New England Fellowship Recap - July 2017
Written by Conor Power, eNews Lead
Have you ever attended an annual Section NE-1 gathering? As you probably know, these events can be one of the most interesting and exciting weekends that an Arrowman may ever attend. This year, our section decided to challenge the status quo by making the switch from conclave to the New England Fellowship. The inaugural 2017 Section NE-1 New England Fellowship (NEF) was held from June ninth to eleventh at the Griswold Scout Reservation. The service lodge for the weekend was Passaconaway Lodge, who recently celebrated their 75th Anniversary. The Section NE-1 Council of Chiefs and Section Officers who ran this weekend did a fantastic job, and undoubtedly made this weekend one that the 600 Arrowmen from all across New England will remember for a long time. The thrilling program for the weekend included Think Tanks, COPE and climbing, shooting sports, boating, swimming, patch trading, and the famous NE-1 Cup. Special guests including the 2017 Northeast Region Chief Jon Hagenow and the 2017 Western Region Chief Manue Lopez were thrilled to be in attendance. Let’s see what made this weekend so fun and check out how Section NE-1 Embraced Tomorrow!
In addition to changing the identity of our section gathering, there were several different forms of communication available for the weekend. The Section Communications Team was hard at work to put content onto the app “Event Truly”, which had information about different activities, maps, and schedules. We also utilized our website to share information about program and directions to Griswold Scout Reservation. An email was sent out prior to the weekend that held important information pertaining to directions, check-in, swim tests, and Friday night program. A mass texting service was utilized that was used to update Arrowman with the weekend’s schedule and important notices. Finally, Section NE-1 used it’s social media to share information and pictures of the weekend. NE-1 was also featured on the National OA Snapchat!
Our section came up with an innovative way to perform their cheerful service at this gathering. All Arrowmen were invited to bring an unused or used Boy Scout Uniform Shirts to donate to the growing scout program in Haiti. Arrowmen could also purchase patches for $10.00, and tickets were also available to pie a member of the Council of Chiefs or dunk them in a dunk tank. All of these proceeds went to the New Hampshire Humane Society, who were able to bring one of their ambassa-dogs to the weekend!
Upon arrival on Friday night, Arrowmen were thrilled to get into their campsites quickly with a new and smoother check-in system. All participants were given a NEF delegate patch and a green wristband to get food from the dining hall. In the evening, the entire camp gathered for a tasty cracker barrel before heading to the Council Ring for a fantastic show to kick off the weekend. Several members of the Section leadership team who were crucial to the planning of the NEF were introduced by Section Chief Justin St. Louis. NEF Coordinator John Grace of Passaconaway Lodge spoke to participants about the exciting program that had been planned for the event to make sure everyone had a great time. American Indian Activities Coordinator Cory Rebello talked about the interesting AIA Village that would be open throughout the weekend with seminars on running ceremonies, a native food workshop, bowl burning, and branding. Section Vice Chief Mike Fingar explained the change from training sessions to Think Tanks and how they are able to change the traditional training seminar into a discussion between experts and Arrowmen hoping to learn more. Communications Coordinator Ryan Palmer discussed the various methods of communication available. Next, Shows Coordinator Liam Roessler spoke about the different shows that were held over the weekend and introduced the Think Tank that would be held that would teach Arrowmen all about running shows. When the show began, the character Don Draper was introduced, who appeared in several skits to show how the identity of the NEF was born in a funny way. These hilarious skits continued until Section Vice Chief Mike Fingar delivered a speech that spoke to the issue of membership retention within the Boy Scouts of America. He explained how the Arrowmen of Section NE-1 could work to make our organization stronger and how solutions can be found. This inspiring speech prepared participants for an exhilarating weekend before camp became quiet at lights out.
Participants were awake bright and early at 7:00am for a delicious breakfast in the beautiful Griswold Scout Reservation dining hall. A brief flag raising ceremony was held, at which the Think Tank sessions for the morning were announced. Arrowmen scattered all over the camp to learn how to get more involved with the OA in a way that is exciting and rewarding. From communications to running ceremonies, there was a Think Tank for everyone. Arrowmen who completed a full Think Tank track and several other activities were then eligible for the Section Participation Award, which was presented on Sunday morning.
During the morning and breaks between Think Tank sessions, the Passaconaway Lodge trading post was open with all sorts of swag, patches, and root beer. Several other lodges set up tables to sell their merchandise. Many Arrowmen brought their patches to the NEF, and patch trading flourished! Cool patches and other memorabilia items were traded all day that came from councils and lodges all across the nation.
At lunchtime, all Ordeal members were invited to a New Arrowmen Luncheon. New members of Section NE-1 met the national officers in attendance and learned how to stay involved with the OA. After lunch, several Arrowmen met during a camp-wide siesta for the Section Officer Interest meeting. These qualified leaders decided which offices to run for, thought about their goals, and began writing their speeches. Also during the siesta, the swim tests were held in preparation for the NE-1 Cup.
At 1:30pm, the camp came to life when the program areas opened. It was impossible to be bored with the various activities available. Many Arrowmen flocked to the sports field for the ultimate frisbee tournament. When the championship came, the mighty Tulpe Lodge emerged as the winner!
Tons of delegates hiked up to the COPE and climbing area to enjoy climbing, rappelling, and testing their abilities. The amazing COPE and climbing area was home to a thirty foot rock wall, the Giant’s Ladder, and the Catwalk.
The shooting ranges showed off rifle shooting, shotgun shooting, and archery. Skilled archers engaged in the Sporting Arrows activity, where participants tried to shoot a moving target out of the air with a bow and arrow.
One of the most popular program areas was the waterfront. The beautiful Lake Eileen was home to activities such as swimming, canoeing, assault boats, water jousting, paddle boarding, and motor boat driving! After a brief swim test, all participants were able to enjoy these activities. Assault boats was full of Arrowmen trying to sink enemy boats armed with only a few bailers. Many Arrowmen swam to the Iceberg and climbed fifteen feet to launch themselves into the air. Any Arrowman has gotta love water jousting, and it was clear that it was popular at the New England Fellowship. Each participant was placed on an unstable raft with a paddle wrapped in foam, and whoever stayed on their raft the longest faced the next challenger. A few motor boats were available for use, but only for participants with a motor boat license. When asked what his favorite waterfront activity was, one Arrowman said, “I think the assault boats was my favorite because I got to have a great time with a few of my friends while competing against another lodge at the same time”.
Located in the Carter Lodge was a silent auction that had patches from lodges and councils from all across New England. Many items went on to the live auction that followed the Saturday night show.
Possibly one of the most innovative activities at the NEF was the all new Section Exhibition. Organizations from all over New England were invited to showcase how they benefit Scouting and the New England area. Vendors in attendance included Maine High Adventure, Gunstock Mountain, The Appalachian Mountain Club, The National Turkey Federation, and many more! When asked about the success of the Exhibition at the NEF, Exhibition Coordinator Andrew Sharples said “The Exhibition was a springboard for unit leaders and senior patrol leaders to introduce new program ideas to their home troops. 20 vendors came to Hidden Valley this past weekend, presenting a brand new addition to the spectacular program at the New England Fellowship. The Section NE-1 Leadership is excited to bring this new program back for the 2018 NEF at Camp Roosevelt”. We are thrilled that these vendors were able to make it to the New England Fellowship!
One of the most innovative activities available was the lodge simulator. The lodge simulator is designed to teach Arrowmen about event planning, running a lodge, and engages groups in difficult activities that show the challenges of lodge leadership. This fast pace activity takes only an hour, so participants have to work fast in order to successfully complete the program.
The best program activity that occurred at the NEF was the NE-1 Cup Relay Competition. This competition challenges the physical abilities of the Arrowmen all across Section NE-1. Each lodge could enter as many teams as they wanted that would consist of one swimmer, two canoers, and two runners. Only the fastest time for each lodge was counted when tallying up the scores. Congratulations to Tisquantum Lodge for winning the NE-1 Cup at the 2017 New England Fellowship!
With the end of the NE-1 Cup, participants gathered up at Gilbert Hall for dinner. Everybody enjoyed talking with their fellow Arrowmen after a long day of Think Tanks, activities, and fun! Passaconaway Lodge served a delicious dinner for the members of Section NE-1.
Directly following dinner, the NE-1 Business Meeting began. All adults were asked to exit the room in preparation for the voting for new section officers. Section NE-1 had the best possible candidates for section positions who had experience as lodge officers, serving on the Council of Chiefs, and have accomplished a lot in their Scouting careers. Section Chief Justin St. Louis was re-elected as the 2017-2018 Section NE-1 Chief. He spoke about his goal to restructure the way that the section supports the ten lodges of NE-1 and how it will strengthen our section as a whole. Next, Secretary Cameron Killian was elected the 2017-2018 Section NE-1 Vice Chief. Finally, Tisquantum Lodge Chief Ryan Palmer was elected the 2017-2018 Section NE-1 Secretary. Congratulations to the 2017-2018 Section NE-1 Officers!
Participants had a quick break to prepare for the epic Saturday night show! NEF t-shirts and patches were launched out of t-shirt cannons at the most energetic lodges. Arrowmen enjoyed more Don Draper skits that showed how the tireless work of several people made the NEF possible in a hilarious way. The NE-1 Communications Team put together an amazing video to review the highlights of the weekend. Section Chief Justin St. Louis delivered a speech that recapped the weekend and reviewed the theme of the NEF. He challenged all Arrowmen to innovate, look towards the future, and work hard to strengthen their lodges, Section NE-1, and the Boy Scouts of America as a whole.
Arrowmen were dismissed to The Big Top for a delicious ice cream party! Section officers, region chiefs, and lodge chiefs all served ice cream and brownies to the members of Section NE-1. Next, everyone headed over to the waterfront to watch a spectacular firework show! The night concluded with a live patch auction that was full of items generously donated to Section NE-1. Patches, neckerchiefs, and other Scouting memorabilia items were auctioned off.
Sunday morning was full of Arrowmen breaking down camp and making sure that Hidden Valley Scout Camp looked just as good as when they arrived. A scout is reverent, and all Arrowmen were invited to attend religious services. Participants enjoyed one final breakfast cooked by Passaconaway Lodge before returning to the Council Ring for the closing show. Several Arrowmen were recognized for their service to Section NE-1 throughout the year, specifically those who worked day and night to make sure that this weekend was a success. Tisquantum Lodge Chief and newly elected Section Secretary Ryan Palmer was awarded the Section Award of Merit for his contributions to Section NE-1 communications and event planning. Tulpe Lodge was awarded the NE-1 Spirit Award for bringing the most Arrowmen and sending participants to nearly every activity available. The weekend was closed with all delegates gathering to sing the song of the Order.
This innovative and exciting weekend offered many new programs to Section NE-1. Replacing training cells with Think Tanks made these informative sessions more open to discussions and more engaging. The Exhibition introduced Arrowmen to organizations from all over New England that can benefit Scouting. New methods of communication made it easier than ever for participants to stay up to date with schedules and activities. Finally, this weekend could not have been nearly as amazing without the support of all of Section NE-1. These 600 Arrowmen made the long trek up to the Hidden Valley Scout Camp for one reason: to have fun and Embrace Tomorrow. We can’t wait for the 2018 Section NE-1 New England Fellowship at Camp Roosevelt in Northern Maine!