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From the Desk of the Scout Executive – May 2018

Embrace the change

I’m looking out my window absolutely surprised by the changes in my garden in only a week’s time. The watershed tree lot behind my home has gone from dead looking trees to a sea of green. My bright yellow forsythia is starting to green up, tulips, hostas, bleeding hearts and ferns are all popping up and beginning to bloom.  And I know later today I need to sharpen my mower blades and do the first mow of the season. New England still surprises me when we go from dormant to fully alive, it’s quite the change.

Here at Mohegan Council and in the entire Boy Scouts of America we are set for a lot of change too. And I know many are excited about the new possibilities while some are a bit afraid of new things that lay ahead. I’ve always looked at change as a type of Spring, you’re not quite sure what or when new things will pop up, but usually they turn out great. Sometimes you must do a little work, fertilizing, pruning, weeding, but the garden is always renewed.

Besides our regular chores of getting Treasure Valley ready for the summer camp season, and helping our Scout units get back to full strength with Spring recruitments we have a few more things going on:

  • On the evening of May 30Nashua Valley Council will vote on whether to consolidate or merge with us. On the morning of May 31, our Council will vote. A joint merger task force has spent a year reviewing and recommending this action. Both Council Executive Boards voted unanimously to proceed, and the Town Hall meetings to date have been positive. It’s a big change in our Council structure, but one that we believe will enhance service to our units, strengthen our Districts, and grow Scouting and the resources necessary to sustain our local movement. Units will still call the same phone numbers, ask for the same staff, camp at the same camps and deliver their weekly program. This new “Central Massachusetts Council” (temporary name) will be a work in progress needing some fertilizing, pruning and weeding as we move forward. More information on this process can be found here, and if both Council votes are positive, be on the lookout for our new Council naming contest.

And at Treasure Valley, we have a couple of great Spring changes:

  • Thanks to a generous grant from the George W. P. Magee Memorial Trust (our largest ever) a new topcoat will be laid on our East camp road June 11-12. This will include some needed widening and handicapped accessibility ramps, and should last for the next couple of decades.
  • On June 13, we will dedicate the new Mohegan Lodge on Boonesville plain. Thanks to a lead gift from the Chuck and Monica McQuaid Family Foundation, again with help from theGeorge W. P. Magee Memorial Trust, and with a ton of service from our active Friends of the Valley volunteer team and the expertise of Ranger Matt, the old Life Lodge has been transformed into a year-round building. It will serve as a great Scoutmaster retreat during the summer and as a heated year-round space.
  • And finally, sometime in July, we will thank all the terrific contributors and rededicate our new and improved Carr Waterfront.

And to top off our season of change, the Boy Scouts of America are changing too.

Here are the big ones:

  • Lion Cubs, the national pilot program for Kindergarteners, has now be fully adopted and now an integrated part of the Cub Scout program. This is an easy change for us since most of our Cub Packs are already using this great program. How do you groom new Tiger Den Leaders? You have a good Lion Cub program.
  • The new Family Cub program officially kicks-off here June 6. Cub Packs and their Chartered Partners have a choice of the adopting this new Family program with boy dens and girl dens, keeping their all boy Pack, and/or starting an all-girl Pack. About half of our Packs have already chosen the new Family Cub model. These folks are excited about being able to serve the whole family, see the possibility of many new parents that can serve as leaders, and are confident they can handle the increased size of the Pack. As one Cubmaster told me, wouldn’t that be a great problem to have? More information on these changes can be found here. And yes, we are ready for girls at Cub Scout Adventure Camp this summer, and those who attended as Family & Friends last year had a blast, so it’s not too late to sign up.
  • Scouts, BSA begins February 1, 2019. A name change, not for our organization, but for the Boy Scout program. Interesting that I saw a 1940’s wool BSA shirt from a Facebook friend with that same logo/name on the pocket. We’ll have the summer and fall to work with existing Troops and Chartered Partners to talk about the extension of our older youth program. Again, the new program is not a coed one, but one where single-gender Scout units might share the same Chartered Partner, Unit Committee and resources, or they may not. This a new garden plot for us, and it will take some work. I can’t wait to see what we will grow. More information to come, click here to check out current resources and to stay informed – remember, you get the info as quick as we do!

Some exciting times ahead. I know together we’ll be able to plant and grow a great garden that will truly serve all the needs of our families today.

See you out at the valley,|
Jeff

Scout Executive’s Blog & FOS Update – March 2018

Why do you volunteer or give to Scouting?

That’s a question I like to ask people involved with Scouting. What’s their story about why they volunteer or support us? I’m always interested in what they have to say, and many times I am moved by what motivates them.

Many become involved because of their child’s involvement. You know, only an hour a week is what we all say. Others were Scouts when they were young and they feel they owe the organization for all the good things that came their way in their Scouting career.

Some have seen a life transformed by the Scouting program. Things like watching their boy go from a quiet introverted Scout who never volunteers, to a camp staff leader that others look up to. And some remember that special adult that changed their life, or challenged them when they became an Eagle Scout to step up, and to someday pay back Scouting for what they have received.

All of us should remember many great volunteers are involved and give to support our movement because someone asked them. I’ve heard many stories where folks tell me they had no idea what we did, but a Ted, Michael, Warren, Sanjay, Charlie… asked them to help. They agreed because they were asked by a friend. They stayed because of the program we have, a program that does change lives.

Thank you for what you do, I hope I see some of you at our March 27th Prepared. For Life. Breakfast, and please if you’d like, send me a note or email and tell me why you are involved with the Boy Scouts of America. Keep reading below for an update on our Friends of Scouting campaign.

See you at the Valley,
Jeff
jeff.hotchkiss@scouting.org


Friends of Scouting 2018 – March Update

Friends of Scouting campaign ends February close to our benchmark of 50%. Quinsigamond district takes top honors at 48%. Many of their units are taking up our FOS challenge (click here). Our Community campaign kicks-off at our March 27th “Prepared for Life” at the College of the Holy Cross. Our benchmark for March is 75%.

Campaign 2018 Pledges as of 3/1/2018 %Goal 
Council Goal
Council
Advisory/MAL $4,300 $2,500 58%
Community/ Year of Scouting $45,700 $3,147 7%
Executive Board $43,000 $34,075 79%
Matching $0 $0 0%
Council Total $93,000 $39,722 43%
Mill Town
Leadership $4,000 $1,223 31%
Community $3,500 $0 0%
Family $26,000 $11,375 44%
Matching $0 0%
Total $33,500 $12,598 38%
Quinsigamond
Leadership $1,500 $700 47%
Community $3,000 $62 2%
Family $29,000 $15,460 53%
Matching $0 0%
Total $33,500 $16,222 48%
District Totals $67,000 $28,820 43%
Grand Total $160,000 $68,542 43%

From the Desk of the Scout Executive – February 2018

Pretty spry for 108!

The Boy Scouts of America turns 108 this month and as an organization I think we’re pretty darn spry. We still have a lot of get-up-and-go, both nationally and here at Mohegan Council.

The biggest news out of the National Council this past year was the approval of the inclusion of girls into our Cub Scout program in the later part of 2018 and into our Boy Scout program in 2019. When we were founded, the concern was about growing boys into leaders, because in 1910 almost all leaders were men. Today both men and women lead our communities, businesses and country so it really does make sense that our character building and leadership training programs be offered to all. We had a great webinar for those packs interested in the early adoption of a girl’s program. Some packs are interested in beginning soon, the majority are using this time to get ready for our regular rollout in June. To learn more and view the webinar please visit out YouTube Channel.

Campaign 2018 1/31/18 %Goal 
Council Goal
Council
Advisory/MAL $4,300 $2,500 58%
Community/ Year of Scouting $45,700 $2,031 4%
Executive Board $43,000 $32,575 76%
Matching $0 $0 0%
Council Total $93,000 $37,106 40%
Mill Town
Leadership $4,000 $1,000 25%
Community $3,500 $0 0%
Family $26,000 $1,039 4%
Matching $0 0%
Total $33,500 $2,039 6%
Quinsigamond
Leadership $1,500 $700 47%
Community $3,000 $31 1%
Family $29,000 $5,560 19%
Matching $0 0%
Total $33,500 $6,291 19%
District Totals $67,000 $8,330 12%
Grand Total $160,000 $45,436 28%

Since the start of the year I’ve also had the chance to see our great Mohegan volunteers in action.

  • Our Advancement Committee planned and hosted a great Gathering of Eagles celebration in early January. 2017 was a banner year for Eagle Scouts in our Council with 94 top ranks earned.
  • Our Popcorn committee hosted our Popstars and their families at the Railers game where our top sellers got to drop the puck.
  • Our development committee is gathering steam as we launch our fund-raising season, Family Friends of Scouting, and our Prepared. For Life. Community breakfast on March 27th.
  • Our Friends of Treasure Valley, along with a generous family foundation donation, continue to transform the former Life Lodge near Boonesville plain into the new year-round Mohegan Lodge.
  • Our Board met and celebrated our 2017 achievements, we again earned Silver in the Journey to Excellence program.

But for me, one of the most exciting things was talking with the Scoutmaster of Hadwen Park Congregational Church this week. He told me about their great plans with the Pack and Troop for Scout Sunday this weekend – and that they would also be celebrating their one-year birthday. I helped with their organization and remember how we weren’t sure if we could make it a go when only one boy showed up at their first Troop recruitment. The Church and their leaders stuck with it and today they have seven Boy Scouts and seventeen Cub Scouts enthusiastically participating. We do have an idea and a program that are attractive to kids and their families. And with a good Chartered partner and dedicated leaders Scouting can flourish. Pretty good for 108!

This coming year will be exciting. We’ll be enrolling girls into Cub Scouts, learning and getting ready for the new older girl Scouting program that will require the organization of many all-girl Troops in 2019. We’ll conclude our discussions with the Nashua Valley Council about what is best for Scouting in central Massachusetts, coming together or not. Look for more on that next month. We’ll dedicate the new Mohegan Lodge at Treasure Valley and make some decisions about future development. We’ll be organizing a study committee to look at our Scout Service Center and we’ll also be reaching out to all of you as we begin work on a new Council Strategic Plan.

The Friends of Scouting campaign has exceeded the January benchmark of 25%. The Council Executive Board is leading the way. Quinsigamond District Family campaign is off to a good start.

Stay tuned for a busy, exciting and terrific year.

Stay warm, stay healthy and keep on Scouting.
Jeff


From the live Webinar with Institution Heads about Girls in Cub Scouts –

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