Friday, January 20, 2017

Klondike Derby 2017

The Council-wide Klondike Derby will be held February 24-26, 2017 at the Medina Conservation Club. For details about the event, download the info and registration packet here:

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Okpik training at Camp Dittmer

There will be an Okpik cold weather training course offered at Camp Dittmer in February. Okpik is a combination of classroom & outdoor style training designed to make the participants aware of the physiology and psychological aspects of cold weather & winter camping, as well as the great variety of winter camping equipment that’s available or can be assembled from traditional 3 season gear. This training will give you the skills and confidence to lead a winter campout and ensure a safe and fun experience for all of your Scouts! The flier and registration form can be downloaded here as a PDF:

Monday, January 16, 2017

ITC is gold

We're excited to share the news that the Iroquois Trail Council achieved Gold Level in the BSA's Journey to Excellence in 2016.

This is based on the cumulative results of every unit, every volunteer and every staff member in the Council. Thank you to each of you for the time and effort that you invest to bring an excellent and exciting Scouting program to your town and to our region.

This is a major accomplishment and a reason to celebrate. Typically, only 25% of councils across the country achieve Gold status. It's something we did in 2014, too.

Our scouts are positioned to succeed in Scouting and in life because of the top-notch programming they are given by you. They will grow up to be exceptional husbands, fathers and leaders. THANK YOU!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lonsberry helps launch shotgun range fund drive

Today on Bob Lonsberry's show on WHAM 1180 we officially launched the initiative to build a shotgun and firearms instruction range at Camp Dittmer. This facility will complement our existing rifle range and give scouts access to a world-class shotgun shooting experience. You can donate to this project via the following website or you can mail a check to the Scout office in Batavia (the photo is an example of similar facilities...ours will look a little different):

ITC's market share is high!

How important is Scouting to the fabric of the five counties covered by our Council? Consider this -- market share is a measurable used to determine the percentage of available youth in a given population who are in Scouting. Nationally, 12% of youth are in Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts. In our Council, just under 20% of all area boys are scouts. Think about that -- 1 out of every 5 boys in our coverage area are scouts! Wow!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

ITC recruitment bucks local population trends

After a few years of major decline in Scouting all across the country, the ship is being righted. Right now, our 2016 deficit in scout enrollment in our Council is 29 scouts versus 2015. That's the closest to growth we've been since 2012. It's a testament to our Scouters, Scouts, and staff putting on an awesome programs at the pack, troop, district and council levels. To further understand how HUGE of an accomplishment this is, know that our portion of WNY is losing (or not replenishing) young people at unprecedented rates. Consider these examples: In the 2015 school year, the average class size for sixth through twelfth versus kindergarten through fifth were down by these percentages in the these school districts in our territory Barker 23%, Roy-Hart 22%, Wilson 21% and Newfane 12%. Almost every other school district in our 5 county Council is seeing similar declines. Think about that --- almost instantly, we have SUBSTANTIALLY fewer boys in our communities (the population decline of boys is numbered in the THOUSANDS), yet we are recruiting more of them as a percentage of the local population to be scouts. Keep up the GREAT work! Our Council and local scouts are truly blessed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


The Council's annual Scout For Food drive was held in November and it was amazingly successful. Here is on example that highlights its significance: Cub Scout Pack 18 of Gasport collected 1,072 items of food for the Gasport food pantry at the Zion Lutheran Church. That is a HUGE quantity for a town as small as Gasport!

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Spook-O-Ree is on October 15th

Plan now to join us at the Genesee County Park on Saturday, October 15 for the annual Cub Scout Spook-O-Ree. Our gaggle of ghosts is putting together a fun-filled afternoon of Halloween fun. If your pack isn't coming as a group, individual registrations are always welcome. Click here for registration forms for packs and individuals:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Write for your school paper and promote Scouting!

With a new school year upon us, it's time to remind you about an awesome recruiting tool that all scouts have access to -- your school newspaper. I strongly encourage every pack or troop to have one scout, and a different one each time, submit an article to the school paper. Write about what your unit does on a regular basis or write about one specific adventure. Make it fun and interesting (just like Scouting is!). Hundreds of your fellow students will be reading your article and with it you have a perfect opportunity to recruit more boys. Also, when it goes to print, please scan the page and send it to Bob Confer at We will post it here for everyone to see, encouraging more troops to use their newspapers as a recruiting tool.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Camp Dittmer storm damage

On Saturday evening at Camp Dittmer, Ranger Steve Croll has reported some significant storm damage with fallen trees, some damage to tents & platforms, power lines and other things.

Sunday, Steve worked on assessing all the damage and he also worked on reopening the camp roads. Steve is on top of things and has the immediate situation under control. He has made sure that there's not a crisis situation.

However, he's going to need help to clean things up. We are looking into organizing groups of workers who are available this week and this weekend, to come to Camp Dittmer to help clean up the storm damage. Our equipment is limited, so if you have additional equipment to use for this clean up detail, please bring it with you.

Upon arriving at Camp Dittmer, call Ranger Steve at 585-202-5050. Steve will be able to direct you to the area's that are currently being worked on.

For the weeks of August 15 thru August 26, Jim McMullen is out of the office and out of the area. We wouldn't want a critical message to wait in Jim's mailbox until he returns. Therefore, we are asking you to please contact either Jess Markel, 585-208-2542. Or Judy Anderson, 585-409-6109 during this time frame.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Youth board member wanted

Last year, beyond the OA Lodge Chief representation on the Council's executive board, we created a position on the board which was manned by a scout. We wanted the young men represented on the board, and who better than a scout – one of our “customers” - to offer insight on what we are doing or what we could be doing for our scouts?

Our first youth board member was Tyler Davis, who was an active member of our board. His one-year term has come to an end.

So, it is time for us to recruit another scout for this position.  

This position will be available to an active scout regardless of rank (he does not have to be an Eagle) who will be a high school junior or senior during the 2016-2017 school year. His duties will run from September 2016 to August 2017.

The board typically meets 6 to 8 times a year on the first Tuesday at 7:00 PM at the Batavia service center. On the off month, the much smaller executive committee, which he will not be a part of, meets in place of the full board. We typically have July or August off for summer break.

This is an excellent opportunity for the scout who will be selected…it will give him experience on an executive board at relatively early age; it will look good on his college application and professional resume; and, most importantly, it will give him the chance to give back to an organization – the BSA -- that has hopefully contributed a great deal to who he is.

This position does not come with voting power (as long as the Scout is 16 or older), and the scout will have a chance to voice his opinion and those of his fellow scouts.

We will be accepting applications until August 15th from which we will select one scout. Interested parties should send a letter via email to Scout Executive Jim McMullen ( and Council President Bob Confer ( In that letter, please give us a brief bio and a rundown on your scouting history, tell us why you are interested in the board position and please describe how active you currently are – and will be -- in Scouting.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Help Wanted: Membership Chair

A volunteer position of need that we have at the Council level is a membership chairperson. That role on our board has been vacant for some time. This person would manage the membership activities of the Council, overseeing a team that would also include district-level membership chairs and other volunteers.

This is an interesting role that would best be served by someone with a marketing background or an engineering background. "Engineering??", you ask...I throw that out there because this person is as much a detail-oriented project manager as they are a marketer.

The typical workload of this role would be:

* One Council board meeting per month in Batavia
* One Membership Committee meeting per month in Batavia
* Behind-the-scenes planning, implementation and follow-up which is maybe 1 to 2 hours per week of "homework" (which has seasonal peaks with recruiting drives)

If interested in this role and helping to recruit and retain local youth, please send a letter of interest, along with a little about your background, to Council President Bob Confer at

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wally Hunter has passed away

It's with a heavy heart that we report that Wally Hunter, Mel's brother, has passed away. Wally was a longtime fixture of our shooting sports program at Camp and he was beloved by our scouts and scouters. Our thoughts are with the Hunter family. Rest in peace, Wally.

Here is Wally's obituary:

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Confer: Scouting brings confidence to young men

For the Council President's comments at Thursday's BoyPower dinner Bob Confer gave a speech about the importance of Scouting in today's world and how it brings confidence to children and teens who sorely need it. He converted that speech into a newspaper column that will run in this week's papers in Lockport and Niagara Falls. Here's the column:


If you know someone in their 20s or 30s, you’ve no doubt heard them ask if they should bring a child into this world. They say that because these are some heady times and today’s youth are bombarded with so much and they face so many obstacles and dangers.

This has led to something that I would call a “confidence crisis”, not only for those potential parents, but especially for those they beget. Children and teens are increasingly lacking in confidence in themselves and the world around them.

Today’s kids don’t have confidence in their families. Not only is the divorce rate still pretty high, but too many women are left to raise children on their own as so-called “dads” abandon them, and their interaction is limited to an occasional child support check, if anything at all.

Today’s youths don’t have confidence in their futures --- they saw their parents stung by the Great Recession and they see an economy that’s still a little wobbly, offering them little hope for tomorrow.
They don’t have confidence in their safety. School shootings, terror attacks and random acts of brutal violence dominate the news cycle, and have changed the way they live in and move about this country.

They don’t have confidence in the leadership of our country. They see grown men and women who want to lead us attacking one another and presenting very few legitimate options to better our United States.

And, they don’t have confidence in themselves. The Age of the Internet and the destruction of good old fashioned real human-to-human interaction have eroded emotion and empathy, leading to bullying and abuse and the image issues that come with that.

So, what is a modern parent to do?

How do you overcome these crises?

How do you instill confidence in children?

The answer to all of these questions is one word: Scouting.

The Boy Scouts of America have always given -- and will always give --- the boys and young men of this country the tools they need to succeed and the tools that America needs to succeed.

Take, for instance, the fatherless boys I had mentioned. In Scouting, their scoutmasters become their de facto fathers, bringing masculinity, strong fraternal support, paternal love, and important life lessons from a male perspective that those boys so desperately need.

Or, consider the boys who worry about their careers. Scouting and its myriad merit badges intimately introduce boys to career paths that they wouldn’t get proper exposure to elsewhere --- be it STEM, the trades, the arts, or business, these courses and the scouts’ efforts prepare them for the Real World and set them on paths to success in adulthood.

Think of the boys who worry about the world’s safety. Scouting give them the abilities they need to combat the world’s evils – they are trained in first aid, they are versed in discipline, uniformity and chain of command. Think of how many teenage scouts save lives every year --- think of how scouts go on to become first responders, police, and members of our armed forces.

And what of those boys who see poorly led communities, states, and countries or a glut of bullying and other abuses in their schools? By learning good citizenship and community-mindedness in Scouting -- and getting out and doing things for people in need -- they are groomed to be character-driven leaders of governments, schools, businesses and churches. Our future is in great hands when the Scouts take over.

All of this, and so much more, gives the boys the confidence they need to be mature, overcome all the wrongs in their lives and this world, to make their lives better and to make everyone else’s lives better.

Boy Scouts transforms boys into men. Real men.

No other youth-based organization can claim that with such vigor….with such confidence.

So, if you worry about your son or grandson and what the world holds for them, don’t. Enroll him in Scouting. It will markedly improve his ability to handle the bad and the good that might be thrown at him. It will give him the confidence to succeed in everything he does.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Council receives high marks

The Iroquois Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America was recently commended for outstanding customer satisfaction and communication in the 2015 National Voice of the Scout Survey.

The council, which provides services to nearly 3,000 youth in Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, Livingston and Eastern Niagara counties, received the highest score in New York State by the parents and Troop/ Cub Scout pack leaders it serves. Eleven councils were evaluated.

“We strive to provide accurate and consistent communication to our customers,” Scout Executive James McMullen said. “We’re in the people-business and we take this obligation very seriously.”

Bob Confer, Executive Vice President of Confer Plastics and the volunteer president of the Council’s Board of Directors, credits the staff and local volunteers. “The high customer satisfaction rate speaks to the quality of service provided not only by the folks you see working in our offices, but also to the hundreds of volunteers who help to provide such a great program to the boys and young men of our communities. The Council’s efforts — and results — will pay huge dividends in the future as these Scouts become tomorrow’s leaders in businesses, communities and the armed forces.” 

The Council also received high marks for its Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack retention rates. Eighty percent of local youth stayed in the program from 2014 to 2015. That figure surpasses the national average of 76 percent. Almost 80 percent of all Cub Scouts in the Council attended camp in 2015, which is up from 68 percent in 2012.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Shotgun director needed

The Iroquois Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America has a SHOT-GUN SHOOTING DIRECTOR Opening.

JOB TITLE: Shot-gun Shooting Director.

JOB LOCATION: Camp Dittmer, Phelps, NY.

EXPERIENCE: 2 Years of acceptable related experience with many hours of shooting instruction. A shooting Instructor Certificate is preferred.

JOB DESCRIPTION: You will be in charge of our shot-gun shooting range under the supervision of our camps Shooting Sports Director. You will be teaching several Shot-gun Shooting Merit Badge classes each day Monday through Friday. The time commitment will be for staff week and three weeks with campers.

MAJOR SKILLS NEEDED: Very good shooting skills and technique, ability to give very good instruction, good rapport with boys 11 to 17, well organized.

OTHER HIRING REQUIREMENTS: Physical Exam (required only after job offer and if required for the job opening), Reference Check.

BoyPower dinner

The Iroquois Trail of the Boy Scouts of America will recognize distinguished citizens from five counties at the 41st Annual Boypower Dinner on May 26 at the Paddock Room of Batavia Downs in Batavia. These awards are chosen for people who exemplify positive county-wide impact through professional service with integrity and are dedicated to the community activities.

Council Scout Executive James McMullen is pleased to recognize the 2016 Honor Roll of Distinguished Citizens:

• Paul Siejak, Niagara County. While Siejak served as president of UAW Local 686 at Lockport’s Harrison Radiator, he was instrumental in raising several thousands of dollars for local charities. He coordinated the arrival of the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, and currently serves as Town of Lockport deputy supervisor. He has assisted with United Way’s fundraising campaigns at Delphi and served on the board of the Eastern Niagara United Way.

• Edward Fancher, Orleans County. Fancher is the executive director of Community Action of Orleans and Genesee and has assisted in the program’s growth since 1987. He has a long history of service to local organizations, including the Albion Rotary Club, where he has twice received the Paul Harris Award, and is treasurer of the Executive Board of the Iroquois Trail Council. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Medina Savings and Loan and several local service organizations.

• James Vincent, Genesee County. Vincent is the retired president of L-Brooke Farms, Inc. and affiliated companies, a 7,000 acre processing vegetable and grain farm in Western New York. He has served in leadership positions on several community boards. Vincent is often quoted by saying “our communities, just as our land, have to be sustained for future generations.”

• Donald O’Geen, Wyoming County. O’Geen has aggressively prosecuted a wide range of cases during his 15 years with the Wyoming County District Attorney’s Office. He also has dedicated his time toward several area organizations, including the United Way of Wyoming County with four years as chairman, board member of the Wyoming County YMCA and is currently the chairman of the 20/20 Vision Capital Campaign for the YMCA.

• Ronald Kosmider, Livingston County. Kosmider, is an active member of several Geneseo organizations, while continuing as co-owner with his son, Ron Jr., of LM3 (LaserModeling3), which designs and builds architectural and trade show models. He served several years as Geneseo’s Boy Scout Troop Committee Chairman and has organized numerous fund raising events for area youth. With all of his business successes, Kosmider shared that one of his family’s greatest accomplishments was supporting his son to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

The annual Boypower Dinner has evolved into the major event that raises funds to support Scouting programs for nearly 3,000 boys who range in age from 7 to 20, and for girls ages 14 to 21. More than 1,100 volunteers contribute their time in various ways to promote the values of Scouting.

The dinner’s featured speaker is Robert Rich III, the founder and president of ROAR Logistics. This is a fast-growing subsidiary of Rich Products which serves the shipping industry with multiple locations across the United States. Rich will share insight on the Rich Family dynasty and provide insightful stories about its growth to success.

The dinner’s Master of Ceremonies is Dan Fischer, president and owner of WBTA Batavia.

“Our committee believes Dan will bring his quick wit and professionalism to the microphone,” Scout Executive James McMullen said. “He’ll make it an entertaining evening for all, while sharing the values of Scouting and its impact on our area youth.”

The Boy Scouts of America, Iroquois Trail Council, prepares young people to succeed with leadership and life skills that promote personal responsibility, citizenship and strong family and ethical values. Funds raised by this annual event directly impact the Boy Scouts, and provide for Campership opportunities for summer day and resident camping experiences.

For additional information, contact the Iroquois Trail Council office at 201 East Main St. Batavia (Seymour Place) or by calling (585) 343-0307.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Support the Confer Classic Golf Tournament

To our friends and families in the Towpath District: Here is the Confer Classic ad that will be appearing in next week's Lockport Union-Sun and Journal. Please support this event by golfing, sponsoring a hole, or donating a raffle prize. Your support will be greatly appreciated -- an investment in Scouting is an investment in America's future.