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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

From the Desk of the Scout Executive – August 2017

Endings and Beginnings

As I write this, our summer camp staff has finished buttoning up camp for the season and are off to a fun day in Providence. It was the end of a great summer camping season. Here are some facts from this summer of ’17:

  • Attendance was up on the Boy Scout side significantly, +8%, hitting 720 boys weeks.
  • We had a 22% growth in in-council campers and exploded our provisional camping program by 36%.
  • Six Mohegan Council Troops returned to the Valley, and our reviews from Scout leaders were high all summer.
  • People liked our ongoing physical improvements: new beach, docks, boat racks and sheds at the east waterfront, newly seeded & watered green lawns at Boonesville Plain, sports field and the top of the hill, lot of talk about what the new Mohegan Lodge will be at Boonesville Plain (we’re looking to complete that project this winter).
  • Our Cub leaders also enjoyed the improvements on the West beach, again new docks & lifeguard tower and railings.
  • But the biggest Cub improvement was the reopening of the Fort Courage campsite with a fully functioning latrine that also included two showers. Our overnighters really enjoyed that convenience.
  • Finally, lots of great feedback on our staff and program, the native farm and chicken coop gathering lots of interest.

Our team of young staffers delivered a great summer for those that camped with us at Treasure Valley.

Just as we end our summer season, other teams of volunteers are charging ahead with plans for the fall:

  • Our popcorn team is ready for our big kick-off on the 17th, we’ve recruited the Worcester Railers as one of our key sponsors.
  • Our district membership teams are gearing up for their September roundtable kick-offs, Launch Into Scouting patches and free pairs of Railers home opener tickets for new boys recruited by October 13th.
  • Plans are being finalized by our TVEX committee for their three big fall events: Camp Expo on 9/16, Cub Safari on 9/30 and Woodsman weekend on 11/18.
  • Our Order of the Arrow Lodge has a Fall Ordeal planned for 9/9, and the 60th anniversary Fellowship set for 9/23 (and we have a Beaver work day at camp that day too).

Endings and beginnings in our Scouting year. I hope you take advantage of some of the things we have to offer. As always, we plan fun with a purpose, and you know that fun keeps families in Scouting longer. And the longer we can influence them, the better the outcome.

See you at camp

Jeff

From the Desk of the Scout Executive – July 2017

What inspires you? Is it a vision of what could be? Is it a mentor who helped you? Is it the outdoors where you can see God’s hand in creation? Is it a bunch of enthusiastic people who also want to make a difference in the lives of children? Or is it just a time to get away, break bread with friends, and spend some time dreaming about what can be done?

I experienced all of these things at the Council Key 3 training held at the Philmont national training center. Our new Council President, Rochelle Ray, our Council Commissioner, Robert Shamgochian, and I spent the third week of June in the mountains of New Mexico learning from some great instructors and sharing our experiences with Council Key 3’s from across the country. We came back inspired and loaded with ideas. We also bought our fair share of mementos from the Tooth of Time Traders store. We had a chance to hear from Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh about thoughts and plans for the future of Scouting. He was very good at explaining the opportunities we face and soliciting ideas and feedback from the group. I think the future is very bright for our movement.

Our Key 3 realized that we, like District & Unit Key 3’s, have a key role in driving our organization forward. We all need to be on the lookout for what is best for our Unit, District and Council. And we all need to be on the hunt for new talented volunteers who need to be asked to make a difference in the life of youth in our community.

I hope your summer plans include your unit coming to Treasure Valley. The camp looks outstanding, and the staff just delivered a great first week (special thanks to all those extra volunteers who made “STEAM” week terrific). Boonesville plain and the waterfront have been transformed, the sports field grass is growing, the chicken Coop and farm plot are thriving, our refurbished west side Fort Courage campsite has “Showers”, and work continues on the total rehab of Life Lodge (a blue tarp special no more).

And if you don’t have a unit coming, come visit yourself, we want to show you our progress.

Look forward to seeing you at the Valley,

Jeff