Category Archives: News

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. 

 

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

 

Scouting Thrives Update- News from National

We have an important duty, and an incredible opportunity, to focus as an organization on keeping children safe, supported and protected, while preparing youth for their futures through our nation’s foremost program of character development and values-based leadership training.

Various media sources have reported that the Boy Scouts of America has hired a bankruptcy attorney to consider the costs of defending lawsuits. Our Chief Scout Executive, Mike Surbaugh, has informed us that the BSA has not made any decision in this regard nor is a decision pending. To ensure our ability to continue preparing youth for their future through the Scouting, national BSA is working with experts to explore all options available to ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scouts of America continues uninterrupted. Our motto is ‘Be Prepared,’ and we are doing just that, working with internal and external experts to explore all options available and will share information when we are able to do so.

What does this mean for The Spirit of Adventure Council?

Our Council is an independent non-profit incorporated in our area. We own and control our camps, council service centers, bank funds and investments. It is important to understand that this structure was specifically designed to ensure that council investments remain ours. They are ours regardless of what happens to the national organization. The same is true for our other council assets. Local units are owned by their charter organization, typically a community, religious, service or academic organization. Contributions made to the Spirit of Adventure Council by our donors stay local, and contributions made for specific purposes are used for those purposes.

We partner with the National Boy Scouts of America to deliver Scouting’s mission; leveraging tools, guidelines, resources and their network, while remaining independent.

 

We have an important duty, and an incredible opportunity, to continue to focus as an organization on preparing youth for their futures through our nation’s foremost program of character development and values-based leadership training.

As an organization, our focus must be to:

1) Build upon the momentum we have already experienced this year with new members

2) Plan and implement a successful launch of Scouts BSA to welcome boys and girls into the program in February

3) Support our fundraising efforts to ensure our continued ability to deliver Scouting to our communities

#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.

Pursuing the History of Our Nation: The Inaugural Hike of BSA’s Historic Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail

Submitted by William Cline, Eagle Scout, Troop 11 Dorchester, MA

On April 19, 1775, after a shot was fired in a conflict between an elite group of Colonial Militia, known as “Minutemen,” and British Soldiers, the Minutemen pursued retreating British Soldiers from Merriam’s Corner in Concord to Prospect Hill in Somerville.

Ralph Waldo Emerson coined the first shot of this historic day, “the shot that was heard around the world,” this gunshot started the American Revolution. The “shot” location has been attributed to the Old North Bridge in Concord and the Lexington Battle Green in Lexington, both historic points of interest in the area. A tribute to this historic pursuit was the creation of a 15 mile BSA National Historic Trail, the “Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail,” which is a new historic trail in the Spirit of Adventure Council.

On April 19, 2017, exactly 242 years after what was one of the most significant points in the freedom of our country, which led to the creation of the greatest democracy in the world, I had the privilege to be one of five Scouts (three from Troop 11 in Dorchester, two from Troop 132 in Concord) and two leaders to take part in the inaugural hike of the Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail. The trail consists of three primary legs, which is the actual trail, and two adjunct legs. We hiked the three primary legs and one of the adjunct legs so we could qualify the hike for Hiking Merit Badge, requirement 5: a one day 20 mile hike. Several of the Scouts hiking the trail also applied the 20 miles to the Hiking Segment of the National Outdoor Achievement Award.

The Retreat from Concord

The trail provides an opportunity to experience many points of historical importance including: Minuteman National Park, Captain William Smith House, Lexington Battle Green, The Foot of the Rocks, Old Schwab Mill, Menotomy Indian Hunter Sculpture, Jason Russell House, Uncle Sam Monument, Whittemore Park, and the concluding point of the trail – Prospect Hill in Somerville where the first America Flag was flown.

On our hike we had the opportunity to meet Captain William Smith (a reenactment actor) who played his fife and travelled with us for several miles on the trail explaining much of the history of the area. We completed our hike ascending the many steps to the top of Prospect Hill Tower, which has one of the best views of Boston. I would like to thank the Somerville Department of Public Works for opening the tower for us on April 19, 2017.

North Bridge to Merriam’s Corner marker (l to r: William, Brandon, Nick, Logan, and Justin)

A unique part of the trip for the Scouts from Troop 11 in Dorchester was the experience we had taking the MBTA Commuter Rail from North Station in Boston out to Concord to meet our fellow Scouts from Troop 132 in Concord. The cost was very reasonable at $4.50 per Scout and it was really nice to experience the train ride. Having public transportation out to Concord, from the middle of Boston, opens up a world of opportunity for Scouts in the urban areas of Boston to experience their own pursuit of our nation’s history. The train ride makes it very convenient for Scouts visiting the Boston area from all over the country to experience an awesome historic hike.

Beginning our “Pursuit” from the Concord Station (l to r: Justin, Brandon, William, Logan, and Nick)

I highly recommend the Minuteman Pursuit Trail. We stopped for Ice Cream at Rancatore’s in Lexington and had a late lunch at the Menotomy Grill in Arlington which has many historic flags, Revolutionary War reproductions, and great hamburgers!

The top of Prospect Hill Tower 20.29 miles later (l to r: Justin, Mr. Cline, Logan, Brandon, Mr. Owen, Nick, and William)

The Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail is very well documented and there is a Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail Medal a Scout can earn by completing a questionnaire about some of the historic points on the trail.  I love the history of our great area in the United States. I hope Scouts will seize the opportunity to explore a lot of our Nation’s history on the Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail. I give this trail a 10 star rating!

On April 19, 2018, there will be the 1st Annual Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail hike. This will be an awesome opportunity for Scouts from all over the country to take part in a historic hike to commemorate the original pursuit 243 years later.

For more information about the trail please send an email to David Owen: [email protected]

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.

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.

These Are Troubling Times

Submitted by Komba Lamina, Urban Scouting and Exploring Executive

When I saw the video of Alton Sterling’s killing for the first time, it frightened me. The video evokes memories of waking up to sounds of gunshots and artillery fire on one beautiful October morning in Koidu Town, Sierra Leone; rebels had attacked the city that morning. I felt broken, my spirit dampened, and experienced fear on that day like I never felt before. It was as if hope had left my being. I felt exactly the same way today, after viewing the video again.

I was equally horrified when I woke up to news of another police involved shooting in Minnesota, and the senseless killing of five police officers in Dallas, Texas.

I’m sure that the perplexed feeling I had was shared by many here in America and across the world. And like many of you, I asked myself these questions: what are we becoming and what are we to make of these tragedies? I also asked myself what can I do to help put a stop to it?

It was with that feeling that I called a few of my team members to see how they were coping. I wasn’t shocked to hear that they were also confused, fearful and broken. They also asked themselves the very questions I was grappling with.

img_20160419_131505As the professional overseeing the inner city program for the Boy Scouts of America in Northeastern Massachusetts, most of our Scouts are minorities. I have often wondered what our Scouts are feeling during moments like this. I wonder if they have the avenue to express themselves in a positive manner and come to grip with this reality — and most importantly, what can I and the Boy Scouts do to stop these tragedies.

Many Americans and citizens around the world are asking themselves similar questions as to what they can do to ensure these tragic and hurtful occurrences come to a stop. That’s what I heard speaking to my teammates, and that’s what I derived from Chuck Eaton, our Scout Executive’s (CEO) email:

  • Komba,
    The news for the past couple years regarding race relations has been troubling – to say the least. Scoutreach obviously has more to do with financial and parenting support then race, however we all know the majority of those scouts are people of color, while the majority of our council is white. We should be an organization of action, not rants or blogs. But it’s so hard to figure out what to do, and stay away from the political aspect of things. I have a few ideas, but I think it’s more important the ideas come from you, or your Scoutreach staff, or others. If you have any ideas I’d like to support them if not, maybe we can brainstorm together. I hope you and your family are doing well. Thanks
    Chuck

Chuck is right, we must act, but act in a meaningful way. We understand that this is a very sensitive issue, therefore, many organizations stay away from it for fear of antagonizing the public. Because of what we (the Boy Scouts of America) do, (which is helping to shape the lives of youth), we cannot shy away from these issues. As a professional tasked with overseeing Scouting in urban areas, and as an Exploring Executive that works with police officers, I see community and the very best in each of us.

As an organization, we must take a stand for what is morally right, not convenient. We must foster an environment that allows our Packs, Troops and Crews to become places where genuine interaction between youths and adults occur regardless of political association, skin color, or profession. That is by facilitating a space for genuine interaction that celebrates all of our differences and help bridge gaps that exist in our communities. A space where young people are equipped with life skills. In this space, our focus is youth and equipping them with character that builds a healthy nation.

img_20160219_083017This space brings all of us together and in the process helps us learn a bit more about the other. In the end, we define ourselves less by our profession, skin color, political affiliation or financial aptitude. Widening this space is what I intend to do to help put an end to these hurtful times.

Please join us on Saturday, October 29th, at New England Base Camp’s Camp Sayre in Milton, MA

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