Scout Base Camp Express

A young Scout receives expert instruction and resources to build a pinewood derby car in the new Maker Space at Base Camp Express in Woburn. Pictured (left to right) are Yisi Liu of Winchester, Scout volunteer Chris Eckelkamp of Chelmsford, nine-year old Cub Scout Max Liu of Winchester, a student at Winchester’s Lincoln School, and Vicky Yau of Winchester.

The Boy Scouts of Spirit of Adventure Council, located in Woburn at 2 Tower Office Park, has just opened a Base Camp Express, also located in Woburn at 2 Tower Office Park. This coincides with the original Base Camp located in Milton.

Base Camp Express is an indoor adventure park and resource center for Scouts modeled after the popular New England Base Camp, the council's outdoor adventure now open to the public in Milton.

Base Camp Express in Woburn offers activities for youth of all ages, including an amazing Maker Space, where kids can receive expert instruction and tools to make everything from pinewood derby cars to birdhouses. Other activities include the low ropes course, indoor shooting sports, cooking space and much more!

The camp looks to draw children and parents from all over the region, as the Woburn location is the first in the nation. This means scouts from Winchester, Reading, Lowell, and Stoneham, as well as from as far north as the New Hampshire border and south to Boston and Quincy will participate in the Base Camp Express.

And because Boy Scouts now welcomes girls, the camp is open to them as well. According to information, with a more than 40 percent female population at the primary base camp in Milton, Boys Scouts Spirit of Adventure Council, which is a local chapter of the Boy Scouts, expects the percentages of boys and girls to match that camp. Of course, as the new Base Camp Express only opened a few months ago, there’s isn’t a lot of data yet to make a definitive statement on the boy to girl ratio.

Why Woburn? Well, with the Boy Scouts Spirits of Adventure Council already located at 2 Tower Office Park, and with the scouts’ long-standing relationship with the Cummings family, it made sense to keep the Base Camp Express local. Plus, the location also housed the very popular Woburn Scout Store (it’s a Scout store where scouts and volunteers can buy uniforms and other clothing articles, camping gear and all sorts of cool Scout supplies. There are only so many around, so they tend to draw from area towns because there is usually only one in any geographic region).

The Base Camp Express in Woburn offers programs for all ages and is open to the general public. People can sign up for a Saturday half day morning program from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. or an afternoon program from 1 - 4 p.m. The scouts ask that attendees register, as they don’t accept walk-ins. It should also be noted these programs are for parents, as well. This isn’t a drop-off program.

The program is free with an Adventure Card. Without the card, it costs $15 per youth and $10 per adult. Programs offered include:

• low ropes course

• indoor shooting sports

• marker space with string art, hand tools, duct tape, origami, and pinewood derby car building

• nature and ecology with pond ecology and animals of the Merrimack Valley area

• design space/architecture with Lego, K-nex, blocks, landscape, architecture, and game design

• STEM with Citizen Scientist

• scout shop skills with knots, camp stoves and meal planning

Base Camp Express also offers scouts a chance to earn merit badges. Any scout can come to the camp and work on their badges including Eagle-required badges. One merit badge is offered on Saturdays and Sundays. Again, this requires registration.

Base Camp Express hosts birthday parties and field trips, as well.

This April, Base Camp Express will host a STEM Camp all April vacation week long for boys and girls in grades six through 12. They are invited to participate in STEM activities and earn merit badges. Campers will choose a STEM-themed program. The choices are:

• Energy: Program includes working to earn Energy, Electricity, and Nuclear Science merit badges, participating in a field trip to MIT Plasma Physics Department and working towards the Nova award

• Communications: Program includes working to earn Radio, Communications and Signs, Signals and Codes merit badges, participating in a field trip to a local radio station and working toward the Nova award

• Nature: Program includes working to earn Soil and Water Conservation merit badge, Forestry merit badge and Plant Science merit badge, participating in a field trip to a managed forest and working toward the Nova award.

There are also week long summer camps at both the primary camp in Milton and satellite camps in North Andover (July 6 - 10 for grades 1 - 5), Lawrence (July 13 - 17 for grades 1 - 5), Lexington (July 20 - 24 for grades 1 - 5), and Wakefield (August 3 - 7 and 10 - 14 for grades 1 - 5).

There are week long camps during the school year at the primary base camp in Milton, as well.

The base camps, booth the primary one in Milton and the express in Woburn, are offshoots of the Boy Scouts Spirit of Adventure. There scouts can enjoy a February vacation overnight camp with merit badge programs from Feb,. 17 - 22.

All campers will stay in cabins, with separate lodging for male and female. Campers will have the opportunity to build their own snow shelters and lodge for one or multiple nights. All food will be provided and prepared onsite, able to accommodate most dietary needs.

Check-in will begin Monday at 8 a.m. and programs will start at 10 a.m. Campers will choose a program for the week that will include different merit badge opportunities. Programs options are:

• Winter sports: Program includes Snow Sports merit badge, Wilderness Survival merit badge, and one additional merit badge to be determined, as well as a day ski trip to a local New Hampshire ski resort

• Nature program: Program includes Environmental Science merit badge, Wilderness Survival merit badge, and Nature merit badge

• STEM Program: Program includes Engineering merit badge, Weather merit badge and Orienteering merit badge

For transportation, campers also have the option of signing up for transportation to and from T.L. Storer for an additional $100. Pick up and drop off will be at two locations. You can choose either New England Base Camp in Milton or Base Camp Express in Woburn.

According to scoutspirit.org, the mission statement of the Spirit of Adventure Council, BSA is “to serve others by helping to install values in young people and in other ways prepare them to make ethical choices over their lifetime in achieving their full potential. The values we strive to instill are based upon the Scout Oath and Scout Law.”

The council offices are located in Woburn, as are the Boys Scouts of America Scout Shops, but there are day camps located throughout the state including in Wakefield, Topsfield, Chemlsford, Lexington, Haverhill, Milton, and Cambridge.

Spirit of America serves 77 communities in the Greater Boston and North Shore areas with 4,600 adult volunteers who devote countless hours to the youth. 12,270 youth participate, and in 2017 they spent 75,000 hours serving the community.

The Spirit of Adventure Council is broken up into six districts and 76 communities. Woburn is located in the “Flintlock District” along with Winchester, Stoneham, Wakefield, Burlington, Reading, North Reading, Lexington, Lincoln, Bedford, Carlisle, and Concord. Wilmington and Tewksbury are in the West Wind District along with Andover, Lawrence, Dracut, Lowell, Billerica, Chelmsford, Westford, Tyngsborough, and Dunstable. Lynnfield is in the Great Eastern District that stretches all the way to Rockport and down to Winthrop.

Parents can pre-register for specific classes or programs at Base Camp Express through NewEnglandBaseCamp.org or calling 617-615-0004.

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