From the Council President 

It’s been another busy month for Scouting in the California Inland Empire Council.  Here are just some of the highlights:

Key Issues and Events

We continue to focus on membership as our first priority.  Watch for some new membership and recruiting initiatives coming soon.

We have also filled several important volunteer leadership positions.  Kier Curtis has joined the Board as our Council Training Chair. He will lead and direct our volunteers to give our Council a dynamic and productive training program.  Wes Andree has agreed to lead the revitalization of our Council High Adventure Team (HAT) Committee.  Executive Vice President Matt Barth has taken on the role of Board Treasurer.  Many thanks to Cynthia Blessum, who has served as the interim in both of those roles, and will now be able to give even more of her attention to Cahuilla Lodge as the Lodge Advisor.

At our April Board meeting, our Council Service Territory Key Three provided a report on CIEC’s progress toward our benchmarks.  The short version is that we are doing well in all areas, and are one of the national leaders in Youth Protection Training.  Soul Ruiz also gave a presentation on the progress of the unique and innovative Cub Scout programs we are offering in the Coachella Valley and in San Bernardino, in which the Cub Scout program is presented either in the classroom or in afterschool programs.  

And, the Board approved the purchase of a portable latrine trailer for use at Camp Emerson, which will make a stay at Camp mush more pleasant.

Activities and Events around the Council

Make sure you follow the CIEC social media pages for all the latest news, but a few of the highlights for March:

We had a spectacular Council Camporee at Camp Emerson.  When I visited on Saturday, the camp was full of Scouts having fun, competing in patrol competitions and showing their Scout spirit.  Almost 500 Scouts and leaders filled Camp Emerson.  Special thanks to Brian Paquette for his hard work to make the Camporee a success.

Your Council Key 3 (Scout Executive Matt Bear, Council Commissioner Joe Cleary and me), Executive VP Matt Barth and Development Director Soul Ruiz are headed to Orlando on May 6-10 for the National BSA Annual Meeting.  We’ll be training, learning about new policies and initiatives in Scouting, and sharing ideas and information with Scouters from across the country.  I’ll give you a full report next month.

As I write this article, Joe Cleary and his Wood Badge staff are kicking off another well-organized Wood Badge Course.  (Go Antelopes!)

My Travels in April

My itinerary was full in April, too.  Our Scouts have a lot going on.  Among the activities and events I had the honor and pleasure of attending were:

Work day at Camp Emerson.  Over 50 Scouts and Scouters volunteered their time on a Saturday to help make Camp Emerson ready for the summer.  Thank you all.

I attended Troop 1887’s April Court of Honor, where I had the pleasure of awarding Viviana Davalos her eighth Eagle Palm.  The Troop was also recognized as the outstanding Troop in the Mt. Rubidoux District for 2023. 

I had the honor of participating in several Eagle Scout Boards of Review in Mt. Rubidoux District, and attending a meeting of Riverside’s Troop 2, where I recognized the Troop’s 202nd and 203rd Eagle Scouts.

Matt Bear and I attended the April Round Table for the High Desert District and took part in an informal Town Hall meeting where we gave updates on Council issues and answered questions.  We’ll be visiting all of our Districts, sometimes at the spur of the moment, so make sure you attend Round Table – you never know who might show up (and we usually come bearing gifts).

Finally, Mt. Rubidoux District recognized Gerald Hurley at a well-attended and organized Distinguished Citizen Dinner at the Riverside Marriott.  Special thanks to Michael Goldware (Master of Ceremonies), Stan Morrison (auctioneer) and Jordan McCandless (event planner extraordinaire).

As always, please let me know if you have questions, ideas, or would like one or more of your Key 3 to attend your event.

John Vineyard

CIEC Council President 2024



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Safety Moment


Since the inception of Scouting, learning to swim and engaging in aquatics activities have been core to the program. More than 1.5 million aquatics-related merit badges have been earned by Scouts BSA since 2009. The BSA has also been a leader in promoting and providing training in aquatics safety. For at least 80 years, checklists have been in place to make sure those aquatic experiences are positive ones. Back in the 1940s there was the seven-defense method, a precursor to today’s Safe Swim Defense.


Take Scouts near any body of water—whether it’s a pool, lake, river, or ocean—and they have a natural desire to go swimming. Once Scouts have learned how to swim, they naturally want to progress into other aquatics activities, including sailing, rowing, canoeing, and rafting. There are plenty of age-appropriate aquatics activities.

But before that swim or row, we want everyone to have a plan and be on the same page when it comes to aquatics safety in the BSA program. The two key training prerequisites are Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat. These are not learn-to-swim or learn-to-paddle courses; they are the BSA way to conduct a safe and fun aquatics program.

Both courses can be found on and taken online anytime. All leaders are encouraged to take the training and at least one adult needs the training when unit aquatics activities are conducted. Upon course completion, leaders should be able to understand the key points of each program.

  • Qualified supervision, personal health review, safe area, response personnel, lookout, ability groups, buddy system, and discipline make up the eight points of the BSA’s Safe Swim Defense.
  • Qualified supervision, personal health review, swimming ability, life jackets, buddy system, skill proficiency, planning, equipment, and discipline make up the nine points of the BSA’s Safety Afloat.

Many camps and council aquatics committees offer these basic courses in person, in addition to higher-level skill courses for unit leadership including Aquatics Supervision: Swimming & Water Rescue and Paddle Craft Safety. Should older youth or leadership wish to further hone their lifesaving skills, BSA Lifeguard certification is available.



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