Blog Post List

Unit Websites and Social Media 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Thursday, June 1, 2017 9:56:00 AM

The Sam Houston Area Council is focusing on leveraging the power of communications through websites and on social media through Facebook.  The more Scouters share and repost, the more powerful our marketing can be.

Share your unit social media sites

While we are currently focused on Facebook, we have plans to expand to other types of social media. 

We are compiling a list of unit social media sites so we can work together to spread the word about Scouting by tagging, liking commenting and sharing each other posts. 

Would you like your unit website to be listed on your district website?  If so, please complete our social media survey.

Sam Houston Area Council
Social Media Channels

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Help spread the word about Scouting on Facebook

 

Like Us.

 

Engage.

Click, like, comment, and share our posts. 

 

Mention the council in your posts. 

Type "@Sam Houston Area Council" and then select the council from the list that appears.

 

Share Memories.

Share your Scouting memories with us by sending photos and videos.  You can post them on our wall or send them to us as a message. You may just see them posted on our wall.

 

Invite Friends.

Invite your Scouting friends to Like our page. 

 

Select 'Post in News Feed'.

Select the ‘Post in News Feed’ option on the ‘Liked’ button. 

 

Studies show that page posts typically reach a small amount of their total followers. Facebook uses algorithms to determine which stories appear in a user’s Newsfeed. Just liking a page doesn’t guarantee that it will show up in your feed. Engaging (i.e., clicking, liking, commenting, tagging, and sharing) with a page’s content makes it more likely that you’ll see it.

Camp Development March 2017 Update 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Friday, March 24, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Camp Development for the 21st Century

March 2017 Update

The Sam Houston Area Council (“council”) has the vision to become a leader in camping by having first-class facilities that are well maintained and provide safe, fun and educational outdoor programs for our Scouts.  In 2012, the council approved a new Camping Vision Statement: Exemplary, Sustainable Outdoor Experiences and Creative Learning for 21st Century Youth and Their Leaders.”

To achieve this vision, the council has a properties master plan.  This plan is modified from time to time based on need and situational events.

In developing the plan, the following are key principles that drive decisions:

  • Exemplary – first-class facilities, maintained to meet today’s standards;
  • Program Impact – delivering high quality programs associated with quality facilities – basically driving towards achieving the goals of the Camping Vision Statement;
  • Impact – maximizing the use and access based on location to our camps by as many Scouts as possible;
  • Efficiency – being a good steward of resources and eliminating redundancy; and
  • Sustainable – a long-term solution for ongoing operating and maintenance costs and the long-term maintenance of facilities.

Plans

The current plan includes the development of new camps including the new Tellepsen Scout Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch (near Navasota, Texas) that opened in 2015, the new Camp Strake (near Evergreen, Texas) planned to open in summer 2019 and a new Janis and George Fleming Cub World at Bovay Scout Ranch (near Navasota, Texas), which will open in a few years.  It also comprises making improvements to Camp Brosig (near Sealy, Texas) and McNair Cub Adventure Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch (near Navasota, Texas).

Camp Strake is currently under construction with a schedule for opening in summer 2019 for Boy Scout summer resident camp.  Please view the Camp Strake Video for additional information about the exciting plans for Camp Strake.  



Camp Strake Lake Rendering
*Planned lake requires permits that are in process to attain.

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Camp Development –  March 2017 Update (“FAQ”) for information about the Camping Vision Statement, properties master plan, schedules and plans for Boy Scout summer resident camp during summer 2018. 

For additional information about Camp Strake (e.g., design plans, construction schedule, periodic updates), please reference www.samhoustonbsa.org/camp-strake.

Camp Strake Plans

Funding  

Donations are a major source of funding to develop capital improvements in the properties master plan. The council is in the midst of a major gifts campaign called Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign, which will dedicate more than $21 million for this purpose. The Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign is an initiative to unleash the potential of our programs and camp properties to best serve the needs of Scouting families in the 21st century. Please refer to the Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign for more information.

Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign 

Frequently Asked Questions

General Camp Development

What are the Sam Houston Area Council’s plans for camp development?

In 2012, the Sam Houston Area Council (“council”) approved a new Camping Vision Statement: Exemplary, Sustainable Outdoor Experiences and Creative Learning for 21st Century Youth and Their Leaders.”

Our vision is to become a leader in camping by having first-class facilities that are well maintained and to provide safe, fun and educational outdoor programs for our Scouts.

To achieve this vision, the council has a properties master plan.  This plan is modified from time to time based on need and situational events.

The plan includes developing new camps such as the Tellepsen Scout Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch (near Navasota, Texas) that opened in 2015, the new Camp Strake (near Evergreen, Texas) that is currently scheduled to open in summer 2019, and a new Janis and George Fleming Cub World at Bovay Scout Ranch (near Navasota, Texas), which will open in a few years.  It also comprises making improvements to Camp Brosig (near Sealy, Texas) and McNair Cub Adventure Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch (near Navasota, Texas).   

Are there any metrics/standards being used to measure how the c ouncil achieves the Camping Vision Statement?

Yes.  They are below.

Exemplary

  • Do the camps provide the opportunity to fulfill the aims and methods of Scouting?
  • Are facilities and programs safe and well maintained and meet today’s standards?
  • Are all program needs (Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturing) based on the defined role of the camp being met? 
  • Are the numbers of participants utilizing the programs at an appropriate level and increasing over time?
  • Are the programs fun, creative and educational?
  • Are the camps appropriately located for their intended use?

Sustainable

  • Does the camp operate within a board approved budget?
  • Is the property environmentally sound for future generations?

21st Century Youth

  • Are programs that are conducted attractive and exciting for today’s youth?
  • Are the programs that are conducted leading youth to lifelong values, service and achievement?

Other

  • User (youth and adult) feedback will be sought as a confirmation of their experience.

Definitions

  • Well maintained – “routine maintenance and major maintenance is conducted as scheduled and needed.”
  • Environmentally sound for future generations – “the camp and its facilities are designed, managed and maintained in a manner that balances program use with sustainability.”
  • Attractive and exciting for today’s youth – “incredible facilities and fun and /or intense outdoor programs that expand the limits of what youth can do."

Camp Strake

Where is the location of the new Camp Strake that is being constructed and scheduled to open in summer 2019?
The new camp is located near the community of Evergreen, Texas, between New Waverly and Coldspring, and is about 75 miles from Houston. It is near Highway 150.  Scouts and Scouters will be able to easily get there by taking Interstate 45 or Highway 59.  It is about a thirty minute drive from the entrance of the original Camp Strake. 



 
How many acres does the new Camp Strake have?
The property includes 2,816 acres and is surrounded on three sides by the Sam Houston National Forest. 






 
Why was this site selected?
The Evergreen site was selected because it is in the heart of our target area, met our site selection criteria, which included convenient location and protection from urbanization and encroachment, and allows for expansion for programs in the future.  It is surrounded on three sides by the Sam Houston National Forest, has the Lone Star Hiking Trail going adjacent to the property, and it will be simple to get there, especially after the completion of the Grand Parkway.  


 
What will the new Camp Strake look like?

The new Camp Strake will be first-class and state-of-the-art for Scouts and their leaders and will have two distinct sections:

  • Scout camp developed for weekend and resident camp operations for Boy Scouts and Venturers;
  • Leadership Institute for advanced training programs for adult leaders and Boy Scouts/Venturers.        

 

The Scout camp for Boy Scouts and Venturers will have the following facilities:

  • 20 campsites with pavilions
  • Air conditioned dining hall with 450 person capacity
  • Event administration building
  • Large program pavilion
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) center
  • Eight merit badge pavilions
  • Shooting Sports Center with rifle, shotgun and pistol ranges
  • Shooting Sports Center for archery and sporting arrows course
  • Climbing pavilion with restrooms
  • Low ropes course
  • Zip line
  • Climbing and rappelling tower
  • Bikes and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) area
  • Aquatics Center with a swimming pool and pool house
  • Aquatics Center with lake (new lake with size range of 20-30 acres being created), observation deck and canoe storage
  • Aquatics Training pavilion
  • Sport fields
  • Basketball court
  • Extensive trail system
  • Order of the Arrow ceremony site
  • Arena for 1,200 people
  • 1 Chapel for 250 people
  • 1 Chapel for 100 people
  • Modern restrooms and shower houses
  • 40 summer camp staff huts

The Leadership Institute will have the following facilities:

  • Leadership Training Center
  • 4 cabins with 8 person capacity each
  • 4 dormitories with 16 person capacity each
  • Arena for 100 people
  • Chapel for 100 people
  • 2 Training pavilions
  • Training campsite
  • Shower houses
When will the new Camp Strake open?
It is scheduled to open in the summer of 2019. That date is predicated on favorable weather conditions and no unforeseen circumstances.
Why is it taking until 2019 to open the new Camp Strake since the land was purchased back in 2013 and 2014?
There are many things that go into the development of a project of this size and it takes time to accomplish them all. Just imagine, during many of our programs throughout the year, Camp Strake will be the largest community in San Jacinto County. Compare Camp Strake to a university campus or small city. Each have features such as roads, power, water, sewer, buildings and other amenities, which require permitting from the local, state and/or federal levels some of which take considerable time. Camp Strake will be just like constructing a university campus or small city. Following are some highlights about the new Camp Strake:
  • Will have 126 structures
  • Will have 4 miles of roads
  • Will have 11.7 miles of trails
  • Over 150,000 square feet of facilities built
  • Future lake of 20-30 acres
  • Camp Strake will be the largest community in San Jacinto County during many of our weekend or weeklong programs throughout the year

Following are some of the processes and projects that have gone into and will continue to go into the development the camp:

  • Program requirements established by Camp Strake Project Definition Team
  • Master planning by architect based on program requirements
  • Land study for infrastructure including roads, power, water, sewer and lake, etc.
  • Endangered species and archeological studies conducted as required
  • Design completed by Camp Strake Design Team with architect after multiple focus group meetings involving Scouts, leaders, and special user groups such as climbing, shooting sports, etc.
  • Budget developed and approved by Board of Directors
  • Construction documents for all infrastructure features and 126 vertical structures completed by architect
  • Contractor/(s) selected by Camp Strake Construction Committee
  • Required permits obtained from local, state and federal agencies
  • Site work including creation of new lake in the size range of 20 – 30 acres
  • Infrastructure (roads, power, water and sewer) constructed
  • Vertical structures (126) constructed
Additionally, the creation of a new lake requires obtaining state and federal permits that take considerable time. After the permits are obtained and the site work for the lake is completed, it then takes many months for the lake to fill from rain water.
What will we do if we use all the space at Camp Strake?
The site for Camp Strake was selected because it contains 2,816 acres and provides ample space for expanding programs and adding campsites for weekend camping for Boy Scouts/Venturers for years to come. The Scout camp and Leadership Institute areas are only impacting about 500 acres, so we have ample space for future expansion. Also, the property is already master planned with a site for a future Cub World.  
Will Boy Scout resident camp be held at Camp Strake?
Yes. Camp Strake will be home to our summer and winter resident camp programs. Beginning in the summer 2019, Camp Strake is currently scheduled to be the site for our Boy Scout summer resident camp. Also, Boy Scout winter resident camp will move to Camp Strake from McNair Cub Adventure Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch. The current schedule for that to occur is December of 2019.



 
What types of programs will be offered at Boy Scout summer resident camps at Camp Strake?
The Boy Scout summer resident camp programs at Camp Strake – both during the summer and winter – will be the opportunity to show the full range of what Camp Strake has to offer. Current plans for these programs include:
  • A fully-trained staff engaged to deliver the best possible program experience
  • Exceptional food service in a new, state-of-the-art and air conditioned dining hall
  • Unique staffed program experiences in Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience (COPE), aquatics (lakefront and pool-based), shooting sports, climbing, STEM and ecology, and Scouting skills
  • Exciting backcountry opportunities in hiking, biking, and ATV programs
  • Impressive camp-wide events, including campfire programs at a spirit-filled 1,200 person arena
  • Comfortable camping facilities that will include pavilions in each campsite, modern and convenient restroom/shower facilities, and direct access to key program areas
  • Between summer and winter camps, over 75 unique merit badges will be offered, in addition to a comprehensive First Class emphasis program.
When can my troop sign up for Boy Scout summer resident camp for summer 2019?
That will not be known for certain until later in 2018. But please plan to be one of the first troops to participate in the first Boy Scout summer resident camps at Camp Strake! We anticipate that when registration opens for summer 2019, campsites and spots will go fast.
What programs will Camp Strake offer for weekend camping for Boy Scouts and Venturers?
Camp Strake will offer a full range of program opportunities for unit-led outdoor experiences. During a weekend, a troop or crew will have the opportunity to utilize the aquatics programs at the new lake and pool, experience a state-of-the-art shooting sports program, seek adventure in climbing and COPE activities, or explore the vast network of trails, including the Lone Star Hiking Trail in the Sam Houston National Forest, through hiking and backpacking programs.



 
What types of programs will be offered at the Leadership Institute at Camp Strake?
The Leadership Institute at Camp Strake will serve as the council’s home for our pinnacle training opportunities for youth and adults – Wood Badge and National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT). It will also serve as a facility to accommodate basic and supplemental training, as well as a venue for planning meetings and retreats for Scouting groups.







 
Can I go see the new Camp Strake site now?
No, not at this time. While we are very anxious for everyone to see the new Camp Strake, it is an active construction site and therefore it is not safe for visitors. Additionally, because of contractual agreements with our contractors doing the work there, we are required to restrict visitor access. In the meantime, we will provide updates including photographs of the work in progress at www.samhoustonbsa.org/camp-strake.

Camp Strake Progress


 
Will there be a new Cub World at Camp Strake?
Not at this time. However, there will be a new Cub World named the Janis and George Fleming Cub World developed at the Bovay Scout Ranch instead of Camp Strake. It is planned to be constructed in a few years.




 
Why is the Janis and George Fleming Cub World going to be at Bovay Scout Ranch instead of Camp Strake?
Primarily, there are two reasons. First, we already have facilities for Cub Scouts at Bovay Scout Ranch, and there is ample room for expansion utilizing the existing resources for our Cub camping program. Second, is more cost effective. We already have some infrastructure in place at Bovay Scout Ranch to support incorporating a new Cub World. At the new Camp Strake, the infrastructure, including roads, sewer, water, etc., would have to be constructed to support a Cub World there.



 
When will the new Janis and George Fleming Cub World at Bovay Scout Ranch constructed?
No schedule has been developed at this time. However, it is an important project and plans are being developed to construct the first phase as soon as all the necessary funding is secured. The first phase of development includes six campsites, each with a pavilion, three restrooms/showers and two program elements. Additional phases will be added as funding is secured.




 
Will there ever be a Cub World at Camp Strake?
There could be. Camp Strake has the space and is master planned for a Cub World. The necessary demand for another Cub World and the funding to develop it will determine that timing.






 
Where can I get additional information about Camp Strake and keep up with its construction?
Information about Camp Strake is on the council’s website. Periodic updates on the progress of construction will be posted there. Please reference www.samhoustonbsa.org/camp-strake.

Camp Strake Progress

Summer Camp 2018

What are the council’s plans for Boy Scout summer resident camp in summer 2018 with the new Camp Strake not scheduled to open until summer 2019?
Our plans are not to conduct Boy Scout summer resident camp in 2018 at one of our camp properties and instead assist our Boy Scout troops to find a suitable summer resident camp at another council’s camp to meet their needs.

There are many other local council camps in the Texas region. We have partnered with the Capitol Area Council headquartered in Austin, Texas for troops to consider their Boy Scout summer camp program at Lost Pines Scout Reservation, located in Bastrop, Texas.

The Capitol Area Council has expanded their Lost Pines Boy Scout Summer Camp season in 2018 to accommodate our troops.

Also, we will continue to provide campership assistance for our Scouts in need to participate in a Boy Scout summer resident camp program if they attend the Lost Pines Boy Scout Summer Camp in 2018.
How would my troop register for Lost Pines Boy Scout Summer Camp at the Lost Pines Scout Reservation for summer 2018, and how would my Scout/s in need of campership assistance apply for it?
The link to the Capitol Area Council’s website page for Lost Pines Boy Scout Summer Camp is www.bsacac.org/activities/for_boy_scouts/summercamp. Once they open their registration for summer resident camp 2018, just register for a session with them just as you would any other camp.

The application for your Scout/(s) that need campership assistance will be conducted through the Sam Houston Area Council. Additional information regarding that application process will be made available after the 2017 summer resident camp season.

For all Scouts that we provide a campership to attend Lost Pines Boy Scout Camp in summer 2018, we will pay the Capitol Area Council directly on behalf of your troop.
Can my Scouts who need campership assistance apply for a campership if my troop is attending summer resident camp at any other camp other than Lost Pines Boy Scout Summer Camp?
No. We are only providing campership assistance for our Scouts whose troops are attending summer resident camp in 2018 at Lost Pines Boy Scout Summer Camp.
Why is that?
While we will promote all local councils’ camps in the Texas region for your troop to consider attending in summer 2018, we decided to pair up with a camp close to Houston that had the ability to increase capacity at its camp for this one year and for simplicity in processing campership assistance that we will continue to provide to our Scouts in need.

The Capitol Area Council’s Lost Pines Scout Reservation is located outside of Bastrop, which is approximately 125 miles and about a two-hour drive from Houston.
Why not conduct Boy Scout summer resident camp at Bovay Scout Ranch utilizing Tellepsen Scout Camp in summer 2018 like we have been doing for Boy Scout Winter Camp?

That was considered but decided not to for reasons such as:

  • Cub Scout Resident Camp is conducted in June and July at the McNair Cub Adventure Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch and this would conflict with scheduling a Boy Scout resident camp at Bovay Scout Ranch because each program would need to use the dining hall at the same time.
  • Because of the scheduling conflict and use of the dining hall, a Boy Scout summer resident camp program could not be scheduled until late July, which historically has had the lowest demand for summer camp sessions.   
  • Rather than planning to conduct one or two week-long sessions of Boy Scout resident camp at Bovay Scout Ranch, utilizing Tellepsen Scout Camp that would have to be held in late July that we anticipate the demand would be low, we determined it would be more helpful and effective to find a suitable summer resident camp at another council’s camp to meet their needs.
  • Lack of ability to conduct the standard summer aquatic programs.

Bovay Scout Ranch

Have there been any additional projects completed at Tellepsen Scout Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch since it opened in 2015?

Yes.  The following additional projects were completed in 2016: 

  • Climbing tower lighting
  • Pavilion at climbing tower
  • Canoe launch bulkhead on lake
  • Canoe storage building
  • Canoe area pavilion
  • Campfire arena
What are the plans for McNair Cub Adventure Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch?

Following are the planned projects by priority:

  • First Group of Projects
    • Roadway renovations
    • Restroom (Field Sports area)
    • Refurbish and repair existing buildings
  • Second Group of Projects
    • Parking lot expansion
    • Electrical extension into campsites
    • Storage facility at lake front
    • Pool renovation
    • Storage/Check-out building for the BMX Track
    • Nature Building Renovation (concrete floor)
  • Third Group of Projects
    • Storage facility at lake front
    • Expand pool features
When will these projects at McNair Cub Adventure Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch be completed?
Projects will be completed as soon as the needed funds are raised and collected through the Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign.

 

Camp Brosig

What are the plans for Camp Brosig?

The plans for Camp Brosig are to continue to make improvements to it as soon as the needed funds are raised and collected through the Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign.

Following are the planned projects:

  • Road repairs
  • Camp entrance
  • 2 shower/restroom facilities
  • BB gun range (Cub Scouts)
  • Archery range (Cub Scouts)
  • 2 program pavilions
  • Campsite pavilions (carport style)

General

Our camps have not always been well maintained. How will the council maintain our new camps and the improvements that are being made now?
For the first time in our council’s history, we have an endowment with sufficient resources to maintain Camp Strake into the future. We are in the process of building an endowment for Bovay Scout Ranch that in time may have sufficient resources to maintain it over time, as well.

The resources of the council are limited. We are thoughtful and take seriously our charge to use those resources wisely to provide Scouting programs to an increasing number of youth. That is our mission. It is important that we eliminate redundancies in properties and have efficient and sustainable camp operations.

The way we will maintain our camps requires us to not have more camp properties than we need based on usage, demand, and sustainability. Also, we desire and are striving to an endowment for the camps that we do need based on usage and demand.
How many camp properties and acres of land will the council own and operate after Camp Strake is completed?

Our council will own and operate three camp properties with a combined total of 4,395 acres. 

  • Bovay Scout Ranch / 1,245 contiguous acres and an additional separate 242 acres.  It includes:  
    • McNair Cub Scout Adventure Camp
    • Future Janis and George Fleming Cub World
    • Tellepsen Scout Camp
  • Camp Brosig / 92 acres
  • Camp Strake / 2,816 acres. It will include:
    • Scout Camp (to be named)
    • Leadership Institute (to be named)

 

Questions

For additional questions, contact Thomas.Franklin@scouting.org.

 

New Online Membership Registration 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Thursday, March 9, 2017 3:49:00 AM

Great news!

Scouting families and prospective Scouting families have asked for it, and now it is here!

Beginning this fall, the traditional paper registration method will not be the only way to join Scouting. This is a giant leap forward in allowing prospective members and leaders to register in a way that's convenient for them, and it creates a more efficient and user-friendly registration experience for units, districts, and councils.

Beginning in April, a new online registration option will launch. This option will be convenient and safe and, because it offers greater efficiency, it will allow the ability to reach and serve more youth.  

All applications and payment of the registration fees can be completed online. This will eliminate the need for travel to the Cockrell Scout Center to turn in and pay for new applications.

More Information
 

Before You Start – Preparation Checklist

There are important steps you must take to prepare!

It is critical that you complete all items on the checklist for your Scouting role below to ensure you are granted the necessary permissions to work within the online registration system. Access to information, and the ability to take action within the system, is granted based on these permissions. To have the appropriate access, your role, council name, and a valid email address must be listed correctly in your my.scouting tools profile.

 

Training Videos 

 

How-To Files 

My.Scouting.org

One of the requirements to access online membership registration is the charter organization representative, unit leader and committee chairman must have a My.Scouting account. This account will allow approval online of all applications. When registering for an account a BSA member ID number is required. This number is found on BSA membership cards.  

Set up an My.Scouting Account 

Special Message to LDS Units

Units chartered to the LDS Church are automatically recognized in the online registration system. Your registration fees will continue to be paid directly by the Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. Therefore, your invoice should show a balance of $0.00 for registration fees.

However, families will be given the opportunity to purchase Boys' Life magazine, which is not covered by the Church and will be on the invoice at checkout for the family to pay.

Contacts, FAQs, Assistance

My.Scouting

  1. Visit the website 
  2. Contact Member Care Contact Center at myscouting@scouting.org or 972-580-2489


BSA member ID number

  1. Ask the unit leader or unit commissioner. They can access My.Scouting Tools and look up individual member IDs in the Member Manager tool. The member ID is also on a roster from Internet Advancement that's accessible under Menu/Legacy Web Tools/Internet Advancement.
  2. Contact Donna Burke at donna.burke@scouting.org or 713-756-3398 
  3. Contact the Member Care Contact Center: myscouting@scouting.org or 972-580-2489

Online registration

  1. Registration workflow
  2. FAQs
  3. Questions about the preparation checklist, contact the Member Care Contact Center at myscouting@scouting.org or 972-580-2489
  4. District executive

BeAScout.org

District website units page

  • Send updates to district webmaster (use website feedback form under the resources tab on district website)

 

Does Scouting Work? 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, March 1, 2017 11:56:00 AM

Source:  Scouting Wire

For 106 years (as of this week) Boy Scouts of America has been the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, helping young people to be “Prepared. For Life.” We know it, parents know it, Scouts and Scouters know it – but we wanted scientific proof that Scouting positively impacts character development in youth. So we got it and shared it on Scouting Wire.

Scouting Builds Positive Character

To recap, a research team from Tufts University worked with the Cradle of Liberty Council to measure the character attributes of both Scouts and non-Scouts. The project, which was funded by the John Templeton Foundation and led by Dr. Richard M. Lerner, surveyed nearly 1,800 Cub Scouts and nearly 400 non-Scouts to better understand character development of Scouts. After a two-and-a-half-year period, the study proved Scouting builds positive character and prepares young people for life.

Add This New Video to Your Toolkit

We packaged up some helpful tools to further show the value of Scouting in Resources to Help You Prove the Value of Scouting – but now we’ve got one more asset to add to your council’s toolkit!

Internet users – especially millennials- are consuming more video content than ever, so it’s important to reach potential Scouting families via the medium that’s most engaging and interesting to them. The video below showcases the study’s findings in a brief, animated summary that’s easy to understand and fun to watch. It’s the perfect recruiting tool to highlight why Scouting is the right choice for any parent seeking valuable experiences for their children.

Watch the video for yourself and then share in your councils and social networks. You can share the video from YouTube and download it via the Marketing and Membership Hub

BSA Eligibility FAQ's 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Monday, February 20, 2017 2:44:00 PM

On January 30, 2017, the Boy Scouts of America announced and released the following statement:

As one of America’s largest youth-serving organizations, the Boy Scouts of America continues to work to bring the benefits of our programs to as many children, families and communities as possible.

“While we offer a number of programs that serve all youth, Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting are specifically designed to meet the needs of boys. For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs. However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state.

“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application.  Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.

“The BSA is committed to identifying program options that will help us truly serve the whole family, and this is an area that we will continue to thoughtfully evaluate to bring the benefits of Scouting to the greatest number of youth possible – all while remaining true to our core values, outlined in the Scout Oath and Law.”

The link below is to a video of Mike Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America, on this topic.

http://scoutingnewsroom.org/press-releases/bsa-addresses-gender-identity/?utm_source=scoutinglink 

Below are questions and answers regarding this topic.

Understanding the Decision

Q. What is the BSA’s policy on allowing transgendered youth as members in Scouting?
A. The BSA does not have a policy on transgender youth. For more than 100 years, the BSA, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information documented on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs, such as Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state.

Q. What is changing?
A. Starting today, we will accept registration in our Scouting programs based on the gender identity provided on an individual’s application. BSA local councils will help facilitate locating units that can provide for the welfare and best interest of the child.

Q. Why are you making this change?
A. For more than 100 years, the BSA, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information documented on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs. However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state.

Q. What programs does this impact?
A. This change to eligibility requirements will impact single-gender programs – Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are year-round programs specifically for males in the first grade through age 17. This change does not impact STEM Scouts, Exploring or Venturing.

Q. Can an individual who was born a girl but identifies as a boy join Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts?
A. Yes. We will accept registration in our Scouting programs based on the gender identity provided on an individual’s application.

Q. Can an individual who was born a boy but identifies as a girl join Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts?
A. No. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are year-round programs specifically for males in the first grade through age 17. We will accept registration in our Scouting programs based on the gender identity provided on an individual’s application. Transgender girls can join STEM Scouts, Venturing and Exploring, since these programs are available to females.

Q. Is there a benefit to making this decision?
A. We hope that the change in our approach in determining eligibility will enable us to bring the benefits of our programs to as many children, families and communities as possible, and we encourage all interested, eligible youth to apply. Transgender youth face many struggles daily — at school, in their communities, and even at home with their parents and families. They are more likely to be harassed, have higher rates of depression, high levels of anxiety and are more likely to commit suicide than other children. At school, the atmosphere for many is hostile, and it may be even worse at home or in their communities. While it is understandable that our Scouting family may be concerned about how to best serve a transgender boy in Scouting or how welcoming a transgender boy in the program may impact a unit, these statistics shed light on a group of kids that could benefit tremendously from the benefits of Scouting in building character and leadership, as well as the supportive camaraderie and community that results in our units.

Q. How can this decision be made without my unit’s input?
A. While individual units (e.g., Packs, Troops, etc.) are locally associated with community organizations, local councils and units are chartered by the national BSA organization. This means that youth who register to participate in a Scouting program are registered as part of the national organization, which sets eligibility requirements for all councils and participating units. Decisions made regarding participant eligibility are made according to the national requirements – not at the local council or unit level – which do not discriminate with respect to gender identity. If a unit does not think it can offer a safe and welcoming environment, then BSA local councils will help facilitate locating units that can provide for the welfare and best interest of the child.

Q. Is there mounting pressure to be more inclusive and change your policies again?
A. We understand and appreciate that the values and the lessons of Scouting are attractive to the entire family, so we are committed to identifying program options that will help us truly do so. This is an area that we will continue to thoughtfully evaluate in order to bring the benefits of Scouting to the greatest number of youth possible.

How the Decision Affects My Unit

Q: How does this impact religious organizations who sponsor Scouting?
A: While religious partners will continue to have the right to make decisions based on religious beliefs, we will work with families to find local Scouting units that are the best fit for their children. If a religious organization declines to accept a youth or adult application based on their religious beliefs, they should notify the council so that a unit open to accepting the individual can be offered as an option.

Q. Will non-religious chartered organizations be allowed to determine eligibility?
A. As with all Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops, volunteer leadership of each unit determines their ability to provide a safe and effective program for the youth who seek membership. Further, decisions made regarding participant eligibility are made according to the national requirements – not at the local council or unit level – which do not discriminate with respect to gender identity. If a unit does not think it can offer a safe and positive environment for these youth members, then BSA local councils will help facilitate locating units that can provide for the welfare and best interest of the child.

Q: What additional Youth Protection Training is needed as a result of this decision?
A: No additional Youth Protection Training is needed; however, it is appropriate to have a heightened sensitivity for youth safety precautions. The Center for Disease Control and other experts have reported that transgender youth are at a significantly higher risk of abuse at the hands of other youth than are other boys. This risk increases as boys grow older and the Scouting program provides more opportunities for youth to be outdoors with less direct supervision. The BSA’s Youth-on-Youth Training Materials (available at http://www.scouting.org/Training/YouthProtection.aspx) are designed to help adult leaders prevent and react to youth-on-youth incidents that might occur within the context of Scouting, especially in a camping or overnight setting.

Q: If a transgender boy decides to join our troop, how will we know how to handle the issues that may arise while camping and on other outings?
A: When considering Scouting for a transgender youth, the youth’s parents must have an initial discussion with the council and unit addressing the following questions: 1) Is the child living culturally as a boy? 2) Is the child recognized by his family as a boy? And 3) Is the child recognized by his school and/or community as a boy? Living culturally as a boy generally includes dressing as a boy, using a culturally accepted male name or nickname, parents/caregivers using male pronouns when referring to the child, and being considered “a boy” in his daily-life.

The matters set out in the Transgender Guidelines (available to local council professional staff) must be discussed and agreed upon by parents, unit leaders, and the boy before the boy joins. This agreement will include a plan that defines expectations for managing the Scouting experience so as to create a welcoming, safe environment. As part of the guidelines, a council professional must be involved in the initial assessment of whether the unit can or will accept the youth and whether there is sufficient common ground to put together an effective plan to address personal privacy, including bathroom and sleeping arrangements.

Q: What bathroom should a transgender boy use? What about tenting/sleeping arrangements?
A: Matters of personal privacy, including bathroom and sleeping arrangements, will be addressed by customized plans developed with input from the transgender boy and his family. More details about the contents of the plan are available in the Transgender Guidelines (available to local council Scout Executives.)

Q. Will you provide a list of inclusive units?
A. We don’t keep such a list, but we will work with families to find local Scouting units that are the best fit for their children.

Girls in Scouting

Q: Doesn’t this decision effectively allow girls in the Cub Scout and Boy Scout program?
A: No, transgender boys are considered boys. This is a legal decision that many states have adopted. Although we previously referred to the information documented on a birth certification to verify eligibility, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently.

Q. Can an individual who was born a boy but identifies as a girl join Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts?
A. No. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are year-round programs specifically for males in the first grade through age 17. We will accept registration in our Scouting programs based on the gender identity provided on an individual’s application. Transgender girls can join STEM Scouts, Venturing and Exploring, since these programs are available to females.

Q. What Scouting programs are available to young women?
A. The BSA offers programs for girls and young women through Venturing, STEM Scouts and Exploring.

Q. Have any of our Chartered Organizations made a statement in response to this change?
A. Yes, and we will list those statement in the FAQ as we receive them.
LDS Church Statement

Contact

If you have other questions regarding this topic, please let us know by emailing Thomas Franklin at Thomas.Franklin@Scouting.org.  We will respond to any other questions as quickly as possible.  

 

Update Your Pin at BeAScout.org 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Tuesday, February 14, 2017 6:45:00 AM

Unit Leaders:

Make sure your unit’s information is correct on BeAScout.org.  BeAScout.org is a tool prospective families use to find units to join. Is your unit information up to date or do you have the unit leader from three years ago as your contact?

We suggest you list your feeder school(s) and/or church in the description. If your unit does not have a website, refer them to the district website (preferably the unit’s page, for example, www.raven.shac.org/units). 

The following registered leaders in your unit have the ability to update your unit's meeting location and contact information:

(A) Unit Leader: this means your Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Varsity Coach, Crew Advisor or Skipper
(B) Unit Committee Chair
(C) Chartered Organization Representative

Here’s what you need to do to update your unit's pin - the whole process should take less than 10 minutes:

  • Step 1. Log onto your account at “MyScouting.org” and select “BeAScout” from the Unit Tools section on the left-hand menu. A new page will be displayed: There are two "tabs" on this window, and you should be on "Unit Pin Management" - if not, then click the "Unit Pin Management" tab. 
  • Step 2. Take a moment to look over the Unit Pin Management screen: If at any time you are lost, look for the "Help" link in the upper right-hand corner of the page for help.  Also, note that the "Google Pin Preview" section, in the bottom-right area of the page, will display what will appear on the Google map.  It will change as you enter/edit information in these steps. 
  • Step 3. Check the "Unit Description" - this box contains a combination of your unit name and your chartered organization. If that the information is incorrect then reach out to your district executive (DE) for assistance. 
  • Step 4: If your Scout unit has a website, enter the web address (URL).  Otherwise, enter your district website, preferably the unit’s page on the district website (e.g., www.raven.shac.org/units). You can always edit this field later if your unit establishes a website.
  • Step 5. Update the Alternate Unit Description: many units opt to type their unit type and number followed by their meeting location (example: "Pack 867 - Lincoln Elementary")
     
  • Step 6: Make sure the Pin Status says "Active" if you want your pin visible to perspective Scouts and parents on the map. 
     
  • Step 7a: Select your primary contact. The primary contact will receive all emails from prospective Scout parents, so be sure to let the person know that they will be responding to all parent leads. If the fields in this section are "grey" then you must check the "Contact Person" box in the "Fields Displayed on Google Pin" section at the bottom-left side of the page.  If the person is already a registered adult leader in your Scout unit, then their name will be selectable from a list.  Once selected, all information is automatically provided in this section's fields. 
     
  • Step 7b: Also be sure to check all the information with the primary contact volunteer and edit fields that are no longer current (e.g., phone number, email address). It is very important that you keep this information up-to-date as volunteers and contact information will change over time.
     
  • Step 8. Enter the location where your unit holds its meetings (address information). This address will dictate where your unit pin will appear on Google Maps.  Note that it may be helpful to enter the name of your meeting location "address 1" and the street address on "address 2"
  • Step 9. Type special announcements, up to 133 characters, in the box under Special Announcements. We suggest you list your feeder school(s) and/or church.
  • Step 10. Check the Google PIN preview - this is a preview of what will appear on the map. Parents will only be able to see what is in this box, so please review it carefully for accuracy. 

NOTE: There is an option to change the icon from a Scouting map symbol representing your unit type to something else. Please DO NOT change the unit logo icon.

  • Step 10. Once you are done, click the “SAVE” button and your information will be uploaded.

That’s all you need to do to set up your unit for BeAScout.org. Be sure to do this as soon as possible so your unit will get recruiting leads.

Verify unit information on district website

Verify the unit contact information on your district website. There is a unit page on the toolbar of every district website.  Please make sure your unit’s information is correct.  There is a link at the top of the page to submit corrections to the webmaster.  The information on this page is important as this information shows up in internet searches. Also, fill out our social media survey, so we can help promote your unit.

Scouting Apps 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, February 1, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Boys’ Life Magazine and Scouting Magazine Apps 

Source:  Scouting Newsroom Blog

Boys’ Life and Scouting magazines have two official mobile apps. Both apps can now be downloaded directly to your mobile device to make the world of Scouting available at your fingertips. 

Boys’ Life has been delivering fascinating and fun content to readers on ink and paper for decades, but new technology brings a new level of content. Readers will still get all the content they love — Scouts in Action, jokes, cartoons and super Scouting outings — plus access to new multimedia content such as videos, slideshows and easy social media sharing.

Downloading the app is as easy as typing “Boys’ Life magazine” into the search box of any app store, including Apple, Google Play and Amazon Kindle. Readers can also sport the new version of the classic publication on their wrist — Boys’ Life is available for Apple Watch too.

Both apps are free to download and once you open either app, you can elect to purchase an annual subscription for either magazine.

Current subscribers to the print version of Boys’ Life will receive the digital subscription for free. To access the app, all you’ll need to do is input your account number, which can be located on your magazine’s address label. Those who are not subscribed can buy a digital subscription though the app, or they can subscribe at the half-price “Scout rate” using special promo code FBTW0216 on the Boys’ Life website.

Find the Scouting magazine app on any app store simply by searching “Scouting magazine USA” or try “BSA” (the UK Scout Association has already published its Scouting magazine). Subscriptions to the digital Scouting — which includes the entire 103-year Scouting archive — are available via in-app purchase for just $4.99 a year.

Boys’ Life and Scouting magazine apps offer access to more than a century of content. (Photo credit: Scouting magazine)

Decades of Scouting Literature at Your Fingertips

Digital subscribers of Boys’ Life can buy almost any single copy dating to the very first issue, published March 1, 1911. Scoutingmagazine subscribers will have direct access to all of that publication’s content from 1913 to today. This means with the apps, you’ve got every issue of each magazine ever produced, right in your pocket.

Boys’ Life and Scouting magazines publish quality information and entertainment for a wide variety of audiences, and you don’t have to be a registered Scouter to subscribe.

The release of the apps makes anywhere, anytime, any place an opportunity to read your favorite Scouting publications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Scout Days 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Monday, August 1, 2016 12:18:00 PM

National Weather Service Skywarn Classes

The National Weather Service Houston/Galveston office offers free Skywarn classroom and webinar training courses on how to spot and report severe weather. Scouters are invited to attend. Upcoming training sessions are posted here.

More Information

 


Bayou Land Conservancy

Bayou Land Conservancy is now offering free workshop opportunities for Scouts to help you earn advancement requirements in a unique manner while having a hands-on experience outdoors. We would like to invite Scouts to come out and enjoy the prairie while providing stewardship! Please contact Savannah Salazar at (281) 841-8582 or ssalazar@bayouland.org for more information and to register.


Houston Museum of Natural Science

The Houston Museum of Natural Science offers a variety of classes for Scouts.

  • Tigers, Wolves, and Bears can work towards Adventures in two-hour classes. Up to two classes can be taken in one day and entrance to the general exhibits is included. Classes are offered throughout the school year on Saturdays.
  • Adventures can be earned by Webelos in two-hour classes on Saturdays through the school year. Up to two classes can be taken in one day and entrance to the general exhibits is included. Adventures in Science, Art Explosion, Earth Rocks, Engineer, Into the Wild, Into the Woods and First Responder (limited classes).
  • 13 merit badges are available for Boy Scouts at HMNS, including four Eagle Scout required badges: Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, and Communications. All classes will use the resources at the museum’s disposal to help Scouts meet requirements. For example, Citizenship in the Nation students will visit the special exhibition The Bill of Rights as part of the class, and the Astronomy class uses the state-of-the-art Burke Baker Planetarium to meet requirements. 
  • Tigers, Wolves, Bears, and Webelos can spend the night at the museum during the Scout Overnight! Scouts can all have an exclusive adventure through the museum exhibit halls, with activities and a special program in the Burke Baker Planetarium, where Scouts have a clear night adventure under the stars!
  • Questions? Contact us at scouts@hmns.org

The Health Museum

The Health Museum offers a variety of classes for Scouts. Private classes can also be scheduled for groups of 10 or more Scouts on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Webelos can work on the Forester, Geologist, Traveler, Citizen, Readyman, Scientist, Fitness, and Aquanaut badges.
  • Boy Scouts can work on 21 different merit badges.
  • The Gigglin' Marlin Dive & Swim (4502 Almeda Drive) are hosting swimming related courses for Scouts through the museum. 

 


Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center offers a variety of classes for Scouts. Scouts investigate the nature sanctuary with a naturalist and learn about the fascinating ecology of the forest. All of our Scout programs are conducted by staff naturalists and use our nature sanctuary as a field laboratory for hands-on explorations!


Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo offers a spend the night at the zoo for a unique, after-hours experience which includes interactive activities, touchable animals, pizza dinner, Scout advancements on certain nights, and a continental breakfast!  
 


Weather Center Houston

The Weather Center Houston offers the Boy Scout Weather merit badge.


Armand Bayou Nature Center

The Armand Bayou Nature Center offers a variety of classes for Scouts. 

  • Tigers, Wolves and Bears can work on several outdoor advancements.
  • Webelos can work on the Naturalist and Forester badge.


iFly Scout Programs

iFLY offers special rates and programs for Scout outings! STEM summer camp programs are available for Scout groups of 20 or more and participants will receive a special iFLY patch.  All Scout programs that fly before June 30, 2016 will also receive a free video. To reserve your space or for more information, contact iFLY Houston at (281) 295-1761 or aburchett@iflyworld.com.


Contact

For more information, contact:

Shane Burks
Marketing/Communications Director
(713) 756-3301
 Shane.Burks@shac.org

 

 

 


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