Commissioner Blog #7

September 1, 20313

“Bobby Okereke – Another Feel-Good Scouting Story”


John Hovanesian, M.D.

Want to feel great about what Scouting can do for young people?  Just look at the story of Bobby Okereke.  You may soon be hearing about him in the local press.  But I’m not sure in which section of the paper to look.

In the Sports section he might appear as one of the top five high school football players in Orange County.  At 6 foot 3 inches and 220 pounds, he bench presses 265 pounds and has lettered in football at Foothill High School for 3 years, playing both amazing defense and offense.  Check out his highlight reel at this link!

Or maybe it would be in the Local News section, where you’ll read that he has already committed to Stanford University having achieved a 4.47 grade point average in the Advanced Placement Program at his school.

Or maybe the Business section, where you might read about his in-home pet care and dog-walking service that he has run for the past seven years.  Yes, this high school senior has been running his business for seven years.

You guessed it, Bobby is also an Eagle Scout as well as a member of the Order of the Arrow, a Jamboree participant, and has been involved in the Boy Scouts’ National Youth Leadership Training Experience.  When I recently asked Bobby about how Scouting has contributed to his life, he had this to say, “Scouting has had a major impact on my life over the years. The leadership skills and the Scouting principles instilled in me have molded me into the young man I am today. It has taught me the value of giving back to my community, country, and world through service. And most importantly, it has provided me with group of friends that share the same goals and ideals as me.”

How many amazing stories like Bobby’s are there in our great movement of one million scouts across the country, and many more around the globe?  Thanks to scouting, a young man with limitless potential has been, “Prepared.  For life.”

bobby okereke final

Commisioner Blog #6

Ten Strategies for an Over-The-Top Successful Cub Scout Recruitment Night

By John A. Hovanesian, M.D.


Are bigger packs and troops better than smaller ones?  Not necessarily.  Some smaller units offer a world-class Scouting experience.  But one thing’s for sure: larger packs and troops get that way because they generally offer a really appealing program, AND they know how to recruit.  Now that we’re coming up on recruiting week (September 24th, 25th, and 26th), it’s time to think about what makes a really successful Cub Scout recruitment night.  Here are ten proven strategies used by highly successful Cub Scout Packs.

  1. Plan something really fun.  Pick an event theme that any Cub Scout age boy would love to do but that also appeals to sibs; you’ve got to invite sibs to this family event.  Some examples include Lego-palooza, Build-a-Fort Night, Mad Science, and the Lizard Wizard.  The first two were self-organized events while the last two in this list were hired entertainers.  Whether hired or self-run, the hallmark of an appealing program is something that requires less parental supervision, so parents can interact with leaders, and of course something that is “crazy fun” for visiting boys.
  2. Spread the word.  Organize visits, or at least make sure flyers go out, at every school–public and private–in your pack’s area a few days before.  Post your recruitment event on Facebook, and have every parent “like” it in their profile.   Put announcements in the weekly bulletin at local religious institutions.  Send a press release to the local newspaper.  And don’t forget to tell your own son’s friends’ parents to bring their families.
  3. Be Prepared.  Plan the evening so there’s no visible commotion or last minute, hurried preparations. Have plenty of new member forms (don’t forget adult applications too), pens, and supplies.  Have your treasurer ready to accept checks.  Nothing impresses a visitor like seeing a harmonious organization where everyone knows his/her job.
  4. Have everyone (adults and youth) wear a name tag–both visitors and members. For visitors, put a visible symbol of which den they’ll be joining based on the boy’s grade.  Writing the den number on the name tag works, or consider putting an orange sticker on the name tag for Tigers, yellow for Wolf, blue for Bear, red for Webelos I, and tan for Webelos II.  This gives everyone a sense of belonging, and it invites established parents to greet new parents in their sons’ dens.
  5. Get every visitor’s name and contact information.  Though we want them to, not everyone will fill out registration forms on join night, but at least get their contact info, so the pack registrar (see below) chair can follow up.  Put their email on your announcement distribution list for major pack events, just to let them know you still hope they’ll join. (If they ask to be taken off the list, please be respectful and comply.)  I’ve seen interested people join a pack 2-3 years after they first came to a recruitment night!
  6. Appoint a Pack Registrar. Appoint a committee member whose sole job is to collect registration forms and payment, follow-up on incomplete forms, and submit the completed information to the council office.  This is a perfect job for an organized volunteer who maybe works during the day but has time after-hours to keep your pack records ship-shape.  This same person can also be responsible for rechartering at year end.
  7. Give an incentive for registering the same night.  Everyone loves a freebie.  Consider giving a free pack t-shirt to those who register and pay on Join Night (as opposed to paying for one later).  A simple gift from the Scout Shop (or the 99 cent store) can also do the job, or give a discount on an upcoming event.  This also works for established members, who might delay in paying their annual dues.
  8. Show a recruitment video.  There are many available on YouTube, and you can get a great recruitment video on DVD from the council office.  Nothing makes families want to join Scouting like a good, 3-4 minute, music-filled, action-packed video showing all the fun things they can do in our organization.
  9. Have an upcoming events calendar prepared and ready to distribute.  This shows new families you’re an organized group, and it helps them plan ahead to participate in major activities of your pack.
  10. Get every boy to Bobcat within a month and to a major Scouting outdoor event within 1-2 months.  Studies show that Cubs who drop out in the first few months do so because they feel a lack of momentum in their Scouting experience. Have den leaders plan their activities around these goals, and you’ll keep all your new members.  A great, outdoor activity you can offer your new Cubs this fall will be happening Saturday, November 2nd at the Outdoor Education Center.  It’ll be a huge Scouting Fair for new Cubs only.  See the council website at for more information.

Membership Fee Increase 2014

National Council of Boy Scouts of America Announces

Membership Fee Increase for 2014

The Boy Scouts of America is increasing its membership fee from $15 to $24 per year for all registered Scouts and adults effective January 1, 2014. For those who join after the beginning of the year, the fee will be prorated at $2 per month. This does include units with December 31, 2013 expiration date.

The Boy Scouts of America last increased fees in 2010. Since that time, additional steps have been taken to control and reduce costs, but administrative costs have continued to rise greater than projected. While membership fees are being collected by the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America for our local Scouts, the dollars will be forwarded to National to provide services for our youth on a national level.

Who pays the new $24 registration fee?

A. All youth and adult registrations for traditional Scouting with an effective date of January 1, 2014 or later will have a registration fee based on the $24 registration rate. This includes all additional enrollments to current units, new units, and charter renewals.

Who gets the membership fee?

A. The local council collects, and forwards to the National Council, membership fees from each youth and adult who wishes to become a member of the Boy Scouts of America. The local council also pays an annual service fee to the national council, the basis for which has not been increased since 1993.

What does the National Council do for Scouting on the local level?

A. Simply put, the Boy Scouts of America National Council provides program materials and support for 280 local councils that administer the Scouting program, with each covering a specific geographic territory. The following are the key functions of the National Council:

  • Provide training to local council volunteers and staff
  • Maintain a national training center at Philmont
  • Develop and maintain four year-round national high-adventure bases and execute national events (jamborees, National Eagle Scout Association and Order of the Arrow conferences, and National Council meetings)
  • Continue our leadership role in protecting our youth by providing youth protection resources, training, and criminal background checks for all registered volunteers and staff
  • Provide local councils with program as well as tools for camp and office planning and evaluation, extensive financial counseling, planned giving and fundraising information, and professional personnel support
  • Coordinate a communications network through magazines and literature (handbooks, merit badge pamphlets, brochures, training materials, and professional development training), including providing Scouting magazine to all registered leaders
  • Make available uniforms, equipment, and program supplies
  • Maintain and develop new relationships with chartered organizations that use the Scouting program (religious institutions, civic organizations, labor unions, professional organizations, business, and industry)
  • Serve in a leadership role with Scouting associations in other countries as a member of the World Scout Conference
  • Set and maintain program standards (e.g., advancement, health and safety, etc.) to ensure consistency of the brand throughout councils across the country

How is the National Council funded?

A. The National Council is funded through membership and service fees, investments, Boys’ Life magazine subscriptions, sale of uniforms and equipment, fees from national high-adventure bases, and contributions from individuals.

Letter to Boeing Employees

Boeing Employee Matching Gift Program 

Dear colleagues and fellow Scouters:

Did you know your volunteer hours can be turned into a cash gift to the Orange County Boy Scouts of America through Boeing’s Employee Matching Gift program?

This means any Scouting based volunteering in Orange County, of just 25 hours per year, will allow you to ask Boeing to donate $250 to the Orange County Council, up to an annual maximum of 600 hours / $6000 per employee.  Boeing will send the Gift each quarter.

With three easy steps you can multiply your volunteer efforts and help make a direct and lasting contribution to the development of the youth in this county.

  1. Log into Boeing’s Total Access Website, click on My Community Giving, click on Gift Match, click on Record Volunteer Hours
  2. Select “Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America, Santa Ana, California”
  3. Enter your volunteer hours (min 25-max 600) with a description of the effort, select “Request Gift Match”.  In the Designation line, please enter your “District name” and “FOS” (Friends of Scouting).  By agreement with Boeing these donations cannot be credited to an individual unit or project.

More than 25,000 Scouts are counting on the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America to deliver challenging activities and educational programs that develop strong leadership skills, ethical decision making and taking personal responsibility.

Because of you, our strong Scouting traditions in Orange County have contributed to the success of your community for more than 100 years. I hope you will invest in the future of these youth by following these easy steps.

If you need any assistance or answers to any questions, please email us.  We are glad to help.

Thank you for your support!


Chuck Williams Hunter Padar
Chairman – Council Venturing Committee Committee Member
Orange County Council, BSA Troop 733
Boeing Employee Boeing Employee

Federal Tax ID Number: 95-1727660

Organization Name: Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America

Mailing Address: 1211 East Dyer Road, Santa Ana, California 92705

Phone: (714) 546-4990

Fax: (714) 546-0415


Boeing Cash Gift Matching

Boeing Cash Gift Matching for Orange County Council

Notice to All Boeing Employees:

Boeing will now make cash donations to match the volunteer hours of employees/retirees.

That means: Any Scouting Volunteer in Orange County with just 25 hours can ask Boeing to donate $250 (per volunteer) to the Orange County Council.  Furthermore – Boeing will donate $250 for every 25 hours submitted, up to an annual maximum of 600 hours / $6000 per employee/retiree.
Log in to Boeing’s Total Access website, and select My Community Giving, and select Volunteer Hours.  To find the Orange County Council, use keywords “Orange Scouts” and State=California.  The correct listing will be shown as: BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA – ORANGE COUNTY COUNCIL/BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA. “Select” that listing, and then you can enter your volunteer hours. After entering at least 25 volunteer hours, in My Community Giving, select Gift Match and fill out the request form.  All entries must be submitted by September 30 for the 3rd Quarter 2013.

Your volunteer effort helps the Orange County Council make a direct and lasting contribution to the development of every boy and girl in the County. More than 25,000 Scouts are counting on the Boy Scouts of America to deliver challenging activities and educational programs that develop strong leadership skills, ethical decision making, and taking personal responsibility. Because of you, our strong Scouting traditions in Orange County have contributed to the success of youth in our community for more than 100 years and I hope you will invest in the future of these youth.

Please click on the link for a detailed letter.  For any questions or assistance, please contact:

Chuck Williams / 714-349-0877 /

Boeing Employee / Seal Beach Location

Commissioner Blog #5


“Popcorn is Good for Everybody”

John Hovanesian, M.D.

September 4, 2013

            Welcome back to the fall season of school and Scouting!   Most of us parents greet this time of year with a mixture of relief, at having someone else watch our kids for a change, and sadness at the return to the “grind” of the school year.

            Along with fall comes the startup of the Scout Popcorn Sale, coming soon to a pack or troop meeting near you.  While we sometimes feel overwhelmed with sales fundraisers for our children, Scout popcorn is truly a beneficial fundraiser in all ways.

            First, it is a very easy-to-sell item, as almost everyone buys popcorn, and Trails End offers enough varieties that it’s easy to find something for everyone.  Scout popcorn can also be sold on-line through the Trails End website if your pack or troop signs up for this type of selling.  Online, you can sell to friends and family thousands of miles away and still get credit for your Scout and your troop or pack.

            Popcorn sales also keeps Scouting strong in Orange County as a portion of the proceeds go to support our camps and other council efforts to offer a first-rate Scouting experience here at home.

            Lastly, popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks you can eat, abundant with polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant.  Popcorn also contains fiber, which is lacking from the diet of so many of our kids.  Of course, which variety of popcorn you buy makes all the difference in how healthy it is.  Try to avoid the sugary caramel corn options, and consider air-popped corn as the best alternative.  Sprinkle it with some herbs (to lessen the need for salt), and drizzle on some olive oil instead of butter, to give it a unique and crave-able taste.

Happy fall, everyone, and enjoy the start-up of the Scouting year!