December 31, 2015
2015…WHEW – what a whirlwind! For the Muskingum Valley Council it was an exciting year full of ‘opportunities’ and challenges but we came out smelling like a rose. This note is a way of thanking each Scouting volunteer who contributed to our success this year. Your contributions of leadership, passion, talent and treasure are to be commended!
We are serving more youth, and we have invested significantly in the future of Scouting in our Council. And we did it despite significant changes in the Council Staff. The craziness began last November when Jay Lockard, our Senior District Executive serving the Arrowhead District received a great career opportunity in Columbus. Jay joined our staff in 2011 with 4 years’ experience in the Heart of Ohio Council. That experience had made him much more than a DE. He took on a great deal of additional responsibilities, including summer camp, our website, and the Order of the Arrow. We lost a lot of real Scouting talent when Jay left for Columbus. Next, our Registrar, Jane Payne retired on December 31st. Jane had become a critical part of the office operation during her 14 years with the council. We relied on her knowledge of the Scoutnet computer system, and her tenacious work ethic. Over the years she took on more and more responsibility, becoming the go-to person for any reports, updates, and questions. Then, early in the year, Shawn Dyer, our exceptional DE in the Forest Trails District had an opportunity to move to Columbus and serve the area where he grew up. Three key staff all gone in less than 6 months. It was a real shock to the system.
We hired two new DE’s; Jay Shankel and Amanda Wisniewski. Both had Scouting experience as youth but were brand new to the Scouting profession. We contracted with Shared Services to take care of registration issues, and hired Molly Andrews to fill in for the rest of Jane’s responsibilities. Three brand new team members; all learning on the fly. It was not easy, but they each did exceptionally well. District Director Jeff Pickett deserves great credit for his help in training our new DE’s and helping them succeed. He also stepped in as staff advisor for summer camp. Perhaps some of you did not even realize all this change was happening? To the extent you didn’t notice, it is a compliment to these new team members hard work and quick learning. To the extent that you did notice; thank you for your patience.
Throughout all this change, we continued to have exceptional programs. Our Day Camp leaders improved again on an already terrific program. Our new Camp Director Dominic Lehman led an exceptional summer camp staff to produce one of our best summers ever. The Shoot-o-ree was well-attended and we added three great new programs in early August; MVSX was a four day 50 mile canoe trek, the Power Program saw Scouts touring the AEP plant, the nearby ethanol plant and a local oil well, and we introduced a new program for girls only – Tents & Tiaras.
This fall, new youth recruiting went well and we have grown in membership. Overall popcorn sales increased 8%. Both of these achievements reflect well upon the quality of program your units are providing.
Thanks to our ongoing capital campaign, we were able to invest $500,000 in the dining hall expansion at Camp. The energy in the new building this summer was incredible. Having the entire camp under one roof created a level of energy we haven’t seen in years. We have also added $125,000 to our endowment fund, and we begin construction of the ‘Silver Beaver’ Lodge and cabins this fall.
Thanks, in part to a grant from the Rogge Foundation, we held several exceptional events on the grounds at the Council Service Center. Hundreds gathered for our Fourth of July Family Funfest, and hundreds more joined us for our ‘Zane Grey Wild West Family Fun Day in September.
At this moment, it appears that your Muskingum Valley Council will end the year with the highest Journey to Excellence scores of all the 12 council’s in our area. That is an incredible achievement – especially considering the tremendous changes we have experienced. Each of you can feel proud to serve in one of the best councils in the nation – you helped make it great!
Of course, all this change did not come without a cost. Staff vacancies early in the year and so many new staff learning their jobs, left us short in our fundraising efforts. As a result, we are still in need of about $5,000 to balance the books. Any last minute gifts you can spare will be a great help and we can accept gifts for 2015 for another week or so until we close the books. It would be great to end the year in the black.
Thank you all for everything you have done to help us be successful this year. Rest assured that 2016 is shaping up to be another great year as well.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Ed Mulholland, Scout Executive