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!
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!
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!
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.
So what does this men to all of you Scout? Well if you are 14 years of age, or 13 years of age and completed the eighth grade (and have not yet reached the age of 21) you can join Venturing! If you are already a member of a Troop, your membership in Venturing will be no cost.
Venturing is co-ed! Please join us for a Venture Crew 8 open house and planning meeting at 6:30PM on Sept 24th in the basement of the Scout Office. We have great things planned for the year, including skiing and a big Summer float trip. Come join us, you’ll be glad you did!
The Montana Council and the Venture Crew from Billings will be having a K-M Venture Crew weekend Oct 10-12. The activities will be ATVing, rappelling, COPE and shooting.
So what does this mean to all of you Scouts and Scouters? Well if you are 14 years of age, or 13 years of age and completed of the eighth grade (and have not yet reached the age of 21) then we would love to have you in our Venture Crew Since Venturing is co-ed then you and or your sister can attend our planning meeting at 6:30PM on Sept 18th in the basement of the Scout Office with the rest of Venture Crew 8.
What is the cost to be in Venturing? If you are already registered in a Boy Scout unit the answer is nothing! If your sister wants to join Venturing then the cost to register through the end of 2015 is $33.00.
Now the cost of the Venture Bonanza at K-M is $35.00 per person, which covers all of your fees and food expenses. And yes, adults can also participate all of the activities.
On Saturday September 10th the Lewis & Clark District will be holding our first ever Venturing rock climbing adventure! The climb is open to all of our registered Venturers. If you are not currently registered as a Venture Scout, here are the requirements to join:
You must be beween 14 and 21 years old and you must join a Venture Crew. Thats it. You can even stay registered as a Boy Scout at the same time! We have Venture Crews in Great Falls and the surrounding communities, if you are interested in joining please call me and I will arrange for you to meet with one of our local crews. If you are unit leader interested in starting a Venture Crew or Patrol – let me know ASAP, we can get everything in place so that your youth can attend this climbing trip.
Here are the details of the trip. The cost is $15 per climber. All technical gear (helmets, ropes, etc.) will be provided. If you have your own gear you may bring that as well. We have a hired a professional climbing instructor to guide our trip and teach us rock climbing skills. We will be meeting at the Grasshopper Campground in the Lewis and Clark National Forest (Castle Mountains) at 8:30am on Saturday 9/10. To get to Grasshopper Campground you head south on highway 89 towards White Sulphur Springs. Then turn east for about 6 miles on US 12, then south 4 miles on Forest Road 211. There is camping available at Grasshopper Campground. If you are interested in camping as well, you will need to make arrangements with the Forest Service.
After meeting at the campground, we will take a short (15 minute) drive to the trailhead. The walk from the trailhead to the climbing location is about a 45 minute walk. We will be done and back at Grasshopper campground at about 5pm. Vehicles with high clearance will be necessary to drive to the trailhead.
There is no food or drink provided, that will be up to the individual Crew/Scout.
I have attached the forms required by our instructor. In addition, everyone will have to have a current BSA health form.
This trip is going to be fantastic! I hope to see all of our Venturers in attendance.
If you have any questions, please call me on my cell 868-5648.
Lewis and Clark & Central Districts
cell (406) 868-5648
fax (406) 761-4480
Hello Scouters!! Please get this out to all of your Scouts and other Scouters! (including Cubs, Webelos, Boy Scouts and Venture Scouts) Please see the flyer for info.
The Aviation merit badge was one of the Original 57 Merit Badges issued by the Boy Scouts of America in 1911. Working with Lt Col Carlton of the MT ANG, we’ve been able to arrange for District Boy Scouts to work for their Aviation Merit Badge and attend the Flight Over the Falls Air Show. VOLUNTEERS for the AIR SHOW are also needed; Scouters, Cubs, Venture Scouts are all welcome to participate.
Boy Scout Aviation Merit Badge Academics and Air Show Coordination is scheduled on 26 July from 0800 – 1200 and 27 July from 1300 – 1700 in the Operations Auditorium of the Montana Air National Guard. A Flight Schedule is yet to be determined, as we are working with the Experimental Aviation Association to include their “Young Eagles” program. Also, some Volunteer work can be done, i.e., setting up parking spaces, ramp set-up etc.
As for the Air Show itself, I’ve asked that the Scouts WORKING on their Merit badge be able to attend the pre-game show on Friday night and meet with the Blue Angels or other aviation professionals. Saturday and Sunday, Scout Volunteers may help by gathering and disposing of trash, running water to workers, acting as parking attendants, and ramp tear down.
Now for a kicker that will really please everyone; we can set up and manage a booth. There is some legal issues involved with selling stuff and I am awaiting info for review. However, we can use this as a recruiting tool. A couple adult Scouters, a couple Scouts (Tiger, Cub, Scouts and Venturers) and we can sign people up. I’m going to need help with this one, but we can feature a slide show, projects boys have done, a Kayak, other crafts, rockets, a nature board I need help with this one if anyone wants to help out it would be a great opportunity.
I will have more in the next couple days, so keep checking!!!