Category Archives: News

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: david.owen@concordscouthouse.org

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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Making the World Safe for Diversity

Sincerely submitted by Francisco Guzman, Scout parent, Cubmaster Pack 109, Leader Troop 109, Chelsea

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”  – Maya Angelou

Three boyhood friends, one Asian, one African American and one Caucasian walk into the Bar at the Ritz.  They all grew up together, went to Milton Academy, and recently all graduated from Harvard Business School…  This may be the beginning of a joke, but the question I would ask is, are they a diverse group?  My answer would be NO!  Diversity is more that race or ethnicity; it is a group of people from diverse racial, ethnic, social, religious, educational, financial, life experience and cultural backgrounds working together for a common goal.   The above group may be of different races, and possibly other factors, but the all share an equal cultural and social foundation.img_20150731_145854

The recent acts of race and ethnic base violence became a catalyst for my second blog.  Part of the reason is that I am trying to come to understand something that is beyond my understanding, how people make decisions and act on them based solely on someone’s race or ethnic background.  The other part is to share how lucky I am that our Scout group in Chelsea has remained free of any ethnic or racial discord.

My upbringing did not prepare me for the racial tensions that are so much in the news.  Having grown up in Puerto Rico, a community as racially diverse as you will find, we could not understand the racial tension shown on American TV during the 60’s and 70’s.  Our running joke in those days was that if we were racist, we would start by hating ourselves!

When my wife and I restarted the Cub Scout Pack in Chelsea, we made a decision to actively recruit Scouts from every race, ethnicity, social class, religion etc.  We did not want a Hispanic or any specific ethnicity group.  img_20160315_190121It was important to me to try to recreate the Scout experience I was involved in as a youth.  Fortunately our neighborhoods are exactly like that.  The Chelsea schools are integrated regardless of any traits from preschool on.  All kids learn early on to work with other children regardless of appearance or any other differences.

As much as younger children do not have any preconceived ideas of hatred or racial bias, unfortunately parts of our society seems to very easily teach our children about it.  It has been our priority as Scout leaders to keep those divisive issues from our Boy Scout program.  We emphasize from day one, that we are stronger because of our differences, not in spite of them.  Our Scouts learn to judge each other based on actions and behaviors, not on skin color, country of origin or language spoken.

By using the values taught in Scouting, we are able to keep at bay the negative values that seem to run freely thru our society today.  We teach our scouts to value cooperation vs. winning at all cost; the importance of community betterment vs. self gain; the importance of trustworthiness vs. selfishness.  These are the values Scouting instills on our children and teen agers, and we must continue focusing on those values.

Unfortunately, the foundation of Scouting as a community base organization, can also be use to foster those negative values.  We must remain vigilant against some of the more narrow minded and bigoted views within our movement that want to return to the “olden days”.  The future of our communities and our program will be on how it deals with those that are different from “us”.  Every time I hear the old “but this is how we have always done it” my stomach churns.  This excuse has been used for generations to allow for everything from slavery to segregation; from withholding education from girls and children with special needs to withholding equal pay for women or other special or disenfranchised groups.

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Presently we have 25-30 Scouts from several countries, religions, races and at least 5 different languages.  We have Scouts with physical, emotional and intellectual disabilities.  We have Scouts from financially challenged families and Scouts whose families can help and contribute.  At our recent summer camp I was stuck by the fact that on the second night of the week long summer camp I had 3 homesick Scouts, all three were different races, ethnicities and which all spoke different languages.  When the tears came, some of the other Scouts jumped into action.  Amazingly, they did not jump in to comfort the children that were “similar” or the same ethnicity or spoke the same language as them, they just helped a Scout. It was not based on race, or ethnicity or language, just simply Scouts helping other Scouts.  That was all the proof I needed that we are on the right track, we just need to persevere.  MLK’s famous speech was about his dream, I am happy to see Chelsea’s Scout group bringing that dream a little closer to reality.

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

“The war we have to wage today has only one goal and that is to make the world safe for diversity.” – U Thant (Former Secretary General of the U.N.)

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ScoutBook: What’s in it for US?

Submitted by Chris Rogers, Scoutmaster, Troop 507, Winchester

I have been adult leader in Scouting for around 22 years.  Finding better ways to stay organized has always been important to me, as there is only so much time in the day to balance family, work, church and Scouts.

In Scouting, it is important to NOT reinvent the wheel, but to talk to other leaders by attending Roundtables, taking advantage of adult training opportunities and being present at Council gatherings.  Find out who else is doing something better… and do that, is my motto!   We are always better off when we share ideas and experiences, right?

When I first heard about ScoutBook, at the 2013 National Jamboree, it only took one quick demo and I knew that having this program would make my life as a Scoutmaster so much easier.  Why?… because advancement and personal information records would be stored all in one place, in a secure place, but viewable by the whole Troop.  Last October, when I found out that BSA National had bought the program, I signed up our Troop.

Some of the neat features of ScoutBook, are as follows:

  1. Youth are empowered to take control of their own advancement.  Parents know where their sons are in terms of their advancement as well.  No longer do they have to search for the Scout Handbook.  Wherever and whomever is allowed electronic devices, this information is available.
  2. Each Unit sets the parameters of what is viewable and able to be entered.
  3. Nobody needs a list of emails or phone #’s of anyone in the Unit.  Youth protection exists, as the parents linked to the Scout are copied on communications.
  4. Youth and adult leadership positions are recorded.
  5. Merit badge counselors are listed for quick reference (for Boy Scouts).
  6. Keeps track of the dates of your medical record, swim test classifications, and adult training… which is important to trip planners.
  7. Calendars, with reminders and attendance is all part of ScoutBook records.
  8. Can create reports by patrol of who is working on what requirement to help patrol leaders and for planning activities.

leader-with-laptopWe can have discussions regarding: does ScoutBook do this or does ScoutBook do that?  But, the bottom line is, ScoutBook is here to stay and will improve with time.  Persons like myself, across the country are helping to make suggestions and prioritize future enhancements to ScoutBook.  There is NO perfect program, for any organization.   I recommend you embrace ScoutBook for what it can do for US now!