Saturday, 24 November 2012

An Open Letter to the Great Alaska Council

It seems that while we all have the best intentions at heart for the youth we serve, we are forgetting that our Council is much more than the Anchorage Area/Wasilla Area/Palmer Area and quite frankly these three areas represent less than a ⅓ of the entire geographic area that our Council covers. That is the issue.........we as a whole seem to ignore every other Scout/Scouter/Unit outside of these areas. How is this fair? It isn’t fair and in order to move our council forward it must stop........IMMEDIATELY!

Many Scouts/Scouters/Units wonder why units outside of the Anchorage/Wasilla/ palmer areas despise and don’t want to work with council. And it is that many units are not properly supported or given a chance to share in the decision making process of Council. Personally I don’t think the answer is that complicated or impossible to implement but that does NOT mean it isn’t going to be HARD WORK. In the end this hard work will pay off and prove to Councils around the country that if the geographically largest Council work as one, there is no reason why geography should be such a burden and hindrance when it comes to serving our youth.

My proposal then is to take the time and effort to get the outlying youth, leaders, and units to involve them in ALL aspects of Scouting. And to ensure that we provide for the same type of opportunities available to the youth in the more urban areas in our Council. I realize that it will never be at the same exact level but we as Scouters can do much better than what the current status quo is.

Finally I will leave you with twoquotes. The first quote is from James A. Lovell, Mission commander of the Apollo 13 Mission, and it goes like this:

Scouting exposes young men to people and experiences
that encourage and nurture positive moral values. 
But we mustn’t take Scouting for granted.
You can do nothing more important for you people today than
to continue, or begin your support of Scouting.
I have never met anyone with devotion to the
Scouting experience who was not a solid citizen,
a loyal friend, and a patriot.
We need more of them.

My last quote is one that personally reminds me why, even though I have no no kids in Scouting, why I continue my participation in Scouting as an adult volunteer. Unfortunately, I do not have the name of the person who wrote it but I’m sure that most, if not all of you have heard the following quote:

If you are paid to do Scouting, you are called a professional.
If you are not paid to do Scouting, you are called a volunteer.
If you pay to do Scouting, then you are called a Scouter.

I ask you now to be truly honest with yourself and answer this question.........

“Are you truly a Scouter?”

But please don’t come the conclusion instantly, it requires careful reflection to know the real answer to this question.

Yours In Scouting Service
Mark West
Great Alaska Council
Council Program Committee Member

“In Scouting, a boy is encourage to EDUCATE himself instead of being INSTRUCTED.”


  1. Scoutmaster Jerry25/11/12 20:23

    While I do not understand the issues that you may be going through up there in Alaska {you have not really told your readers what the big issue is other than lack of attention} I would submit to you that you and your readers remember that YOU are the council.
    Yes the service and support that is owed you by the professional Scouters should be addressed. But before you shoot at the council... remember that by and large you are shooting at yourself.
    Just my thoughts.
    Wish I knew more about the specific issues to make a more helpful response. Where is your District Committee in this issue? Geographically, the district should be your first line of answers.
    Thanks for allowing comments.
    Jerry Schleining

  2. please see email from sent to & thank you for your response! Hope the information in the mail will help.


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