Chester County Council’s New Home ‘as Much a Resource for the Community as It Is for Scouts’
The much-anticipated new home of the Chester County Council, Scouts BSA is nearing completion on 28 acres along Route 30 in Exton. Financed entirely through donations and grants, the project is approaching its fundraising goal, but still seeks funding to fully realize its grand vision for the community.
Named the Oscar Lasko Program Activity & Resource Campus (PARC), the site will be anchored by an 18,000-square-foot facility that will house a Leadership Development Center, the Council Service Center, and a retail store that will offer Scouts BSA program materials. The outdoor green space will provide opportunities for environmental education, outdoor living skills development, team building, and leadership enhancement, as well as recreational and fitness programs.
According to Jeff Spencer, Scout Executive and CEO of the Chester County Council, the project has been in development for more than a decade.
“Conceptually, the vision of PARC started back in early 2008,” he said. “The Council needed to address its office building, which was aging and needed repairs, so we needed a plan to address that issue. There was this land that became available to us in Exton, and a good portion was wetlands that could not be developed commercially. So, somebody thought, ‘Why not offer it to the Boy Scouts?’”
Acquiring and preserving the wetlands site appeared to be a perfect undertaking for an organization that teaches stewardship of the environment.
“It is such a great fit because we’re all about conservation and the outdoors, and we will be doing a lot of projects on the grounds to really improve it and take care of the land.” said Spencer.
Weather issues have caused some delays, but the building, sitework, and landscaping are targeted for completion in late spring.
Spencer cites the pandemic as having a greater effect on the overall BSA experience in the community.
“The pandemic has been challenging because families have competing priorities and are being selective with their children’s activities,” he said. “But we’re getting through it, offering virtual programs, and looking forward to serving more youth in the community as the weather improves. This facility will attract more families through the programs that we will be offering.”
Along with the outdoor space, the main building will be a way for the Council to welcome other groups from the community. Meeting, conference, and assembly rooms will be available to serve other nonprofits and business groups where they can connect and engage at PARC.
“We want this to be as much a resource for the community as a resource for our Scouts,” said Spencer. “Scouting teaches and practices community service and helping others, and we want to be a good community partner. We also think the more access we can offer to this campus, the more we can demonstrate how our programs can benefit Chester County youth.”
PARC is being funded entirely through donations and grants. To date, approximately $5 million of the $5.8 million goal has been raised. The Council needs to reach its fundraising goal in order to accomplish everything proposed in its original plan, which includes several external projects that will enhance the Scouting experience for nearly 3,000 youth.
“Chester County is a very strong Scouting area with over 100 years of Scouting history,” said Spencer. “Many young people in the county have benefitted from our program and have wonderful experiences that will last a lifetime.”
Click here to learn how you can support the PARC project.
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