This year has certainly been one full of twists and turns, creating challenges that none of us could have foreseen.
As we wind down this year and reflect on the many successes, the impact of the pandemic continues to affect how we approach Scouting and will continue to do so in 2021. Almost two hundred new Scouts joined during the year, but overall recruitment and retention is down. The Council is very close to balancing the annual budget, mainly due to strong individual donor contributions, but we had a difficult year in popcorn sales and special event fundraising. Combined, these factors impacted our outlook for the 2021 fiscal year.
In order to best prepare our Council to rebound from these challenges, the Board of Directors has authorized a course of action that we are hopeful will put the Council in the best financial position moving forward. These adjustments will not be easy, and it will take all of us working together to achieve success.
One of the most significant components of the Board approved plan is the operation of only one resident camp for summer 2021. Limiting operations to only one resident camp will allow us to focus our available resources in an appropriate manner. The camp selected to host resident camp this year is Rotary Scout Reservation. We understand that there will be strong emotions to this. This was not an easy decision. While Rotary will put on the resident camp program, Camp Wakpominee will continue to be used for short term, weekend type programming that utilizes the unique program features that Rotary does not have. This includes the ATV program and Adirondack Treks. What the end result will show is, an all-encompassing program that does not duplicate, but supplements each camp and provides the best program offering possible for all age groups.
Additional measures in this plan includes realigning Council staff roles, a new popcorn sale vendor that will provide lower price points for product items, and the reintroduction of Camp Cards which is a discount card fundraiser for units.
Our teams are working hard to provide top level programs that our Scouts and volunteers can take advantage of. These include another virtual merit badge opportunity, self-guided NOVA Awards, increased access to our properties for a variety of winter activities, Shooting Sports weekends in the spring, a virtual University of Scouting in March, a virtual STEM camp in April, and plans are coming together for a council-wide camporee in October of 2021 at the Saratoga Fairgrounds.
Over the next sixty days, we will provide several opportunities for you to meet with us through a virtual format and hear more about these plans. Please watch our website and social media platforms to find out dates and times as they get announced.
This past year has provided us many challenges in our professional and personal lives.
So much has been cancelled, but in so many ways we have seen resilience and determination all around us. Delivering the mission of Scouting remains more critical than ever. Thank you for all that you do for the youth of Twin Rivers Council.
-Twin Rivers Council