How to help the Scouting family recover after recent natural disasters

In the past few months, the Scouting family has been hit with a one-two punch of natural disasters. In the spirit of doing a Good Turn, many of you have reached out asking how you can help.

In July, wildfires in New Mexico damaged 27,000 acres at Philmont Scout Ranch, forcing the ranch to cancel all of its backcountry programs.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Florence brought widespread flooding to North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

The effects of both of these natural disasters are still being felt. Recovery efforts continue.

Here’s the latest on how these disasters have affected our Scouting family — and how, if you’re able, you can help Scouting bounce back stronger than ever.

Hurricane Florence: What you need to know, how to help

Five councils — four in North Carolina and one in South Carolina — were hit hardest by Hurricane Florence.

They are:

  • Occoneechee Council — Raleigh, N.C.
  • Tuscarora Council — Goldsboro, N.C.
  • East Carolina Council — Kinston, N.C.
  • Cape Fear Council — Wilmington, N.C.
  • Pee Dee Area Council — Florence, S.C.

Combined, these councils serve nearly 30,000 young people. And they need our help.

The BSA National Foundation’s Emergency Assistance Fund offers a powerful way to help people left in the wake of this devastating hurricane. Specifically, the fund helps provide families with temporary housing, transportation and food replacement needs.

It also exists to give councils support for disrupted operational items such as school night recruiting materials, temporary office space, camp staff housing and transportation needs.

In short, your gift will rebuild Scouting in these five councils. Learn more at this link.

Philmont Scout Ranch: What you need to know, how to help

The Ute Park Fire damaged 27,000 acres of Philmont property — nearly one-fifth of the entire ranch. The fire affected 57 miles of backcountry trails, 21 trail camps and five staffed camps.

The human impact was profound, too. The fire danger forced Philmont to close its backcountry for the whole summer. Scouts who had been training and preparing for their treks for more than a year had to quickly pivot to other trips. Many Philmont staffers offered to stick around and work jobs drastically different from those they expected.

In the immediate aftermath of the fires, many Philmont Staff Association members generously gave to quickly fund on-the-ground recovery efforts. This money went to the work of the Philmont Recovery Corps, helping them purchase chain saws and complete timber stand improvement work.

Now, the fundraising effort has shifted to support protecting the land so future fires and floods aren’t as devastating.

Philmont will open with a full program in 2019. In the meantime, the Philmont Recovery Corps needs your support for several projects. These include reseeding, erosion control, sediment retention, road maintenance, irrigation and tree planting.

Anyone who has been lucky enough to visit Philmont, myself included, knows it’s a true Scouting paradise. No fire will change that or char our memories.

But now’s the time to help restore and protect this magical place. We’ll do that so the next generation, and the one after that, can experience that same magic.

Your entire contribution — 100 percent — will go to the Philmont Recovery Corps. Learn more at this link.

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.