The Boy Scouts of America from the Bill Hart District of the Western Los Angeles County Council held their “Scout Me Win” carnival fundraiser in conjunction with Gilchrist Farm’s “Harvest Festival” on Saturday.
The carnival was held as part of the BSA’s “Scout Me In” membership campaign which highlights the recent decision to let all youth participate in the Scouts regardless of gender.
“There’s been a huge increase in memberships since we have been allowing girls to join,” said Josh Price, senior district executive for the Santa Clarita BSA. “We probably have 35 or 40 girls actively participating in at the Cub Scout level in the Santa Clarita Valley. We actually have more girls in the Venture program, which has been co-ed since the 80s.”
Initially the carnival was set to take place on September 15 at the Sand Canyon Country Club, but the event was delayed until Oct. 27 in an effort to draw bigger crowds and gain more sponsors, moving to Gilchrist Farm, according to Jeff Shrewsbury, district executive of WLACC.
“There were a lot of logistics we had to juggle to make sure this still happened, and the Gilchrists were kind enough to open up this space for us,” Shrewsbury said. “There are a lot more people here so it also helps us boost our message and promote the Scouts.”
Monica Gilchrist, owner of Gilchrist Farm, said that her family has been involved with the Scouts since before the farm was a business and has a son in Troop 583. The farm has played host to Scouting events before, and later Saturday night was the site of Troop 2222’s haunted house event.
GIlchrist learned of Shrewsbury’s carnival plan through a mutual friend. She then decided to make some space for them to promote their recruitment drive.
“We are absolute supporters of the Scouts and an active Scouting family,” Gilchrist said. “With our history with the Scouts, it was a natural fit for us to extend our support to their event. We’re happy to host them any time and would be happy to host them again in the future.”
The BSA tent had a photo booth, recruitment information, a cornhole game and a prize wheel that children and potential new members could spin and win for prizes. The initial event was scheduled to have a golf putting contest and a shootout with prizes including a Nintendo Switch and the chance to win one million dollars. Shrewsbury said he still plans to hold the million dollar contest and is searching for a new venue to hold it, though he is in negotiations with Mountasia to hold the children’s putting contest.
“I can’t really compete with all the events and entertainment they have out here at the farm,” Shrewsbury said. “At first it was difficult with the venue change, but in the end I think it worked out for the better because there are more things to entertain the kids here than at the country club and much more traffic.”