Locals Scouts refresh their ranks

By: 
JENNY GESSAMAN
Reporter

Local Boy Scouts prepare to represent their organization in the Fair Parade on July 27.

Photo courtesy of Dave Snyder

Its only been four months since Dave Snyder began working for the Boy Scouts of America, but he’s already scouted out some goals: grow the ranks, grow the volunteers and grow leader support.

Snyder is the new executive director for the Central Montana and Buffalo Plains Boy Scouts regions, and his plans match well with the organization’s aim.

“Basically, they needed someone in the area to grow the program,” he said. “There are strong Cub and Boy Scouts programs in the area, but they were looking for a professional to help them grow.”

With over 25 years in the area, Snyder felt he had the background to start a grass roots campaign. His first task was recruitment. With help from local leaders, Snyder hosted a Cub Scouts recruitment night at the Lewistown Civic Center last spring, hoping to start a new generation of boys on the path to the Boy Scouts.

“We have a great Boy Scouts program, but there weren’t many Boy Scouts coming in,” he explained.

The expected turnout of four or five kids was blown away when 43 boys registered. While Snyder is planning another recruitment night this fall, he’s moved on to his second task.

“Recruiting kids is easy,” he said. “Finding adult volunteers to be leaders is the hard part.”

Cub Scouts are first- through fifth-grade boys working their way up to the Boy Scouts. An area’s overall group, a pack, is broken down by age into dens. Lewistown has two packs, each with four dens.

Snyder is still searching for den leaders, as well as people to create a committee for the second, newer pack. He does have a new incentive for volunteering, though: In his new position, he can provide professional support for local leaders.

“What I like to tell people is, this organization is volunteer driven and professionally guided,” he said. “Now there’s someone in the area getting trained to take care of the volunteers we have.”

Along with recruiting scouts and volunteer leaders, Snyder is also getting a handle on another important aspect of the programs: fundraising. He said he’s already seen how donations provide opportunities for the scouts.

“We do it for the boys, that’s who this is for,” he said. “This year, the money put kids in the fair parade for the first time in a decade.”

Snyder added it allowed 17 boys to attend the Crooked Creek Walleyes Unlimited Chapter’s fishing day free of charge, and also paid the way for 35 more to attend day camp at K-M Scout Ranch.

Now Snyder is looking to the program’s next big fundraiser: The Boy Scouts of America Four-Person Scramble at Judith Shadows Golf Course this Saturday. He hopes the event will be a strong fundraiser as the fall approaches. Snyder thinks the registration fee is worth it.

“This scouting program is really centered around families and spending time with your boys,” he said. “As long as the kids are having fun, the program will grow.”

For information on how to volunteer, or on how to sign up your child, contact Dave Snyder at 366-9055.

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