BY KATIE MATTESON
The story about the Bartlett Youth Foundation is about the power of parent volunteers. It began in 1950 when a group of Bartlett School parents decided they needed to provide a dedicated space for Boy Scouts and through fundraising was able to put a down payment on about two acres of land at 1120 Stuart Road.
The organization established itself as a chartered organization and was granted a charter by the Boy Scouts of America. Typically, the chartering organization is a church, civic group, club or lodge, an urban agency, a school or industry.
“Bartlett Youth Foundation belongs to the youth,” 31-year volunteer Kim Ashton said. “We simply manage it for them.”
Currently the 2,000 square foot building and grounds are utilized just about every weeknight by the Scouts for meetings and weekends by rental groups, providing needed income for upkeep and maintenance.
The space consists of two large adjoining rooms, plus a kitchen and bathrooms.
Longtime volunteer Steen Sanderhoff remembers when the building was much smaller.
He got involved in the organization when his 33-year-old son was 7 and helped with raising funds to update the building in the early 1990s and again in 2000.
During the first update, parent volunteers removed the flat roof and installed a peaked roof to stop leaks and upgraded the siding.
The original structure was built in the early 1950s – initially just the foundation, which was capped off and used for meetings below ground until they could raise more money to build a small structure on top.
Another round of building improvements happened in 2000, when parent volunteers broke ground to add a 1,300 square foot addition. The next year a garage was added, the dirt driveway was blacktopped, the grounds were landscaped, trees were planted, city water was connected and a fire pit was constructed.
The last major improvement took place in 2012 when steel siding was added to the buildings.
Another function of the chartering organization is to “provide quality leadership for the Scouting leadership.” The Board of Directors, which has representation from the Scouts, operational committees and members at large, approve the appointments of the Cubmaster, Scoutmaster and senior leadership of Venturing and Exploring in accordance with the regulations of the Boy Scouts of America.
The walls of the meeting room are decorated with large collages of photos and maps showing Venturing and Exploring trips to such places as the Boundary Waters in Canada, Philmont, New Mexico, Isle Royale National Park and an especially memorable trip when Sanderhoff took a group of Scouts and parents to his home country of Denmark.
Groups also take regular trips to Bong Nature Center, River Bend Nature Center, Camp Ohdakota in Burlington and Camp Rokilio in Kiel.
Each participating Scout is represented by a wooden plaque that hangs under the various levels in Cub Scouts (Tigers, Wolves, Bears, Webelos and Arrow of Light) and Boy Scouts (Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle). The display was created by parent volunteer Dan Etes, who currently serves as president of the Board of Directors and Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 142.
Thanks to the dedication of parents spanning nearly 70 years, the organization is still going strong and providing support for Cub Scout Pack 142, Boy Scout Troop 142 and Girl Scout Troops 5103 and 30008, as well as committing to bring on a Scouts USA girl troop.
The public is invited to help support the organization by attending the Bartlett Youth Foundation Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 23 from 4-7 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for $9 ($6 under 8) and in advance at bit.ly/BYFdinner.
For more membership information, visit barlettyouthfoundation.wordpress.com and for rental information, visit byfrental.wordpress.com.
To make a donation to the Bartlett Youth Foundation, make an online contribution at https://giv.li/04bdu3