I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed summer!  Personally, I can testify that this was one of the best summers I have experienced.  When I travel around the Northern Lights Council, I always get asked “is summer a slow time for you? Or the opposite “are you able to slow down over the summer?”  My response is always the fact that Scouting never takes time off!  Perhaps you have seen this in the packs, troops, teams, crews or posts?

One of the accomplishments I am most proud of is the fact that I made it out to Camp Wilderness Boy Scout camp each week!  Some weeks my visit was short but others I was able to take time to talk with Scouts and adults about what makes Scouting fun.  Thank you to all of you who took time to talk with me and share your ideas.  We should all be proud of Camp Wilderness and the great staff that delivers awesome program.  We made some big decisions this year; one of them was adding a new pilot ATV program that is sure to be a hit for years to come!

We cannot forget Heart Butte Scout Reservation located on Lake Tschida that hosted a quality National Youth Leadership Training and Webelos Camp.  Also, we have invested many resources in Big 4 Camp near Minot with new equipment this summer as well.  Plus, throughout the summer we’ve had a lot of Scouts who have experienced ‘Leave No Trace’ camping at Tom Brantner Memorial Camp in Clay County, Minnesota.

As I write this I am finalizing another quarter of traveling to all ten geographic service districts that make up our quality Northern Lights Council.  I value the time to visit your area and hearing your success stories!

Please take the time to help us welcome over 1,500 new families that came into our larger Scouting families in September.  Because of great volunteer and staff teams, we are in the middle of one of the best fall recruitment drives in recent memory.  Thank you!

Let me finish by telling you about the popcorn sale.  Another council accomplishment to be proud of is the fact that our popcorn retail prices are not going up this year AND unit commissions and prizes are not decreasing, where else with inflation can we say that?  Thank you in advance for a wonderful sale.  And, for your information, the popcorn sale for session one is going on through October 22, 2013.

Like I said Scouting is year round and our communication never ends either.  Check out our Face book page at “Northern Lights Council,” our Twitter feed at @nlcbsa, our eNewsletter and our website.  Personally, feel free to connect with me on Twitter at @BSATravis or through my blog.  Also, please check out my most recent video blog.  Thanks again for your partnership and all you do for Scouting across the Northern Lights Council.

See you soon,

TC

Travis Christopher
Scout Executive/CEO
Northern Lights Council, BSA

Serving more than 20,000 youth in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturing, Exploring and Learning for Life across the State of North Dakota, 18 counties in NW Minnesota and 2 counties each in South Dakota and Montana.  A United Way Agency.

Scouting Builds:  Leadership, Character, Achievement, Service to Others and Appreciation for the Outdoors.  Be a Scout!  Re-connect and re-engage with Scouting at www.BSAALUMNI.org

After traveling thousands of miles over my first 100 days as the new Scout Executive of the Northern Lights Council, I can testify that I have seen great excitement about Scouting across our territory!  As we proceed in 2013, we have a full agenda ahead of us.  2013 has brought us an increase in the Friends of Scouting campaign and new Scouting units to deliver the program to even more kids.  We are also increasing our marketing efforts in the social media arena (check out our Facebook page at Northern Lights Council and Twitter feed at @nlcbsa) and through radio, TV and print.

Today, I am excited for our Friends of Scouting Prepared for Life 2.0 Leadership luncheon on Wednesday, March 20th at 12:00 noon to 1:30 PM at the Fargo Air Museum at 1609 19th Avenue North.   A special thanks goes to our luncheon sponsors Xcel Energy and the Dakota Medical Foundation and our table tosts that include: American Crystal Sugar, Bremer Banks, Choice Financial, D-S Beverages, Forum Communications, Foss Architecture, Gate City Bank, Hornbachers, Nilles Law Firm, Scheels, Smithco, Swanson Health, and Wells Fargo.

We have a special speaker at the luncheon as well as some energetic youth who will share their Scouting story.  The keynote speaker will be Maj. James Cusic III, who has served for more than 22 years in the Air Force and has traveled the world and taken part in countless training and real-world missions.  Cusic was in his Pentagon office Sept. 11, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 77 hit the building. He is credited with saving the lives of three people and supporting two others until they could be evacuated.

The awards Cusic has received for his heroic actions include the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Certificate of Merit from the American Red Cross and the Boy Scouts of America Honor Medal with Crossed Palms, which has only been awarded 277 times since 1938.

The Friends of Scouting leadership luncheon is an opportunity to raise community awareness of the positive impact of the Boy Scouts of America, Northern Lights Council,  and gives individuals an opportunity to make an investment in Scouting.  The luncheon serves as a vehicle to present an update on the Scouting program and is the community kick-off of the annual Friends of Scouting fund drive. At the luncheon, each attendee will be asked to make a pledge of financial support.

For more information and to make reservations for the luncheon, call (701) 293-5011.

As always, I would like to thank you all for your support!  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter@NLCBSA .

Travis Christopher
Scout Executive/CEO

Scouting builds:  leadership, character, achievement, service to others and appreciation for the outdoors.  Were you involved in Scouting?  Let us know.  We want to hear from you.  Reconnect and Reengage in Scouting at www.BSAAlumni.org.  Find out more about Scouting in the Northern Lights Council at www.NLCBSA.org

The second year of the second century of Scouting is drawing to a close.  How exciting to be part of a relevant, dynamic organization that does so much good for kids, families and communities.

First and foremost, thank you to all the parents, leaders, volunteers, helpers, donors, friends and everyone who helped us in Scouting with a great year in 2012 here in the Council.  We had a year of growth, we had a year of fun in camping, advancement, training, all in support of our kids.

2013 will be an even better year.  We have big things planned and some money already available for camp improvements and doing some new programming; but also at the same time increasing our support to all of our 400 Scout Units across the Northern Lights Council.

Highlights from 2012:

  • After four years of planning and fundraising, the Northern Lights Council moved into the new Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting in July.  This new 15,000 sq. ft. center features a 2,500 sq. ft. Scout Store operated by the National Council, Boy Scouts of America! The 3,000 sq. ft. Shelly Ellig Training Center is the hub for leadership training for our youth and adults, and the atrium and gathering area displays the timeless values of the 12 words we call the Scout Law.  These 12 points guide the decisions and lives of our membership and alumni.
  • Camp Wilderness, our year around Camping facility near Park Rapids, Minnesota was a happening place this year with the largest Cub/Webelos Camp attendance at the Butler Wilderness Outpost since opening in 2007.  A total of 669 Tigers/Cubs/Webelos attended; 1,497 Boy Scouts attended Scout Camp; and 128 Cubs and Scouts attended Camp at Heart Butte Scout Reservation.
  • This summer, the Council dedicated the renovated and expanded Wanzek Trading Post and Scout History Center at Camp Wilderness.  Through a generous donation from the Jon Wanzek family, the Camp now has a History Center and a year-round Trading Post using geo-thermal heating.
  • Over 90,000 pounds of food was collected across the Council for the Scouting for Food Drive that was held in March.
  • 2012 was also a year of membership growth across the Northern Lights Council.  Fall recruiting went very well with more than 1,000 new first grade boys and 900 Cub Scouts signing up for an adventure of a lifetime.  We are thrilled about the possibilities for all these new Cubs.  The Council also started a number of career based Exploring Posts, the Red River Zoo Post in Fargo and an Engineering Post in Fargo, to name a couple.

Happy New Year from the Northern Lights Council.  Thank you for your partnership.  Wishing you a safe, healthy and happy New Year.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter@NLCBSA .

Sincerely,

Travis Christoper
Scout Executive/CEO

 

Josh  (age 18) a Venture Scout with crew 123 and Eagle Scout from Troop 123 Faith Lutheran Church, Bismarck ND has always liked the water and swimming.  He started at 9-months in the “Water Babies” swim class at the local YMCA where it provided experience & activities that would help a child feel more comfortable in the water.  As a Scout with Troop 123 Josh received his swimming and lifesaving merit badge and then decided that the SCUBA merit badge was something he and fellow Scouts wanted to take.  The troop provides the Scouts with the opportunity to try new things so advisors of Troop 123 applied to “SCUBA Live Aboard” at the Florida Seabase camp.  Their adventure turned out to be an eight-day trip during the holiday vacation school break. This was a combined sailing and scuba diving program down at the Florida Sea Base camp. They needed to find a crew of 12 and would set sail on a 57-foot schooner and have the opportunity to dive 15 times including night dives around the Florida Keys. Scout advisors contacted a local dive shop and their crew of 12 was all PADI SCUBA Dive certified by a BSA recognized agency before leaving on the trip.

These opportunities not only help them when they are young but also carry forward into their adult lives.   Since that Josh has been taking dive classes with Scuba One, Mandan ND and has recently been accepted into and training with the Mandan Morton County Volunteer Dive Team.  This group of divers work in conjunction with the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Dept.  The Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department has been the home of a Dive Rescue and Recovery Team since 1980. The team was started after a plane crash in the Missouri River showed that there was a need for trained divers with good equipment who could respond to emergency water calls. Josh has been certified in PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver and Swift Water Rescue to gain the knowledge of exploring his livelihood as a Master Diver.   North Dakota does not give Scouts great opportunities to dive, but he has had the opportunity to take dive classes and dive at Lake Sakakawea, Missouri River and recently was able to dive down in Cozumel.

He is enrolled with Bismarck State College in the Criminal Justice field and plans to seek employment with Burleigh County Sheriff’s Dept. in hopes to get on the Burleigh County Dive Team or other agencies after college.

Studies show that men who were Scouts in their youth agree that the values they learned in Scouting continue to be very important to them today. Young men who remained in Scouting throughout the years tend to gain the self-confidence they need to continue their goals for the future to make a positive effect on their career development and advancement in real-life situations.  By being a Scout it has helped him be a better leader in today’s world.  BSA has helped build future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun.

Josh continues to dive every chance he gets to work towards his 50 open water dives to progress with the Master Dive certification.  His advice to Scouts would be to take merit badges that spark your interest and develop your skills because “who knows what the future holds for you.”

Scouting builds:  leadership, character, achievement, service to others and appreciation for the outdoors.  Were you involved in Scouting?  Let us know.  We want to hear from you.  Reconnect and Reengage in Scouting at www.BSAAlumni.org.  Find out more about Scouting in the Northern Lights Council at www.NLCBSA.org

Autumn is here, bringing cooler temperatures, falling leaves and – POPCORN SEASON. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts throughout the Northern Lights Council are starting to go door-to-door selling Trail’s End brand popcorn to fund their local Scouting activities. Many packs and troops rely on this annual sale to support their activities – like the popular Pinewood Derby and camp – throughout the entire year. The sale also allows individual Scouts to earn prizes and scholarship money for college. On average, 70 percent of all popcorn sales go directly to support local Scouting.

Trail’s End fans will find Scouts selling all of their favorites, including microwave popcorn in Butter Light, Kettle Corn and Unbelievable Butter flavors, as well as signature snacks like Classic Caramel Corn, Caramel Corn with Almonds & Pecans, Double Caramel Crunch (new this year), White Chocolatey Pretzels,  Chocolately Triple Delight, Cheddar Cheese Corn (new), Chocolate Lover’s Collection, Cheese Lover’s Collection and more.

In addition, the Northern Lights Council has again partnered with Trail’s End Popcorn, Support Our Military Troops Program that gives consumers the chance to donate $30 or $50 in addition to their regular popcorn purchase.  Trail’s End ships the popcorn directly to active duty troops and their families.  The Scouts want to help support those who are sacrificing so much to keep us safe.  In 2011, the Northern Lights Council shipped $73,220 worth of popcorn overseas to help support the Troops!  Plus, the Council gave popcorn to the local military bases in Fargo and Minot, for a total of $81,125.

Salute Scouting today!  Buy popcorn when a Scout calls on you.  You can also order popcorn directly on-line at www.trails-end.com

Scouting builds leadership, character, achievement, service to others, and appreciation for the outdoors.  For more information on the Northern Lights Council, BSA visit our website at www.nlcbsa.org

Were you involved in Scouting?  Let us know.  We want to hear from you.  Reconnect and Reengage in Scouting at www.BSAAlumni.org

Thursday, August 16 is a historic day for Scouting in the Northern Lights Council.  At 11:00 AM we are dedicating the new Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting that will serve as the regional headquarters and hub for everyone involved in Scouting in the Northern Lights Council.  The Center for Scouting:

  • Is a centralized, easily accessible, environmentally family friendly facility.
  • Houses a full-service National BSA Scout supply store.
  • Will provide increased training and educational opportunities for our volunteers and community members.
  • And much more!

Plus, have you heard?  The Fargo Scout Shop’s grand opening is also August 16 at 10:00 AM.  Have you seen it yet?  It’s amazing…the Scout catalog comes to life!  The new Fargo Scout Shop is a beautiful, spacious, contemporary design that not only celebrates the BSA today, but represents Scouting’s bright future, just like the Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting!  The Center for Scouting and the Fargo Scout Shop are proud to present your one-stop Scout resource center…and it is really something to see.

Stop by 4200 19th Avenue South in Fargo on Thursday, August 16 at 11:00 and join us for this historic occasion for Scouting in the Northern Lights Council!

The Northern Lights Council, BSA is a United Way Agency and serves the State of North Dakota, 18 Counties in NW Minnesota, and 2 counties each in South Dakota and Montana.

For more information on Scouting in the Northern Lights Council visit www.nlcbsa.org

Scouting Builds:  Leadership, Character, Achievement, Service to Others and Appreciation for the Outdoors.  Reconnect and Reengage with Scouting at www.bsaalumni.org .  Be A Scout!

 

We are proud to announce the Northern Lights Council, Boy Scouts of America, has been recognized in the BSA’s 14th Annual National President’s Award for Marketing Excellence. The Council was one of the top 6 in the Annual Report category out of 294 Boy Scout Councils in America.  The National BSA marketing competition recognizes outstanding and innovative marketing produced by, or on behalf of, the Scouts and the local Boy Scout Councils.

The recognition was given to the Northern Lights Council for the creativity and hard work of United Printing, Bismarck, ND for their efforts for the Council’s Annual Report.  United Printing conceptualized, arranged photo sessions of Scouts, designed and printed this outstanding report. Thank you United Printing!  “We are thrilled by this recognition,” said Mark Holtz, Scout Executive. 

The Northern Lights Council is a United Way Agency and serves all of North Dakota, eighteen counties in northwest Minnesota, two counties each in South Dakota and Montana.  www.nlcbsa.org

Scouting builds:  character, leadership, achievement, service to others and appreciation for the outdoors. Be a Scout! Re-connect and re-engage with Scouting at www.BSAalumni.org

It’s been a busy spring for Scouting in the Northern Lights Council and if you have driven by the new Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting, 4200 19th Avenue South in Fargo, you will see that construction is right on schedule…mid-July completion date.  Stay tuned for updates and photos next week.  In the meantime, if you would like to check out the construction progress you can visit the Council’s website  or on our facebook page.

Today, we are pleased to join ND First Lady Betsy Dalrymple, the Council’s 2012 Scouting for Food Chair, in announcing that Scouts will be going door-to-door and conducting a community good turn on Saturday March 24.  Starting last weekend, Scouts across the Council went door to door and distributed Scouting for Food door hangers and tomorrow will be collecting the donated food from those same houses.  The donated food will be delivered to local community food banks.

The 24th Annual Scouting for Food Drive is Scouting’s community stewardship project aimed at addressing the problem of hunger in the community in which we live and work.  Scouting for Food is a project rooted in the very foundation of the Scouting movement.  The Boy Scouts and their community partner, Gate City Bank, are working together on this project to help people in our communities.

It is up to the people of our community to make Scouting for Food a success and help our local food pantries feed those in need, said Scout Executive Mark Holtz.  Last year in 2011, Scouts collected more than 90,000 pounds of food across the Northern Lights Council and the goal this year is to collect more than 102,000 to celebrate one hundred and two years of the Boy Scouts of America.

If you did not get a door hanger at your home and you would like to participate and donate to our Scouting for Food drive, you can drop your food items off at any Gate City Bank location until March 31.  All donated food items will then be delivered to the local community’s food pantry.

For more information on the Scouting for Food drive please contact the Boy Scout office toll free at 877-293-5011. The Northern Lights Council serves the entire state of North Dakota, 18 counties in NW Minnesota and 2 counties each in South Dakota and Montana. The Northern Lights Council is a United Way Agency.

Scouting Builds: Leadership, Character, Achievement, Service to Others, and Appreciation for the Outdoors.  Be a Scout! Are you a Scout Alumni?  Reconnect and re-engage with Scouting at www.bsaalumni.org

The first year of the second century of Scouting is drawing to a close.  How exciting to be part of a relevant, dynamic organization that does so much good for kids, families and communities!

After three years of planning and fundraising, the Northern Lights Council broke ground on the new Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting!  This new 15,000 sq. ft. center will feature a 2,500 sq. ft. Scout Store operated by the National Council, Boy Scouts of America! The 3,000 sq. ft. Shelly Ellig Training Center will be the hub for leadership training for our youth and adults, and the atrium and gathering area will display the timeless values of the 12 words we call the Scout Law.  These 12 points guide the decisions and lives of our membership and alumni.  The new Center will be completed in July 2012!

The only state our Chief Scout Executive hadn’t visited was the State of North Dakota!  October 19, 2011, changed that when our Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazucca and Regional Director Al Lambert visited Big 4 Scout Camp in Minot, spoke at the Bismarck Rotary Club and presented SCOUTStrong Awards to members of Troop 123.  The Chief also met many volunteers and Scouts at a reception in Fargo.  The Chief’s visit included a meeting with many of our state’s political leaders including Lt. Governor (Eagle Scout) Drew Wrigley!   The Chief commented he had a great visit to our Northern Lights Council, but we wore him out with an aggressive schedule touring the state!

Camp Wilderness was a happening place this summer with the largest Cub/Webelos Camp attendance at the Butler Wilderness Outpost since opening in 2007.  A total of 673 Tigers/Cubs/Webelos attended, 1,609 Boy Scouts attended Scout Camp, and 162 Cubs and Scouts attended Camp at Heart Butte Scout Reservation.  As the summer came to a close, the Council broke ground on the renovation and expansion of the Wanzek Trading Post and Scout History Center at Camp Wilderness!  Through a generous donation from the Jon Wanzek family, the Camp will now include a History Center and a year-round Trading Post using geo-thermal heating!  The new facility will be ready for Summer Camp 2012.

Severe flooding in Northwest North Dakota affected many Scouting families’ homes in the greater Minot area.  The Big 4 Scout Camp was under water for several months.   With many questions about future city plans, we wait in anticipation to continue clean-up and renovation in 2012.  The Scout Spirit and call to service was evident as Scouters pitched in to help with the clean up.

Our fall recruiting went well with 1,002 new first grade boys and 910 Cub Scouts signing up for an adventure of a lifetime.  We are thrilled about the possibilities for the new Cubs.

As we charge into the second century of Scouting, I reflect on the solid foundation of service, character and citizenship our organization was founded on.  We are so grateful for dedicated volunteers and friends that believe in and see the impact of America’s foremost youth development program – Scouting.

Thank you for your partnership.  Wishing you a safe, healthy and happy New Year.

Most sincerely,

Mark G. Holtz
Scout Executive

Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America, is making his first trip to the Northern Lights Council on Wednesday, October19. We believe this is the first National BSA Chief Scout Executive to ever visit the Northern Lights Council and we are thrilled  that he is going to be here to honor all our Scout volunteers.

As the 2nd largest geographic Boy Scout Council in America, we have a busy day planned for the National BSA Chief Scout Executive  and our Scouting volunteers across the Northern Lights Council.  First stop, Big 4 Scout Camp in Minot.  While at Big 4 Scout Camp, we will tour the camp, assess flood damage, and have a brief program at 9:30 AM, when we will be presented a check from Ackerman-Estvold to help with the flood recovery efforts at Big 4.  At this time, Bob Mazzuca will also speak about the importance of Scouting and the important role that volunteers have in the Boy Scouts of America.

At noon, we will be in Bismarck where Bob Mazzuca will be the guest speaker at the Bismarck Rotary Club which meets at the Elks Club, 900 South Washington Street in Bismarck.  He will present twelve Boy Scouts and adult leaders from Bismarck Troop 123 with the Scout-specific Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (Pala), which is part of the Boy Scouts of America’s recently launched, new national healthy-living initiative called “SCOUTStrong.”  Bob Mazzuca will also share details about the formal commitment that the BSA has made to do even more to address the major health concerns facing today’s youth.

Now, on to Fargo…at 7:00 PM at Butler Machinery Co., 3401 33rd Street South, Scouting volunteers and supporters will be recognized by the top Scouting official in the nation, Bob Mazzuca.  The National Chief Scout Executive will attend and speak at this meet and greet reception.  During this time,  he will recognize all the volunteers who have helped to make the BSA vibrant and viable for more than 100 years.  In addition, he will share details about the ever-growing vision of the Boy Scouts organization as it enters the second century of Scouting.

Please feel free to join us at one or all of the events that we have scheduled during the National Chief Scout Executive, Bob Mazzuca’s visit to the Northern Lights Council.  Please RSVP to Fargo Scout Service Center at 701-293-5011 if you will plan on attending. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Fargo Scout office.  Have a great Scouting week!

For more information on Scouting in the Northern Lights Council visit our website at www.nlcbsa.org. Scouting builds:  Leadership, Character, Achievement, Service to Others, and Appreciation for the Outdoors.  Be A Scout!