Written by Mike Swofford Sunday, 09 January 2011 18:58
|The Scout Achievement Center Story|
|Building the Vision|
|Branding and Design|
|Technology and Green Operations|
|Excitement, Moving, and Opening|
|A Few Last Things and Grand Opening|
After a successful capital campaign in 1998 led to the opening of Cub World and the re-opening of Camp Friedlander at the Dan Beard Scout Reservation, eyes turned to the then-current Scout Service Center on Victory Parkway. With an increase in youth membership, greater staffing needs, and changes in modern technology and business practices, it was apparent that the 30-year home of the Dan Beard Council was no longer sufficient to meet the needs of the growing movement. The Victory Parkway office, with its modest Scout Shop, small lobby area, cramped individual offices, and minimal meeting areas, could not sustain these new demands. Scouting needed a new center in Cincinnati that would reflect its turn towards the future and be an active place for volunteers to lead the way.
The council Board of Directors responded and the 2005 council strategic plan called for the building and opening of a new service center within five years. Thus, the SAC project was born. The then Scout Executive, Tracy Techau, was charged with the enormous challenge of delivering upon this strategy, and a team of volunteers and staff were engaged to lead the way.
Soon thereafter, a growing realization came that a new facility would require a new way for the council to operate, a new depth of engagement for volunteers, and a new positioning of the Scouting movement in the community. These were big tasks that required a strong vision. The volunteers and staff of the Dan Beard Council heard the call, and the multi-year process of developing the vision for a facility that has changed the way the Scouting program is delivered began.
But first, the council had to positioned to take on this elevation in service. The 2005 "Inspiring Achievements" capital campaign was kicked off, raising $12 million from the local community while not affecting the regular operations of the council. The Lindner family led the charge with a $1 million challenge pledge that was quickly met by generous supporters. The Marge Schott Foundation, in response to Marge's great love for Scouting, pledged $2.5 million to the project, and fellow foundations, community businesses, and Scouting families pledged enormous support in the form of dollars and material gifts-in-kind. From this campaign, the remaining debt from the 1998 camp construction project was paid off. Seventy acres of new land were purchased at Camp Michaels, including the much-needed county road access to the far side of Gunpowder Creek. Finally, eight million dollars was set aside for the SAC project and its future maintenance. Momentum was so great, the capital fundraising was completed a year ahead of schedule.
Meanwhile, the vision for this unprecedented project was explored. A visioning process took place to determine what the SAC would be. What would it look like? How would it be used? Where should it be located? And what should it include? More than ever before, volunteers were asked to give their input on the future direction of the council -- the feedback was enormous. Through a series of focus group discussions, multiple surveys, and the direct involvement of volunteers in the planning of the project details, a vision began to form. This led to a stunning paradigm shift that set the SAC project apart from the previous council offices and similar facilities across the country: The Scout Achievement Center would be a volunteer center first, and a council office second.
This philosophy drove the decisions for the project from that point forward. The answers to so many questions came swiftly. The building itself should look like Scouting. It should be the training and conference center for volunteer and unit meetings. It should be easy to get to and conveniently located for the greatest number of people. And it should include all of the modern technology and features that today's volunteers need to advance the Scouting movement. This new project was bigger than just a building -- the term "Service Center" just didn't seem to fit, so a title that better described what the project would accomplish was given: "The Scout Achievement Center."