Blog Post List

SHAC Update: News Story on National BSA 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Thursday, December 13, 2018 4:10:00 PM

News reports have begun to circulate reporting that the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America (“National BSA”) is considering filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States.

We have been informed by National BSA that they are exploring options regarding a financial restructuring of National BSA, but they have no imminent actions or immediate decisions forthcoming at this time.   

We want to assure you that Scouting locally in the Sam Houston Area Council is strong and that we are in a good financial position.

The Sam Houston Area Council and National BSA are different entities with completely separate finances. Through years of good financial stewardship and governance, we, the Sam Houston Area Council, have built a sound balance sheet, a strong endowment and no debt.

Below are a few facts about the Sam Houston Area Council: 

  • The Sam Houston Area Council is a 501(c)(3) entity incorporated in Texas.  Our camps, our Scout Center, our bank funds and endowment are owned and controlled locally by the Sam Houston Area Council
  • The Sam Houston Area Council is one of the strongest councils in the BSA from the perspectives of fiscal health, program quality, board and volunteer dedication and staff commitment and talent.  
  • Councils receive no funding from the National BSA organization.  In fact, we pay fees to National BSA as a part of our charter agreement and for specific services. We receive value back from the national organization, but we operate as a financially independent not-for-profit organization.
  • The nature of the relationship for a council with the National BSA organization is that our council is the holder of a charter to conduct the Boy Scouts of America programs in our defined territory. 
  • Areas where we partner with National BSA for business purposes includes things such as several insurance programs, services for IT, and expertise related to camping and Youth Protection.  Also important to note is our local council employee benefits, such as healthcare and retirement, are funded by each council through programs controlled and operated by National BSA.  By law, the retirement assets for employees are the assets of the employees, not National BSA.  Therefore, any financial restructuring of National BSA will have no impact on those retirement assets.
  • The strength of Scouting for over 100 years has been its local domain.  Each pack, troop, crew, etc. is owned by its chartered organization, which is typically a place of worship, service club or educational institution.  Each council is locally incorporated in the specific state where it operates.   
  • Dollars given locally to the Sam Houston Area Council stay at the Sam Houston Area Council.

The future of the Sam Houston Area Council is bright and exciting!   We will end 2018 with growth in our membership, serving over 46,000 youth. Our programming will go on uninterrupted regardless of what, if any, financial restructuring the National BSA pursues.

We are building for the future.  Our new Camp Strake is under construction.  We are approaching completion of our current Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign with objectives for camp improvements, endowment and membership outreach with a $43,000,000 goal to unleash the potential of our programs and camp properties to best serve the needs of Scouting families in the 21st century.

With your continued support for our Friends of Scouting annual campaign, we will continue to offer Scouting to an expanding group of truly remarkable young people.

It is our hope that the National BSA organization can navigate the difficult waters that many organizations face.  The Sam Houston Area Council will continue to focus on bringing high-quality and safe programs for over 46,000 youth in each of the neighborhoods we serve.

Thank you for your continued support, help and leadership.

Thomas O. Varnell |CEO/Scout Executive

Scouting for Food Sign-Up 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, December 12, 2018 4:25:00 PM

Scouting for Food

January 26, 2019 (hanger drop off)
February 2, 2019 (food pick up)

Scouting for Food is a council-wide service project to care for people in our local communities who are hungry and those in need. In partnership with the Souper Bowl of Caring, the project begins Saturday, January 26, 2019, as Scouts distribute door hangers in their neighborhoods to announce the upcoming food drive. Scouts return the following Saturday, February 2, 2019, to pick up and deliver donations to their local food banks and pantries.

A Scout promises "to help other people at all times." There is no better way to show our Scouting spirit than by participating in the annual Scouting for Food drive! Now is the time to show our community the Scouting values of being loyal, helpful, kind and cheerful.

Scouts will help make a difference to fight hunger. Scouting for Food is the leading service program for Boy Scouts of America and is a part of the national BSA program - Good Turn for America.

Learn More About Scouting for Food

Unit Registration for Scouting for Food

The unit representative should register the unit for Scouting for Food.

Unit Registration  

Coupon Book Sign-Up 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Tuesday, December 11, 2018 5:03:00 PM

Scout Fair 2019 - Score a Goal with Scouting 

Scout Fair 2019 will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at NRG Arena. This year's theme is "Score a Goal with Scouting." The Sam Houston Area Council is excited to announce our partnership with the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash. Houston Dynamo/Dash will be providing our weekly drawing bonus as well as the 219 bonus level prize. Scout Fair is an event where Scouts from all over the council unite in one place to display Scouting fun! 

Scout Fair Coupon Books help your Scouts earn their own way! 

The 2019 Scout Fair Coupon Book offers great savings to the buyer while Scouts earn commissions for every $10 Coupon Book purchased. Buyers receive $100's in valuable savings from partners such as: Dick's Sporting Goods, Luby's, Fuddruckers, Kroger, the Houston Dynamo/Dash and more. 

Unit Coupon Book Sign-Up        Learn More About Scout Fair

Scout Fair Kickoffs

January 25, 2019

Every unit should send a representative to the Scout Fair Kickoff being held January 25, 2019, at 7:00 pm. 

Kick-off Locations

Key Leader's Conference 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, November 28, 2018 5:55:00 PM

January 12, 2019  |  8:00 am

Key Leader's Conference is an annual half-day meeting and orientation for all district committee members and commissioners. The first half of the conference is dedicated to covering the basics of district operations and the role the district plays in supporting units and delivering the Scouting program. Conference participants have an opportunity to meet and interact with other district leaders during the committee breakout sessions. The event is held at the Cockrell Scout Center.

RSVP

Breakout Sessions:

Shop on Amazon Smile to Support the Council 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Sunday, November 25, 2018 1:08:00 PM

Amazon Smile

AmazonSmile is a perfect way to support the Sam Houston of America.

  • Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Sam Houston Area Council, Boy Scouts of America whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
  • AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.
  • Support Sam Houston Area Council by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com.

 

Sam Houston Area Council, Boy Scouts of America

Additional ways to help ensure the success of Scouting in the Sam Houston Area Council with meaningful gifts include: company matching gifts, company volunteer grants or by donating cars, trucks, RVs, trailers, boats, motors, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, securities, uniforms, camping equipment and yes, even services.

Right Way to Refer to Scouts BSA 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Friday, November 9, 2018 5:16:00 AM

Source  With tens of thousands of girls already enjoying the Cub Scout program and more young women poised to join the Scouts BSA program when it opens in February of 2019, there’s a lot of excitement around the programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America. 

In all of that excitement, it’s important to remember that at all levels, from our members and volunteers to our professional staff, we take the brand and trademark rights of all organizations seriously and have worked proactively to differentiate our unique program offerings. That, of course, includes the Scouts BSA program, so when referring to that program in any local council or unit materials — including recruiting fliers, announcements, promotional materials, social media posts, and beyond — be sure to use the details in the below infographic for the right way to go about it. 

Infographic

As has been our tradition at the Boy Scouts of America, we applaud the efforts of all youth-serving organizations and encourage families to participate in character and leadership development programs of their choice. The BSA wants boys and girls to have an opportunity to join one or more of these organizations. While we all use different delivery models, our distinct missions have one thing in common – to serve youth.

Communication Guidelines Regarding Other Youth-Serving Organizations

Source  Do not use the intellectual property of the Girl Scouts of the USA or other organizations. For example, do not use any of the following on any local council or unit materials, including recruiting flyers, announcements, and promotional material, even ones jointly organized or sponsored, regardless of the format or distribution method (e.g., online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). This specifically includes:

  • The trademarks “Girl Scout”, “Girl Scouts” or “Girl Scouts of the USA”
  • GSUSA’s trefoil logo, either with solid fill or with profiles
  • Insignia or emblems of the Girl Scouts
  • Images of Girl Scout uniforms, including photos of people dressed in GSUSA uniforms
  • Famous slogans or mottos associated with the Girl Scouts, including famous quotes by the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon-Low
  • Other distinctive names and brand elements associated with the Girl Scouts

The BSA has provided approved materials for your use. If you become aware of any materials containing these items, immediately remove and stop their distribution. If you are contacted by GSUSA regarding any inappropriate use of the Girl Scouts brand, please contact the Legal Department at burgin.hardin@scouting.org or 800-323-0732, x494.

Support the work of all youth-serving organizations. The Girl Scouts and other organizations across the country all have the same goal in mind — helping youth grow into better citizens. All youth-serving organizations depend on the generosity of individuals and businesses across the country — from retailers who permit fundraising on their premises to schools that open their cafeterias for recruiting events.

To that end, we should always be supportive of other youth-serving organizations and their efforts so that we can all be successful in growing youth into better citizens.

We are the Boy Scouts of America. When inaccurate stories appear in the media, we will take the higher ground. We will apologize for and correct mistakes. We will correct significant inaccuracies in a courteous fashion. We applaud the efforts of all who serve youth. We will speak positively and support the efforts of all other youth-serving organizations.

Originally distributed in the Scout Executive Packet- Week of 4/23/18

Scouts BSA All-Girl Troops 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, November 7, 2018 9:22:00 PM

Ask Yourselves, Have We Done Everything to Be Prepared? 

The Scouts BSA launch happens February 1, 2019, and with it, girls will be able to join in on the adventure, but leaders and volunteers shouldn’t wait until then to get started! There are leaders to recruit, trainings to complete, and adventures to plan, all before February 1, 2019! 

Let christopher.hogue@scouting.org know if you are forming a new troop so our council onboarding team can help guide you through this exciting process to start your very own Scouts BSA troop for girls. 

The troop will need an official chartered organization and a designated troop committee. The chartered organization may serve both all-boy and all-girl troops with linked troops, which means that the troop committee may be a shared committee for each of the separate all-girl and all-boy troops. 

Regardless of the charter organization and committee arrangements, here are some preparations that every new unit needs to make: 

  • Meeting place – Secure an appropriate meeting place for the all-girl troop and verify its availability.
  • Recruiting – Plan and publicize one or more joining events at that meeting place and bring plenty of youth applications. 
  • Calendar planning – Prepare a preliminary calendar or a few ideas of activities to share with the girls and their parents. 
  • Volunteers – Review the types of activities you will plan to include and offer opportunities for parent involvement in the leadership/support of those activities and bring plenty of adult applications. 

Here are a few other considerations to ensure that your unit is ready: 

  • Training – Are your key adults trained? Find out about upcoming training. There will be a special training opportunity in January at the Florida Sea Base to prepare new leaders.  
  • Leadership – Does the unit have registered, trained female leadership available for all activities for the all-girl troop? 
  • Advancement – The Scouts BSA Handbook will be the appropriate youth reference book, one for girls and one for boys, will be available early 2019. All advancement information will be identical in both publications.

The more we prepare in advance, the quicker everyone will be ready for the great experience the girls will have in their new all-girl troop. 

Learn More About Starting New Units         Learn More about Scouts BSA

Contacts

For more information, contact Chris Hogue Director of Membership Development at 713-756-3325 or christopher.hogue@scouting.org.

YPT - Important Updates 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Sunday, May 13, 2018 12:00:00 AM

Every Scouter must complete updated Youth Protection training by October 1, 2018

Source

Six Things You Need to Know About Youth Protection Training (YPT)

Over the past 108 years, the Boy Scouts of America have instilled the values of the Scout Oath and Law in millions of youth, preparing them to make ethical decisions while facilitating a secure environment for their development. Safe Scouting practices and youth protection are at the heart of the Boy Scouts of America and the Sam Houston Area Council's mission.

In order to continue providing a safe and secure environment for today’s youth, the Boy Scouts of America have developed a new version of the Youth Protection Training program taken by all volunteer and staff. The new training, which is fully supported and endorsed by the Sam Houston Area Council, launched to the public this month.

Video

Here are five things you need to know about the launch of the new YPT:

1. What is Youth Protection Training?

Youth Protection Training (YPT) is a youth protection training for the Boy Scouts of America that covers all programs within the Boy Scouts of America. YPT is a comprehensive training that covers a variety of best practices for preventing, identifying and dealing with abuse. YPT was revised in February 2018.

2. Who is required to be YPT trained?

BSA requires all registered adult leaders and volunteers and any adult who will attend an activity that lasts 72 hours or longer to be YPT trained. The updated course debuted in February 2018; if you took Youth Protection Training prior to that, you’ll need to complete the updated course by October 1, 2018.

3. Is there a deadline for adult volunteers to acquire YPT training?

Yes, all registered leaders must complete the new YPT training or the classroom facilitated YPT course by October 1, 2018.

YPT courses taken before February 1, 2018, will not count.

4. How do I complete YPT training?

YPT can be accessed by logging into my.scouting.org. Once logged in, click on the youth protection logo and continue to follow the prompts until the training begins. YPT includes three learning modules followed by a 25-question assessment; total time to complete is 60-75 minutes. Here’s a PDF that outlines the steps.

5. What are the changes?

Over the decades, the Boy Scouts of America has been a leader in developing training and policies designed to keep young people safe. Over time, these policies have become standard with organizations across the nation. Now, the Boy Scouts of America is releasing fully updated training to further strengthen our ability to protect youth. 

Updated Youth Protection Training, including insights from experts and survivors and the latest strategies for recognizing and preventing major forms of abuse. This is the designated Youth Protection Training for all adults. All volunteers must take the new training by October 1, 2018, no matter when they took the previous training.

Changes include:

  • An expanded ScoutsFirst Helpline to aid volunteers and families in addressing potentially dangerous situations.
  • Unlimited counseling and support for healing to anyone who has ever been abused in Scouting.
  • Youth Protection Training for youth members available in 2019.

In addition to updated training, we recently announced new policies to ensure compliance with mandatory training requirements, including:

  • As of January 1, 2018, no new leader can be registered without first completing youth protection training.
  • As of January 1, 2018, no council, regional, or national leader will be allowed to renew their registration if they are not current on their Youth Protection Training.
  • As of September 1, 2017, no unit may re-charter without all leaders being current on their Youth Protection Training. Registrars no longer have the ability to approve charters without full compliance.
  • Effective June 1, 2018, adults accompanying a Scouting unit who are present at the activity for 72 total hours or more must be registered as a leader, including completion of a criminal background check and Youth Protection Training. The 72 hours need not be consecutive.

With these changes, and many more outlined in the documents listed below, as well as the overview video, we will continue to build a safe environment for our youth. 

As an advocate and champion for youth protection in Scouting movement, I encourage you to watch the video, become familiar with the resource documents, take the training and spread the word. 

We realize the Oct 1 training deadline will be a challenge for some – but the safety of our children is too important to delay. 

6. What’s updated in this Youth Protection course?

  • Videos from survivors of abuse. “In developing this training, we discussed whether or not to include survivor videos,” Johnson said. “It was the right decision. Their testimony is powerful and highlights how predators work and the tragic impact like nothing else.”
  • Video interviews with psychologists and law enforcement professionals who discuss the root causes of abuse, how to recognize it and how to respond.
  • Three all-new training modules and a test.

Resources

Contact

If you have any questions about the changes to Youth Protection, please contact the Council Youth Protection Champion, James Yaklin.

 

 

Camp Development March 2018 Update 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Tuesday, March 27, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Camp Development for the 21st Century

March 2018 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 late 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). Please view the Camp Strake Video for additional information about the exciting plans for Camp Strake.

Camp Strake has had a construction schedule with a plan for opening in summer 2019 for Boy Scout summer resident camp.  However, due to unfavorable weather conditions for construction, including multiple significant rainfall events since the 2nd quarter of 2016 that delayed the initial groundbreaking and site clearing, and Hurricane Harvey in the 3rd quarter of 2017, which affected the timing for acquisition of a critical federal permit -- construction is behind that schedule. 

Aerial View of Tsuru Scout Camp

Because of the impact our unfavorable weather has had and continues to have on construction progress, we are at risk of not having the Tsuru Scout Camp finished by May 2019 in time for Boy Scout summer resident camp.  Therefore, rather than trying to rush the construction beyond what is practical and risk not having the Tsuru Scout Camp completely operational for summer 2019, the decision has been made to cease planning to conduct the 2019 Boy Scout summer resident camp at Camp Strake.  The timing of the decision and announcement will allow troops to make alternative summer resident camp plans for 2019.

Plans remain to open Camp Strake later in 2019.  The opening date is predicated on favorable weather conditions and no unforeseen circumstances.  Additional information will follow in the coming months regarding the timeline and commissioning plans.  

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Camp Development –  March 2018 Update (“FAQ”) below for information about the Camping Vision Statement, properties master plan, schedules and plans for Boy Scout summer resident camp during summer 2018 and 2019. 

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

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.

 

Frequently Asked Questions - Updated March 2018

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 no later than end of 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 council 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?
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, the Lone Star Hiking Trail is adjacent to the property, and the site will have easy access 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:

  • A Scout camp named the Tsuru Scout Camp developed for weekend and resident camp operations for Boy Scouts / Future Older Girl program and Venturers;
  • The Leadership Institute for advanced training programs for adult leaders and Boy Scouts / Future Older Girl program and 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
  • Camp headquarters building
  • Large program pavilion
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) center
  • Merit badge pavilions
  • Shooting Sports complex with rifle, shotgun and pistol ranges and for archery, including a 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 (28-acre lake being created), observation deck and canoe storage
  • Aquatics training pavilion
  • Sports 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 dormitories with 32-person capacity each
  • 4 cabins with 8-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?

Camp Strake is currently under construction.  It has had a construction schedule with a plan for opening in summer 2019 in time for Boy Scout summer resident camp. However, due to unfavorable weather conditions for construction, including multiple significant rainfall events since the 2nd quarter of 2016 that delayed the initial groundbreaking and site clearing, and Hurricane Harvey in the 3rd quarter of 2017, which affected the timing for acquisition of a critical federal permit -- construction is behind that schedule. 

Because of the impact our unfavorable weather has had and continues to have on construction progress, we are at risk of not having the Tsuru Scout Camp finished by May 2019 in time for Boy Scout summer resident camp.  Therefore, rather than trying to rush the construction beyond what is practical and risk not having the Tsuru Scout Camp completely operational for summer 2019, the decision has been made to cease planning to conduct the 2019 Boy Scout summer resident camp at Camp Strake.  The timing of the decision and announcement will allow troops to make alternative summer resident camp plans for 2019.

Plans remain to open Camp Strake later in 2019. The opening date is predicated on favorable weather conditions and no unforeseen circumstances. Additional information will follow in the coming months regarding the timeline and commissioning plans.
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 is just like constructing a university campus or small city. 

Additionally, unfavorable weather conditions for construction have caused the project to fall behind its original construction schedule.

Following are some highlights about Camp Strake when the project is completed:
 

  • 4 miles of roads
  • 11.7 miles of trails
  • 122 vertical structures
  • Over 150,000 square feet of facilities
  • 3 Chapels
  • 20 Campsites with pavilions
  • Aquatics Center with a swimming pool and pool house
  • 28-acre lake for non-motorized boating, swimming and fishing
  • 12 Modern restrooms/shower houses
  • Air-conditioned dining hall with a 450-person capacity
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Center
  • Shooting Sports complex with rifle, shotgun and pistol ranges and for archery, including a sporting arrows course
  • Climbing tower and COPE course
  • 19 Training/Merit badge pavilions
  • Administrative (camp headquarters) building
  • Arena for 1,200 people
  • 40 Summer camp staff huts
  • Training center
  • 4 (32-person capacity) dorms
  • 4 (8-person capacity) cabins
  • Wastewater treatment plant

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 122 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 28-acre lake
  • Infrastructure (roads, power, water and sewer) constructed
  • Multiple permits at the local, state and federal levels
  • Vertical structures (122) 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 with rainwater.
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 opportunities to see the Camp Strake before it is fully constructed and opened?

We think there will be, but none have been scheduled yet due to the construction schedule. We plan to seek help with service projects in developing the 11.7 miles of hiking trails on the property. A plan for that will be developed and announced later.

 

 

 

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

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 Tsuru 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.

Summer Camp 2018 and 2019

What are the council’s plans for Boy Scout summer resident camp in summer 2018 and 2019 until the new Tsuru Scout Camp at Camp Strake can open?

Our plans are not to conduct Boy Scout summer resident camp 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 seasons in 2018 and 2019 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 or 2019.

Why not plan to open in summer 2019 even if the Tsuru Scout Camp is not completely constructed?
The primary reasons are: 
  1. We want to provide the best experience possible and having a fully operational camp is the best way to do that.
  2. If the camp is not fully constructed by that time, it would mean it is still an active construction site.  An active construction site would be unsafe for campers and would include restricted areas.  Also, it would not be prudent or cost effective to pause construction and require our contractors to come back two months later to complete their projects.
     
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 their registration for summer resident camp 2018 and 2019 is open, 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.  Please contact the Support Services Department at the Council for additional information regarding that application process.

For all Scouts that we provide a campership to attend Lost Pines Boy Scout Camp in summer 2018 or 2019, 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 or 2019 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 or 2019, we decided to pair up with a camp close to Houston that had the ability to increase capacity at its camp 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 or 2019 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. 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.

Camp Strake Programs

Will Boy Scout resident camp be held at Camp Strake?

Yes.  Camp Strake will be home to our summer resident camp programs for our Boy Scouts / Future Older Girl program and for our Boy Scout winter resident camp program. 

While the original construction schedule was to have it completed by May 2019 in time for the 2019 Boy Scout summer resident camp, due to unfavorable weather conditions for construction, including multiple significant rainfall events since the 2nd quarter of 2016 that delayed the initial groundbreaking and site clearing, and Hurricane Harvey in the 3rd quarter of 2017, which affected the timing for acquisition of a critical federal permit -- construction is behind that schedule.

Because of the impact our unfavorable weather has had and continues to have on construction progress, the decision has been made to cease planning to conduct the 2019 Boy Scout summer resident camp at Camp Strake.  The timing of the decision and announcement will allow troops to make alternative summer resident camp plans for 2019.

Plans remain to open Camp Strake later in 2019.  The opening date is predicated on favorable weather conditions and no unforeseen circumstances.  Additional information will follow in the coming months regarding the timeline and commissioning plans.  

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.  The opening date is predicated on favorable weather conditions and no unforeseen circumstances.  Additional information will follow in the coming months regarding the timeline and commissioning plans.
 
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.
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 primary site 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.

We also are planning for it to be the site for some BSA area-wide and regional training courses.





 

Cub World at Bovay Scout Ranch

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.






 

Bovay Scout Ranch

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 adequate endowment for the camps that we 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 includes:
    • Tsuru Scout Camp 
    • Leadership Institute (to be named)
What is the history of camp properties that the council closed and sold?

The council’s first camp was Camp Masterson. It was located twenty-one miles from Houston near Shelton. The land, consisting of 20 acres, was donated to the Council in 1925. It was closed and the land was given back to the Masterson family heirs in 1927.

Camp Hudson was the Council’s second camp. It was located in Houston on what is known today as Memorial Drive. The land for it, consisting of 100 acres, was donated to the Council in 1925 and 1928. It was closed and the land was sold in 1973.

The council’s third camp was Camp Strake. It was located in Conroe about 38 miles from Houston. The land, consisting of 2,359 acres, was purchased in 1943. In 2012, it was decided to relocate Camp Strake to a rural area. This resulted in the land of the original Camp Strake to be sold in 2013, with a lease back from the buyer for the use of the land through 2014.

The land for the new Camp Strake, consisting of 2,816 acres, was purchased in two separate transactions. The first in 2013 and the second in 2014.

The council’s fourth camp was El Rancho Cima. It was purchased in 1954 using funds raised from a capital campaign. It is located near Wimberley, Texas about 30 miles south of Austin and 45 miles north of San Antonio. It was approximately 185 miles from downtown Houston, resulting in a drive time from that location of plus/minus four hours on a Friday evening.

In May 2015, flooding caused significant damage and loss to the Cockrell River Camp at El Rancho Cima resulting in its closing. In the ten plus years prior to the May 2015 flood, there had been other flooding. After months of diligent analysis by a special task force of the Council’s Board of Directors in 2015, it was decided to eventually close El Rancho Cima and sell the property. The camp was closed in 2017 and the property is being marketed to be sold.

The Hudson Scout Reservation was another of the council’s camps. It was located about 120 miles from Houston near Centerville, Texas. The land, consisting of 3,190 acres, was purchased in 1974. It was closed and the land was sold in 1991.

The Hamman Scout Camp was another of the council’s camp properties. It was located seven miles southwest of the city of Bandera, Texas, which is approximately 250 miles from downtown Houston. The land, consisting of 965 acres, was donated to the Council in 1987 and was sold in 2017.

 

Questions

For additional questions, contact communications@shac.org.

 

 

 

 

 

Two-Deep Leadership 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Tuesday, February 6, 2018 8:42:00 AM

What’s the difference between ‘two-deep leadership’ and ‘no one-on-one contact’?

Source: Scouting Magazine

While no Scouter questions the value of Youth Protection training and policies — we all agree on the need to keep young people safe — some Scouters have asked for clarification about implementation.

Many of those questions are about policies requiring two-deep leadership and prohibiting one-on-one contact. On occasion, those separate policies get confused and intermingled.

So I checked with the Youth Protection team for clarification.

Essentially, it boils down to this: At least two adults are required on every BSA outing. During that outing, there should be no one-on-one contact between an adult and a youth. The “no one-on-one contact” rule also applies to leaders interacting with youth outside of the Scouting program where grooming of youth, parents and other adults could occur. Parents and youth are advised to follow this and other Youth Protection policies for the overall safety of all involved.

But there might be moments when just one leader is present with two or more Scouts. That’s fine, as long as the situation doesn’t involve one adult and one youth. (Of course, if we’re talking about a Scout with his or her parent/guardian, that’s always OK.)

For example, let’s say Troop 451 is driving to a campout. There are nine Scouts and three adults on the trip. The first SUV might have two adults and five Scouts. The other would then have one adult and four Scouts. Is this a “two-deep leadership” violation? No. (I covered this back in 2015.)

What about if there are only two adults present on a campout of eight Scouts, and one group wants to go hiking while the other stays at camp to fish?

While Youth Protection policies don’t expressly forbid it, it’s not the recommended approach because of health and safety concerns. What if the adult on the hike gets injured? What if the adult back at camp has an emergency? In those situations, it would be helpful to have a second adult present. Many troops in that situation would want at least four leaders: two to go on the hike and two to stay at camp.

For a closer look at this important subject, here’s what the Youth Protection team said:

What do ‘two-deep leadership’ and ‘no one-on-one contact’ mean?

While sometimes the Youth Protection policies may seem to be confusing, they really aren’t. Therefore we’d like to provide the following in hopes of clarity on the actions of two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact.

From the Youth Protection website, let us provide the following:

Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse

The BSA has adopted the following policies for the safety and well-being of its members. These policies primarily protect youth members; however, they also serve to protect adult leaders. Parents and youth using these safeguards outside the Scouting program further increase the safety of their youth. Those who serve in positions of leadership and supervision with youth outside the Scouting program will find these policies help protect youth in those situations as well.

  • Two-deep leadership is required on all outings. A minimum of two registered adult leaders — or one registered leader and a participating Scout’s parent or another adult — is required for all trips and outings. One of these adults must be 21 years of age or older.
  • One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is prohibited. In situations requiring a personal conference, such as a Scoutmaster conference, the meeting is to be conducted with the knowledge and in view of other adults and/or youth.
  • The policies of two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact between adults and youth members also apply to digital communication. Leaders may not have one-on-one private online communications or engage one-on-one in other digital activities (games, social media, etc.) with youth members. Leaders should copy a parent and another leader in digital and online communication, ensuring no one-on-one contact takes place in text, social media, or other forms of online or digital communication.

Why are these policies in place, and how do they differ?

Safety from all forms of abuse, including sexual abuse and injury from accidents, is crucial for all Scouting programs. Requiring a minimum of two adults participating allows for more supervision so that leaders can take a break and still have more than enough supervision present.

The “no one-on-one contact” rule (which, remember, includes digital communications, such as text, emails and gaming) is a core component of combating the “grooming” of a youth for sexual abuse.

An abusive adult will seek to have a one-on-one relationship with a youth separate from adults, parents and peers which includes inappropriate conversations, and seeking to being alone with a youth. This typically occurs in and out of Scouting program activities when a leader seeking to sexually abuse a child seeks to separate the child from appropriate adult.

While similar to two-deep Leadership in some ways, “no one-on-one” specifically states that adult/youth interactions is not appropriate without another adult — preferably a Youth Protection-trained leader — being present.

Additionally, our Health and Safety team strongly recommends a minimum of two adult leaders on all outings in case of injury to a youth or an adult. This is so aid can be sought without putting youth at risk.

A question from a Scouter, annotated

Below I have included an email I received from a Scout volunteer in New York.

The Scouter’s words are in black. The Youth Protection team’s responses are in red.

In our troop, and at summer camp with other troops, it seems nobody understands Youth Protection consistently. The most common misunderstanding is that two adults must always be present with any number of Scouts. 

This causes our Troop leadership to require at least four adults on each campout, so two can remain in camp while two others go off on activities with the boys, for instance. That’s great.

It seems like the policies of Two Deep, and No One-on-One get confused and intermingled, when in fact they are generally related, but different policies. See the explanation above.

My understanding is, as long as Two Deep is practiced for the overall campout or event, it is always OK for a single adult to be with Scouts as long as there is more than one boy present. Not quite, we prefer to have a minimum of two adults as your previous paragraph described.….

For instance, if half the Scouts stay in camp with one adult, and half go on a hike the the other adult, that is OK. Not a good idea, especially for Health and Safety reasons listed above. If the Scout leader were sick or injured, there would be no adults present. 

 I also understand it is OK for a single adult to be with a single Scout, as long as they are in view of others. For instance, at summer camp, an adult could take a boy to the infirmary, as long as they were in view of others during that time. True, given this example.

Or an adult and boy could canoe together, if they were in the proximity of other Scouts and adults. True, given this example.

I have put together the following summary of the Youth Protection policies that I am hoping may clarify things for those in our troop who don’t quite understand it. I would appreciate it if you would review it and tell me if you feel it is accurate and appropriate for me to share with other leaders. 

Two Deep Leadership

A minimum of two adults: at least one adult a minimum of 21 years old, and at least one adult who is a registered leader, is required for all trips and outings. Correct.

One-on-One Contact 

One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is prohibited. 

The following exceptions and situations are allowed:

– One Scout with his parent/guardian. No problem 

– One adult with two or more Scouts. That depends on the situation. For example, traveling to and from program activity, Scouting meetings and especially outside of Scouting it is not a good practice to have one adult with two Scouts, as the sexual abuser can and will use this as an opportunity to have singular access to Scouts.

– One adult with one Scout in view of other adults and/or youth. Seems OK, given the examples above. 

– Two adults with one or more Scouts. Excellent.