Akron The first quarter of the new year will be the start of an exciting new era for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in Northeast Ohio. The BSA has enjoyed a long and rich history locally and announced the volunteer leaders of five area Scouting councils voted this month to consolidate to three councils by early 2017.
The five area councils the Great Trail Council, headquartered in Akron; the Greater Cleveland Council, headquartered in Cleveland; the Greater Western Reserve Council, headquartered in Warren; the Heart of Ohio Council, headquartered in Mansfield; and the Buckeye Council in Canton will pare down to three to focus Scouting's resources towards our mission of providing the area's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership. The remaining three councils will be comprised of:
The Great Trail Council, headquarters in Akron, encompassing the Akron, Warren and Youngstown communities; and
The Buckeye Council (Canton), with boundaries stretching from the Marion/Mansfield area to the eastern border of Ohio, along Route 30;
Greater Cleveland Council, will be formed along Lake Erie from Ashtabula County to Erie County, incorporating the City of Cleveland.
"Many factors go into the decision to realign councils, and the most important consideration is how we can best deliver Scouting to these communities," said Mike Jones, Akron Scout Executive. "Our priority is to provide a strong Scouting program for more than 36,000 youth we serve across Northeast Ohio and we can better accomplish this with these five councils operating in a different manner."
Key volunteer leadership from each of the five councils began meeting earlier this year to discuss possibilities for making the delivery of Scouting program in these communities more efficient and sustainable. These discussions culminated in town hall meetings hosted in Akron, Canfield, Cleveland, Mansfield, Marion and Wakeman in the month of August and council board votes in the month of November.
"The new structure will provide enhanced opportunities for our Scouts, more resources to recruit and support additional youth members and adult leaders, and far more opportunity to be innovative in making Scouting strong," said Rev. David Weyrick, NE Area 4 Chair. "We plan to build on the exciting work we've done in our communities, including countless hours of community service, thousands of lives impacted through camping programs and values-driven leadership development opportunities for the boys and girls we serve."
There are exciting changes ahead and volunteer leadership across the councils are working to ensure a seamless transition for Scouts, parents, leaders and local volunteers. The intent is programming and camping opportunities will remain the same for 2017, while the new council structures are formatted and leadership has the opportunity to evaluate all programs for 2018 and beyond. Camps Manatoc and Butler will continue to be the premier summer camp operations for Akron, Great Trail Council and adding Camp Stambaugh in Youngstown as a weekend facility for troops in NE Ohio.
To learn more about Scouting, visit http://beascout.org.