Congratulations to Robert D’Avignon, who will serve as Scout executive of the Louisiana Purchase Council in Monroe, Louisiana, effective November 1, 2020.

Bob began his Scouting career as a district executive at the Twin Rivers Council in Albany, New York. He moved on to become the senior district executive and later district director at the council. He was promoted to assistant Scout executive of the Western Massachusetts Council in Westfield, Massachusetts, and then to director of field service of the National Capital Area Council in Bethesda, Maryland.

Bob is an Eagle Scout who enjoys hockey, cooking, and spending time outdoors with his family.

Bob and his wife, Linda, have two children: Dominik (Scout) and Grant (Tiger).

In the comments below, please help us send Bob our well wishes as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Louisiana Purchase Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

Please join us as we congratulate Katherine Benson, who will serve as Scout executive of the Piedmont Council in Piedmont, California, effective November 1, 2020.

Katherine began her Scouting career in 2003 as a district executive at the Cascade Pacific Council in Portland, Oregon. She was later promoted to senior district executive and then district director at the council before moving on to become the development director at the Inland Northwest Council in Spokane, Washington, and then development director at the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council in San Jose, California.

Katherine enjoys hiking, reading, and making music.

Katherine and her husband, Neil, have two children: Anna, a Bear Cub, and Kajsa, in Scouts BSA.

Please help us send Katherine our well wishes in the comments below as she joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Piedmont Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

Congratulations to Wendy Shaw, who will serve as Scout executive of the Longhorn Council in Fort Worth, Texas, effective November 2, 2020.

Wendy began her Scouting career in 2000 as a district executive at the Pikes Peak Council in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She held a variety of positions with the council including senior district executive, district director, field director, and assistant Scout executive prior to her departure. In 2010, she was promoted to director of field service at the Three Fires Council in St. Charles, Illinois, and in 2014, was selected as Scout executive of the Coronado Area Council in Salina, Kansas. In 2018, Wendy joined the National Service Center staff as the membership growth group director. The scope of her role changed and she most recently served as vice president of council services.

Wendy is a fellow Wood Badger and proud member of the Fox patrol. She is also a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow.

Wendy and her husband, Jeff, have three dogs and enjoy traveling, gardening, and being outdoors.

Please join us in congratulating Wendy in the comments below as she joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Longhorn Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

While many Scout units have a desire to return to Scouting activities, they have questions about how to do so safely during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During the recent webinar on how to hold meetings safely during COVID-19, attendees received tips on the key steps they can be taking right now to find a safe way to return to their meeting activities.

Step 1: Check your local requirements to see if you can meet. The safety requirements vary greatly around the nation, so it’s vital to check on what your local government requires and abide by those regulations. The BSA SAFE Restart Scouting Checklist has been specifically created to help you guide you through this as you build a framework for getting back to your Scouting activities. 

Step 2: Call the families in your Scout unit to see how they’re doing. Check in by phone to connect personally with these families. Listen to their responses and gauge their readiness to return to Scouting activities. If laws in your community permit meeting, and you’ve met the other requirements of the SAFE Restart Scouting Checklist, spend some time talking about your process and the intention to return to Scouting activities safely. 

Step 3: Connect with other leaders and families to find solutions for ways the unit can meet safely. Currently, some traditional meeting places for Scout units are not available because of the pandemic, but there may be other viable, safe options for meeting that can be discussed. Some of these options may be outdoors using social distancing. Other options may be virtual. Be sure to use the guidance for Digital Safety and Online Scouting Activities when meeting virtually.  

Step 4: Engage your chartered organization. Especially if you’re having difficulty finding a meeting place, talk with your chartered organization to see what other options they might be able to provide. While a meeting room might not be available, perhaps the parking lot, a field, or a park could be a safe alternative. Whatever the proposed location, the chartered organization should be made aware of the issue and brought into the discussion.

Step 5: Reach out to the school in your community. If you’re used to working with your local school for a recruiting night, meeting space or otherwise, connect with them to talk about ways your Scout unit could be of service and assist them during this time. 

Step 6: Make sure you’ve updated your BeAScout pin and are using all of the available easy-to-use online registration tools. As you get back to Scouting, help new families find and join your unit without ever needing any paper to change hands. 

Though the times remain uncertain, Scouts and Scouters are resilient, and following the above steps can help you to Be Prepared and ease the process of getting back to Scouting quickly and safely whenever local requirements allow it. 

Article submitted by Carlos Cortez, Scout Executive of Los Padres Council, and Juan Osorio, Scout Executive of Chattahoochee Council. 

In 1968, Hispanic Heritage started as a weeklong recognition of the contributions made to the United States by members of the Hispanic/LatinX community. In 1988 Hispanic Heritage Month was expanded to cover 30 days, September 15 to October 15.

This year’s theme is “Be Proud of Your Past, Embrace the Future.” It invites members of the Hispanic/LatinX community to embrace their backgrounds, to be proud of who they are and where they came from, to take pride in the accomplishments and achievements of mentors and ancestors. This brings into focus the endless possibilities available to us today, and boosts our capacity for embracing the future. As we look into the future of our Nation, we realize and understand that the members of the LatinX community will play an integral role in the prosperity of our country as they will be taking on more leadership roles and making vital improvements that will resonate for years to come.

In all LatinX cultures, family, or “familia,” is the most important thing, and loyalty to family is something that resonates with all LatinX people, just like Scouters. A young girl being interviewed about Hispanic Heritage Month said it best: “If I have family, then I am rich.” 

If we, the BSA, want to make an impact in all of our communities, we must adapt to the needs and traditions of the cultures in our communities. Our values align perfectly, and the Scout Oath and Law fits well with LatinX families. Now that the BSA is a full family program, we must reach out to these communities in their area of comfort and participate in activities directed, organized, and tailored for the families we want to invite.

As an unknown entity that could be intimidating to some communities, BSA can’t expect LatinX families to just come to us. However, if we visit their homes and participate in local activities and “fiestas,” we can slowly build a reputation for caring and being local, and we can become part of their familia.

Here are a few helpful tips to celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in your area:

  • Share the connections your camp or local parks, trails, or monuments have to Hispanic and LatinX heritage and history.
  • Connect Hispanic heritage with other themes in September and October – like recruitment.
  • Showcase objects or artifacts in your council collection important to the Hispanic or LatinX experience throughout history or today.
  • Highlight the work that staff do in telling the story and sharing the experience of Hispanic or LatinX heritage, or ask them to share how these histories inspired them.
  • Share the projects that partners do in preserving and sharing Hispanic and LatinX heritage, including through grants and programs.
  • Create and share activities, lesson plans, and Scout programs related to Hispanic or LatinX history.
  • Plan an itinerary that Scouts can use to learn about Hispanic and LatinX history within parks or communities.
  • Identify Hispanic and LatinX landmarks or centers that can be helped with Eagle Projects.

Collectively we can continue to move our organization forward in local communities and in our nation, because Scouting, Vale La Pena.

!Viva BSA!

Scouting Wire would like to thank Carlos and Juan for submitting this article. 

Congratulations to Jeff Whitten, who will serve as Scout executive of the Abraham Lincoln Council in Springfield, Illinois, effective October 16, 2020.

Jeff began his Scouting career in 2006 as a district executive at the Miami Valley Council in Dayton, Ohio. He was later promoted to district director and then in 2012, moved on to the Crossroads of America Council in Indianapolis, Indiana, to serve as a district director and then field director of in school/after school programs and STEM Scouts. He most recently served as a director of field service at the Michigan Crossroads Council in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Jeff is a fellow Wood Badger and proud member of the Buffalo patrol. He enjoys participating in Cub Scouts with his son, a Bear, and his daughter, a Lion. He also enjoys hiking, fishing, watching his older daughters play softball, and spending time with his family.

Jeff and his wife, Lisa, have five children: Victoria, Sophia, Lauren, Jace, and Vivian.

Please help us send Jeff our well wishes in the comments below as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Abraham Lincoln Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

Please join us in congratulating Owen McCulloch, who will serve as Scout executive of the Yocona Area Council in Tupelo, Mississippi, effective October 1, 2020.

Owen began his Scouting career in 1993 as an exploring executive at the Cascade Pacific Council in Portland, Oregon. He was later promoted to senior exploring executive and then senior district executive at the council before moving on to serve as district director at the Longs Peak Council in Greeley, Colorado. In 2002, he was promoted to director of program at the Florida Sea Base, and then in 2006, to director of field service at the North Florida Council in Jacksonville, Florida. In 2009, he became the associate director of program for base camp operations and seasonal personnel at Philmont Scout Ranch. In 2014, he moved to the National Service Center to serve as the corporate partnerships manager before being promoted to national director of Venturing and Sea Scouts.

Owen is an Eagle Scout and member of the Order of the Arrow. He received the National Venturing Leadership Award and is a graduate of Wood Badge and Sea badge. He enjoys hiking and camping, motorcycle touring, sailing and scuba diving, and is a competitive bagpipe player.

Owen and his wife, Julia, have three children who are all active in Scouting: Maggie (21) is a senior at the University of North Texas and has worked at Philmont, Florida Sea Base, and the Summit; Colleen (18) is a freshman at the Colorado School of Mines and is a Life Scout (with her Eagle project completed!) and active in NYLT and NAYLE staff leadership; and Declan (14) is a high school freshman and Star Scout working towards Life rank.

Please help us send Owen our well wishes in the comments below as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Yocona Area Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve in northern Mississippi.

Sunday, 30 August 2020 21:33

Churchill Project Actions Moving Forward

As we recently shared in Scoutingwire and during the All-Staff Conference, several Churchill recommendations will continue to be considered, based on extensive input from the field and our subject matter experts.

The evaluation process also included the following filters:

  • Does the action help the national organization emerge from bankruptcy?
  • Does the action aid in gaining more membership or revenue for the Scouting Movement?
  • Is the action already in progress, partially completed, or easy to facilitate/complete with little resources of time/funding?

Based on these filters, the following Churchill recommendations will continue to be evaluated and possibly implemented if it is in the best interest of the BSA:

Keeping Youth Safety at the Forefront

  • Reinvigorate the onboarding program for new Scout families, members, and volunteers with a key focus on “Safe Scouting” and “Keeping Young People Safe”
  • Streamline all Safe Scouting resources and consolidate them in one location
  • Instill a culture of timely reporting, sharing, enforcement, and transparency of safety incidents

Engaging and Empowering Volunteers

  • Establish a volunteer corps for young adults ages 18-35
  • Greater reliance on volunteers to offset National staff reductions while rotating national-level volunteers back to local councils, areas, and regions

Streamlining to Enable Council Success

  • Streamline the unit rechartering process
  • Replace Areas and Regions with one streamlined organization support structure that is focused on council sustainability and effectiveness
  • Consider a fee-based structure for councils in place of BSA National collecting membership fees within a greatly reduced overall BSA budget
  • Focus National BSA efforts on providing councils with support pertaining to areas that are best scalable or not efficiently done on a local level, such as, but not inclusively: program standards, legal, insurance, IT, brand/PR management, HR, and asset management
  • Establish minimum standards to be considered a council
  • Create a Membership Executive position within councils that is focused on growth and paid on performance, for those councils that desire it
  • Update and enforce BSA’s national brand standards
  • Combine the National Annual Business and the Annual Top Hands meetings
  • Leverage High Adventure Bases in our overall marketing communications strategy & to also increase attendance at the bases
  • Transition to digital merit badge resources

Importantly, although we are not currently moving forward on the following recommendations, they will be considered in the future, most likely after the national organization emerges from bankruptcy:

  • Provide tools and resources for councils to deliver Safety Seminars with a Youth Protection Safety focus
  • Hire a youth adolescence expert on the national level to guide program development
  • Evaluate program methods and age parameters to provide an engaging option that enables youth members to transition to adult leadership roles and remain active in Scouting with an ongoing commitment to safety
  • Establish a national Chief Communications & Marketing Officer and prioritize National BSA strategic communications and marketing and make additional investments in related efforts
  • Create a membership category that is more family-centric with no advancement programs

It should be noted that all Churchill-prompted actions moving forward are subject to change, pause, or termination if such action is necessary due to bankruptcy demands.

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