Congratulations to Jeffrey Spencer, who will serve as Scout executive of the Chester County Council in West Chester, Pennsylvania, effective January 1, 2019.

Jeff began his Scouting career in the Allegheny Trails Council, which later became the Greater Pittsburgh Council and is now known as the Laurel Highlands Council in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

He moved on to serve the Twin Rivers Council in Albany, New York and the Del-Mar-Va Council in Wilmington, Delaware before being promoted to the director of field service in the Daniel Webster Council in Manchester, New Hampshire. He has recently been serving as the director of development in the New Birth of Freedom Council in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

Jeff is an Eagle Scout who enjoys traveling, skiing and golfing with his wife, Ann.

Please help us send Jeff our well wishes in the comments below, as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Chester County Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

Join us as we congratulate John Echevarria, who will serve as Scout executive of the Western Massachusetts Council in Westfield, Massachusetts, effective January 1, 2019.

John began his Scouting career as an intern at the Greater New York Council in New York City, New York. He moved on to become a para-professional, district executive, senior district executive and later district director with the Puerto Rico Council in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. He was promoted to field director and later to director of field service of the Alamo Area Council in San Antonio, Texas.

As a youth, John never had an opportunity to become a Scout. For that reason, he is so passionate about making sure every youth has an opportunity to join Scouting.

John and his wife Mila have two older daughters, a son-in-law and a beautiful two-year-old granddaughter. They also have twin boys that have started the Scouting legacy for their family. They started when they were Tigers and are now Bears.

In the comments below, help us welcome John to his new role in Scouting as he joins the volunteers and staff of the Western Massachusetts Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

I am writing to you today in anticipation of news reports that will speculate about the BSA’s financial position. We have an important duty, and an incredible opportunity, to focus as an organization on keeping children safe, supported and protected, and preparing youth for their futures through our nation’s foremost program of character development and values-based leadership training.

To do so in perpetuity, we are working with experts to explore all options available to ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scouts of America continues uninterrupted.    We have a social and moral responsibility to fairly compensate victims who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting, and we also have an obligation to carry out our mission to serve youth, families and local communities through our programs.  

We care deeply about all victims of child sex abuse and we are steadfast in our belief that one incident of child abuse is one too many. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in our programs.  As you all know, we have always taken care of victims – we believe them, we believe in fairly compensating them and we have paid for unlimited counseling, by a provider of their choice, regardless of the amount of time that has passed since an instance of abuse. Throughout our history we have taken proactive steps to help victims heal and prevent future abuse. I want to stress that at no time in our history have we knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth, and we always seek to act swiftly when alerted to abuse allegations.  

Please know that these matters continue to have the full attention of the highest levels of our organization, and we will communicate transparently as there are developments or updates to share.   I wanted to update you today due to the news speculation, and I want to assure you that our daily mission will continue and that there are no imminent actions or immediate decisions expected. 

Thank you for your continued support of the Boy Scouts of America.

Sincerely,

Mike Surbaugh

BSA Chief Scout Executive

Congratulations to Rick Christ, who has been selscted to serve as Scout executive of Minsi Trails Council in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, effective January 1, 2019.

Rick began his Scouting career as a district executive at the Minsi Trails Council in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. He moved on to several other positions over the years with the council. He was later promoted to director of support services of the Cradle of Liberty Council in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and then returned as assistant Scout executive of the Minsi Trails Council. He has successfully served as Scout executive of the Baden-Powell Council in Binghamton, New York since 2015.

Rick is an Eagle Scout who enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking and camping.
Rick and his wife Ann Marie have two children. Julia, a Webelos Scout, and Blaine, a Second Class Scout.

In the comments below, please help us welcome Rick to his new role in Scouting as he joins the volunteers and staff of the Minsi Trails Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

Please join us as we congratulate Sean Henneman, who will serve as Scout executive of the Water and Woods Field Service Council in Flint, Michigan, effective January 1, 2019.
Sean began his Scouting career as a district executive at the Erie Shores Council in Toledo, Ohio and later served as field director. He was promoted to director of field service of the Istrouma Area Council in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and on to Scout executive of the Gateway Area Council in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Sean enjoys fishing, camping, college football and traveling with his family.
Sean and his wife Maudra have two daughters. Madeline, a freshman in college and Sydney, a freshman in high school. Both are active in Venturing.
In the comments below, join us as we welcome Sean to his new role in Scouting as he joins the volunteers and staff of the Water and Woods Field Service Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

Mary Y., a 7-year-old North Florida Council Scout, was the first girl to join her Cub Scout pack and don the beloved blue and gold uniform – but she isn’t the only one full of excitement and anticipation. Her brother is thrilled to watch his sister join him and participate in the same activities, receiving the recognition she deserves.

“Finally,” brother Gavin shared with First Coast News. “My sister has been going with us on everything but never got recognition for it.”

The Boy Scouts of America began welcoming girls into the Cub Scout program in early 2018, and since then, thousands of families across the country have signed up to be part of the fun. The Cub Scout program serves boys and girls ages 5-10, and soon, girls ages 11-17 will be able to join the Scouts BSA program and earn the Eagle Scout rank. These decisions were made in part because of input from families who requested more opportunities to bring the entire family together for activities.

“We believe that our programs are uniquely able to develop character and leadership skills in young people and we are proud to be able to make them available to both boys and girls,” explained North Florida Council Scout Executive Jack Sears. “We understand that families today are busier and more diverse than ever … We think we owe it to families to offer our programs in a way that fits into their busy lives to deliver character development and values-based leadership training that Scouting promises.”

Sears says about 80 North Florida Cub Scout packs have “signaled an interest to welcome” girls through girls-only dens and more than 500 girls have already joined a den in one of those packs.

“Families today have many good options for character and leadership development programing for their families,” Sears said. “The 12 points of the Scout Law — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent — are relevant and important for both young men and women.”

Candice Y., Mary and Gavin’s mother, said having her children in Cub Scouts stemmed from having a packed schedule. She says the change has reduced her time on the road taking each of her children to different activities on different days and times. This allows for more family time and less driving time.

“As a busy mother, I love activities we can do together,” she said. “I support any organization that gets youth busy, all these things are fine. … But she wanted to go camping with her brother.”

To read the full story, visit First Coast News.

If you know a family with girls and/or boys who are interested in joining Cub Scouts, be sure to let them know it’s never too late to get involved. Cub Scouts is even more fun with friends! Be sure to share www.beascout.org with someone you know.  

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 15:49

Thankful for Momentum in Scouting

This is the time of year when millions of Americans gather and prepare feasts to express gratitude and celebrate the realization that we have a lot to be thankful for. For me, that usually inspires me to think about our volunteers, youth, families, partners and professionals – all of whom make up the foundation of our Scouting movement.

Yet this year, I am also thankful for something that is hard to explain in words, but also hard to ignore at many Scouting gatherings, events and even social media posts. I call it momentum.

Within the Boy Scouts of America, we are witnessing momentum in our movement that is inspiring and exciting. From welcoming nearly 65,000 girls in Cub Scouts to realizing that changes we have made are making Scouting something that more time-pressed families are able to do together because it is a foundational experience for their sons and daughters. As fall turns to winter, we are seeing the culmination of service projects from packs, troops, crews and ships nationwide, just as we begin to feel the buzz and excitement build ahead of February as hundreds of leaders are taking steps to stand up troops to welcome even more Scouts into Scouts BSA.

Just last week it became clear to me that the momentum we are feeling is also palpable in Scouting communities around the world. Scouting organizations like ours in the 169 countries that belong to the World Organization of the Scout Movement are also seeing enthusiasm for the power and values of Scouting. Scouts all over the world are living out the principles of the Scout Oath and Law as they come together to take on some of the most challenging issues facing the global community. From helping support communities plagued by conflict to identifying ways to address resource scarcity, Scouts worldwide have officially tallied over one billion hours of service, and now have set out to do even more, pledging four billion hours by 2030.

That ambitious goal is important; because we live in a world that needs Scouting more than ever.

In a world that is devolving into conflict, we must rise to a higher expectation and find a way to come together.

At a time when it is easy to hide from problems behind a screen, we have to choose to be brave and take action to improve and support our communities.

In a moment when we could be tempted to focus on how many things we can accumulate, we must remember that service is the greatest gift that we give – both to others and ourselves.

We simply must harness the power of this moment and build on it every chance we get because we know that the values and leadership skills taught through Scouting are important for children today and for the leaders we need to move us forward tomorrow. 

We should look at the gift of momentum with gratitude and vow not to squander the opportunity to do good in the world.

This moment is too important to our organization, to our members, our communities, our country, and yes, the world, too.

Yours in Scouting,

Mike

As you may have heard, the Girl Scouts of the USA have filed suit against the Boy Scouts of America. The suit is over the BSA’s use of the terms “Scouts” and “Scouting” when referring to girls who have and will be joining the BSA’s programs.

Our goal will be to resolve our differences with the Girl Scouts of the USA so that we both can move forward with serving youth. We take the brand and trademark rights of all organizations seriously and have worked proactively to differentiate our unique program offerings. As an organization, we do not want there to be any confusion regarding our programs and efforts. Any time we have been made aware of an instance of potential confusion around our programs, we immediately took steps to correct and clarify and we will continue to do so. Here is a guide that has been shared widely reinforcing guidance that we provided to councils in April.

As we work to resolve this matter, the BSA will continue to focus on promoting our programs. Our decision to expand our program offerings for girls came after years of requests from families who wanted the option of the BSA’s character- and leadership-development programs for their children – boys and girls. We believe that we owe it to our current and future members to offer families the options they want.

As has been our tradition, we applaud the efforts of all 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.

Over the years many of these organizations, including Girl Scouts of the USA and Boy Scouts of America, have participated in joint programs, shared facilities and performed service work together in communities across the country. The BSA will continue to support those efforts and encourage families to participate in these programs, regardless of the organization.

The reality is that most families in this country are not currently engaged with any character-building youth development program. There are over 70 million children in America that could benefit from our programs, and today, organizations like ours and others only serve a fraction of them. That is a huge unmet need, but one we can help address. Our country needs and deserves more young people focused on the values that serve as the bedrock of our movement; duty to God and country, with a desire to help other people at all times. We remain committed to providing young people with the programs to fulfill that need.

Yours in Scouting,

Mike

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