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.