Boy Scout councils merge

The representatives of the Boy Scouts of America council that represent Milwaukee, Kenosha and Racine counties have banded together to form a new Boy Scout Council called the Three Harbors Council, Boy Scouts of America.
“This is an exciting time for Scouting in southeastern Wisconsin,” said Ed Brandon, who will serve as the new council’s scout executive and CEO. “We just celebrated 100 years of Boy Scouts in America; this is a great follow-up to that celebration. This positions us for better, stronger Scouting for the next 100 years.”
More than 24,000 youth participate in scouting programs in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine counties.
According to Wayne Briesemeister, chairman of the Southeast Wisconsin Council’s consolidation committee, the decision stemmed from discussions between parties looking to expand the opportunities a combined council would be able to offer.
In addition to making fiscal sense, the combined council will be able to provide enhanced program opportunities for youth in all three counties, but would also offer expanded resources and training for adult leaders.
“The consolidation could present opportunities to enhance and specialize the four camps the Three Harbors Council will own, including Camp Oh-Da-Ko-Ta near Burlington, Indian Mound Scout Reservation in Oconomowoc, Robert S. Lyle Scout Reservation near Elcho in Langlade County, and Lefeber Northwoods Camps near Laona in Forest County,” said Keith Burns, chairman of the Milwaukee County Council’s consolidation committee.
Existing Scouting programs, including activities such as National Youth Leadership Training, Klondike Derbies, Camporees, Roundtables and other trainings and events will remain in place. The eight existing districts that serve Scouting in each local community will also remain. The Three Harbors Council will maintain two Scout Service centers which will also have shops for Scout supplies – the existing ones in Milwaukee and Racine will continue to be in operation after the consolidation.
The former councils will plan for lodge consolidation over the next 18 months.
“While we anticipate some savings from consolidation, finances are not the reason we entered consolidation talks,” said Michael Steinmetz, who has served as President of the Milwaukee County Council. “We always strive to be the best stewards of the donations and funding we receive; we believe we can be even better stewards with better outcomes through consolidation.”
The Three Harbors Council is guided by an executive board that has equal representation from the former Milwaukee County and Southeast Wisconsin Council boards. For the coming year, the Three Harbors Council President will be from the former Southeast Wisconsin Council while the Council Commissioner will be from the Milwaukee County Council.

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