4th of July Parades Information

Great Falls Parade

All Scouts are invited to march in the Great Falls 4th of July parade and help carry the huge US Flag that is near the start of the parade. Younger scouts walk under the flag to keep it off the ground while the older scouts and adults are around the outside.
This year’s parade will be about 2 miles (twice as long) as usual due to requirements to keep crowds spaced out due to COVID-19. Face masks are strongly recommended. Please dress in full Scout uniform and prepare accordingly for the weather (sunscreen, water, etc.)

WHO: All Scouts BSA & Cub Scouts.
WHEN: 10:30am-12:30pm, Saturday 7/4/20
WHERE: Whittier Park adjacent to the civic center (on the south side). Either park or drop off scouts in the city parking lot accessible from River Drive next to Pacific Steel & Recycling’s headquarters since the streets will be closed.

Each unit is responsible for its members and collecting required Activity Consent Forms. We need all the hands we can get and it DOES count for service hours! Due to the longer route if there are people interested in doing only the first half or second half we can make substitutions when we pass the half-way point at the Civic Center.

Please RSVP to Keith King via email kaking20@yahoo.com or message @Troop4GF on Facebook if your unit is going to help.
The parade committee also needs volunteers to set up the parade route. Contact Lola Sheldon-Galloway (406) 750-4721 by Thursday if you are interested and able to help Friday night and/or early Saturday morning.

Black Eagle Parade

Contact Ruth Fischer at the Council Offices for details: 406-761-6000.

Choteau Parade

If you are interested in participating in the Choteau Parade, contact Steve Dogiakos 406-203-4679 before Thursday.

Parade line up starts at 9am at the Breen Oil bulk plant on the south side of Choteau. the parade begins promptly at 10 am. The rules are a little different this year to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions:

  • No walkers this year – all participants must be in a vehicle, on a horse, or riding a bike.
  • No candy throwing.
  • The route is very different.

For more details and rule changes, see the Choteau Chamber of Commerce website.

Trail to First Class 2020

There are new and exciting changes to this years Trail to First Class!

We will still be camping at Holter Lake April 17-19, but we will be using a new campground.

We have also revamped our Call-out ceremony to comply with changes within the Order of the Arrow and we are excited to share it with you. It will truly be an exciting event for all , especially those that are selected by their peers to join our Order.

Please read the attached Leaders Guide in its entirety as there are many changes from previous years.

We have assigned camping spots based on unit size.

Please address all questions or comments to OA Chapter Adviser, Tom Lynch at BSAGreatFalls@gmail.com.

Download the 2020 Trail to First Class Leader’s Guide or view it below:

Steve’s 2020 Growth Conference Recap

Sandra was invited to the 2020 Growth Conference, and I got to tag along (go see her recap, first)! I did a video recap over on my Scout blog, Boy Scouts Tech and I wanted to share the highlights of the conference with you:

Scouting’s best kept secret is the advances the national team have made with technology AND how they are going to manage program changes in the future – that is, how they are going to keep Scouting relevant in the 21st century. They have committed to using the Agile method of development, which will turnout great results for improving our technology and program materials.

They are also committed to reducing the amount of “regalia” we, as volunteers, need to buy for ourselves and our Scouts. For example, they are eliminating Tiger Scout socks, den-specific Den Leader patches (all Den Leaders will wear the Cub Scout Den Leader patch going forward) and there will only be one Cub Scout Belt, instead of den-specific belts.

Here are some of the resources that they passed along, please check them out!

  • Scoutbook Help Desk – tons of new and great resources with video how-tos!
  • Den Leader Tips & Tricks Videos – everything new and veteran Den Leaders need to roll into a productive Scouting year!
  • Scout Book Den Leader (BETA) sandbox – schedule an entire Scouting year for your den in a few clicks!
    • National IT is expecting to roll out a similar thing for Scouts BSA troops for youth leaders to plan out their Troops’ program
  • Explorer Career Interest Survey – now available online!
  • Scouting’s Bug Reporting system – having trouble with a BSA IT system? Lots of questions & answers available here, and the ability to open a trouble ticket with the National BSA IT team.
  • BSA Brand Center – are you building flyers or other materials online or printed? Please use the BSA brand center! The BSA’s marketing team has tons of pre-made content that has been market tested and complies with all our brand guidelines!

2020 Leadership Growth Conference Report

This year, because Lewis & Clark District grew by 6%, I was eligible to attend the 2020 Leadership Growth Conference, which was organized by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Unit serving executives, like me, were gathered from all across the world – where ever the Boy Scouts of America has a Council! The top 60 executives were selected from each of the four Scouting regions.

It was a quick trip down Dallas, Texas, but the Montana Council was well represented. In addition to me, Dave Snyder, DE for Central District, Scott Jourdonnais, DE for Mullan Trail District, and Dustin Shoemake acting DE/Field Director for Nu Oh Ska District, attended the conference!

From left to right: Michael Ramsey, BSA Director of Marketing, me, Dave Snyder Central District DE, Scott Jourdonnais, Mullan Trail District DE

Thursday evening we gathered for an awards dinner. It was a great evening of fellowship and BBQ. Each attendee was recognized individually by name and was congratulated by National leaders including the directors of Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA, the Director of Membership Growth, and others.

Friday morning we had breakfast bright and early. The first order of business was for everyone to move to a table with people they did not know. That was a fun opportunity to network and talk to people from other Councils and regions.

Over the morning, we heard from Anthony Berger, National Director of Cub Scouting, Garfield Murden, National Director of Scouts BSA, Tim Anderson National Director of Exploring, Pat Wellen, Research and Strategy, and Michael Ramsey, National Director of Marketing and Brand Management. They were all amazing speakers and had awesome things to share.

The future of Cub Scouting is “streamline and simplify”. The goal is to make it easier for new parents to become a part of the Scouting family and for den leaders to do their job without having to learn about the entire Scouting infrastructure – just provide den level programming. There are new videos and den plans to make getting started simpler. Scoutbook for Den leaders is being updated all the time. Advancement is simpler and the calendar has been improved, and my favorite; Scoutbook can now email parents when their Scouts complete a belt loop! If you want to poke around in the new Den Leader Scoutbook system there is an online demo here. If you are looking for ScoutBook help please look at the videos and resources National is producing and updating constantly.

With all the new and exciting digital updates for Cub Scouts, it is no surprise that Scouts BSA should expect some exciting new things soon. Like in Cub Scouts, the new tools will be built for the people planning and planning and executing the program. For Scouts BSA, of course, the tools will be built with youth leaders in mind. It is very exciting to see National leading the charge in making the programs youth lead by empowering Patrol Leader Councils.

The theme for Exploring is “Character to Careers”. The BSA is known for shaping the character of youth, and Exploring extends that to a youth’s future. Career Interest Surveys are available in print and online. Those and Explorer Post “Open Houses” are the focus to grow Exploring.

Pat Wellen was one of the most interesting speakers of the event. She broke down for us how the Voice of a Scout program works. (You, as a registered Scouter, should be getting an email about once a year asking for your feedback – please respond to those, it helps us have a voice with National BSA team!) She talked about the reasons Cub Scouts leave the program, the challenges volunteers face on all levels, and the resources available to help solve those problems and answer questions.

The Marketing and Branding presentation was my favorite part of the event. The big takeaways were: more parents than ever are finding out about Scouts through their mobile devices and social media, potential Scout parents are more likely to join if they have a meaningful conversation with unit leaders, and each units’ digital footprint needs to be managed. The action item, for all of us, is to claim and manage the Google for Business listing for units. Right now, in a new tab, do a Google search for “Cub Scout Pack near me”. What comes up? The sad answer is probably “nothing” or outdated info. The District Communications Team and I are putting together a plan to solve that.

The conference was a great opportunity for me and I hope to bring more of what I learned home. There are statistics, ideas, and resource that can benefit all of us and I am excited as ever to share more with all of you over the use over the coming months.

Recommendation: Cancel Scouts Tonight, 2/10/2020

Good morning, I received a phone call from the office of the GFPS superintendent recommending that all Scout meetings be canceled tonight.

I have called around to all the Pack and Troop leaders that I thought might be meeting tonight, but I wanted to pass this information around publicly as well.

Again, the recommendation is that no Scouts meet tonight in Great Falls.

Now is a Good Time to Update Your Unit’s Contact Methods

If you use Remind, Facebook Groups, Google Groups, contact Groups, phone tree or any other tools to contact your Pack or Troop, now is a good time to update them, before the recruiting season begins. Drop members who are no longer in the unit or crossed over, update emails and phone numbers and make sure everything is up to date!

What is your favorite contact tool for your unit?

FWP female staffer holding up a sturgeon for demonstration

Annual Fishing Day – Help Needed!

Great Falls Kids Fishing Day is this Saturday, June 8th and you’re invited!

The Lewis & Clark District will be at the pond with water bottles and we need your help staffing the booth! If Scouts from your Pack or Troop are able to spend an hour directing traffic or helping at the casting station the event organizers would be very grateful. You can also help by handing out water bottles and talking to kids about Scouts, please email or text Sandra (406-282-1129) by Thursday at 5pm.

Central Montana’s 25th annual fishing day for youngsters will take place 9 a.m. to noon, June 8, at Wadsworth Pond on the west side of Great Falls. As in past years, the Great Falls chapter of Walleyes Unlimited will give away a free rod and reel outfit or a tackle box to youngsters who complete a series of educational stations.

No fishing license is required that day at Wadsworth Pond. There is no age limit but the activities are geared to youngsters just learning how to fish. To reach Wadsworth Pond head west on Central Avenue over I-15, turn north on 34th St. NW, then turn west on Wilkinson Lane and follow to the park. Groups participating include: Walleyes Unlimited, FWP, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Missouri River Flyfishers and North Middle School Fishing Club and the Boy Scouts of America.

For more information contact FWP in Great Falls at 454-5840.