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Scout Executive’s Blog – December 2017

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Melody and I enjoyed a visit from both of our daughters, and our relatively new son in law. It’s great to catch up and to hear their stories of living life as adults. We also did some early Christmas celebrations since Kim and Trygve will be spending that holiday at his folks.

Melody and I are blessed to have them, and we know their Scouting experiences – the girls in Girl Scouts, Trygve is an Eagle scout, played a part in who they are today. For those still early in the parenting journey, I can tell you the best is yet to come.

I enjoy the holiday season, the colder weather and early nights lend themselves to more time at home where I hope you have the time for a game night, laughs with the kids, and just time to talk.

I know many Mohegan Scouters do some of what I described, but I also know your busy making Scouting go in the heart of our Commonwealth. In the last few weeks:

  • We finished our Scouting for Food drive (don’t forget to record your service hours on-line).
  • We did our final popcorn distribution on a terrific sale where we sold close to a ½ million dollars of popcorn.
  • We had over 600 people attend the sold-out shooting sports Woodsman Weekend at TVSR
  • We had a good recharter turn-in (thanks to the majority of our units who got the paperwork in).

I saw many of you at these events and I know I missed countless others of you who were at Troop meetings, Pack meetings, and Eagle Courts of Honor that I couldn’t attend. Scouting is full of opportunity, but I do hope you can find the time that I think this season brings to us for family and friends.

Are there Scouting things left to do before the end of the year? You bet and here are a few to work on:

  • If your recharter is not complete, get it in or you will be a dropped unit in January. Ouch!
  • Turn in your Journey to Excellence worksheet for this past year, and begin setting some goals for the next.
  • It’s time to schedule your 2018 Friends of Scouting (our annual giving ask) presentation for your unit. We suggest sometime in the first three months of the New Year, and we’ve made the presentation simpler, easier & quicker.
  • And through the 22nd of this month be sure to stop by the Scout Shop for your last-minute stocking stuffers, and other Scouter gifts needed for this season. We have a whole bunch of Treasure Valley items that will make your camper happy.

What’s on the horizon for 2018?

  • I hope all Eagles Scouts, past & present, are planning on attending the Eagle Recognition banquet on January 6th.
  • That you’ll come pack the ice at our Worcester Railers scout night on January 20th, we’ll also recognize all our Popstars that evening.
  • And that everyone is planning a great celebration of Scouting’s birthday on February 8th.

Thanks for all that you do, we’re making a difference.

Happy Holidays
Jeff

From the Desk of the Scout Executive – November 2017

Was October busy for you? Fall Cub Scout Recruitment, Popcorn sales, TVEX – Cub Safari (actually in September but oh-so-good, our Cub Scout Adventure Camp Camp Kick-off at UMass, and the somewhat surprising announcement that Scouting would begin inviting young girls to join our program in the Fall of 2018.

It’s November, what’s coming next? Day-light savings time has ended, winter preparation is in high-gear with leaf clean-up and snow blower maintenance, football starts its second half, the Bruins & Celtics get into full swing, and we all get ready for the feast at Thanksgiving… and if you’re a leader in a Scout unit?  You have some November items to tackle too:

  • Did you recruit lots of new Cub Scouts and leaders this fall?

Many of you did! Have you got all these new families registered and involved? Are the boys in active dens? Have you oriented the parents? Have you helped your new leaders get trained? If you had a poor recruitment or if one den is a bit small have you contacted your district membership chair and asked for help doing a redo? We are on track to grow again this year; I’d love to be able to tell folks out in the community that Scouting continues to expand. Let us know how we can help you be successful.

  • Are you on track to get your unit rechartered by Thanksgiving?

You need to log in, correct the roster, collect fees, meet with the Chartered Organization to update them and get signatures, get leaders Youth Protection Trained, and get it submitted to the Council Service Center. Remember the big change this year is that you can do most of these things, including approvals, online. You can also pay online, but if you want to save on the national $35 service fee you can still come in and pay here at the Service Center. So you can use all the new features or fill in your charter the old fashion way, just find the time to get your unit registered. Let your Commissioner know if you need help.

  • Have you set a meeting with your Unit Commissioner and Chartered Organization Representative to go over your 2017 Journey to Excellence worksheet?

How do you compare to other Scout units across the nation? Will you be a bronze, silver or gold achiever? Get it done, turn it in, get the patch and tell your parents how well you really do. This will also help you set some goals for the coming year.

  • Are you ready to close out your popcorn account with the Service Center?

We had a great sale again, but we do owe Pecatonica River Popcorn a large sum of money that we can’t pay ’till you settle up. So please clear your books so we can clear ours.

  • Have you bought your Scout holiday presents?

(Okay, this is a commercial) We have the new Holiday Scout Stuff items for sale already as well as some Treasure Valley specials on the way (pre-order here before Dec 1, available in-store after), and we can always order anything you need out of the Scout catalog (let us pay for shipping).

So I hope you get to all the things that need doing as we head into winter. I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving. And thanks for all that you do to prepare the next generation to be the best that they can be.

Jeff

P.S. Don’t forget to vote!

From the Desk of the Scout Executive – October 2017

Could you use some good news?

Do you want to feel good about America today and hopeful for the future? My suggestion is to spend more time with Scouting and less with the headline news of the day. This month I’ve been reminded of our great legacy and have seen what the future holds.

No, I have not been gazing into a crystal ball or participating in a séance, but I have been meeting a lot of new terrific Scouts and Scouters. We have a great legacy of service to our community and youth. It’s in our DNA to help. I have heard from Council Execs’ impacted by recent Hurricanes who have with, Troop leaders (and with school not in session) organized scouts to knock on doors and offer clean up assistance in impacted neighborhoods. You too showed your concern by calling and emailing me asking how we could help.

I also got to participate in the selection process for our October 25th Council Awards dinner. The nominations we received catalogue decades of service in Scouting and in our community. Those finally selected, and it was hard to choose, represent the best in Scouting. That evening we will recognize the following:

  • For Silver Beaver; the highest award a local council can give to a registered Scouter –
    • Irene J Markevicius, who has volunteered for many positions in this council and has lead Lithuanian scouting for decades.
    • Robert Shamgochian, who has served as our Council Commissioner, the Quinsigamond District Commissioner, Pack 62 Cubmaster and on Woodbadge and Jamboree staffs.
  • For the North Star award; the inaugural highest award a local council can give to a non-Scouter –
    • Tim Garvin, who is the longtime Executive Director of the Central Massachusetts United Way and a supporter of scouting.
  • For the NESA National Outstanding Eagle Award; recognizing Eagle Scouts for years of service –
    • Ray Griffin, who has served on our Council Board, was a key player in developing our solar farm at Treasure Valley and the current leader of the Friends of Treasure Valley crew.
    • Al Swenson, who founded the Friends of the Valley after he retired as our Scout Executive and continues to find ways to serve youth through the Scouting program.

I hope you make plans to join us or at least recognize these great folks with a note, call or gift in their honor. Click here to RSVP online, by October 18.

Lastly, I feel very good about our future. For the first time in many years I participated in the interviews for Lodge officers in our Boy Scout Honor Society, the Order of the Arrow. You would have been impressed with the poise, earnestness and ideas these young men had as they looked to lead the group. I also enjoyed myself at Cub Safari with the 300 plus families who had fun! Nothing like laughing, smiling kids and their parents who took the time to be with them to cheer you up. It was a brisk day, but there was spring in peoples’ steps.

Thanks for what you do to help us grow, enjoy the fall.
Jeff

From the Desk of the Scout Executive – September 2017

End of a great summer –

I can’t believe it’s September, it felt like Fall the last few days; especially with the remnants of Hurricane Harvey. I really can’t believe what our friends in Houston have been through – I hope you’ve found some way to help.

I just beat the storm out of Dallas returning from the BSA Top Hands meeting. I caught an early flight so I could be back to attend the Treasure Valley Homecoming. Aaron Langlois and crew organized a great event. It was fun to hears stories from folks who attended and worked at Treasure Valley over the years.

Folks from every decade from the 50’s on were represented. We got to meet Kit Carson, the youth highlighted in Boy’s Life for his heroism during the ’53 Worcester tornado, I got to hear and watch the joy of folks who had not been to camp in 50 plus years, and we honored Mike McQuaid with the first Roger Hunt Service Award. It was all terrific.

Our first nine months of the year have been too. We’ve had membership growth every month since December of last year. What you are doing is attracting and holding boys in Scouting. Keep it up.

At the Top Hands meeting I learned about:

  • Good enhancements with on-line recharter (see the article in the September MiniMoc).
  • Feedback received from the national town hall meetings about expanding the family of Scouting. 75% of folks think we should keep talking. No decisions have been made yet, and we have a lot to figure out. I’m a former GSA leader and have always appreciated what they do.
  • Great new stuff online for a Unit Membership Coordinator
  • A new emphasis on youth protection
  • And the tough one to hear – a registration fee increase in the coming months (see the article in the September MiniMoc)

I hope you enjoyed the Labor Day weekend, I look forward to a great Fall. More kids and families, some terrific program planned for camp, popcorn to sell, and the beauty of our New England to inspire.

See you at camp,

Jeff