Name: National Capital Area Council
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Scout Executive: Craig Poland
NESA Chairman: Josh Batten
Q1: How do you recruit/choose members for your Committee? Why do you think that’s important?
Membership in the committee is all about impact. We’re looking for people who not only care about Scouting but have a deep desire to make it better. We originally started as the National Capital Area Council chapter of NESA, but that has grown and evolved over the years into something broader. As such, many of our volunteers are Eagles, but that isn’t a prerequisite. The Washington, DC area is a highly diverse and talented professional environment, and this diversity gives us the opportunity to leverage unique expertise and insight to better position our activities to support future Scouting. Simply put, we’re looking for people who want to work hard to ensure Scouting continues long after we’re gone…and have fun in the process!
Q2: What are some goals of your NESA Council Committee?
In the near term, we’re looking to increase awareness and encourage participation in NESA-DC through social activities and participation in Council events. The goal here is to develop a pool of dedicated Alumni to provide Council volunteer leadership and help contribute to our enduring efforts such as membership and endowment.
Since we function as the de facto Alumni committee, we’ve started to incorporate Alumni Affiliates into our long-term planning and current activities as well, thus broadening the awareness and potential impact. We also actively encourage our volunteers to earn the BSA Alumni Award. This is a great mechanism to broaden Alumni awareness with current local volunteers.
Our hope is that these efforts will encourage participation and increase awareness throughout our community of how Alumni can influence and support Scouting.
Q3. Is there a particular NESA Committee event or activity of which you’re especially proud?
While it’s hard to choose, one thing immediately comes to mind – our monthly speaker series.
The NESA-DC monthly speaker series started many years ago as a monthly professional networking lunch. This continued successfully for a number of years, until COVID essentially shut down in-person activities. One of our long-time committee members, Conor Russo, saw this as an opportunity to reinvent and morph the event into a virtual speaker series. This allowed us to reach a larger audience and eliminate factors that limited participation such as schedule and travel conflicts, and it also provided an opportunity to secure speakers who were otherwise unavailable for an in-person event. For instance, we’ve recently hosted several high-level government officials, an astronaut, and a Nobel laureate.
Q4. How does your Committee define “success”?
Again, we want Scouting to continue long after we’re gone and be just as impactful on the lives of future generations as it has been on ours. As Alumni ourselves, we know what the Scouting experience was like for us, but we also recognize if it is to continue, Scouting needs to change with the times and the people who live in them. This evolution is an essential part of our continued success and we seek to be integral to that process.
Q5. What advice would you give to other NESA committees?
Share ideas and don’t wait to get started. Whether your NESA committee is long established or just beginning, we can all learn from each other. Reach out to other council committees to see how they operate, brainstorm with your council commissioner corps on engaging Alumni, and ask your newly minted Eagles what they need. To that end, don’t hesitate to reach out to NESA-DC as well if there’s anything we can help you with. We’re all in this together, and together we can ensure Scouting’s future!
Submitted by Joshua Wilberger, NESA