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

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