Scout Councils Look At Merger, Seek Input At Crumhorn Meeting

Scout Councils Look At Merger,

Seek Input At Crumhorn Meeting

A vintage patch from the Otschodela Council.
A vintage patch from the Otschodela Council.

MILFORD – Over the past month, the Utica-based Revolutionary Trails and Oneonta-based Otschodela Boy Scout Councils have been working on a comprehensive feasibility study to examine possible consolidation, and have scheduled a meeting to solicit input at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, at the Henderson Scout Reservation on Crumhorn Mountain.

Scouts, their parents and interested members of the community are welcome.

The new Boy Scout Council would include over 3,500 Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from over six counties.  If the consolidation goes through, it would make the new Council one of the strongest in the state.

Consolidation discussions began around a shared goal of attracting more youth to scouting and creating a better Scouting experience for their youth, the council said in a press release.

As neighboring councils, it was a logical step to reach out and work together. It was then that the idea of consolidation took hold.  “It makes sense that two strong Councils can do more together than separately” said Rick Bamberger, Otschodela Council president. “If the feasibility study results show that this is the right thing to do, then we are going to harness the combined strengths of both of our Councils to offer a world-class Scouting experience to our Scouts and volunteer leaders.”

Both Councils are in the positions to complement each other well and provided a window of opportunity for these discussions. Last December, following a comprehensive year-long evaluation process, the RTC Executive Board voted overwhelmingly in favor of selling two of its three Scout camps to ensure an improved and sustainable camping program at Camp Kingsley for generations to come.

The OC also is in the midst of change; their long-time Scout Executive is retiring this summer after a remarkable tenure of service, and they are halfway through a $2.1 million capital campaign to further develop their excellent scout camp, Henderson Scout Reservation. These actions have left both Councils looking to maximize efficiency, to get more youth to camp and to develop exciting new programming for the youth they serve.

“At the core of these discussions is the understanding that above all, we want to create a sustainable program providing a better scouting experience for our youth.” said William Kline, Council President for the Revolutionary Trails Council headquartered in Utica. “With a combined Council we can attract more scouts, train more leaders and develop programming that we never thought possible to get our Scouts excited and learning.”

By working together and combining financial resources, best practices and programs, the new Council will be able to offer programs and services that neither could offer on its own. This is not a new concept. On two previous occasions the RTC and OC conducted similar feasibility studies and concluded that the timing was not right. Given the current landscape of Scouting and the unique situations of OC and RTC it was decided that now was the time to give the matter further consideration.