Scout Finder: New and Improved!

18 Jul

BPSA Scout Finder application update and release.

Our new version of our Scout Finder map is up and available. It’s also been updated with current, active Scout Groups.

Release Notes (v 2.0):
- [bug fix] You should now be able to edit your pins. Just enter your email address in the ‘Edit your Pin’ field and you’ll be emailed a temporary link to edit your pin information.
- [bug fix] Changing the notification and contact options on your pin (either when adding a new one or editing an existing one) actually save and work now.
- [request] No detailed address information is display, just City and State, to avoid showing personal address information.
- [feature] You can now toggle which types of pins are displayed on the map (‘Interested’, ‘Lone Rovers’ and ‘Groups’).
- [bug fix] General bug fixes and speed improvements given the number of pins we’re storing and displaying.
- [feature] A cleaner look and feel (at least we think so).
- [not really] Now, every time you use this application your IQ increases by 1% and all non-official Chipmunk scouts receive a box of kittens.

Have a go at it, and if you have any issues, use our Support Tab on our Facebook Page, send us a DM on Twitter, or simply email support@bpsa-us.org and let us know what’s not working.

If you have a pin that is an ‘Interest’ pin; but you’ve since joined as a Lone Rover, please contact us at support@bpsa-us.org and let us know and we’ll change your pin type over so you show as a Lone Rover on the map.

Yours in Traditional Scouting,
Dave Atchley, Chief Commissioner

Welcome to Geoffrey McGrath and 98th Rainier Scout Group!

4 Jun

IMG_0828-SMILE

Many within the traditional-scouting movement have watched with equal parts anguish and inspiration as Boy Scouts of America Troop & Pack 98 from Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood fought valiantly for the right to follow their conscience as scouts. They have stood up for a right that we take for granted here in the BPSA; equality. Sadly, their battle with BSA national and their local council has not gone as many of us had hoped. First, Scoutmaster Geoffrey McGrath, an Eagle Scout, had his BSA/NESA lifetime membership revoked when news broke that he was gay. Then the unit’s charters were revoked when his scouts, leaders, and their sponsoring organization, the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church of (RBUMC), under the leadership of Pastor Monica Corsaro, refused to dismiss him from his post.

Troop 98 began forming in the summer of 2013. It was intended at its inception to be fully inclusive, in both the youth and adult membership. It started out as an idea born of a known community need; a way to bring after-school program opportunities to youth in an under-served, diverse neighborhood. A committee was formed and agreed to be fully inclusive in their membership requirements on the question of sexual orientation. The idea of the Troop was adopted by the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, the congregation that Mr. McGrath attends, and became the core of their new youth ministry. He was asked to be their Youth Leader.

The committee then reviewed several program options, and agreed to explore partnering with the BSA first. BSA was eventually chosen because the committee members included Eagle Scouts who had deep experience with BSA programming. Additionally, they were encouraged by the vote taken in May 2013 anticipating a membership policy change to begin including LGBTQ people. They reasoned that BSA might be willing to experiment with their group even ahead of the policy change, and in meeting with them were gratified to find they agreed, granting Pack and Troop 98 a Charter in the fall of 2013.

IMG_GeoffMcGrathWord of their inclusive troop spread. A reporter from NBC working on a scouting story heard from people in Utah about Troop 98, and contacted Geoff McGrath to do a “troop profile”; to understand why—during a period of membership decline—they were finding success in starting a troop in a Seattle neighborhood. Specifically, the reporter wanted to know if having a gay Scoutmaster was making a difference. This national attention resulted in BSA headquarters’ notice, a reversal of their council’s support, and led to the revocation of Scoutmaster McGrath’s membership and eventually the Pack/Troop charter as well. Months of campaigning, negotiations, and letters of support from the City Council, the Mayor, County Council, State Legislators, the Governor, and the Washington delegation to the US Congress were to no avail. The Council chose to sacrifice McGrath and his scouts instead of standing with them. Click here for the story, courtesy of NBC News.

Throughout their ordeal, Baden-Powell Service Association leaders from across the nation have extended offers of support and invited Scoutmaster McGrath and his scouts to join BPSA’s traditional-scouting association. After months of pursuing a resolution that would honor the unit and church’s inclusive ideals, Pack and Troop 98 leaders, and Rainier Beach United Methodist Church representatives met to discuss reinstatement offers made by their local council. Finding them unacceptable, Rainier Beach’s scout leaders have decided instead to become a BPSA scout group.

Group Scoutmaster McGrath will lead the reborn 98th Rainier scout group forward, continuing the established partnership with RBUMC. In the face of being asked to bar membership based on sexual orientation, and then to disband; they will instead expand inclusivity to include all ages and genders, and will welcome those with and without faith. Traditional scouting, for everyone, has come to Seattle. We call upon their community, which has stood so steadfastly by their side, to rally to their new cause; support their transition and growth.

Please join us in welcoming them back into the scouting movement, even though they never really left. Onward.

98thrainier

Brownsea Training Camps for Spring 2014

9 Apr

Brownsea Training is required training for first-time leaders of Scout Groups in BPSA-US. It provides an introduction to the Traditional Scouting program of the BPSA, helps in understanding the aims and methods of Scouting, and teaches new Rovers the scouting skills required for Tenderfoot, preparing them to help younger scouts succeed. The program works by teaching these things in a hands-on fashion, as the trainees will form and function as individual patrols, working together in learning, cooking and making camp life.

At the end of training, new Rovers will be invested as Rover Squires and awarded the green/yellow shoulder knot and their Tenderfoot/Association badge. Once trained, Rovers are encouraged to offer a Brownsea Training in their local area, as well, to continue the tradition and pass on their skills and enthusiasm for Traditional Scouting to others.

The registration fee is $30.00, which will cover the camp site(s), materials and resources for the program. If you’re interested in starting a BPSA group in your area, or already have a group and would like to attend, the more Scouters the better!

We’re hosting three BTC events this spring. Details are below:

BTC-2 2014 – Albion, Indiana

Instructors: BPSA Rover Squires Ron Blaisdell and Sean O’Briant
When:
Friday, May 16 through Sunday, May 18, 2014
Arrive between 6pm and 7pm on Friday, break camp at noon on Sunday
Location:
Chain O’ Lakes State Park
2355 E. 75 S.
Albion, IN 46701
Details and RSVP on Base Camp here.
Registration Information: Contact Sean O’Briant via Base Camp – Cost: $30.00

BTC-3 2014 – Olivebridge, New York

Instructor: BPSA Rover Squire and 91st Sojourners GSM, Andy Bicking
When:
Friday, June 6 through Sunday, June 8, 2014
Arrive between 6pm and 7pm on Friday, break camp at noon on Sunday
Location:
The Ashokan Center
477 Beaverkill Rd.
Olivebridge, NY 12461 (just west of Kingston)
Details and RSVP on Base Camp here.
Registration Information: Contact Andy Bicking via Base Camp – Cost: $30.00

BTC-4 2014 – Columbia, Missouri

Instructor: BPSA Media Director and 66th Confluence GSM, Jeff Kopp, BPSA Secretary and 9th Falcons GSM, Scott Santen, and BPSA Chief Commissioner, David Atchley
When:
Friday, June 6 through Sunday, June 8, 2014
Arrive between 6pm and 7pm on Friday, break camp at noon on Sunday
Location:
Rock Bridge State Park
5901 Missouri 163
Columbia, MO 65203
Details and RSVP on Base Camp here.
Registration Information: Complete and submit this online form - Cost: $30.00

We will most likely have more BTCs happening later this summer or fall. We will keep you updated!

More New Groups to Welcome!

28 Feb

We’d like to announce another batch of newly chartered groups to our association:

51st Ad Astra – Mechanicsville, VA (Louise Capps, GSM)
16th Alberton Gorge – Alberton, MT (Frank McKinney, GSM)
39th Cypress – New Orleans, LA (Daniel Verlane Holloway, GSM)

Welcome aboard and good scouting to you!

Tomorrow Is Founder’s Day…

21 Feb

Bp

As a reminder to everyone, tomorrow, February 22, is not just Washington’s Birthday, but also the birthday of our Founder, Lord Baden-Powell—and is traditionally known as “Founder’s Day.”

It is a day to wear your Scout group necker as you go about your daily life – both as a reminder to yourself of the traditions you uphold, and to let those around you know that you consider them important, and support Scouting.

Happy Birthday, B-P!

Regional Commissioner Positions Available

6 Feb

BPSA is looking for volunteer applicants for the following positions!

The application deadline for these positions is March 15, 2014.

What are we looking for in our volunteer staff?

Consider this position if you…

  • believe in our mission to bring traditional scouting to the US within the context of a coed, inclusive environment,
  • have time and enthusiasm for our cause and program,
  • are willing to work hard to help BPSA succeed as a youth program, and
  • are 18 or over and are currently registered as BPSA member or eligible to register upon acceptance of the position.

If you meet the above criteria, read on; you could be a great fit for this needed role within our organization.

Regional Commissioner - Midwest & Southwest (2 positions)

BPSA membership and chartered groups are growing each year. To help provide a point of contact for members, Group Scoutmasters and others involved or interested in the BPSA program, we have put in place volunteer Commissioners at the “regional” level. Currently, we’ve divided up the country into 5 primary regions – Northeast, Midwest, South, Southwest, and West (see below).

 

 

Commissioners serve as Liasons and also representatives of their respective regions with HQ. Regional Commissioners are also considered voting members within their region. The primary responsibilities of Regional Commissioners are as follows:

  • Provide a first point of contact for members and non-members in their region about BPSA and our program
  • Help new and existing groups in their region maintain and build a good program
  • Coordinate, organize and work with other BPSA members in the region to provide training camps and activities
  • Enable effective communication with members, groups in the region regarding program and policy
  • Provide news and updates to BPSA HQ on regional activities, training and other events
  • Work with local groups and members to ensure BPSA and our program receive attention via news and other media sources
  • Network within the region to help find sponsors and supporters for the BPSA
  • Attend any quarterly HQ conference calls or meetings and provide input and ideas

Regional Commissioners are also able to delegate work to other BPSA members, groups or ad-hoc committees as needed for meeting any of the above goals. If funding for a particular activity, event, or undertaking is required, the Regional Commissioner should bring it to the attention of the Treasurer and also before HQ at a regular meeting for approval.

Volunteer applications should be sent via email to hq@bpsa-us.org. The “subject” line should mention the position being applied for, and the following information should be provided in the email:

Full Name: (First M. Last)

Social Security #: We do require a background check for all positions.

Contact Info: Phone number, alternate email

Address: Postal Address

BPSA Scout Group (if any): If you’re registered with a group or as a Lone Scout, let us know.

Resume/CV (attachment): If you have a resume or CV that provides background related to your position or that you might think is relevant, attach it.

Why you want to take on this position? Give us a summary of why you want this position; what intrigues you about it, what ideas you bring to the role and why/how you think taking on this role would be a benefit for BPSA and its program.

Remember, we need your application sent in to us by no later than March 15, 2014!

We look forward to hearing from you as we begin this process of staffing out HQ and working to make our organization and program more complete and successful!

Yours in Traditional Scouting,

BPSA HQ Staff and Committee

Magazine Article About 91st Sojourners BPSA

25 Jan

A great article about the BPSA and our 91st Sojourners group based in Kingston, New York, has been published in the Hudson Valley Parent magazine’s February 2014 issue (check pages 25 & 26). The article was written by Gloria Darmanin.

91st Sojourners GSM Andy Bicking says, “We were lucky to have a writer who was personally interested in what we are doing and is looking forward to having her kids join BPSA when they’re old enough. That really helped create a space where we could have a conversation about what our goals were as a group (recruitment and inspiring other groups to get going). I think it allowed us to focus more on who we are rather than the groups that we are not like.”

You can download the story here (PDF).

WFIS Scout Exchange Program

22 Jan

The World Federation of Independent Scouts is looking for a BPSA Scouting family to accept Rovers, Scouters, or Guiders to stay with them, participate in the host family’s BPSA Scout Group and help out with meetings and participate in scouting activities, as well as attend school and even hold down a part-time job, if possible. This will help the scout to learn more about our culture, language, scouting program, lifestyle, etc. The program should not last longer than a year, but should be, at minimum, 3–4 months. They are currently trying to find a host family for a Rover Scout from Germany. If anyone is interested in hosting this scout, please send an email to Jeff Kopp, BPSA Media Director, at media (at) bpsa-us.org.

WFIS also makes this program available to our scouts!

The exchange program is intended mostly for older Pathfinders and younger Rovers/Scouters (think roughly ages 16–27), or those who are graduating from high school, before they start college or go on to full-time employment. If the scout is still in school, then they will be allowed to attend the school where they will be staying (arrangements will be made so that they don’t miss out on any schooling appropriate for their age/curriculum). It is also recommended that the scout already be familiar with the language spoken in the host country, at least to some degree.

If there are any BPSA Scouts who would like to take part, the first thing to do would be to come up with a short list of countries that you’d like to visit, and then Klaus at WFIS will try to make arrangements with scouting associations in those countries, if they exist, to find a host family.

Travel costs are not included—but they do stay “free” in host countries and when they return home, they will then “host for free” a scout from the country that they just visited (hence the exchange).

Please let Jeff know through the email address above if you are interested in either hosting an exchange scout, or going abroad as a representative of BPSA to stay with a scouting family in another country. Thanks!

WFIS Membership Continues Growth Into 2014

19 Jan

The World Federation of Independent Scouts now has 6 Sub regions with their individual elected Regional Councils. There are 111 Associations in 58 different countries with altogether around 18,607 different Scout Groups, giving a total 2,458,384 Guides and Scouts.

This is an increase of around 10 percent in the year 2013.

Newly Chartered Groups for January

16 Jan

We’ve just finished processing new charters from over the holidays, so I’d like to give a warm welcome to two of our newest chartered Scout Groups:

44th Lake Winnebago Scout Group
Appleton, Wisconsin
Group Scoutmaster: Dale Frampton

5280th Mountaineers Scout Group
Denver, Colorado
Group Scoutmaster: Joseph Clark

Welcome aboard to our new groups and happy hunting on your scouting trails!