Council News

District Consolidation Announcement - Download Initial Plan Here

The Hoosier Trails Council, BSA would like to share plans to consolidate the Hoosier Hills and Lenni Lenape Districts into a newly formed service area.  Exploration of council restructuring began early in 2019 and was carefully reviewed by the Council Executive Committee in March and a refined plan was discussed and approved unanimously by the Council Executive Board at last week’s Council Annual Business Meeting.  A Consolidation Task Force has studied the opportunities and risks of restructuring the district boundaries within the council and based upon present staffing resources have opted to move to a three-district approach.  The Wapehani and White River Trails Districts will remain unchanged at this time, so that we may focus upon consolidating the existing Hoosier Hills and Lenni Lenape Districts into a new service area:

  • This consolidation will bring the needed critical mass to the eastern portion of the council to effectively fill the district leadership positions that will be representative of the entire area.  A larger pool of volunteers will allow for a strong and diverse group providing leadership to the district.  It is proposed that a Nominating Committee for this territory select a complete Management Team, this has been an on-going challenge to serving the territory.  The newly formed District Management Team will finalize logistics that position the district for realized future success.
  • Economies of scale will enable us to conduct successful, quality district events, that are well attended.  Events will have a broader pool of talent to draw from for leadership roles.
  • The new district will have a new name that is chosen by the newly elected District Management Team.  A “Name the District” contest will be conducted to generate awareness of the change and to create enthusiasm for the move.
  • Jon Ocheltree will be promoted to serve as the Council’s Field Director, effective June 1, 2019, but will also continue to give direct professional leadership to the new district.  A District Executive will also be hired to provide service to the new district.  This staffing alteration will also help to give better overall leadership to the entire council.  It is a tremendous asset to be able to retain Jon’s experience to benefit the new district.
  • Beginning in September 2019, monthly Roundtables will be consolidated and conducted in North Vernon, Indiana.  This follows the existing practice of conducting Retention Conventions and Popcorn Sales Kickoffs for this territory through a consolidated approach.
  • Mirroring the district consolidation, the existing Order of the Arrow Chapters will also consolidate under a new name.  The specifics of this change will be left to the leadership of the Lodge and the OA members of the territory.
  • Consolidations such as this have occurred thousands of times within our movement to help provide better service to units and increase efficiencies.   This restructuring plan will be instituted over the summer months in preparation for a successful Fall Recruitment season and a record-breaking Popcorn Sale.

“As a former chair of the Nominating Committee and as the current Finance Chair for the Hoosier Hills District, I concur that we need to make a significant, structural change.  We have serious leadership challenges in the current district configuration, and more importantly, I look forward to re-imagined and expanded district programming.” – Lake Lambert

“As the Council Commissioner and former Lenni Lenape District Chair, I support the recommendation for the district restructuring.  This will strengthen our ability to address the challenges that we face and will ultimately enable us to better serve the youth in the eastern part of the Council.   While change can be difficult,  I am confident that leaders in the new district will manage this with the Scouts’ best interests in mind. ”  – Mark Wilson

We would like to address questions that you may have, receive feedback, and hear your thoughts on how we can best serve the families of southeastern Indiana, through Scouting.  In order to accomplish this, we are offering three Town Hall style meetings that all Scouters are invited to attend:

  • Tuesday, April 30th – 6:30 pm, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 3330 30th Street, Columbus, IN
  • Wednesday, May 1st – 6:30 pm, 1st United Methodist Church, 240 Poplar, North Vernon, IN
  • Monday, May 6th – 6:30 pm, Ogle Center, Hanover College, 401 College Avenue, Hanover, IN

Maumee Scout Reservation Receives $1 Million Grant for Severe Weather Shelter

Officials from the Hoosier Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America announced today that the organization has received a mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through Jackson County, Indiana for $1,015,896.03 for the construction of a tornado and severe weather shelter at Maumee Scout Reservation, located in the heart of the Hoosier National Forest near Norman, Indiana.

The severe weather shelter, or “safe room”, will be constructed as part of the planned Fellowship Hall at Maumee Scout Reservation. The $4 million Fellowship Hall facility will include, along with the severe weather shelter, a dining area for up to 360 people, food preparation and storage areas, housing accommodations for kitchen staff, the camp’s Trading Post, and visitor restroom facilities.

According to Hoosier Trails Council Scout Executive Glen Steenberger, safety of Scouts and campers at Maumee Scout Reservation is of paramount importance. “We invested in a severe weather alert siren in 2015, and it has been invaluable in giving campers and staff advance warning to seek shelter,” Steenberger said. “Maumee Scout Reservation is planted squarely in Indiana’s “Tornado Alley,” and this grant will go a long way toward helping us provide the safest possible place to shelter in the inevitable event of a tornado, straight-line winds, severe thunderstorms, ice storms, and any other hazardous weather conditions.”

The severe weather shelter will provide emergency shelter for Boy Scouts, adult leaders, camp staff, and other users of the property year ‘round. More than 6,000 program participants visit Maumee Scout Reservation annually.

The FEMA Mitigation grant is a significant contribution to the Hoosier Trails Council’s major gifts initiative, launched in 2017. The goal of the initiative is to raise $6 million to support capital construction projects and their endowments, including the new Fellowship Hall, an expanded and upgraded Health Lodge, and improvements to Maumee Scout Reservation’s aquatics, Scoutcraft, shooting sports, and camping areas.

Steenberger said, “There is nothing like time at camp to build character and self-confidence, and to create lifelong friendships. Gifts to the Hoosier Trails Council are investments in both youth, and our local communities.”

For more information about the Hoosier Trails Council, its Major Gifts Initiative, or the Maumee Scout Reservation, contact Glen Steenberger at 812.336.6809 or gsteenberger@bsamail.org.


Platinum Journey to Excellence

We are happy to announce the 2018 Platinum Journey to Excellence achievers and the 2019 program standards and recognitions.  Check it out!


2019 Wood Badge Course

An awesome WB Staff (meet the course's staff) is preparing for a life-changing course for participants in 2019, check out more information here.


May-Jul Trail Signs Now Available

The latest edition of our printed newsletter is at press and will soon reach your mailbox; however, get a sneak peek by clicking here.


Major Gifts Initiative

We have added content to our MGI webpage, including site plans, project spec sheets, building drawings, an MGI newsletter and more.  Check it out.  Scout units can participate in the investments in our camps, an Adopt a Campsite option has been made available, through which a Scout unit or individual can commit to a gift of support, payable over three years.  Special recognition will be posted in the campsite.  Presently four such shelters are being installed at MSR.  Get more details on this opportunity.


Order of the Arrow Dues

Brothers in the OA can now pay their 2019 Lodge Dues conveniently here to remain in good standing in the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service.