Gone are the days of BSA properties being open for a few weeks each summer and a weekend or two in the spring and fall.
The newest trend in the Boy Scouts of America: finding ways to use BSA facilities in all four seasons.
The best example might be the Summit Bechtel Reserve, the BSA’s high-adventure playground in West Virginia.
For some time now, SBR has used its picturesque setting and world-class venues to host events like Spartan Races and community festivals.
But those events have typically been during the summer.
With the completion of state-of-the-art buildings for training and lodging — all paid for through the generosity of donors, I might add — SBR will soon realize its goal of becoming a 365-day home for Scouting awesomeness.
One of the first examples will be the National Linked Troop Wood Badge Course I told you about earlier this week. That course, taught in chilly January, will make full use of SBR’s beautiful new buildings.
Andrew Miller, a Silver Antelope recipient and national-level Scouting volunteer, says the move is one used by colleges and universities across the U.S.
“When the academic year ends, summer programs start — classes, athletic camps, enrichment programs,” he says. “This allows them to amortize the annual operating cost of their facilities over the full year, instead of just nine months. This is a great way to start doing that at SBR.”
SBR, which will host this summer’s World Scout Jamboree and the 2021 National Scout Jamboree, has been building toward this for some time. Literally.
Wayne Perry, past BSA national president and a Silver Buffalo Award recipient, says SBR will soon open two large bunkhouses, two large dining halls, the Tillerson and Marriott Leadership buildings and the Yamagata Lodging building.
“A central goal since we started the SBR project was to enable us to operate that facility 365 days a year — 365-24-7 was our saying,” Perry says. “With the completion of these buildings, we will now be able to operate the Summit in all seasons.”
And those cool new buildings? They won’t solely be helpful during the winter.
“Even during the summer seasons, these facilities allow us to get our summer staff out of tents into air-conditioned space,” Perry says. “With hot showers!”