2016 Convention Reflections

All who attended this year’s Council Annual Convention know it was a remarkable experience from beginning to end!

The festivities began Friday evening with the Scouter Appreciation Night, which had a television and movie theme. Among the crowd were stars from Duck Dynasty, Braveheart, Star Trek, I Dream of Genie, Fred Flintstone and even a couple of notorious rock stars…..just to name a few! A live band played favorite TV and movie theme songs while we ate and talked and laughed. A new award – Council Volunteer of the Year Award – was awarded to John Manz in a stirring presentation. Districts were honored for their outstanding achievements in 2015. There was a “name that show” competition with short song clips that challenged many of us, and also revealed how some spend a considerable amount of their time, and much fun was had by all.

Saturday started brightly with breakfast at 7 a.m. and a focus on training: Wood Badge and NYLT. Followed by a welcome from John Engen, the mayor of Missoula, and a presentation of the 2015 Gold Award for JTE (Journey to Excellence) to the Council from Area 2 and the Western Region. The morning and afternoon were filled with seminars on more than 20 different topics including Scoutbook.com, Exploring, Bear Aware, STEM, Scouting and Special Needs, gourmet Dutch Oven cooking, Fly Tying, GPS, Youth Protection Training… again, just to name a few!

Lunch on Saturday was jam-packed with award presentations, including Scouting Veteran awards, Council top popcorn seller, council anniversary awards, Commissioner awards, District ICL awards, Distinguished Service awards, Unit Leader Awards of Merit, and special Order of the Arrow awards.

I gave a brief talk highlighting the results of the recent Tufts BSA Study, where thousands of Cubs Scouts and non-Scouts were studied over a three year period. It was found that Cub Scouting makes a significant positive impact on many character attributes, including cheerfulness, helpfulness, obedience, kindness, hopefulness and trustworthiness.

This carefully structured, scientifically unbiased, study confirms what many of us have long felt in our gut – namely, that Scouting does work – Scouting changes lives!

In the later part of the afternoon the Annual Business meeting was held. The 2016-2017 Council officers and board members were elected, and highlights of the council finances and board actions were reviewed and approved. Shortly thereafter, the President’s reception was held on the Washington Companies’ beautiful Silver Cloud train, honoring major contributors to the Council Endowment fund.

The finale to the Convention was the Silver Beaver Banquet. A terrific keynote address on Leadership was given by Bob Johnston, the Western Region Commissioner. This was followed by the installation of officers for the coming year, and a powerful President’s Report where President Eubank presented his priorities for the council going forward and announced the kick-off of the Council Capital Campaign, which will benefit our camp properties and strengthen the Council Endowment fund. Finally, the climax of the evening was the presentation of Silver Beaver Awards to eight very worthy Montana Scouters. It was an inspiring and emotional evening that will long be remembered.

The Montana Council Annual Convention is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with some of the most dedicated, dynamic and fun-loving people on the planet. It is the best weekend of the year to catch up on what is new and exciting in Montana Council, and to get your batteries fully charged for another year of service to our youth. Mark your calendars now for April 28-29, 2017 in Helena – the spirit of Scouting shines brightly at Convention – be there!

Yours in Scouting,

Gordon Rubard
Scout Executive/CEO