Category Archives: News

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.

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.  It 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.

 

“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!

Telling Our Story: Promoting Your Cub Scout Pack

Submitted by Matt Bailey, Cubmaster, Pack 28 Wenham

Last year, I recall reading a Council blog about a focus group held at New England Base Camp with non Scouting families. My takeaway was families once exposed to the Scouting program thought it was awesome but they also told us they saw Scouting a closed system and as outsiders did not know how to access Scouting.

I thought this was a terrific insight and thought if we can get our message out and promote an invitational environment, we may just be able to grow the program.

Now, I have enjoyed some recent success getting our Pack’s story in the local press. It wasn’t easy.

I spent a year submitting photos and articles and getting no results. My wife and I spoke with reporters and editors at our local weekly and delivered a similar response.

“We have been sending pictures and articles but nothing gets published. I’m good if you don’t print our stuff, just let me know and I won’t bother taking the time to submit articles”.

What changed? We did.

Our media friends, want photos and stories about our Scouts doing something exciting. Let our Scouts tell the story. Show the Scouting spirit.

So, here are the secrets:

  1. Make it easy for the press.
  2. Give them action photos and an engaging headline.
  3. Close up photos work best.

So, if we write the story we want to tell, in they way the press likes they may just print the whole thing.

Wow! Think about that for a moment…

We have an opportunity to engage potential recruits, stakeholders and the communities we serve at zero cost. We also get to define the Scouting brand in our community. People have a fuzzy impression of what Scouting is about and so if we create a mental picture of Scouting in our local community we may be more successful recruiting new members and engaging adult participation.

So, why would the press be interested in Scouting?

  • We have great activities no one else is doing.
  • Cub Scout photos show authentic excitement.
  • We are local.
  • Our content is free. No payments to freelancers or staff reporters.
  • Cub Scout parents are a demographic that might not buy newspapers and who the print media may want to engage…and the demographic that buys newspapers loves Scouting.

Here an example of a good, but ineffective, effort…

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Headline: Pack 28 Pinewood Derby Race Winners Announced Group shot of a Pinewood Derby finalists. (NOT Published)

This is an example of why close ups are important. A good close up eliminates visual clutter that may not be appealing to an editor. It is also a lot easier to take a three great individual photos than a group shot.

The below articles were published and I included one photo from the final article; however each article had a multiple photos that made it to print and I did not include the narrative portion. A common theme among all that were printed were great photos of Scouts genuinely excited about Scouting. All three events, were also open to new recruits and we had new visitors.

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Headline: Cub Scouts Ignite Interest in STEM / Photo Caption: Caeden and Owen very proud of the rockets they made (PUBLISHED)

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Headline: Pack 28 Holds Annual Fishing Derby / Photo Caption: Pack 28 held their 2016 Fishing Derby at Pleasant Pond in Wenham. Gabe won the award for the smallest fish. (PUBLISHED)

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Headline: Wenham Cub Scouts Catch Olympic Spirit / Photo Caption: Avery clears the mud pit and stays dry.(PUBLISHED)

So, you may say, that’s great but: 1) you aren’t a professional photographer, 2) you are not in PR and 3) you don’t have time.

No worries. Most of these photos were taken on a smartphones, all by amateurs.

The story is a simple one to write using a common recipe. It does need to be produced soon after the event to be newsworthy.

  • Headline: Cub Scouts did something fun, outdoors and unique
  • Story: Pack 1 Cub Scouts had a great experience doing something fun, learning something new.
  • Pictures: Close ups of excited Cub Scouts doing an activity. Send files as a .jpg attachment.
  • Closing: Cub Scouts is a year-round outdoor program for boys in grades 15. For more information contact: _____________.

So, why make the effort?

We have a great story to tell. Press coverage instills as sense of pride in Scouts about their program and unit. It helps define the Scouting brand in your town. It validates our Scouts. At our feeder school, press clippings of students are posted in a prominent location a common practice. Because of the nature of our program as civically engaged and offering unique programming we have the ability to generate press other youth activities can only hope to create. Finally, telling our story in an invitational way will help to address a perception of Scouting as a closed system and open for new members.

Our Council also has the ability to help your Pack get PR at a greater level for seriously awesome events and activities. Check out the examples from Pack 126, Wilmington this Spring:

If you are having an event of this nature that you feel deserves broader press than just within your community, please contact Brice Pearce, our Communications and Sales Manager via email or Facebook.

Our Pass to Family Adventure

Submitted by Chris Jackson, Cubmaster, Pack 137 (Lexington)

Our family’s Scouting adventure started three years ago when our son saw some pictures of Pack 137 in Lexington’s previous trip to the Battleship Massachusetts. He HAD to go. He had no idea what else the Scouts did he just knew that if it included sleeping on a battleship he was in.

Since then we have become increasingly involved in the pack and with District events. Two years of Pumpkinfest (for 2 children), two years of Day camp, this year’s Overnight camp and a host of other events around our Council.

But while we have been able to do some fantastic things with the Scouts we still had to CHOOSE what events we took part in as the cost has just been prohibitive for a family of four. STEM Camp, several weekend events, and even family camp have all come second place for the main opportunities our family wanted to take advantage of.

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What the card will do for us is open up those missed opportunities.  With a large discount off overnight camp and STEM camp, we have the opportunity for him to work on Robotics and Chemistry while also keeping up with the archery, BBs, and outdoor camping he loves.  We can avoid the weekends where we struggle with “Tablet time/Screen time” and he and his sister can make New England Base Camp their second “outdoor” home.  Surprise weekend trips to one of the other camps for a day of waterfront hijinks he can share with his cousin (who he considers his best friend) now become an easy choice over a visit to a town pool or rec center.

Our son is 9.  After three years in the program he has set his sights on earning his Eagle, joining Venturing, and traveling the country (and the world) through Scouting activities. Lofty goals for sure, but not out of the question and our family will be behind him supporting him all the way. With the opportunities given to us by the New England Adventure Card program it feels like our Council is there supporting us, and allowing him to immerse himself in the Scouting experience at a level we would struggle to do without it.

Creating Engagement for Scouting and Families

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive and CEO

Somewhere along the way I realized I have to embrace the fact that I am a crusader. For all the good and the bad that term implies – I am not rational. I am irrationally dedicated to making Scouting Thrive. It is way more than my hashtag, or my job, it’s been my life’s mission. The short hand is that parents and kids of this generation deserve the same quality experiences of previous generations and we all need the benefits that come from raising a generation of character.

The crusade is to make Scouting Thrive – I am so excited about the future! Please save the date May 3rd 7PM at EDCO. Share this link and tell your friends. If you can’t attend – log in and watch it, ask questions and participate on line. Let’s work together to provide the council and the programs this generation of Scouts deserve! ‪#‎ScoutingTHRIVES

Participate NOW, by filling out this form and sharing with PARENTS and LEADERS in your UNIT.

Can’t attend in person – please participate on the 3rd from your computer via live stream (the event will also be archived). Thanks to the Key Foundation for providing the internet broadcasting technology!

The program is brilliant, yet the organization has struggled for almost 50 years. The bigger the struggle the more energy (time, money, effort) will be required to repair the problems. Success of the council only matters when it impacts the life of a Scout.

The most rational people involved in the BSA are the folks (typically parents and unit leaders) who understand the program’s value for youth, they have an altruistic calling and they put the program to work for their child and the kids in their neighborhood. They keep all “the council stuff” at arm’s length and take the support they need were they can get it. Sadly, there are less of those folks every year. The council NEEDS to be an active partner – not a bureaucratic entity to be tolerated.

I’m told my crusade is most evident in the techniques and tenacity I employ when I attempt to un-earth the core of a problem. I flatly refuse to accept mediocrity or partial answers – yet from time to time I’m forced to tolerate it and ask others to tolerate it TEMPORARILY as we dig deeper. I ask us collectively to look the problems in the eye, socialize answers and ultimately sequence and enact the answers. This takes time.

Here is an example: For 20 years I hear people say “the Boy Scouts should do more marketing” and for 20 years the organization replies “We’ve done a ton of marketing and it’s too expensive, and non-effective, therefore we think that’s a local responsibility.” That’s NOT the answer – nor is it really the right question. Every organization in America that thrives and grows uses some type of marketing and PR. Who are we to think we can grow without it? Everyone involved in our conversation is motivated to help Scouting, yet these two statements create an impasse. In short no one is wrong – yet no one is right, so in the meantime Scouting limps along. My crusade compels me to unwind the situation. To understand the complexities I throw myself into marketing efforts and opportunities, I learn about PR so I can finally address the situation with the right context. I know that seems like a simple starting point, but it turns out our paradigm doesn’t allow the discussion to start with that sentiment. Therefore it’s very difficult to ever develop a solution. On May 3rd we’ll share the detailed plans.

Marketing is an example: The WAY we discuss marketing is more critical to creating a successful marketing plan, than the energy we put behind the actual marketing. That’s the same for paperwork, program development, unit service, parent engagement, camp program, and district / board operations and on and on. The WAY we discuss it frames the conversation and our current paradigm inadvertently closes us to certain potential solutions.

The great thing about Spirit of Adventure – we’ve already done the hardest work. We worked to alter the paradigm and now we are in unchartered territory. I know it’s a little scary out here, I’ve been on the journey for decades and trust me … we are in the home stretch.

 

Finding a Better Way Forward

Submitted by Ahmadou Balde, District Executive

Five weeks ago, I returned to the United States from a trip in West Africa that profoundly affected me. I saw at first sight how the desertion of the youth and young adolescents can affect a society. From the media and family members, I was already aware of some of the societal realities, however, I soon realize that no amount of stories could have prepared me for what I was witnessing. All the initial excitement I had of going back to a place I had been away from a eight years dissipated. Instead, I was ecstatic to get back to start my new job with the Boy Scouts of America. 

The only knowledge I had of this organization was based on the research prior to my interview. I knew I was aligning myself with the right organization to learn for the purpose of eventually giving back. What I did not know was the fact that I was joining a deeply misunderstood organization with a deep seated history. 

A few weeks into my new job, I came to realize the mainstream view of the organization as WHITE ONLY or UPPER MIDDLE CLASS ONLY perpetuates a misunderstanding and prevents the active participation of many individual communities that can profoundly benefit from the Scouting movement. And frankly, I think viewing the Boy Scouts through those lenses is doing injustice to all of us.  Undoubtedly, an organization that is 106 years old has a long and diverse history with its own stereotypes and reputation. However, I strongly believe that it has the solution to the moral decay going on in our respective communities that none of us can afford to ignore.  

Recently, I heard a compelling story from a Scouter. As a child, his single mom dropped him at Scout meetings. With her competing priorities and responsibilities, she barely had the time, but she was entirely committed to having her son participate in Scouting. I guess she saw how the different camping activities would teach him how to live in a pluralistic society and how the respective field trips would open his sense of curiosity. But I think most importantly, she realized how the Scout Law and Oath that he was routinely reciting would forever be ingrained in the psyche of her son. More than 40 years later, she was right. Her child has become a decent man, dedicated to giving back to the world.

Now, I am in no way stating that this man is a decent person only because he joined Scouting. I am sure we can find plenty of examples that provide supporting details. Nevertheless, his story and stories of others show that the historical contribution of the BSA to America was unquantifiable. Just like Scouters, this mother understood early on that with the decline of institutions like families and churches, the presence of an entity with the sole purpose of inculcating people with certain moral values is essential to the well-being of our society. We are beginning to quantify that value today, with longitudinal research.

Before every Scouting meeting, all Scouts are expected to recite the Scout Oath, which goes begins this: “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my Country…” As a black African immigrant with a double consciousness, I grapple with the meaning of this phrase. I surely knew duty to God and to country means different things to different people. I wondered if I was just pledging blind loyalty to America or simply reciting a slogan. Fortunately, I came to realize that this one phrase is an affirmation of the longest lasting American promise expressed differently by each generation: the responsibility to leave a better world for our children. It is the God-given duty of self-responsibility for a greater good ingrained in the collective psychology of everyday Americans.

The rising moral decay expressed by rising attitude of indifference, egocentric motivation, perverted aspiration (win at all cost) or the rise of demagogues is a product of our failures to properly react. Consequently, individualism is on the rise with all its ramification. Now, it is of utmost importance that we acknowledge the current reality to properly shape the youth and create a better world. The approach of community based activities and leaderships practiced by BSA in respective neighborhoods to responsibilize adults and prevent children from lionizing morally bankrupt folks and teach them decent moral values will only help reconnect with this promise.

In reality, this situation is a generational challenge that will require the commitment of each and all of us. The Boy Scouts of America has much to offer; however, I know many youth and parents are distancing themselves from the Scouting movement simply due to misunderstanding or historical missteps. The goal of Scouting is to prepare young people for life, to cultivate a higher sense of positive character and decency. At the end, what makes America great is not the fighters or the wealth of the nation. It is the affirmation of social responsibility acted upon by each of generation and expressed by this one phrase recited by every Scout. Now, the continuity of this tradition will depend on our current actions and choices.

Focusing on the Future

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive and CEO

Our Council, Spirit of Adventure is in transition. That’s pretty clear by nature of the merger, and our strategic objectives:

  • Build the Northern NeXus
  • Open Camp Sayre to the public as New England Base Camp
  • Reinvigorate Scouting by making it Thrive in Our Communities

This can be a tough and confusing process. Some Executive Board and District-level volunteers – as well as some Council Staff – have, for their own independent reasons, separated from the council. Regardless of their individual reasons, each one of them still expresses a long-term commitment to our new direction.

The transition itself causes ambiguity, causing “the council” to ask a lot of questions. Focus groups, anecdotal stories, analysis of trends, and a host of thoughtful exercises work together to help develop a detailed plan. This strategic plan will ultimately end the ambiguity and develop a council that can help Scouting thrive.

As we listen and craft this Council together, we can start to see some pieces of the new culture come clearly into focus.

We are dedicated to the following:

  1. ScoutBook – this new software and its ability to directly impact online registration, program enhancement, and the empowerment of units
  2. Program development – providing resources that help the Scout program come alive
    • (For example: helping Den leaders provide hands-on advancement-oriented, and exciting outdoor activities at convenient locations)
  3. Customer service – training and retraining staff and volunteers around customer service to provide the standard of care to which families are accustomed
  4. Exciting volunteer opportunities – creating easy volunteer on-boarding programs and increasing volunteer satisfaction

These positive additions will come at a price. We have to reorganize and reinvest. We understand that the transition is difficult. Each District’s Key Three members will meet on February 25 to refine these plans. The officers and board have been reviewing draft plans for the past six weeks. We have been holding listening sessions and focus groups since the very beginning 11 months ago.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” – Abraham Lincoln

This quote is quite appropriate for the stage of development for our Spirit of Adventure Council. If we use Lincoln’s analogy, we have been sharpening the ax for 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Thanks for your patience
Chuck

Birthday Adventure Is Yours Here!

All across the country, Troops, Packs, and Venture Crews find ways to celebrate and recognize and share their enthusiasm for Scouting is part of the anniversary.

Everyone understands the character and leadership building value of the program. And everyone in the program understands the fun excitement of the scouting activities. Yet, in many communities we also struggle with attracting new families. Ask any Cubmaster with growing membership and will all say the same thing “The secret is program first! Make it fun for the scouts, siblings and the parents!”

What could be more fun than an outdoor adventure birthday party!?
Plan your birthday party with us this month and save $50.
Think about the invitation list. All their friends would enjoy a day that includes rock climbing, archery, swimming, Native American games, and all the great outdoor activities.

So plan today, and register with your Scout’s birthday party between April – October 2016 during the month of February and save!
Email Heather Sheehan or call her at 617-615-0004 to schedule your party now.

Here We Go!

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive and CEO

Two New Convenient Scout Shops
Starting later this winter two local stores in the Northern portion of the Council will start providing limited Scout supplies, books and uniforms.

Ben’s Uniforms Inc.                                                                                        All Sports Heroes
http://www.bensuniformsonline.com/                                                      http://www.allsportsheroes.com/
20 Main St, Amesbury, MA 01913                                                               18 1st St, Lowell, MA 01850
Phone: 978-388-0471                                                                                    Phone: 978-452-1976
Fax: 978-388-7878                                                                                         Fax: 978-452-2707

Other Administrative and Physical Changes
The North Andover Scout Shop will be closing on February 19th
The Haverhill Office will be closing on or before March 1st
The Scout Office aspect of the Egan Center will close on or before March 1st (Scout Shop will remain, of course!)
The Woburn Office will open for Business on or before March 1st

How this will workThe Woburn location is considered to be the most central location – both geographically and based on traffic patterns for the council footprint. The location will now serve as a primary Scout Shop (600 Cummings Park suite 1250) and the business operations headquarters (600 Cummings Park suite 2750 – just upstairs) for Spirit of Adventure. Over time we will look to expand the sales floor for the Woburn Scout Shop to accommodate for the additional traffic.

Council Service Center – who really uses the Scout Service Center?
The new business format for Spirit of Adventure will minimize trips to the council office by all volunteers. Through use of technology, conference calls, video conferencing and a highly mobile staff we want every ounce of volunteer energy to go toward the Scouts – not spent in your car driving to an office. Our office staff will be all together in one building and they will serve as the nerve center for operations. A phone call to that location will provide quick and courteous answers about camp registrations, advancement concerns, membership questions, donations or training information etc. The Commissioned Staff will be out in the field – ready willing and able to meet with unit committees, community leaders, and others. Their responsibilities are to roll up their sleeves and dig into more detailed and complex situations that ultimately make SCOUTING THRIVE.

Therefore during the day the space in Woburn will serve as a “hotelling” location for those commissioned staff in between meetings in the field. This provides maximum flexibility of the space (and a smaller footprint) so during the evening that same “office space” will be used for council and district meetings.

What about the space at the Egan center? #letsPLAY
The Egan Center and the New England Base Camp are the program delivery hub for Scouting across Eastern MA and soon New England. While we will maintain a small administrative staff in that location the majority of that highly valuable indoor space will be used for program delivery. Likely an improved STEM Center, Birthday party rooms, Handicrafts and other program features that’ll enhance the quality of the program.

New England Base Camp’s 2015 Top Ten

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2015 has been an incredible year for New England Base Camp. So much has happened that it is near impossible to make a top list for the year. With that being said, here is our top ten moments or events for 2015:

10) We started to host Birthday Parties at Base Camp
This is a new way for us to reach out to families that are involved in Scouting and to families that are potentially interested in Scouting. Families can come and for a low price get 4 hours of program for the group, a room to host their party and a birthday cake. This service is offered every weekend that program is being offered. My favorite moment with the parties was the Sweet 16 party that we hosted.

9) Andrew Kelly
You may not have heard about Andrew Kelly, but you will. He is an 18 year old swimmer from Belmont that trains with our friends at the Shamrock Swim 5 days a week and he made the Olympic Tryouts. This summer he was invited to a special training session where he got to swim with Michael Phelps! This is not a one off with Shamrock. This is the second year in a row where we have had a swimmer be invited to try out for the National Team!

shamrock8) Changes to the Egan Center
If you walk straight to the program areas instead of walking into the Egan Center when you come to Base Camp, you are missing a HUGE difference from last year. When you walk in, you will see our display of famous Massachusetts scouts on the wall. 56 Scouts and former Scouts are being displayed and more are being added on a regular basis. Walk down the hall and you will see kids working on their climbing skills on our bouldering wall. Once you get to the end of the hall, you will walk straight into the STEM Room where you can spend hours building dinosaurs, identifying the animals of the Blue Hills or designing the tree house that we are going to build. Before you walk about the door, take a look to your right. We hope you will never need it, but there is our new 1st Aid Center.

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7) Service Projects
Several groups and Scout Units have come out to Base Camp this year and worked on service projects. Companies like Vertex brought a whole crew of volunteers to work on painting the walls, installing the program signs around the camp and getting the cabins ready for renovation. Several units have done service projects at camp. Some of them, like Pack 42’s owl houses, worked on a service project at the Pack level and then installed them on a day outing to camp. Are you or your unit interested in helping out and doing a service project? Contact us today to let us assist you.

birdhouse 2 bird houses

6) Will Bales and HyperShock
Eagle Scout Will Bales has become a huge part of the New England Base Camp experience. Will has been very generous with his time and came out to Day Camp this summer, along with his robot HyperShock, and spent the day talking about robotics. You may know Will from the TV show BattleBots. If you don’t, one of your Scouts will. Equally exciting is that Will has agreed to teach Robots Merit Badge at STEM Camp this April Vacation. I am sure that will make a highlight for 2016 as well!

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5) Boy’s Life and P.R
New England has been getting lots of exposure for the program that we have been developing and rolling out. If started with an article in the Globe on March 1st about the year round program that we offer (https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/south/2015/03/01/move-boy-scouts-camp-for-all-seasons/yeRbQFNP3vkg5IGkEp29AI/story.html). Not to be outdone, the Patriot Ledger ran an article this fall about Base Camp being open to the public (http://www.patriotledger.com/article/20150918/NEWS/150915802). The biggest press came this December in Boy’s Life. If you missed it, we are featured in the center of the magazine about our amazing winter program.

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4) STEM Camp
Once again we hosted an amazing STEM Camp at New England Base Camp. This year we hosted Scott Lagasse Jr. at camp along with his NASCAR. Every participant got to spend time talking to Scotty and take a look at his car. Scouts in the Nuclear Science Merit Badge took a field trip to MIT where they took a tour of the Fusion Department.

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3) Peter and Paul Reynolds
Twin brothers Peter (and Eagle Scout) and Paul (a Star Scout) stopped by Pumpkinfest this year where they hosted a little drawing session and a book signing. Not only is an Eagle Scout, but he is also the author and illustrator of “The Dot”. One of the many jobs that Peter and Paul do is the CEO’s of the animation company FableVision. I am always excited to see Peter and Paul, but this time they announced that they, along with FableVision, will be hosting Animation Merit Badge at STEM Camp in 2016. As an added bonus, Peter produced an amazing piece of artwork for the Famous Scout exhibit in the Egan Center

https://www.facebook.com/nebasecamp/videos

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2) The Winter Program
in 2014 we started to play with the winter program. In 2015 we expanded what we offered. The big program being offered is our Ice Climbing, but Scouts, groups and families can come and enjoy ice skating, swimming, shooting, sledding and snurfing, how to build a quincy, and much more. The ice climbing is already sold out for 2016, but that does not mean that you can not come and enjoy the other program. Call today, 617-615-0004, to book your winter adventure

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1) Change of names
There is a big difference between Camp Sayre and New England Base Camp. Camp Sayre is a beautiful place to come and go camping. After all, you are in the middle of the Blue Hills. New England Base Camp is the premiere location to do outdoor activities. With 15 different program areas and over 250 different activities that are offered every weekend, you will find yourself coming over and over. So come and camp at Camp Sayre and enjoy a day that you will not soon forget at New England Base Camp.

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