth campers must be of the same gender and close in age in order to tent together.

 

Council Representation at Eagle Courts of Honor

 

As a committed Scouter, if you would like to represent Scouting and make a presentation to an Eagle Scout in your community, please let us know by filling out this simple form. We would provide some basic training and you’d receive updates regarding when and where there is an Eagle Scout Court of Honor.

Every community comes together when a Scout earns Eagle. It’s a very heart-warming experience to see the non-profit recipient of the Eagle Scout project, Scoutmasters, parents and families, teachers and other community leaders come together to congratulate an Eagle Scout on their achievement. Typically, the Scout receives commendations from civic and government officials, the Boy Scouts of America, and other notable Eagle Scouts.

The people in the room, and those who send commendations collectively create an authentic unique rite of passage. Essentially, the entire community gathers together to say “Today you are an adult, today we recognize you as a leader in our community. From this time forward, we will count on you to make our community better. We share this obligation as adults and community leaders and we welcome you as a proven leader.” Each speaker, and each individual congratulates the young adult, and provides their unique perspective of the “Eagle charge.”

The Spirit of Adventure council provides our unique perspective in the way of “paying it forward” through a scholarship in the Scout’s honor. The scholarship is for camp (often called a “campership”) for a younger Scout in need of assistance. Last year, we provided over $70,000 in scholarships, many in the name of our 300 Eagle Scouts.