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As part of the 2021 BSA National Annual Meeting, the organization held multiple Fireside Chat virtual meetings on a handful of key topics. These included Safety, Membership Growth, Female Board Leadership, and Governance. Female Board Leadership was the topic for the third of these meetings. 

Female Board Leadership 

The Fireside Chat focused on thoughts and strategies for increasing female board leadership as well as increasing the overall diversity of boards for the Boy Scouts of America, both at national and local council levels. 

Led by BSA National Executive Board Member and National Executive Committee Member Thear Suzuki, the panel of speakers also included South Florida Council President Alicia Speight, National Executive Board Member Tanya Acker, BSA Chief Diversity Officer Elizabeth Washka, Crossroads of America Council Scout Executive Jeff Isaac, and BSA Chair-Elect Brad Tilden. Each speaker shared multiple perspectives on the value of increasing female board membership as well as broadening the diversity of BSA boards. 

Panel members cited the importance of having a board that is reflective of the diverse membership the BSA. This strategy seeks to focus on understanding and connecting with moms, many of whom often make the decision on the types of organizations their children join. The panel members discussed how diversity at the board level helps to bring a diversity of thought into problem solving and seeking innovative ways to grow the Scouting movement. 

The panel noted that board members can have a variety of roles, including doers, donors, and door-openers, and that focusing on the strengths of board members of diverse backgrounds can benefit the BSA on many levels while also providing a greater connection to the many communities the BSA aims to serve. 

For more information on the Female Board Leadership Fireside Chat, watch it below:

NAM2021 Female Board Leadership Fireside Chat from Boy Scouts of America on Vimeo.

As part of the 2021 BSA National Annual Meeting, the organization held multiple Fireside Chat virtual meetings on a handful of key topics. These included Safety, Membership Growth, Female Board Leadership, and Governance. Membership Growth was the topic for the second of those meetings. 

Membership Growth

Like many organizations, Scouting faced challenges in growing its membership during 2020; however, with the 2021 fall recruiting season approaching, the organization is prepping to invite even more families to experience the fun and value of Scouting. 

During this Fireside Chat on membership growth, attendees heard from Scout Executive Anthony Escobar of the Caddo Area Council, who shared recruiting strategies that worked for his council during 2020, enabling the council to grow its membership, even against the backdrop of a challenging year. 

This session introduced the 2021 recruiting theme of Escape the Great Indoors, and offered links to an entire suite of marketing resources (fliers, videos, social media posts, web banners, photos, and more) on the BSA Brand Center

The discussion also focused on the current Summer of Service initiative, which helps Scouts to be visible in their communities this summer through their acts of service. The Summer of Service also features a set of dedicated resources on the Brand Center that can be used to promote local service activities.

Two upcoming webinars are scheduled to help inform people on key marketing and membership growth strategies. The first, scheduled for June 17, will focus on the Escape the Great Indoors recruiting theme. Register here for the June 17 webinar. The second webinar, scheduled for June 24, will feature a discussion on key technology platforms (online registration, invitation manager, application manager) used to recruit and grow Scouting. Register here for the June 24 webinar

Additionally, two separate membership kickoff webinars were discussed. The one for BSA staff took place on June 10, and one for volunteers will be scheduled for July 22. More details about these kickoff webinars will be shared in the near future. 

The session also featured updates on the Den Leader Experience (including Tips and Tricks videos, Cub Scout Preview Adventures, and other tools used to help grow and retain Scouts. 

For more information on the Membership Growth Fireside Chat, watch it below:

2021NAM Membership Fireside Chat from Boy Scouts of America on Vimeo.

See the Q&A from the session here

As part of the 2021 BSA National Annual Meeting, the organization held multiple Fireside Chat virtual meetings on a series of key topics. These included Safety, Membership Growth, Female Board Leadership, and Governance. Safety was the topic for the first of these meetings. 

Safety

The safety-focused Fireside Chat featured a discussion on the new S.A.F.E. Scouting approach. This means Supervision, Assessment, Fitness & Skill, and Equipment & Environment. To help ensure the safety of its participants, the Boy Scouts of America expects leaders to use the four points of S.A.F.E. when delivering the Scouting program.

The session also discussed the availability of extensive safety resources contained online at the BSA Health & Safety site. These resources include BSA Safety Moments, the Guide to Safe Scouting, and Youth Protection Training.

Finally, the session focused on the importance of having a culture of safety within the BSA, where safety isn’t just a priority, but where it is a core value and paramount in every aspect of the organization. The commitment to that level of safety begins individually with everyone involved in Scouting.

For more information on the Safety Fireside Chat, watch it below:

2021NAM Safety Fireside Chat from Boy Scouts of America on Vimeo.

Every year, Cub Scout Adventures are reviewed to identify trends and determine interests of our youth, den leaders and Cub Scout families. In our ongoing efforts to keep the Cub Scouting Adventure program relevant to today’s families, Cub Scout elective Adventures are reviewed for both content and popularity. The most recent review has identified 19 elective Adventures that do not meet the standards of youth and den leader engagement, with the lowermost being earned by less than 3% of eligible youth. They will be retired effective May 31, 2022. The retiring of these adventures allows Cub Scouting to be more agile as the BSA makes continuous improvements to the program.

Some families may want one last chance to earn these Adventures, and some den leaders may have already made plans for the upcoming program year.  To help with that transition, these Adventures will be available until the end of the 2021-2022 program year.

The affected elective Adventures, which will be retired effective May 31, 2022, are as follows:

  • Family Stories, Rank: Tiger, SKU: 619922
  • Earning Your Stripes, Rank: Tiger, SKU: 619925
  • Tiger Tales, Rank: Tiger, SKU: 619930
  • Tiger Theater, Rank: Tiger, SKU: 619931
  • Collections and Hobbies, Rank: Wolf, SKU: 619940
  • Grow Something, Rank: Wolf, SKU: 619944
  • Hometown Heroes, Rank: Wolf, SKU: 619947
  • Motor Away, Rank: Wolf, SKU: 619950
  • Beat of the Drum, Rank: Bear, SKU: 619958
  • World of Sound, Rank: Bear, SKU: 619960
  • Make it Move, Rank: Bear, SKU: 619963
  • Robotics, Rank: Bear, SKU: 619968
  • Looking Back Looking Forward, Rank: Webelos/AOL, SKU: 619978
  • Maestro, Rank: Webelos/AOL, SKU: 619979
  • Project Family, Rank: Webelos/AOL, SKU: 619997
  • Build My Hero, Rank: Webelos/AOL, SKU: 619992
  • Adventures in Science, Rank: Webelos/AOL, SKU: 619989
  • Fix It, Rank: Webelos/AOL, SKU: 619975
  • Movie Making, Rank: Webelos/AOL, SKU: 619982

The listed elective Adventures are still part of the Cub Scouting program until May 31, 2022. After that date, these Adventures will be retired, and the Adventure loops and pins will no longer be available. Earned Adventures will be archived in Scoutbook and Internet Advancement. The Adventure will appear as earned but will no longer be able to be marked as completed after May 31, 2022.

Tuesday, 09 March 2021 20:02

The Heart of a Champion

Story by Evan Heller, Buckeye Council

It would have been like watching a scene from a movie—if I’d had time to think about it.

With 10 seconds left in a hard-fought basketball game, my team of underdogs was tied with the tournament’s top seed. Nobody expected us to hang with them this close, yet now we were within a single basket of a huge upset. We were oblivious to the pressure, oblivious to the crowd, oblivious to the sweat, just playing our game. I wheeled into position, and a teammate passed me the ball as he’d done hundreds of times in practice. The basket was in sight. I drew up to shoot. And time stopped.

All 10 wheelchair basketball players on the court turned expectantly to follow the ball as it rose from my hands toward the basket, tumbling as it sailed through the air. An eternity seemed to pass as the ball approached the rim. It passed almost silently through the hoop, dropping to the court untouched as time expired and the horn blared to end the game—with the underdogs on top. We had won the biggest matchup in team history, and my shot had sealed it!

DISCOVERING A PASSION

Evan with his winning Pinewood Derby car in 2009.

I basically grew up in Scouting. When I was very young, my mom was a district executive for the Boy Scouts of America, and while she was in classrooms signing up new Cub Scouts, I was there. As soon as I was old enough, I joined Scouting. We had just moved to a new town, and I had no friends or family nearby. Scouting helped me meet people I could relate to. My den did everything together, from outside adventures to hands-on crafts and hobbies, and we learned important lessons like working as a team without even realizing it. I discovered that if I focus my competitive fire, I could become a Pinewood Derby ace. The opportunities I found through Scouting gave me experiences I would have missed otherwise. You see, I was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that makes walking very difficult for me, so I didn’t do much in the way of sports until I discovered archery at Scout camp at Woodland Trails Scout Reservation in Hilliard, Ohio. The smothering heat of that summer didn’t get in my way; I loved the feel and the power of the draw, aim, and shoot, and as my skills grew, so did my confidence.

Evan on the court with his Wooster High School wheelchair basketball team

When I returned home, I practiced constantly with the bow I received for my birthday. I can still remember the bright yellow fletching on the arrows and the sting of the bow strike against my forearm, and through all those hours of practice, I realized something: I wanted to share this awesome sport with other kids. So, I volunteered to teach archery the following year at Cub Scout day camp in Delaware, Ohio. There’s no better feeling when a Scout you’re coaching hits his first target. I knew I wanted to experience that feeling again and again. Helping other kids became my passion, but I knew I had other goals to conquer first.

PRACTICING MY GAME

As a teen, I discovered wheelchair basketball. With the discipline and leadership skills I had learned throughout my lifetime as a Scout, I emerged as a natural leader on the team. I joined my high school wheelchair basketball team, becoming one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation and leading my team to a 54-0 record and three straight state titles. When signing day came, I decided to continue my basketball career and education at Auburn University. I also am aiming higher, training to try out next year for the USA Men’s National team with a goal of earning a spot to compete at the U23 World Championships in Japan in 2022. After that, I plan to play professionally in Europe and work to earn a spot on Team USA to compete in the Paralympics before beginning a career that fulfills another lifelong goal.

I also am aiming higher, training to try out next year for the USA Men’s National team with a goal of earning a spot to compete at the U23 World Championships in Japan in 2022. After that, I plan to play professionally in Europe and work to earn a spot on Team USA to compete in the Paralympics before beginning a career that fulfills another lifelong goal. – Evan Heller

SINKING THE SHOT

Signing day for Evan

I have made the most of the opportunities I had through Scouting, and I continue to capitalize on what I learn from so many different types of incredible people I have met. No matter what happens after college, my plans definitely include a career that was presented to me directly from a strong Scouting influence. Teaching archery to Scouts at camp really opened my eyes to how I wanted to help people throughout my life. Outside of basketball practice at Auburn, I am pursuing a degree in special education to make my goals a reality. Being a Scout has helped me succeed throughout my life, even when challenges in my physical ability made it appear to be a near impossibility. Scouting gave me the chance to compete and to feel the rush of winning—and I like to win! My plan is to pay that blessing forward. Because I am a Scout, I’m not the underdog. I am a champion.

Evan, thank you for telling your Scouting story! We wish you the best in your pursuit of a Division I crown and a spot on the USA National wheelchair basketball team.

Special thanks to our donors and alumni who believe in the potential for our local camps and councils to open doors for young people to learn, excel, and set out on a path toward their futures. Evan’s story is unique, as are the stories of thousands of other young people whose successes are directly tied to their Scouting experience. You continue to make that happen with your unwavering support.

Evan and Amy

About Evan Heller

Evan is a scholarship freshman scholar/athlete at Auburn University, where he is a member of the wheelchair basketball team. In addition to the Scouting program, Evan credits his mother, Buckeye Council Senior District Director Amy Heller, as being the mentor who had the most impact on his life.

All photos courtesy of Amy Heller

Dear Scouting Family, 

This past year demonstrated that the Boy Scouts of America’s mission is more important than ever before, and I look to the future with hope. The entire Scouting community showed impressive perseverance, leadership, and commitment to the mission. I thank you all for showing up for Scouting each and every day.  

It has been just over a year since the BSA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. As you know from our regular updates, we have made significant progressbut there is still more work to be done. With that said, I am pleased to share with you that the BSA has taken an important step toward emerging from this process by filing an amended Plan of Reorganization with the Bankruptcy Court.  

The amended Plan of Reorganization outlines the BSA’s proposed strategy to provide equitable compensation to victims of past abuse and address our other financial obligations so that we can continue to serve youth for years to come. There are still many aspects of the Plan that we are refining through ongoing mediation, but the amended Plan is an important step in demonstrating progress that we believe will ultimately lead to a final plan that the Bankruptcy Court will confirm. 

Some othe proposed aspects outlined in the filing include: 

  • A 5-year business plan that demonstrates a sustainable model for continuing Scouting’s vital mission into the future and provides for the BSA to continue to fund its pension and benefit plans for employees and retirees.  
  • The channeling of all claims of past abuse against national BSA and local councils into a compensation Trust, which will allow us to equitably compensate victims and continue to serve youth across the country into the future. 
  • A national BSA contribution to the Trust that includes a significant portion of national BSA’s unrestricted, non-core assets that are not subject to liens of its secured lender. 
  • A loan from the National Boy Scouts of America Foundation to the BSA to provide the BSA with sufficient working capital following emergence from bankruptcy. 
  • contribution of at least $300 million from local councils to the Trust. 

As I mentioned, this amended plan is not the final planWhile we have reached agreements with two key constituentsour secured lender and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditorswe continue to negotiate with other parties as we move through the process of having our Plan confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court. Ultimately, claimants in the BSA’s Chapter 11 proceeding will have the opportunity to vote on the Plan. We are hopeful we can come to a global resolution that is in everyone’s best interest, including the victimsand can complete our restructuring process by this fall. 

I recognize that this is a complex processbut I want to remind you all of what we are trying to achieve through it: Our Scouting Movement—the national organization and local councils alikehas moral responsibility to compensate victims of past abuse and to continue Scouting’s missionWe understand the gravity of meeting these imperatives, and we are taking the necessary steps to get there.  

While there is still work ahead of us, I’m confident that our Scouting Movement will come out of this process even stronger, as long as we move forward together. I look forward to sharing updates with you as we continue to make progress 

Yours in Scouting,  

Roger Mosby  

President and CEO 

Boy Scouts of America 

 

On its February 17 broadcast, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt featured 17 young women from the Baltimore area who have all become Eagle Scouts as part of the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren talked with several of the girls about the experience of earning the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout. 

Be sure to watch the entire broadcast below, and don’t forget to join us here on Facebook Live or here on Youtube on February 21st at 8 pm ET / 7 pm CT for the “Be the Change” event, a celebration of service, leadership, and the groundbreaking accomplishments of the first female Eagle Scouts!

Find more details on “Be the Change” here: www.scouting.org/bethechange.

Watch the NBC Nightly News segment below or here.

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