This post is reprinted, without editing and with the author's permission. The post originally appeared on his Facebook page as a post to his friends, family, and fellow members of the Scouting community. The Colonial Virginia Council would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Mr. Wilkinson, and all of our other Scouting family members who have spread the word of our need and our determination to continue to provide the best program and camping experience possible. Thank you for helping Scouting.
Scouting Needs Your Help – Save our Camp Campaign
The Colonial Virginia Council (CVC) needs your help to save our Council Camp – Bayport Scout Reservation.
Everyone that is receiving this message can be the critical person so please do what you can. Bayport Scout Reservation http://www.bayportsr.org needs to raise one million dollars as quickly as possible and ultimately 6 million dollars. I am asking for your help by doing three things, 1) provide a donation, 2) repost this message in your social media circles and 3) copy this message and send it to your email contacts. http://www.cvcboyscouts.org
Why you ask – the reason is simple, the CVC needs our help.
Scouting gave me a purpose as a youth and some of my fondest memories were at scout camp. I would not be the person I am today if it was not for scouting and scout camp. I doubt that anyone who receives this message can say that they neither were, nor, know anybody who was not in some form of scouting. I am but one of over 2,000 volunteers and my youngest is but one of 7,000 youth in the CVC. The Scouting experience has impacts on every youth that participates no matter if they are in the program for years or just one; no matter if they earn the highest rank possible or just enjoy all that the program offers. The aim of Scouting, as I have experienced it – is to encourage the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development of young people so that they take a constructive place in society as responsible citizens, and as members of their local, national and international communities.
Bayport Scout Reservation is a critical component to this Scouting program – as all Scout camps are to all of Scouting. Camping is at the core of the Scouting experience, allowing Scouting units to take their youth out of their day-to-day environments and into the great outdoors where they experience nature in its fullest, and where they grow and learn more of life’s lessons. When in camp, they earn rank advancements and learn new skills. For many, these outdoor experiences are key stepping stones. In 2006, Bayport Scout Reservation became our new camp. We have developed it into a star destination offering three core programs, the Rappahannock Scout Camp which provides the core Scout camping programs, the Rivah Base which offers a more complex program for the older scouts including COPE, master aquatics programs and waterman programs as well as the base for high Adventure through the Chesapeake Bay High Adventure and Sailing Experience https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWz79mbeqRY (CHASE). Sadly, the CHASE program has already received a blow and will be placed on hold for the 2015 camp experience.
The financial situation – simply put:
The purchase cost of the camp, infrastructure, and buildings were approximately $16 million. Through the sale of the old camp and a capital campaign, we raised $10 million. Our plan has been to raise the remaining $6 million through the completion of the capital campaign. Unfortunately, when the financial collapse occurred in 2008, the Council suffered along with many other organizations. Our capital campaign essentially ground to a halt several years ago and we have not been successful in raising the remaining funds.
The CVC is at a critical decision point regarding the ability to retain the Bayport Scout Reservation and council service center. As important as our camp is to delivering an incredible Scouting experience to every one of our Scouts, and many more that visit from other Councils, they simply will be unable to resume payment on the note unless we are able to raise those funds in the next two months. The CVC’s options are simple: raise the money allowing us to retain the camp and council office and ultimately to pay off the debt, or divest themselves of the camp and determine how best to serve the Scouts in our Council without a camp. Our youth (my kid who worked as a camp counselor) would have to find other venues for their summer camp experiences and the many other things that Bayport offers. The CVC would have to consider how to serve our youth without the very large operational funds that are generated through the Bayport Scout Reservation.
Given their commitment to the banks, and our needs for the coming year, the CVC has set two goals: 1) Raise $1 million as quickly as possible - This amount will provide for payments during the coming year as they aggressively continue their capital campaign efforts and will provide short-term operational funding for the Council. 2) Over the next year, attract the necessary financial gifts to retire the debt on the camp, and eliminate the monthly payment that is so burdensome.
We earnestly need donors that will help us to not lose our camp. Ideally, we will need the following:
1. Receive pledges or donations that establish a clear way to pay off the camp debt.
2. Raise $1 million by November that will provide for interest payments for next year, as well as operations support.
3. Attract individual commitments to support our debt payment of $38,000 for each of the coming 12 months.
The goal remains firm, to serve a growing number of youth in our community with an incredible Scouting program and Scouting experience. This goal will be made extremely difficult if we do not have a Scout Camp to provide the crucial outdoor life-experiences our Scouts deserve and must have.
How you can help. I have learned through scouting never to under estimate the “Power of One”.
As mentioned at the beginning, help get the word out. Repost this message on your social media links and send it to the people on your email list. Even if you can’t donate yourself, spreading the word is a large help – you never know who it may reach and how they or their company can help.
Donate, whatever you can $1, $10, $100. Every dollar gets us “one” step closer to saving our camp. To donate, you can send a check to Colonial Virginia Council at 11721 Jefferson Ave, Newport News Va. 23606 (put in the memo line, Capital Campaign – Bayport Donation) or on line at, https://cvcboyscouts.doubleknot.com/event/1538149
On behalf of all the scouts that you are helping – I want THANK YOU. To make sure that this message is current I have included the date I originally posted this message and my contact information – if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. Remember the “Power of One”, one person, one action, one troop, one business, one action… it all starts with one. Please help by being part of the “One that Saves Bayport”. We all have seen the widespread attention the “Ice Bucket” challenge received and we all seem to have time to spread jokes around. Let’s see if we can generate the same buzz for our youth programs.
David “Tommy” Wilkinson
Original Message Posted: November 20, 2014
Watch the "Power of One" Video from the Council Banquet
I have had the privilege to give back to the Scouting program now for 27 years. Ever since earning the rank of Eagle Scout during the summer of 1988, I have worked each year since (nine years of summer camp staff and 18 years as a professional Scouter) giving back to the program that made such a difference in my life. I was fortunate to have a great Scoutmaster, Mr. Payne, who never raised his voice although we gave him many opportunities to, always gave unselfishly of his time and taught his Scouts so much, even when we didn’t think we were learning. Scouting taught me life lessons and skills that I still use to this day and now share with my son, a Webelos Scout working on his Arrow of Light award.
I believe in the Scouting program and the values it teaches young people today. Kids today need Scouting and the values taught by the Scouting program more than ever before. In a world of entitlement and everyone winning a trophy, where sports stars and other “role models” for kids are in the news for behavior not what we should expect from role models; kids need real adults to look up to and serve as mentors.
So, when I hear comments made about Scouting, or the council I work for, that damage what is so important to me, it concerns me. For the past couple weeks, I have had people comment to me that they have heard that our council is not going to have summer camp in 2015. Well, I have to say that is news to me! We are busy doing all the prep work getting ready for summer camp: preparing a budget, creating a long term plan to buy new tents, cots and mattresses, writing a completely new set of leader guidebooks, working on a Cub Scout Resident Camp program requested by many of our leaders, getting ready to interview staff, etc. If we were not planning to have camp, I am not sure why we would spend all this time getting ready.
I have been spending the past eight months getting out and talking with and listening to our leaders and donors. It has been a great experience to hear other’s feelings about our council. In the past few months, we have been working very hard to raise the additional money we need to resume camp payments for Bayport Scout Reservation in February.
While we have a lot still to do, I am very happy to say that we have secured enough in donations and pledges to make payments through July 2015 and into the end of 2015. WE ARE OPEN FOR SUMMER CAMP IN 2015!!! I am not sure where the rumor got started about camp not being open for summer camp, it is simply not true. So, now is the time to get a reservation made to come to Bayport Scout Reservation in the summer of 2015. Reservations can be made by calling Eric Smith at 757-595-3356.
We are and will continue to work hard to keep Bayport Scout Reservation open for our Scouts. We are fighting to keep the camp open and I hope your Scout unit will attend our great camp. I do have to say that it would be disappointing to secure the funds needed to make the monthly bank payment and keep the camp open, only to have no one attend summer camp this year because of misinformation being spread. So I am making two requests: 1) make a reservation for Bayport Scout Reservation for Summer Camp 2015 and 2) spread the word that Bayport is open and ready for camp in 2015. If you hear the closure rumor, please take a moment to provide to accurate and correct message that Bayport Scout Reservation is Open for Business during the Summer of 2015!!!
Many of you received or have heard about the letter that was sent a couple of weeks ago from our Council President, Jeff Wassmer. A copy of that letter is below. Since coming to the council, I have tried to be very transparent regarding our council's operations and financial outlook. Visiting leader's roundtables this past spring helped me get out and share with many of you the opportunities and challenges our council faces. We chose to send this letter to remain transparent with those that have given so much to our council and the Scouts in it.
I wanted to take a moment and provide some more information and give an update to our progress since the letter was sent. First, more information. As I have visited with Scout volunteers and donors, I have shared with them the fact that our council's operating budget is in good shape. With the help of many donors, operating revenue is up over the planned 2014 operating budget and expenses are below budget. Our 2014 summer resident camp and other events at Bayport Scout Reservation are financially sound and the overall facility operations at Bayport Scout Reservation are not supported by other sources of revenue other than those related to Bayport. This is great news. Our camp's daily operations are financially self-sufficient. Our camp is a great asset both in a program perspective and a financial operational perspective. However, as many of you know, we do still owe over $5,600,000 on the purchase and construction of the camp. We look forward to hosting the 2015 Section SR-7A Order of the Arrow Conclave and planning for 2015 Summer Resident Camp continues to progress.
Now for a quick update. Since the letter was sent, we have heard from many Scout leaders and parents with their thoughts and concerns. We appreciate your input and the manner in which you have communicated with us. We are working very hard to raise the necessary funds to resume monthly payments to our lenders in February 2015 and will do everything possible to keep Bayport Scout Reservation open for our Scouts to enjoy the outdoor adventure that Scouting thrives on. We have received several donations already, commitments to make donations now or after the first of the year or invitations to visit and discuss possible solutions. We appreciate each of these. Now is the time to help, if you are able. As mentioned in roundtables this past spring, I need the help of many to help the council through these trying times. It's as if we are rolling a giant stone ball up a hill and this is much easier done with many shoulders pushing in the same direction. I hope that those that may be bystanders are able to become involved in some positive way and help us out. I appreciate everything that each of you do as leaders to deliver the Scouting program to our Scouts, our communities need Scouting more than ever.
With the help of many, we will be successful. We will be able to roll this giant stone ball to the top of the hill and watch as it rolls down the other side. We have some great positive momentum on our side, we will keep working to be successful.
I thank each of you once again for everything you do for Scouting in our council, we cannot do it without your help. Visit frequently to this blog to get more updates on the council.
Yours in Scouting,