After air, water and food, the thing humans need most is shelter.
The same is true for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA members and Venturers. You must feed them and water them, but you must also give them a place where they can grow. Somewhere to learn, to laugh, to play, to plan — and to store all their Scouting stuff.
These three units do more than offer a meeting place. They cultivate a Scouting home.
Pack 4496 of Bainbridge Island, Wash., meets at a log cabin in the woods. In 1935, unemployed island residents built the Camp Yeomalt Cabin for the BSA as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. In 1987, the BSA donated the cabin to the parks department — with the stipulation that all Scouts could use it for free.
Today, packs and troops in this city that’s connected to Seattle by ferry love the huge fireplace, cozy space and wooded surroundings.
Keri Pinzon has been using the cabin since she was a Tiger den leader. Now that she and her son have joined Troop 1564, they still enjoy Scouting activities there. One weekend earlier this year, the Scouts made Dutch-oven chili and cornbread for their Cooking merit badge. They followed that with an “epic game of capture the flag,” Pinzon says.
The cabin “is such a treasure, and the Scouts love it,” she says.
Troop 228 of New London, Minn., meets in a train depot built in 1886. Forty years ago, in the bargain of the century, a former Scoutmaster purchased the building from Burlington Northern Railroad for $1.
Inside the depot, which everyone in town just calls the “Scout hut,” you’ll find a veritable Scouting museum: uniforms, photos, awards, Scout handbooks and merit badge pamphlets.
Owning, operating and maintaining a 132-year-old building isn’t cheap. Thankfully, the troop’s chartered organization, New London American Legion Post 537, pays the troop a monthly stipend to cover things like heating, water and major repairs.
“We are very fortunate to have an organization that believes in our program and is willing to help out every month,” says Mark Gatzemeyer, former committee member.
Everyone plays a part. The Scouts keep the building tidy, including an annual deep cleaning. Many of the parents have a knack for home repairs and handle odd jobs. And a former Scoutmaster is a veterinarian, so he takes care of any pests (including bats!) that try to set up camp inside.
Troop 457 of Greenwood Village, Colo., doesn’t have its own building. It doesn’t even have a room of its own. But Greenwood Community Church provides all the space the Scouts need.
The rooms are used for other church functions throughout the week, so Troop 457 can’t put up decorations or leave anything out. For messier activities, like carving pumpkins, the Scouts spread tarps to protect the carpet. When the meeting ends at 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday, the church must be left better than the Scouts found it.
“We have to clean everything up and stow away all our stuff at the end of each meeting, but that’s a good exercise for our Scouts,” says Rolf Asphaug, assistant Scoutmaster. “For some of them, it may well be the first time they’ve ever used a vacuum cleaner.”
Meet You There
Here’s where Scout units hold their meetings.
Cub Scout Dens
Most dens meet in an adult leader’s house, assuming there’s enough room for a half-dozen boys or girls to run around. Others meet in basements, garages, backyards, parks and town squares. In some packs, all the dens gather for den meetings at a single place and time. Great idea! Just make sure the space is large with separate rooms or areas for each den.
Cub Scout Packs
Packs typically meet at the chartered organization’s facility or somewhere provided by the chartered organization. Anywhere will work, as long as there’s room for all the Cub Scouts and their families, plus space for ceremonies like the blue and gold or annual activities like the Pinewood Derby.
Scouts BSA Troops
Most troops meet at the chartered organization’s facility or somewhere provided by the chartered organization. Look for a large space with separate breakout areas for patrols. Be sure there’s room for adults to sit in the back of the room, and find somewhere with an outdoor area for skills instruction and games.
Venturing Crews and Sea Scout Ships
Crews meet once or twice a month at a location set by the Venturers. In some crews, the location is tied to the upcoming high-adventure trip or activity. So the crew might meet at a rock-climbing gym one month and a local park the next. Sea Scout ships with regular access to a boat often meet on the water because, well, why not?