REPORT FROM FEBRUARY NATIONAL MEETING
I am pleased to report to you on the February meeting of your National Jewish Committee on Scouting. The meeting was held on February 3, 2014 and there were 30 participants, most by telephone conference.
We are focusing our efforts in the next year on trying to expand resources for Jewish units and Jewish Scouts throughout America. To accomplish this goal we intend to rely extensively on our website, www.jewishscouting.org. Please visit us there frequently and watch for our improvements. Here are some of the things we are doing that were discussed at the meeting:
1. Religious Emblems: We are reviewing the requirements for all of the religious emblems that we support. We want to make sure that the emblems reflect current and traditional Jewish values and are achievable for all Jewish Scouts. This is a multi-step process. Our rabbinical advisory group will review the requirements and make recommendations for changes. Our committee will rewrite the requirements in up-to-date language and we will then make all of the booklets and workbooks consistent and available online. Right now all the current material is online and changes will be happening periodically.
2. Unit Activities and Programs: We are creating a series of guides for unit activities from packs to troops to crews. We already have a preliminary set of activities that we are working on and some guides in process. We expect to have off-the-shelf “how-to” guides that you will be able to take from the website as ideas. Our writers are currently looking for ideas for programs that have been successful throughout the country to incorporate into our web-based guide. If your unit has conducted successful programs, send us details on what you did for the committee to review. What has worked well in some areas could do so in others.
3.. Religious Services: We have begun a guide to religious services on the website. This guide will provide you with the ability to find a service that is appropriate for a unit, a Scout Shabbat or other activity.
4. High Adventure Bases: We are reviewing the religious books available at Philmont and reviewing the prayer book that has been used by Jewish Scouts and Scouters there in the past. We will be rewriting the existing book and determining whether there is a more useful existing book that we can supply to trekkers and others at all of the bases. We are also looking at the library at the chaplain’s facility to see if that can be enhanced.
5. Leadership Development: We are creating a guide to regional Jewish conferences to enable us to bring training to your area. We are currently exploring the scheduling of conferences on an area basis to make it easier for you to travel to a training conference. The conferences will be led by each region and will provide you with content that will enable you to improve Jewish Scouting where you are.
6. Unit Development: The formation and retention of units sponsored by Jewish institutions and groups of committed Jews is a keystone of successful Jewish Scouting. Now that the Boy Scouts of America has removed the issue of sexual preference from youth membership we expect to find a more favorable climate to unit creation. We have a powerpoint presentation which is geared to Jewish institutions and will explain the benefits to Jewish young people, their families and society that are found in Scouting. We will continue to provide assistance in this way. The Boy Scouts of America have a tried and true process for establishing successful units and the professionals at each local council are ready to help establish Jewish units with a little help from all of us.
7. International Scouting: The International Forum of Jewish Scouts was founded to bring all national Scouting movements together and to provide an opportunity for all Jewish Scouts to be able to connect. I am enhancing that opportunity next month when I plan to travel to Paris, France, to meet with the leaders of other national Scout programs. The Forum has recently established two new recognitions, the Nachshon Fellowship and the Shalom Award. The Nachshon Fellowship is designed to consist of Jewish Scout leaders who are accomplished on the international level. The Shalom Award can be earned by anyone here in America. We are posting the information and applications for the Shalom Award on our website shortly.
8. Scholarships: The committee continues to administer scholarships for Jewish Eagle Scouts to assist in deferring some of the costs of higher education.
9. History: The history of Jews in Scouting is really a history of Scouting in general. As an example, did you know that the first manufacturer of Scout uniforms was Jewish? One of the founding members of Scouting in America was Jewish. We are in the process of collecting and writing the history and establishing a museum of Jewish Scouting to preserve this heritage.
10. The Jewish Scout Store: We are working on improvements to the Jewish Scout Store on the website. We currently offer patches for Scout Shabbat and committee flags. In the near future we expect to offer a large number of Jewish Scouting items that can be used to enhance your Jewish Scouting experience and will also be suitable for future recognitions.
11. Fundraising: None of our goals can be accomplished without a solid financial base. We are establishing several areas of recognition for significant financial assistance to Jewish Scouting. We are making sponsorships available for a number of important projects. If you are interested in sponsoring any of these projects please contact me:
a. Providing prayer books and reference books for Philmont ( 3 sponsorships – $1,000.00 each)
b. Funding creation and printing of activity and program guides (15 sponsorships – $1,000.00 each)
c. Funding creation and printing of religious services (6 sponsorships – $2,000.00 each)
d. Sponsoring an area program conference (12 sponsorships – $2,500.00 each)
e. Sponsoring our website improvements and enhancements (1 sponsorship – $10,000.00)
f. Funding our emblem and award program (Unlimited sponsorships – $500.00 each)
g. Jamboree sponsorships - The next Jamboree takes place in 2017 at the Bechtel Summit. Currently, these sponsorships are available: Overall Sponsor - $40,000.00; Sunday Activity Sponsor – $7,500.00; Interactive History Sponsor – $10,000.00; Dreidel Spin Sponsor - $5,000.00.
h. Booth sponsorship for regional and national Jewish organization conventions (5 sponsorships – $3,000.00)
i. History Museum and Book Sponsorship (5 sponsorships – $4,000.00)
j. Scholarship funding (Unlimited – minimum amount $50,000)
k. General committee funding (1 per year – $35,000.00)
l. Remodeling the chaplain’s quarters and chapel at Philmont (Amount to be determined)
m. Sponsoring Jewish Scouts, Scouters and Units by paying their membership fees for the Boy Scouts of America ($40.00 for each member – $5,000.00 minimum)
Sponsorships can be shared. All sponsorships will be recognized with the activity sponsored and sponsors of at least $5,000.00 will be recognized on our website.
I look forward to your continued support of Jewish Scouting and your use of our listserve (J-Scouts).