Congratulations to Anna B. Hudak as Scout executive of the Northeast Iowa Council in Dubuque, Iowa, effective March 1, 2020.

Anna began her Scouting career as a camp counselor at Tomahawk Scout Reservation in Birchwood, Wisconsin. In 2006, she became a district executive at the Northern Star Council in St. Paul, Minnesota. She moved on to become the program director at the Illowa Council in Davenport, Iowa, and later the director of development at the Crossroads of America Council in Indianapolis, Indiana. Most recently, Anna served on the National BSA staff as the team leader of the Central Region Membership Growth team and as the national director of STEM Scouts.

Growing up, Scouting was a family affair. Anna’s mother was a den leader, her father was an assistant Scoutmaster, and one of her brothers is an Eagle Scout.

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

Please join us as we congratulate Melissa Stricherz, who will serve as Scout executive of the Central Minnesota Council in Sartell, Minnesota, effective March 1, 2020.

Melissa began her Scouting career in 1999 as an endowment director for the Mid-America Council in Omaha, Nebraska. While in Omaha, she also served as a district executive and eventually director of finance service. In 2016, Melissa was selected to serve as the field service council executive of the Southern Shores Field Service Council in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Melissa is a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow and Wood Badge trained. In 2013, she completed her dream Philmont trek of 83 miles with her son. She enjoys exercising, hiking, baking, reading, and is very excited to be a part of the 2021 National Jamboree staff.

Melissa and her husband, Craig, have two children. Sydney is finishing her senior year in college with plans to pursue her occupational degree, and Brendan is a military police officer in the Army National Guard pursuing an interest in law enforcement and construction management.

Melissa has a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree with emphasis in Nonprofit Management and has earned her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

In the comments below, please help us welcome Melissa to her new role in the BSA as she joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Central Minnesota Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

The Boy Scouts of America has teamed-up with 12 of the nation’s leading youth programs to launch Be a Champion, #InvestInKids, a campaign designed to raise awareness and increase support for youth programs across the country.

Every day, these programs reach millions of kids across the U.S. and make a positive impact in their communities and the world around them.

The Boy Scouts of America connects youth to opportunities for adventure, education, skill development, leadership, service, and more, as it seeks 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.

The efforts of the BSA and other youth-serving organizations help young people make friends, give back to their communities, and build self-confidence, which ultimately enables young people to learn about themselves and build a strong foundation for a healthy, productive life.

These programs and our nation’s youth need champions. Because adults often serve as champions for the youth in their lives and in their communities, we invite our BSA volunteers and parents to use the #InvestInKids hashtag in their social media posts that encourage others to support youth-serving organizations in their efforts to improve the lives of children.  

The Be a Champion, #InvestInKids campaign is funded through generous support from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. Participating organizations include, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Camp Fire, Coaching Corps, Girls Inc., National 4H Council, Nature Bridge, Outward Bound, Playworks, Positive Coaching Alliance, the Student Conservation Association, and the YMCA. 

Congratulations to Andrew Zahn, who will serve as Scout executive of the Dan Beard Council in Cincinnati, Ohio, effective February 1, 2020.

Andy began his Scouting career as a district executive at the Hawkeye Area Council in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was promoted to district director at the council and then moved on to become field director and later director of development of the Dan Beard Council in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2012, he was promoted to deputy Scout executive of the Greater St. Louis Area Council in St. Louis, Missouri.

Andy is an Eagle Scout who enjoys spending time with family and friends, following his favorite collegiate and professional sports teams and enjoying the outdoors.

Andy and his wife, Kim, have one daughter.

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

As February begins, so does Black History Month, and, to celebrate, four members of the African American community, who also happen to be members of the Scouting community, share their thoughts about how the legacy of Scouting and African American heritage go hand-in-hand and what this special month means in the Scouting movement. 

Wes Coleman, National Executive Board Member

Black History Month is a special time to acknowledge and celebrate the many accomplishments that African Americans have made in the United States to enhance the lives of all races. Unfortunately, too much of this history has not been highlighted in our schools and taught to our youth. This is why efforts were started in 1926 to better educate the general population on African American achievements. The Black History Month theme for 2020 is “African Americans and the Vote,” which explores the struggle to ensure African Americans are able to fully participate in American democracy.

And because Scouting warmly welcomes young people, regardless of race or ethnicity, being an active participant in Scouting can break down barriers and allow our youth of all races to work together on projects and activities. This will have the result of our young people realizing there are no inherent differences in people. Working within a troop gives everyone the opportunity to see the best that we all have to offer. Scouting gives an opportunity for all young people to fully participate in activities that instill in them values that will impact them for the rest of their lives.

John L. Coleman, Jr., Scout Executive of Long Peak Council, Greeley, CO

As we celebrate Black History Month, I would like to honor the life of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., whose message and vision continues to resonate today. One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King is “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve. This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.”

One of the pillars of Scouting is community service, and I would challenge all of our Scouts and leaders to go out and continue to make a difference to better your community. My vision for Scouting is that we can address hunger by continuing to grow our “Scouting for Food” drives and help put an end to homelessness by partnering with community-based organizations to reduce homelessness in our community.

I would like to see all youth have the opportunity to participate in Scouting, regardless of their race, creed, religion, sexual-orientation, gender, and economic status.  Let’s make a commitment to Dr. King’s dream and go out and make a difference in our community.

Quentina Jordan, Project Assistant, Culture & People, National Service Center

To me, Black History Month is a month to acknowledge the pain and sacrifices our ancestors endured, but it is also a symbol to reflect and celebrate how far we have come as a nation. One of my favorite quotes, written by Shaili Jha, is “We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams.” Although we still have a long journey ahead, I am optimistic that my children will be able to live life with no discrimination, prejudices, and biases against them based on the color of their skin and will share the same opportunities as anyone else based on their contributions to our society.

I am proud to be a BSA employee and member of the Diversity & Inclusion Department where I feel I can truly make an impact. I am proud of the direction that our organization is going to break through barriers and be more inclusive to all, despite gender, race, ethnicity, or religion amongst others. I hope that other organizations, companies, political parties, and people in general take a minute to try to gain an understanding of each other’s cultural differences and embrace them.

I love that during February “Black History Month,” we as a nation get to acknowledge the achievements of African Americans. However, I think that we should continue instilling the values of the Scout Oath and Law to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices and recognize individuals daily who break down glass ceilings and provide hope for the future.

Lawrence “Ty” Washington, Jr., Central Region Growth Coach

Black History Month is the time of the year we get to highlight the amazing leaders and achievements of African Americans in our nation’s history. Unfortunately, it is the only time we as nation look at their great achievements and accomplishments together. American History should be recorded as it happened, and we shouldn’t need a special month or additional classes to learn about African Americans’ contributions to do it.  

My vision for the Boy Scouts of America is that we recruit ALL children to become Scouts. And that all these Scouts have the same programs and the same opportunities. We need to diversify our base and understand that all groups of people can have a great Scouting program. While there are multiple ways to deliver Scouting, we know the traditional Scouting program works best for everyone when we have trained leaders and a planned annual program, and that’s the type of Scouting structure we should be pursuing first. We also know that getting kids to camp helps keep them in the program for years to come. We are training America’s future leaders; we must make sure there are no short cuts.

Scouting Wire would like to thank these Scouters for contributing their stories and for sharing their thoughts on what African American Heritage Month means in the Scouting Movement.

Congratulations to Jesse Lopez, who will serve as Scout executive of the Aloha Council in Honolulu, Hawaii, effective January 16, 2020.

Jesse began his Scouting career as a district executive at the Monterey Bay Area Council in Salinas, California. He moved on to become the senior exploring executive and later district director with the Pacific Skyline Council in San Mateo, California. He was promoted to field director of the Golden Empire Council in Sacramento, California, then to director of field service of the California Inland Empire Council in Redlands, California. He most recently served as Scout executive of the Southern Sierra Council in Bakersfield, California.

Jesse enjoys traveling, outdoor adventure, and golf. He is also a life-long Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

Jesse and his wife, Tracy, have two children: Kaela (21) and Nikolas (17). Both are on BSA camp staff.

Please join us in the comments below as we congratulate Jesse as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Aloha Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

Article contributed by Ashton Ballard of the Lincoln Heritage Council.

One of the most important characteristics a district executive can possess is the ability to build and maintain strong relationships.  With every hand we shake, every conversation we have, and every connection we make, lies an opportunity to improve and cultivate the Scouting program. The communities that we serve are full of people, who, given the opportunity, would love to volunteer their time, talent or resources towards the betterment of our programs. As district executives, it’s our job, not only to make these connections, but to maintain them.  Here are some helpful tips for making connections and cultivating relationships in your community:

Making the Connection

  • Visibility is important. When you’re out in public, wearing the Scouting uniform, Scouting polos, t-shirts, even a nametag with the Scouting logo, can spark conversation and interest. You will encounter people who want to know more about what you do or who want to tell you about their personal experience with Scouting. Listen and be prepared to connect them with opportunities to get involved.
  • Join a civic club. Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs are great ways to build connections. These clubs are packed full of influential and motivated community leaders. Once you’re in, GET INVOLVED. It’s important for people to see that you care about the community. The more time you spend attending meetings and volunteering, the more time you have to get to know your fellow club members, gauge their interests, and get them involved.
  • Attend community events. Better yet, don’t just attend them, ask how you can get involved.  Look in to upcoming events and find out if there is a way to set up an informational booth about local Scouting programs. The more that people see you are willing to be active and support the community, the more likely they are to take an interest in what you do and want to become involved.
  • Take time to get to know them and help them volunteer where they feel most passionate. While we often have a need or goal to fill certain volunteer roles, it is important to remember that volunteers are most productive where they are most passionate. Take time to learn about the persons skills, hobbies and interests and offer them roles that best fit their passion.

Maintaining the Relationship

  • Send snail-mail. While texts and emails may consume less time, nothing says you care more than a hand-written note. Write thank you cards regularly. Keep up with birthdays, other holidays or special milestones and send a card or letter to let people know you care about what is going on in their life.
  • Communicate regularly, not just when there is a need. If you always approach someone with your hand out, over time, they become less likely to help because the relationship feels one-sided. Make the effort to call volunteers just to check-in, catch up and see how things are going.
  • Ask how you can help them. Getting involved in things your volunteers or potential volunteers care about, can go a long way. Whether it’s a play, a street fair, or volunteering with the local soup kitchen, be there to show your support and let them know you’re happy to help them out in any way you can. Remember, relationships are two-sided.

Scouting Wire would like to thank Ashton for submitting this article.

Article contributed by Virginia Molina, District Director of the Cascade Pacific Council

Thanks to technology, people remain more connected through phone calls, texts, and emails than ever before. For those of us who serve rural areas, we can use these tools to engage our volunteers and provide great service. In doing so, we keep our outlying areas feeling recognized, validated, and in-touch with district and council activities. Though we may not see some of our more geographically removed volunteers on a day-to-day basis, we can use technology to remain relevant.

Outlying areas may not be in the heart of the council, but we can easily make them feel like they are through information sharing and dedicating our time and attention to them. Information sharing is all about keeping people connected – connected to ideas, solutions, and resources; the more we can do that for our volunteers, the more they see us as someone who creates value. A professional in Scouting relies on relationship building – we create cachet with our volunteers – and leveraging those good relationships to help us achieve our goals; be it within membership, fund development, or volunteer recruitment. Our positive relationships with our volunteers are tantamount to our success as professionals.

Become a Friend

Some of the best relationships we have in our lives are with people we share common ground with, people we care about and that care about us, and people that we are in contact with weekly, if not daily. Our volunteers are no different. Share information, show genuine interest in what the district volunteers care about, listen to what their struggles are and what their needs are, then share tools that will help them manage the issues they face within their units, recruitment efforts, and fundraising efforts. Provide aide to what ails them; be a person of your word and follow through with what you promise!

Communication isn’t rocket science, it’s a social science! Distance can easily make someone feel left out, so find ways to continuously tie them in. Communicate often. Sending out a weekly e-newsletter with valuable information for upcoming events and up-to-date tracking on current campaigns can help people feel connected to the bigger picture. It keeps them regularly informed and they appreciate the inclusion.

Be active on social media – post daily and give shout outs to successes in the district. This helps to create a team environment and keeps everyone together on the happenings within the district and council. Extend your messages to all registered adults; don’t simply rely on the main leaders to disseminate the information. Spread your messaging to as many people as possible in a continuous and uniform practice. Engage people at every avenue whether it be through social media, e-mail, or on the phone and in person. Just as we have varying preferences and aversions, so do our volunteers. It’s important to provide a varied menu of communication so that people can give and receive information how they like best.

Finally, stay consistent and make good on your deliverables. Relationships are built on trust and building trust takes time so you have to be consistent with your efforts. Set the precedent and live up to the expectations you set for yourself and hold your volunteers to the same standards. Be reliable and stay connected!

Scouting Wire would like to thank Virginia for submitting this article.


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