Chester County Boy Scouts Cut Ribbon on 18,000-Square-Foot Campus in Exton

ribbon cutting
Image via Chester County Council, Boy Scouts of America.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Oscar Lasko Program Activity Resource Campus (PARC), new home to the Chester County Council, Boy Scouts of America.
chester county boy scouts logo

It’s common to think of Scouts participating in outdoor activities like camping or hiking. But thanks to a multi-year effort by the Chester County Council, Boy Scouts of America, they can gather at PARC for both indoor activities like meetings and education as well as outdoor activities on the 28 acres surrounding the building.

PARC in this latter instance stands for the Oscar Lasko Program Activity Resource Campus.

It is the Chester County Council’s new home.

The property, which includes an 18,000-square-foot building, is named for local businessman and philanthropist Oscar Lasko, a frequent collaborator with the Chester County Council.

Features and Amenities

The first floor of the building at 1 Scouting Way, Exton, contains an onsite store, flexible conference rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology, and administrative offices.

The second floor features the Carol and Dick Vermeil Leadership Development Center. Its vast footprint can hold large-scale scouting events such as a Blue and Gold Banquet or an Eagle Court of Honor.

This level also leads to an outdoor deck, usable for additional function space.

And it’s the site of the organization’s STEM classroom, equipped with projection screens for ease of presentations. The organization intends to use this setting for instruction on chemistry, engineering, programming, and robotics. It’s also spacious enough to hold training on skilled trades — electronics, welding, woodworking, and auto mechanics.

It is hoped that this multifaceted exposure will aid Scouts in choosing eventual careers.

The third floor answers one of the Chester County Council’s most pressing needs: storage. It’s not only expansive, it’s convenient. An elevator enables easy transport of even bulky items.

The building is surrounded by 28 acres of beautiful Chester County real estate, perfectly suited to outdoor programming such as training, fishing, and orienteering. The nearby Valley Creek offers the opportunity to instruct on issues of ecology, conservation, and sustainability.

Outgrowing Its Former Home

The transition into the new Exton location is a welcome development in the history of the Chester County Council.

According to Field Director Matt Groseclose, the Council’s former home in West Chester no longer met the organization’s needs.

“It was a block building that needed repair,” he said.

It also proved a difficult access point for the geographic reach of the Council.

“We cover all of Chester County and reach into Northern Cecil County and as far west as Lancaster County for camps and other programs. Exton is just so much better logistically,” Groseclose explained.

“Back in 2008, we started to dream about a new property and a new building and the space for Scouts to conduct meetings and activities. Then, the opportunity presented itself to us for a 28-acre donation in Exton. Wow.”

Fundraising kicked in from 2012 to 2019 and continues today.

The pandemic slowed construction but never halted it. The building officially opened on July 26, 2021 and the site was ready for its open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony held on September 18.

Community Resource

Groseclose wants the public to know that the public is most welcome at this roomy, comfortable, conveniently located, state-of-the-art building.

The retail location is accessible to shoppers not necessarily associated with Scouting. In addition to uniforms and badges, it will also stock camping gear and other items for the great outdoors. It is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM, with extended Scout Shop hours on Wednesdays until 8 p.m.

Further, PARC is rentable event space.

Groseclose describes PARC as suitable for everything from baby showers to corporate meetings. Although there is no onsite kitchen, the space is flexible enough to accommodate caterers and even food trucks.

He also cited plenty of convenient parking on the property.

Although preference is given to Scouting events, it is also available to:

  • Community non-profit groups
  • Youth education programs
  • Adult education programs
  • Chester County for-profit groups
  • Other groups

The meeting/event space can be booked online.

VISTA Leadership Megastars

American Community Journals, publisher of VISTA Today, marked the first client to utilize the PARC event space.

It held its first-ever VISTA Leadership Megastars celebration there, finding the space easily configurable to its needs for food and bar service.

The VISTA Leadership Megastars reception — for which the Chester County Council was sole sponsor — was the first edition of what is expected to be an annual celebration of local leadership.

Evaluation criteria for the honorees paralleled the 12 principles of Scouting: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

That evening, Rev. Frank Allen, Rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Wayne, received the 2021 Distinguished Citizen award. He was recognized for an overall commitment to exemplifying the ideals of Scouting and improving the quality of Chester County life.

Rev. Allen was one of 12 Chester County luminaries celebrated that evening.

A Grand Celebration for a Grand Opening

The recent ribbon-cutting was a highlight in the Council’s history.

The community at large was invited, and turnout was robust enough to warrant shuttle buses to ferry visitors to and from nearby lots.

The party atmosphere included several family friendly activities.

“We had a monkey bridge set up, which is pretty much a rope bridge for kids to climb,” Groseclose explained. He listed the other activities: “Inflatable axe-throwing, a dunk tank where some of our leaders got wet, face-painting, tie-dying, and a rain-gutter regatta.”

There was plenty of food, too, with food trucks, ice cream, and cotton candy.

“It was a great opportunity for us to share the facility with families from the community,” said Groseclose.

Further Support

Although the official opening of the Oscar Lasko PARC is past, ongoing support for its continual operation is ongoing.

The Council has a heartfelt way of providing the public with a means of participating.

The walkway to the front door comprises “passageway pavers” that can be purchased in memory (or in honor) of someone and etched with a name.

“It would be a great way to remember a former Scout leader or friend from scouting who is no longer with you,” Groseclose said.

The form for purchasing a passageway paver can be accessed by download.

Joining the Scouts

The event also included information on joining the Scouts, an initiative the entire organization eagerly supports.

Groseclose says that unfortunately the pandemic had an impact on the number of enrolled Scouts, and has curtailed programming and activities.

He hopes that as the pandemic recedes further, membership will rise to its former levels and continue to grow.

As a reminder, Groseclose described the levels of Scouts:

  • Cub Scouts is designed for kindergarteners through fifth graders
  • Scouts BSA (which has troops for both boys and girls) is for sixth graders through age 18.
  • Venturing, Exploring and Sea Scout opportunities are available for youths from 14-21.

The Chester County Council offers a convenient way of joining online.

For more information on the Oscar Lasko PARC, see the Chester County Council website.

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