The Boy Scouts of America aims to instill lifelong values from the Scout Oath and Law into young people. While the organization often focuses on the impact of unit leaders, council volunteers, and BSA professionals, members of the educator community sometimes fulfill this mission.

To recognize the valuable contributions the educator community makes in the lives of young people, the BSA introduced the Elbert K. Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award in 2016. Teachers, coaches, administrators, custodians, cafeteria workers, and many others can have a profound impact on preparing youth to become better citizens and leaders. These educators understand that ‘Scouting’ values can also make excellent ‘teaching’ values.

Named after a Columbia University education professor (who also happened to be the BSA’s second Chief Scout Executive), the Elbert K. Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award is presented to those who work in education and who follow the BSA’s mission “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”

This award can be presented at the district, council, area, region, and national level based on the reach of the impact of the recipient. Recipients do not have to be teachers or have previous Scouting connections. They can work in public, private, or religious schools, and at any level from elementary education to higher education.

While the award was just created in 2016, it has already been presented to dozens of worthy individuals across the nation.

Patrick Gibbons, a teacher at San Pablo Elementary within the North Florida Council, is one such recipient. Gibbons is known for modeling integrity, self-confidence, helpfulness, and kindness to his students. He creates a culture of respect for others in his 4th-grade classroom, ensuring that each student has an opportunity to shine.

Outside of just the classroom, Gibbons shows an attentiveness to his students’ well-being and personal interests, eating lunch with students and attending all school functions. He also leads a competitive school running club; Gibbons is known for teaching youth that if they finish first, to go back and help somebody — because no one should finish alone.

Several other remarkable individuals have also been recognized with the Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award.

Take duWayne Amen, a director of facilities at a school in Old Hickory Council, who goes above and beyond his responsibilities to serve the school and community.

Another example is Kim Wilburn-Cullom, an elementary school principal in Great Smoky Mountain Council. Kim believes in the importance of teaching youth to be prepared and do their best; she also supported the formation of a STEM Scout Lab at her school.

Another recipient, Nicole Adell, wanted to start a program to instill values and leadership in the youth attending the middle school she administered. She saw this as an excellent opportunity to partner with Chattahoochee Council to bring Scouting into her school.

The list of outstanding individuals in education who support Scouting values (either directly or indirectly) goes on and on. And unlike many Scouting awards, there’s no limit to the number of Fretwell Awards that may be given each year. The suggested rule of thumb is to present one award per year on each school campus; or two per campus for those campuses with more than 500 students.

For more information on the Fretwell Award, including a nomination form and presentation script, visit http://scoutingwire. org/marketing-and-membership-hub/new-unit-development/ education-relationships/.

This article was contributed by Cathie Seebauer, Communications Lead for the BSA’s Education Relationships Subcommittee. 

Please join us as we congratulate Jacob Andrew “Drew” Armstrong, who will serve as Scout executive of the Old Hickory Council in Winston-Salem, North Carolina effective April 15, 2019.

Drew began his Scouting career as a district executive at the Old Hickory Council. He moved on to become a senior district executive at the Last Frontier Council in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Drew was promoted to program director with the Chickasaw Council in Memphis, Tennessee and then director of support services. Drew left Memphis to serve as the Scout executive of the Conquistador Council in Roswell, New Mexico.

Drew is an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow. He enjoys whitewater kayaking, shooting sports and adventure travel.

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

Please join us as we congratulate Rich McCartney, who will serve as Scout executive of the Northern Lights Council in Fargo, North Dakota, effective April 1, 2019.

Rich began his Scouting career as district executive at the Genesee Council in Batavia, New York. He moved on to become a senior district executive, district director, field director, and assistant director of field service with the Otetiana Council in Rochester, New York. He was promoted to director of support services of the Denver Area Council in Denver, Colorado, and was then selected as Scout executive of the Moraine Trails Council in Butler, Pennsylvania. In 2009, he became the Scout executive of the Greater Yosemite Council in Modesto, California, and in 2017 began his current position as area director for Area 6 of the Western Region.

Rich is an Eagle Scout who enjoys cooking, exercising, hunting, fishing, backpacking, and music.

Rich and his wife, Melinda, have 2 children, Raymond (22) and Ian (17).

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

Sponsored post courtesy of National Geographic

Calling all unit leaders – this one’s for you! National Geographic is inviting unit leaders to get their Scouts excited about exploration and reading by signing up to be an Explorer Academy Leader. Unit leaders are invited to enter the National Geographic Explorer Academy contest where they can be selected to receive a fun kit with resources about the Explorer Academy series to use at meetings.

What Is Explorer Academy?

Explorer Academy is a thrilling new seven-book fiction series based on the adventures of real-life National Geographic explorers. Explorer Academy showcases the story of 12-year-old Cruz Coronado, along with 23 other kids from around the globe, who are training to be the next generation of great explorers. Each book is filled with mystery, code-breaking, cool technology, and valuable lessons about teamwork and friendship. Plus, each book provides profiles of real explorers and their work in The Truth Behind the Fiction that explains the innovative science featured in the story. To preview what the books are all about, check out this book trailer.

Enter the National Geographic Explorer Academy Contest Today!

Each contest winner will receive a kit that includes: one copy of the first book in the series, The Nebula Secret, 25 chapter samplers of book one and book two, and reader guides with activities to inspire kids about the story, characters, and science behind the fiction. Unit leaders are encouraged to enter from now until May 31, 2019, one entry per person. 200 winners will be randomly selected. Enter for a chance to win the contest here!

Discover a codebreaking game, videos and more at You can also enter for a chance to win an awesome trip to Alaska courtesy of National Geographic Expeditions.

Using event geofencing through Facebook to support recruitment showed exciting results in the last Cub Scout recruitment season. On average, geofenced units recruited +7.43% more new Cub Scouts than they did the previous year. Whereas non-fenced units within those same councils were down an average of -9.12% in new Cub Scouts recruited.

What is Geofencing?

Geofencing is a method of geographically targeting a specific audience using Facebook. In this case, we first set up an event in Facebook to feature a “Join Scouting” night. Once the Facebook event is set up, you can set up a geofence for the event and “boost” it. This means paying a fee within Facebook so that members of your target audience who enter into the geographical area in the real world while they are also on Facebook are shown the event information.

The cost is minimal – we paid $1 per day, per unit. 

In the example of a joining event where we want to reach parents, we set up an event geofence in Facebook with a 1-2 mile radius around the school where the joining night is scheduled. When a parent enters that area, they receive a notification on their Facebook page about the event. It’s easy. It’s hyper local, and it doesn’t rely on someone else passing out fliers or other material.

Key Learnings:

  • Geofenced events held at schools performed the best, followed by events held at parks/community venues, followed finally by events at churches.
  • Church-based recruiting events did not perform as well as school-based recruiting events.
  • Single-unit events performed better than events with multiple units participating (e.g. events in parks, etc.).

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Does this replace the recruitment flier?
    • No. This is simply one additional tactic to strengthen your recruitment efforts.
  2. Can I do this with any Facebook page?
    • No. You will need to have an ‘organization’ page, not a personal Facebook page. Organizational pages have more tools to use for communication and marketing.
  3. How much does it cost?
    • It costs as little as $1 per day, per unit. You can spend more if you like, but we found the lower spend to be effective.
  4. Can I geofence multiple locations?
    • Yes, you can.
  5. Can I geofence one location and have the event at a different location?
    • Yes
  6. What about timing? How far out should I schedule the geofence?
    • Up to 14 days. Time it with your flier distribution.
  7. Do I need permission to geofence a location, such as a school?
    • No. You are simply extending a calendar invitation to those who might be interested in attending.
  8. How else could I use this tactic?
    • Use it to help promote any scheduled event, such as fundraising events, festivals, day camp, resident camp, popcorn sales. The possibilities are endless!


How do I create a community Facebook page?

Find more information on creating a Facebook page here:

Note: To create a ‘Community’ Nonprofit page, at the link above, select the box on the top row, center column titled Company, Organization or Institution, and follow the prompts.

How do I Boost an Event on Facebook?

Find more information on how to boost an event here:

Boosting an event lets you promote an event to specific people, in a specific geographic area, and at a specific time. Once you have an event set up on your community Facebook page, it’s easy to boost the event to even more people.

Congratulations to Jim Westfall, who will serve as Scout executive of the Crater Lake Council in Central Point, Oregon, effective March 16, 2019.

Jim began his Scouting career as an exploring executive at the Des Plaines Valley Council in LaGrange, Illinois. He reentered as a district executive and later district director with the Overland Trails Council in Grand Island, Nebraska. He was promoted to district director of the Northeast Illinois Council in Vernon Hills, Illinois, and was then promoted within the council to field director and then on to assistant Scout executive.

Jim is an Eagle Scout who enjoys hiking, travel, technology and cheering for the Chicago Cubs.

Jim and his wife, Lynne, have 2 children.

Please join me in congratulating Jim as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Crater Lake Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

As young people continue to join Scouts BSA from coast to coast, national outlets like CBS News and The New York Times have taken note.

Both major media sources recently spoke with girls who have joined the iconic Scouting program about what it means to them to be able to participate in the adventures and activities that the Boy Scouts of America provides. 

Lora P., who is among the first girls join a Scouts BSA troop in the Greater New York Councils, shared her perspective with The New York Times.

“I didn’t necessarily think about it as creating history — because it’s not always about being first,” she said. “It’s about being involved.”

All the way across the nation in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, Sophia D., a new member of a Scouts BSA troop in the Orange County Council, echoed that sentiment when she spoke with CBS This Morning

Sophia’s twin brother Brandon joined Scouting years earlier, and when Sophia saw the fun he was having, she wondered why it wasn’t available to her. 

“When he would go on his campouts, it was weird, like, ‘I can’t go with him?’ I wanted to go,” she said. 

Back in New York City, Lora’s experience had been similar. She had been watching her older brother participate in Scouting activities for years but always wanted to be part of the full experience. 

When the opportunity to join a Scouts BSA troop for girls became available, Lora jumped at the chance. 

“We wanted to lead the change and show people that we could do Scouting, too,” she said. 

When CBS News reporter Carter Evans asked Sophia what she hopes other girls take away from the opportunity to join Scouts BSA, she shared her thoughts. 

“I hope they can see that they can do it, too,” she said. 

“Nothing holding them back,” the reporter, Evans, added. 

“Nope!” Sophia confidently agreed. 

Sophia’s mother, Dea, who is the Scoutmaster of her daughter’s troop, talked about both of her children each being able to be part of their own Scouts BSA troop. 

“They deserve to have the opportunity to both enjoy that Scouting experience as it was meant to be, and it was meant to be single-gender,” she said. 

Similarly, in New York City, Lora’s mother, Snazzy, is Scoutmaster for her daughter’s troop. She loves that Lora has the opportunity to be part of such a great experience. 

“It’s long overdue,” she said. “In American society, it’s all about women being equal and able to do everything they want to and are capable of. There are girls who love to be outdoors, who love learning new skills. And it will help them in life, in leadership and independence.”

Be sure to check out the full story in The New York Times, and watch the CBS This Morning piece in its entirety below. 

Story contributed by Mark Griffin, Great Salt Lake Council Scout Executive

Last fall the Great Salt Lake Council enthusiastically participated in the ‘Scout Me In’ Influencer Campaign.

We were very fortunate to have the leadership of Bruce Hough, the immediate past president of our council and the father of Julianne and Derek Hough, in our council. Also, our Director of Field Service Denovan Lino and our current president Tim Fenton, had some important contacts we were able to use. It went very well. In fact, we won the first prize!

After the campaign, we decided we needed to continue the momentum but weren’t sure how. When we saw the World Organization of the Scout Movement had selected Bear Grylls to be the Chief Ambassador of World Scouting and The Scout Association in the UK had started a celebrity ambassador program, we had our idea.

Our goal with our local ambassador program is to gather a team of Utah celebrities who will post supporting messages for the Boy Scouts of America, both in the council and in the state of Utah, on social media, make appearances at events, and record videos and messages we can use in our media efforts.

First, we asked Derek to be our Chief Ambassador, and he immediately agreed! He is now working on videos with Bruce to share his support of Scouting.

Next, Denovan and our Family Scouting Chair Janet Griffin, reached out to Chelsie Hightower. Chelsie comes from a Scouting family, was on Dancing With the Stars, and had participated in the social media campaign last fall. She enthusiastically agreed to be our Family Scouting Ambassador with a focus on encouraging girls in the BSA.

Denovan used his contacts at the Utah State Capitol to recruit Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. Sean is now our Eagle Scout Ambassador and is hosting an Eagle Scout event in the capitol rotunda later this year. Governor Herbert agreed to be an ambassador, too!

Then, we connected with the Osmond Family. Doug and David Osmond were recruited by Tim Fenton and Denovan to help with our annual Holiday Gala last fall. In conversations with Doug and David, we learned how important Scouting was in the Osmond family. David shared a story with us about his father Alan, one of the original Osmond Brothers who reached the rank of Life Scout before his family moved to California for their singing career. David told us Alan’s love for Scouting was reaffirmed when President Ronald Reagan told him how important the rank of Eagle Scout was. He gave President Reagan a promise that all his boys would achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Alan and his wife Suzanne are the proud parents of eight sons, all of whom are Eagle Scouts.

So, we asked. Doug has agreed to be the chair of the council’s ambassador team. In fact, David and Alan have agreed to be ambassadors. And Alan says he is going to work on his brothers and sister to join us. Fingers crossed!

We need help in Utah to spread the word that Scouting is going to continue to be a strong influence in Utah and the West.

Our growing ambassador team will help us spread this message.

Scouting Wire would like to thank Mark Griffin for submitting this story. 

Do you have ideas or plans to continue the momentum of the ‘Scout Me In’ Influencer Campaign?

We’d love to hear your story! Reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to share your story or ask questions about how you can leverage influencers in your community.


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