Blog Post List

National BSA Membership Fee Increase 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, October 23, 2019 2:45:00 PM

For more than 100 years, Scouting has helped build future leaders by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun and adventure in the outdoors. At Boy Scouts of America, we are dedicated to developing leaders of character by preparing young men and women for life by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The timeless ideals of the Scout Law, such as being trustworthy, helpful, kind and brave, make up the foundation young people need to address and overcome challenges in their lives and the issues facing their generation.

Here in the Sam Houston Area Council, Scouting serves more than 46,000 youth in 16 counties. Now as BSA continues the Scouting mission, it is important that to keep pace with an ever-changing world. While costs to the organization have increased every year, the Boy Scouts of America has worked to keep the annual membership fee as low as possible by subsidizing core costs, including liability insurance that we must carry to cover all official Scouting activities. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to subsidize at the level we have in the past, especially as the cost of insurance has increased dramatically. BSA has kept the registration cost low to make Scouting available to as many young people as possible but keeping the cost artificially low for many years now magnifies the impact of changes.

To ensure that BSA has the resources to fulfill the promise of Scouting, the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America has made the difficult but necessary decision to increase the annual membership fee effective January 1, 2020 to:

  • $60 for youth members in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts,
  • $36 for youth members in Exploring, and
  • $36 for adult members
  • $60 for unit charter fees

The Sam Houston Area Council does not receive any portion of these registration fees. Every dollar of the national membership fee will go toward the cost of essential services, including liability insurance for those participating in approved Scouting activities, program resources, safety standards, youth protection and personal safety training, and services to councils nationwide to sustain Scouting. The National organization will also continue to develop and improve resources that support our volunteers and youth members such as online registration, Member Care and Scoutbook, which now includes the Den Leader experience to ensure the safe and consistent delivery of Cub Scouting; as well as improvements aimed at simplifying the annual renewal process.

Across the country and in our own community, we know that Scouting remains one of the most valuable investments we can make to support young men and women today so they can become the leaders we will turn to tomorrow. From once-in-a-lifetime adventures to merit badges that spark interests and future careers; from campouts under the stars to service projects that leave a lasting impact on our communities; Scouting’s year-round program expands horizons and provides young people with a safe and welcoming place to learn, grow, and thrive.

Thank you for your continued role in empowering a generation of future leaders of character through Scouting programs.

Questions

If you have any further questions or need additional information, please contact Thomas Franklin, Deputy Scout Executive, at thomas.franklin@scouting.org.

Thank you for all you do for Scouting!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q:        Why are the fees increasing now?

A:         While costs increase every year, the Boy Scouts of America has worked to keep the annual membership fee as low as possible to make Scouting available to as many young people as possible by subsidizing core costs, including liability insurance we must carry to cover all official Scouting activities. As the organization’s financial situation has shifted over the past several months, it is no longer possible to subsidize at the level we have in the past, especially as the cost of insurance has increased dramatically.

Q:        Does this apply to youth members and volunteers?

A:         Yes, the new fees apply for youth and adult members renewing their membership in 2020. Effective January 1, 2020, the new fees are:

  • $60 for youth members in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts (this is an increase from $33),
  • $36 for youth members in Exploring (this is an increase from $24), and
  • $36 for adult members (includes cost of background check and Scouting Magazine) (this is an increase from $33)
  • $60 for unit charter fee (this is an increase from $40)

Q:        Is Scouting still a good value?

A:         Absolutely! At $5 a month Scouting is a tremendous value. While most extracurricular activities are seasonal, Scouting is a year-round program that remains one of the most valuable investments we can make to support young men and women today so they can become the leaders we will turn to tomorrow. 

Q:        What will the money be used for?

A:         Every dollar of membership fees will go to cover the cost of essential services, including liability insurance for members participating in approved Scouting activities, background checks for adult leaders, program development and training resources, continuously updated youth protection and youth safety training, improved IT/digital experiences and services to our councils nationwide.

Q:        Is this increase being implemented to cover the cost of the additional background checks?

A:         No, the cost of background checks is not the prompting the fee increase.

Q:        Why is this being announced now?

A:         We recognize the timing of this fee increase creates challenges as units have already begun collecting fees for their 2020 registration renewal process, and BSA would not make this difficult decision if it were not absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, the cost of liability insurance we must carry to cover all Scouting activities has increased dramatically over the past several months, and the organization is no longer able to offset the cost of insurance. BSA is making necessary adjustments to the online rechartering system to ensure units can carry out the recharter process.

Q:        Does this increase cover financial challenges the organization is facing?

A:         The increase was prompted because the cost of liability insurance we must carry to cover all Scouting activities has increased dramatically over the past several months, and the organization is no longer able to offset the cost of insurance.

Q:        When will this increase take effect?

A:         The new membership fees will take effect starting January 1, 2020. In the Sam Houston Area Council, all units recharter in December and therefore will need to pay the updated fee structure for the upcoming recharter that is due December 15, 2019.

Q:        Any suggestions to help alleviate challenges with the new increase?

A:         Yes. Here are a few:

  • Continue to sell Popcorn via the online sale and take order sale.
  • We are securing vendors to have a successful Scout Fair Coupon Books sale which will begin in late January for unit fundraising.
  • Determine if a quarterly dues structure for your families might be more convenient.
  • Revisit your unit budget to make sure fees align with actual costs.
  • Inform families now that an additional fee will be due.

Q:        The Sam Houston Area Council recently announced an increase from $1 to $3 to cover insurance. Does this change mean that fee is no longer necessary?

A:         No, the liability insurance that we need to carry for all Scouting activities at the national level is different from local fees that are collected to address local needs. The SHAC charge of $3 per member covers additional insurance carried for all of our Scouts and leaders, including the Accident & Sickness insurance policy.

Q:        What measures has the national organization taken to offset the financial challenges?

A:         In addition to ongoing efforts to streamline and simplify the organization, the national organization has taken a number of steps in addressing its financial challenges, including the recent elimination of more than 35 positions at the National Service Center and ongoing consolidation of departments for the most effective utilization of resources in support of Scouting.

Q:        Will the national membership fee continue to increase?

A:         Although no decision about future increases have been made, the cost of operating our organization and services increases every year. Should it be necessary to increase fees in the future, the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America has agreed to evaluate the needs and make such decisions, whenever possible, at the National Annual Meeting in May or early in the summer so that they can be announced with as much lead time as possible to allow for councils and units to be able to plan accordingly. 

 

Questions

If you have any further questions or need additional information, please contact Thomas Franklin, Deputy Scout Executive, at thomas.franklin@scouting.org.

Thank you for all you do for Scouting!

College of Commissioner Science 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, October 9, 2019 9:46:00 PM

December 7, 2019  |  8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Cockrell Scout Center
2225 N Loop W
Houston, Texas 77008

The College of Commissioner Science is a day of training for commissioners from Commissioner Basic Training through advanced learning experiences in unit service. The objectives are to help commissioners expand their skills and unit service philosophy. The goal of this experience is to promote the increased effectiveness of the individual commissioner.


This ongoing training opportunity will benefit new commissioners and experienced unit commissioners. Participants do not have to be a commissioner. Any adult leader that is interested in the numerous resources available in the Scouting movement is also invited to attend.

Registration

The registration fee is $25 and includes lunch. The deadline to register to have a print copy of your session schedule is November 28, 2018.

Register       Schedule       Course Descriptions

Degrees and Learning Opportunities

  1. Associate's Degree is the beginning of the commissioner experience that includes Commissioner Basic Training.
  2. Bachelor of Commissioner Science (BCS) is an entry-level program for commissioners who have completed basic commissioner training.
  3. Master of Commissioner Science (MCS) focuses on advanced problem solving and administrative skill instruction.
  4. Doctorate of Commissioner Science (DCS) is a two-year program that challenges candidates to identify, develop, and present a project or service concept to a panel of their peers.
  5. Continuing Education (CED) is an opportunity to expand knowledge and increase the effectiveness of unit service.

 

 

Contacts

Dan Goetzman
College of Commissioner Science Dean
 dan.goetzman@gmail.com

Lynda Worlow
College of Commissioner Science Registration
commissionercollege@yahoo.com

 

Commissioner College Transcript System (CTS) Admin
 shac.com+cts@gmail.com

Pam White
College of Commissioner Science Doctorate Dean
 pwhitehouston@comcast.net

 

Michael Collins
College of Commissioner Science Staff Advisor
 michael.collins@scouting.org

 

 

 

 

Cub Scout Spring Camp Registration Open 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, October 9, 2019 2:59:00 PM

Adventure Camp

Adventure Camp is weekend campout for Cub Scouts and their families at Bovay Scout Ranch. Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Webelos Scouts and their families will enjoy an exciting variety of activities at several program areas. Meals are eaten in the air-conditioned dining hall. A staff member in each area will provide program supplies and support the parents who will be invited to assist in leading the activities.

Conducted at the McNair Cub Scout Adventure Camp area of Bovay Scout Ranch, activities may include: seeking treasure in the lost mine, archeological quest at the dinosaur dig, high speed pedal feat at the BMX bike track, Robin Hood style adventure at the archery range, marksmanship at the BB gun range, action at the Bud Adams sports field, exploring our camp at the nature center, and splashing in the water at the David Weekley Family Water Park (weather permitting).

Packs, dens and individual families may register as a pack or individually. Pack registration is preferred to keep families together. Dens and families that register individually will be combined with dens and families from other packs. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and sessions fill up fast.

The fee is $40 per person and includes three meals (lunch and dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday with vegetarian and turkey patty options), a patch and the Scout’s program supplies.


Learn More and Register

Family Camping

During family camping weekends, the pack leadership plans the camping program and food. Enjoy all the wonder and beauty of the central Texas rolling hills and lakes at Bovay Scout Ranch. Bovay has year-round camping program opportunities for pack overnighters and Webelos dens. Conveniently located 60 minutes from downtown Houston, Bovay Scout Ranch can be found just three miles south of Navasota on the east side of Highway 6, on County Road 317. Campsites, restrooms and showers are available; however, the program areas and dining hall are not available during family camping.

 

Camp Staff

Bovay Scout Ranch is looking for dedicated volunteers and paid staff to serve Scouting by working at McNair Cub Scout Adventure Camp throughout the year and Resident Camp during July. The requirements are stiff; the jobs are demanding; the experience is exhilarating. For applications, contact Geno Aguilar.
 

Contacts

 

Vincent Manning
Bovay Scout Ranch Professional Advisor
 (713) 756-3380
 Vincent.Manning@scouting.org

 

 

 

Background Check Disclosure and Background Check Authorization FAQ's 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, October 9, 2019 12:59:00 PM

Every registered adult leader should have received an email from BSA National this week that included the new Background Check Disclosure and Background Check Authorization Form that needs to be submitted by all adult leaders during the upcoming recharter cycle. As a follow-up, the following are two sets of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for your additional information:

FAQ’s from National BSA Legal

1. Is the BSA doing credit checks on volunteers?

No. The BSA will only use these signed authorization forms for approval to obtain a criminal background check. State and federal laws regulating background checks and consumer credit checks require that both items be mentioned on the form since a full background check includes both parts. Again, the BSA is only using this form for authorization to obtain a criminal background check.

2. Why is this being done now?

Starting in 2020, rechecks will be performed every five years, but it will take several years to recheck all leaders. Unfortunately, technical limitations and changes in the law over the last five years prevent us from using existing authorizations from older applications. As such, new disclosure had to be sent and new signed authorization forms obtained. Rechartering provides the best window to collect and verify they have been received before the council processes the recharter application.

3. What about volunteers that are not registered with units?  

All currently registered adults and employees who have not had a criminal background check in the last five years will be rechecked and need to submit the authorization form.

4. What happens if a unit leader does not provide an authorization?

Leaders who do not provide new authorization will not be able to renew their registration.  

Additional FAQ’s from the Sam Houston Area Council

1. Why is the BSA requiring this?  

As part of our on-going commitment to safety for our youth, the BSA is enhancing our criminal background check process. Currently, background checks are run when an adult registers and when they change positions (complete a new application). The new authorization form grants permission for the BSA to run additional background checks without requiring an additional application from the adult.

2. What is different about this authorization form?

Past versions of the authorization for a background check granted permission for the BSA to obtain a background check. The new authorization expands this permission to state the volunteer’s authorization remains valid throughout their volunteer relationship with the BSA.

3. How do I submit this form?

These forms should not be directly turned into the council service center. Volunteers in local Scouting programs (packs, troops, crews, ships, posts) should submit their form to their unit’s recharter coordinator for inclusion in their annual recharter, which is due in December. The unit will then submit these forms for all leaders in that unit in conjunction with their recharter paperwork at the recharter turn-in in December. District volunteers should submit their form to the district commissioner or district professional to include with the district recharter.

4. What about those with multiple registrations?

A copy of the authorization form for a leader should accompany each recharter where he or she is registered as an adult leader. Photocopies of the original signed document are acceptable

5. Does this apply to merit badge counselors?

Yes. Merit badge counselors should submit these forms to the district commissioner or district professional to be included in the district recharter. 

Contact

The leadership of the Sam Houston Area Council appreciates your patience and diligence as we institute this important process to continue placing the safety of our youth at the forefront of our operations. If you have any questions or need further clarification, please contact Thomas Franklin, Deputy Scout Executive, at thomas.franklin@scouting.org

National Recharter Update 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:51:00 AM

Important update affecting all registered members during the upcoming recharter cycle:

All registered adult leaders must review the Background Check Disclosure and complete the BSA’s new Background Check Authorization. These authorization forms must be submitted with each unit’s recharter this December. No recharters will be able to be processed without this signed form from all registered adult leaders that are being renewed for the 2020 calendar year.

We apologize for the inconvenience that these two announcements will place on your unit and its leadership while you continue to provide a life-changing Scouting program to the youth of Southeast Texas.

Contact

If you have any further questions or need additional information, please contact Thomas Franklin, Deputy Scout Executive, at thomas.franklin@scouting.org.

Thank you for all you do for Scouting!

LDS: Continue the Legacy 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Friday, August 30, 2019 8:01:00 AM

Source. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that starting on January 1, 2020, it will shift the focus of its youth programs toward serving an increasingly global membership. That means the LDS church will no longer charter Scout units beginning in 2020 and beyond.

Following is some information for the thousands of LDS families who love being a part of the Scouting adventure and want to continue their journey and for the other BSA Scouters who want to help them do that.

A path to stay in Scouting for LDS families

The long-standing relationship between the BSA and the LDS church won’t continue in a formal capacity, but it certainly will live on in LDS families where Scouting has become a strong and vibrant tradition. Some LDS families have a multigenerational Scouting tradition. Others share a newly discovered passion for Scouting. All who want to continue their Scouting journey are more than welcome to do so.

“All youth, families and leaders are encouraged to continue their active participation and financial support of Scouting … ,” the LDS church in its joint statement with the BSA expressed that it will continue to support Scouting even after its official partnership has ended.

“While the church will no longer be a chartered partner of BSA or sponsor Scouting units after December 31, 2019, it continues to support the goals and values reflected in the Scout Oath and Scout Law and expresses its profound desire for Scouting’s continuing and growing success in the years ahead,” according to the statement.

For LDS church members looking for a new Scouting home

Source. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can explore the BSA’s unit locator tool, found at BeAScout.org to find a new Scout unit. Families can enter their zip code, and the site shows the closest Cub Scout packs, Scouts BSA troops, Venturing crews and Sea Scout ships. (This is a good reminder to unit leaders to make sure your BeAScout pin is up to date!)

Once families have identified a few nearby units, here are a few more steps:

  1. Visit more than one unit. “You might find that one suits your family more than another one, even if it’s a bit farther away,” she says. “Not all units Scout the same way.”
  2. Visit your top unit more than once.
  3. Take the family and a friend to the unit meeting.
  4. Ask questions and get contact information. “Getting contact information from their New Member Coordinator means that you can ask questions when you get home,” Mayfield says. “Not all questions come to mind while at the meeting.”

For community packs and troops welcoming LDS church members

Source. All packs and troops should have a New Member Coordinator (learn more here and on Scouting Magazine’s ScoutCast podcast.)

“It’s a relatively new position — but one that is extremely valuable,” Mayfield says. “This person, or group of people, can have a variety of responsibilities and can help new families feel welcome when they arrive for meetings or events.”

She offers these reminders about the New Member Coordinator:

  • The New Member Coordinator doesn’t wear a uniform because a new family might feel more comfortable being welcomed by someone in casual clothing. The BSA has a whole line of New Member Coordinator accessories to help you be identified.
  • Provide new families with a welcome packet that includes information about the unit, meetings, outings, fundraising, membership, uniforming and more.
  • Sit with the new family during the meeting, get their contact information and invite them back for the new meeting. “I hand them my business card with my information and get their cell number and text them a thank you right away,” Mayfield says.

Beyond the importance of a New Member Coordinator, Mayfield offers three more tips:

  • Keep your website and social media accounts up to date. When families who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are looking for a new unit, they’ll likely scout you out online.
  • Be warm, welcoming and willing to talk. Latter-day Saints understand the aims and methods of Scouting, but because of the unique nature of their involvement, there are some aspects of Scouting they haven’t experienced. For example, they might be less familiar with recruitment strategies or fundraising projects.
  • Welcome people the way that you welcome them. For Mayfield, that’s baking. “I’ll make cookies, cupcakes and even cakes to welcome people,” she says. “There’s nothing quite like the personal touch of having a treat delivered to your door.”

Recruiting Scouts currently enrolled in LDS units

Source.  Community-based packs and troops may recruite youth from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. LDS youth are encouraged to remain in their Latter-day-Saint-sponsored Scouting unit through December 31, 2019.

BSA volunteers may provide a church-approved flyer for recruiting Latter-day Saints boys to their packs and troops. The flyers must be provided to bishops and branch presidents, who will direct them to be posted on bulletin boards in church meetinghouses through 12/31/19. Those flyers are not to include images that identify the church or quotes from church leaders.

BSA recruiting of church members should be done directly with families and not in church meetinghouses.


About the BSA and the LDS church

Source. Throughout the BSA’s relationship with the LDS church, LDS Scouts have benefited from the BSA’s life-changing programs. Hundreds of thousands of LDS young men have become Eagle Scouts.

The BSA, in its official statement, said, “we jointly express our gratitude to the thousands of Scout leaders who have selflessly served over the years in church-sponsored Scouting units and wish the church all the best as it prepares to introduce the new program in 2020.” The BSA has begun working with all of its councils to help ensure a smooth transition for the many LDS families who will continue their Scouting journey.


Three Reasons our Family will Still be in Scouting in 2020 

. Last year The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it would discontinue its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America and introduce a worldwide youth program in 2020. While our family fully plans to embrace the new Church Child and Youth Development Initiative, we also intend to continue our participation in Scouting. Here’s why:

Reason #1: Structure.

The Boy Scouts of America has been around for over a century, and the BSA has proven its worth as a structured program. This structure is a remarkable support to both Scouting leaders and Scouting families. Regular quality activities, handbooks full of information, and leader specific trainings all provide a tried and true ladder guiding youth to leadership, character, citizenship and fitness.

BSA programs—Cub Scouting thru Venturing—are based and built on age-appropriate activities, like stepping stones. My Cub Scout learns to handle a pocket knife, my Boy Scout earns the Woodcarving Merit Badge. My younger son takes a mile hike with his den, my older son hikes for 30 miles with his troop. You get the picture. My children are benefitting from a program shaped and tested for decades, with applicable achievements for each group, and all under an umbrella of specially trained leaders. Scouting is a safe place to learn and grow.

Additionally, I love that Scouting youth have requirements—steps that must be followed—and hard tasks to complete. As humans, we rarely choose to over-extend ourselves, but the organization of Scouting gently and consistently compels youth to climb higher, be better, and accomplish hard things. In a world becoming increasingly wishy-washy and self-centered, I find the structure of Scouting remarkable and helpful to my parenting efforts.

Reason #2: Skills.

Scouting is all about skills—building fires, camping, backpacking, tying knots, pitching tents, cooking, swimming, lifesaving, first aid. The list of Scouting skills is endless! Take a glance at the 137 merit badges offered to understand the full gamut of opportunities available to Scouts. Where pushing buttons with thumbs has become an all-to-common society staple for youth, I am grateful for skills taught through the BSA programs.

“Outing” is a key component of Scouting. Leave the lethargy and apathy at the door and step into adventure: rock-climbing, rappelling, canoeing, biking, rafting… the list goes on and on.vAnd the fun isn’t just for the older youth. Last week our Cub Scouts learned and played the iconic game of marbles. Imagine seven 9-year-olds, squealing, laughing and cheering as their marbles rolled across the dirt. And in the preceding weeks our Cub Scouts hiked, whittled with pocket knives, cooked over a fire, constructed with carpentry tools, pitched tents, conducted science experiments, practiced safety, and built contraptions with simple machines. Scouting is all about skills.

The skills lead me to Reason #3: Substance.

Scouting is chock-full of substance. Let’s face it; there are a million and one extra-curricular options for kids today. But I can’t think of another activity, club, pastime, team or sport based on Duty to God, Country, and Family. Each week I watch Cub Scouts raise their arms in the Scout Sign and recite the century-old Oath and Law—promising to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind…the iconic list goes on.

When any youth commits to Scouting values, we’ve won a battle for our future. Like I’ve said before, our time as a family is precious, yet the substance—the values and character-building opportunities—offered through BSA programs put Scouting at the top of our extra-curricular list.

And my fourth point—if I may have one—is Patriotism.

No one does patriotism like the Boy Scouts of America. Two weeks ago I stood with over 100 other observers at a campfire. The sky was crystal clear. The stars shone brightly. The full moon came up over the ridge. The fire glowed orange and red. It couldn’t have been a more picturesque evening. Around the campfire stood eight solemn Boy Scouts. With all the respect they could muster, they displayed a flag, tattered and torn. Then, while the audience watched, they shared history in broken and emotional tones, before respectfully retiring the flag in the flames.

The audience was completely silent, engulfed in the emotion of the moment. My 12-year-old son was one of the boys by the fire. Four of his younger siblings watched him participate in that sacred event. It was worth gold to me to know that he had set a standard of respect for our family as he handled the American flag that evening. Yes, no one does patriotism like the Boy Scouts of America.

Will the partnership between the Church and the BSA end in December? Yes. But for our family Scouting will go on. The structure, skills, substance and patriotism offered by the BSA are—in my mind—indispensable. It is my belief that Scouting will compliment—not compete with—any other extra-curricular activity, including the forthcoming Church initiative.

Our family looks forward to another century of citizenship, fitness, leadership, and character through the Boy Scouts of America. In 2020 we will Still be Scouting.


Former National Commissioner Charles Dahlquist on the BSA-LDS Relationship

Source. The Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) share a deep commitment to developing young boys into strong, moral, ethical men.  I believe the bond between the BSA and the LDS Church is as strong today as it began back in 1913 when the Church became the first sponsor of a local Scouting unit.

This week, the Church announced it will no longer offer Venturing and Varsity programs to older boys, rather refocusing its programming for young men around local Church activities that promote spiritual and personal growth and development.  As we all know, we offer a variety of programs from Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts to STEM Scouts and Venturing, and our chartered partners are in the best position to decide which programs most appropriately meet the needs of the youth they serve. We recognize that not all programs are a perfect fit for all partners. As we continue to work closely with all of our partners, the Boy Scouts of America will ensure that no boy who wishes to join the Scouting movement will miss out on the positive life opportunities of being a Scout.

The Church will continue Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting. In nearly all cases, Varsity and Venturing participants registered at local Church wards are also registered in Boy Scouts. I know Church families and young men are thrilled to see this important partnership continue.

Those of us in the Scouting community who also belong to the LDS Church understand the mutual respect and passion we share for developing young men as we see it firsthand every day. Our relationship dates back to the very beginning of the Scouting movement and in 2013 the Church proudly celebrated 100 years of Scouting.  We look forward to another century of partnering with an institution so deeply committed to values and the development of young men.

Scouting Works

Today’s relationship between Scouting and the Church is strong because we know our programs work well together. We see the results of young men who have gone through Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and the impact these programs have on their families and communities.

A Tufts University study of kids ages 6-12 found that youth who participate in Scouting for even a short period of time exhibit strong moral values and positive character attributes, allowing them to embrace new opportunities, overcome obstacles and become better prepared for future success.

I have always appreciated the BSA’s commitment to supporting the Church, and all of its religious partners, in every way possible. The Church has always been able to run its Scouting programs according to its beliefs and standards, and at a core level, the Church’s goals to shape young men matches the BSA’s own moral and ethical mission. That commitment has not changed, and we continue to view Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts as programs that effectively serve the young men and families in the LDS Church.

The Value of Service through Scouting

Over the past century, the LDS Church has made Scouting an integral tool in shaping young men’s outlook on community. In 2016, Scouts commitment to community service nationwide surpassed 15 million hours. What an amazing accomplishment for our Scouting community and for our youth. I can’t help but be moved by the countless instances where a Boy Scout’s selfless service made a big impact on a neighbor’s life or helped improve his community in a very real and personal way.

Scouting Continues to Shape Tomorrow’s Leaders

In addition to service, it is clear that young LDS men who participate in Scouting gain valuable lessons in leadership that begin in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts that ultimately shape their path to adulthood. Countless Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts are currently serving their Church mission in locations across the globe and I know each are putting the values and lessons learned at their local Boy Scouts Troop, or on a Scouting camping trip or outing, to good use. Those of us active in the Scouting community recognize, and I believe the LDS Church agrees, that Boy Scout programs set up our youth participants for success.

Former LDS Church President Gordon Hinckley once said, “If every boy in America knew and observed the Scout Oath, we would do away with most of the jails and prisons in this country. This program builds boys, builds their futures, leads them on the right path so they can make something of their lives.  Every man or woman who helps a boy along the road of life not only does a great thing for him but does a great thing for society as a whole.”

I know President Hinckley’s message rings true today. I look forward to working with you, the larger Scouting community, and the LDS Church to offer programs that serve our young men and their families.

— Charles


Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

National BSA's Consideration of Bankruptcy Update 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Saturday, June 1, 2019 1:55:00 PM

What I Need to Know about Scouting in Sam Houston Area Council 

SHAC Facts 

  • Sam Houston Area Council (“SHAC”) is incorporated in the State of Texas as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The National BSA organization is a separate corporation. 
  • Founded in 1914 and serves a sixteen (16) county area in the Houston Region. 
  • Recognized as a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity, holds GuideStar’s Gold Star for transparency and the 4-star rating (highest rating) from Charity Navigator with an average score of 93% for fiscal responsibility and transparency. 
  • Expansive and Growing Market Reach serving approximately 46,000 youth through a volunteer network of approximately 16,000 volunteers. 
  • Over 1,100 Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout every year.
  • Scouts and leaders annually contribute 450,000 plus service hours, estimated at a value of over $7 million.

National BSA’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Considerations 

PowerPoint Presentation

  • Primary Reason for National BSA’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Considerations  
  • Driver is the number of claims for alleged sex abuse incidents that occurred in 1960s, 1970s and 1980s that have come forward after some states in the past recent years extended the statute of limitations for such claims. 
  • We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children. 
  • We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. 
  • We believe victims, we support them, we will cover the expense for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice, and we encourage them to come forward
  • We steadfastly believe that one incident of abuse is one too many and we are continually improving all of our policies to prevent abuse. 
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is a financial restructuring and reorganization.
  • It is not a total liquidation — National BSA is not going out of business. 
  • It would create a trust for all victims to be fairly compensated. 
  • It would ensure that the BSA has a long and bright future and that all local and national programming will continue uninterrupted. 
  • BSA’s plan is to have all local councils across the USA discharged from any current filed claims and possible future claims. 
  • In response to and in preparation for anything that might happen regarding National BSA’s bankruptcy considerations, SHAC’s Board of Directors is doing its due diligence to research and act accordingly to protect SHAC’s assets. 

Nationwide Leader in Youth Protection

  • BSA’s Youth Protection
  • Developed and began implementing new youth protection policies and training in 1980s.
  • Examples include:
  • Leadership Selection
         ⇒ Completion of application including a criminal background check and mandatory Youth Protection training
         ⇒ Volunteer Screening Database check 
  • Required Training
       ⇒ Youth Protection Training is required for all BSA registered volunteers 
  • Youth Protection Reporting Procedures for Volunteers
       ⇒ Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies 
       ⇒ Mandatory Report of Child Abuse 
  • Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse
       ⇒ Two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are required at all Scouting activities 
       ⇒ One-on-one contact between adult leaders and youth members is prohibited both inside and outside of Scouting. 
  • Policies and training are working and are best practices for youth-serving organizations. 
  • 90% of all claims for alleged sexual abuse incidents occurred prior to 1987 ― before BSA’s development and implementation of current youth protection policies and required training. 
  • In 2018, there were five known victims of sexual abuse in BSA’s Scouting programs nationwide at a time when there were 2.2 million youth in our programs. 

Opportunities for All 

  • Legacy programs for boys have not changed. 
  • Innovative Family Scouting program of Cub Scouts with gender-specific dens welcomed over 1,500 girls in SHAC in 2018 and iconic Boy Scouts program remains the same but has changed the name to Scouts BSA and now includes gender-specific troops for girls with 386 girls enrolled in SHAC as of May 31, 2019. 

Commitment to At-Risk Youth 

  • Since the early 1970s, SHAC has invested millions of dollars to impact the lives of youth in the inner-city areas of the Houston Region through initiatives such as ScoutReach
  • In 2019, SHAC will invest $2.4 million in ScoutReach to serve approximately 9,400 youth – primarily at approximately 50 elementary campuses within the Houston Independent School District. 

Financial Strength and Stability 

  • SHAC 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. 
  • Every dollar contributed to SHAC stays in SHAC – 87% of every dollar contributed to SHAC is invested in programs and services. 

Do’s and Don’ts of Scouts BSA 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Saturday, January 12, 2019 5:16:00 AM

New Scouts BSA Brand Guidance Training

As the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) welcomes girls into Cub Scouts and older girls into the Scouts BSA program starting on February 1, it is important that families understand the program or organization they are joining.

There have been some instances where our volunteers may have inadvertently used the name or trademarks of the Girl Scout of the USA (GSUSA) brand in spreading the word that girls are or will soon be part of all BSA programs. GSUSA recently have filed a lawsuit asserting that these instances have caused confusion. While we don’t believe there has been any such confusion, we respect and support the GSUSA and their rights to their brand.

To ensure that we promote our programs in a clear and Scout-like manner, we have developed resources to make sure our leaders are aware of the do’s and don’ts in promoting BSA programs.

The Scouts BSA Brand Guidance Training we are introducing today is one of the efforts underway to be sure Scouters have a clear understanding of what they can do. This builds on the infographic below, and the guidance provided to councils in April.

Scouts BSA Brand Guidance Training

This training should be shared with all staff and volunteers to bring this understanding to all parts of our community.

While our goal is to encourage youth to join our program, we must always be clear in our communications about the program they are joining.

  • We are The Boy Scouts of America.
  • The Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA are different organizations.
  • We support all other youth organizations and do not disparage them.
  • We encourage parents to enroll all youth in a character development program that meets their needs – and the BSA is certainly ready to welcome them.

To aid you in this effort, councils and volunteers are encouraged to use these intro talking points as you host info sessions and launch efforts for Scouts BSA.

Talking Points

Additionally, please use this resource to help address any questions you might get in the community about this matter.

Resource


Right Way to Refer to Scouts BSA

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.


Scouts BSA do’s and don’ts

Source Do … reiterate that as our organization welcomes families, boys and girls to our programs, the name of our organization remains the same. We are the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Our mission — preparing young people for life — hasn’t changed and is found in all our programs:

  • Cub Scouts
  • Boy Scouts (becoming Scouts BSA on Feb. 1, 2019)
  • Venturing
  • Sea Scouts
  • STEM Scouts
  • Exploring
  • Learning for Life

Do … use only official Boy Scouts of America (BSA) materials, which are located on the BSA Brand Center. We’ve seen some well-intentioned assets developed by Scouters as they prepare to welcome girls that include problematic phrasing like “we’re starting a girl Scouts BSA troop.” Instead, you’re asked to use the downloadable email templates, flyers, postcards, posters, social media images, troop cards, videos, web banners and more available on the BSA Brand Center.

Don’t … use names, programs, marks, logos or images of the GSUSA or combine them with those of the BSA.

Don’t … use the word “girl” in front of “Scout.” Don’t say, for example “girl Scouts BSA troop” or “girl Scouts.” This includes in flyers, conversation, social media, etc.

Do … say things like:

  • Join Troop 123 for girls.
  • Our church has a boy troop and is forming a girl troop.
  • Join the BSA. Find a troop for girls near you at BeAScout.org.

Do … remember that the BSA and GSUSA are separate organizations. The BSA is a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. GSUSA is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. If those around you say or suggest otherwise, politely correct them!

Don’t … disparage other youth-serving organizations in any way. We want all youth-serving organizations to succeed in their efforts to help make the world a better place.

Do … refer ALL media inquiries (TV, radio, newspapers, online) to the BSA PR team by email at pr@scouting.org.

Do … refer all questions about GSUSA programs to the local GSUSA council or GirlScouts.org.

Do … review the Scouts BSA Brand Guidance Training available on the Family Scouting page under “Scouts BSA Program Resources.” You’ll learn about the best terminology and practices as you prepare to launch Scouts BSA troops in February.

A closing thought

Remember the fifth point of the Scout Law and be Courteous at all times.

The Boy Scouts of America applauds the work of the GSUSA in service to our nation’s youth and is committed to respecting the organization’s rights and programs.


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

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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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, Scouts BSA, 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 Scouts BSA program and Venturers;
  • The Leadership Institute for advanced training programs for adult leaders and Scouts BSA program and Venturers. 

The Scout camp for Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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 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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA summer resident camp at one of our camp properties and instead assist our Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA summer camp program at Lost Pines Scout Reservation, located in Bastrop, Texas. 

The Capitol Area Council has expanded their Lost Pines Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA summer resident camp at Bovay Scout Ranch utilizing Tellepsen Scout Camp in summer 2018 or 2019 like we have been doing for Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA resident camp be held at Camp Strake?

Yes.  Camp Strake will be home to our summer resident camp programs for our Scouts BSA Girl program and for our Socuts BSA winter resident camp program. 

While the original construction schedule was to have it completed by May 2019 in time for the 2019 Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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, Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA summer resident camps at Camp Strake?
The Scouts BSA 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 Scouts BSA 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.