A 23-year-old Wisconsin native is taking the skills he learned as a Boy Scout and using them to lead the Pine Tree District of the Boy Scouts of America Central Minnesota Council.
Nate Phillipps became the executive director of the Pine Tree District on June 1. The Central Minnesota Council has four districts and the Pine Tree District serves Boy Scouts in Aitkin, Cass and Crow Wing counties.
Phillipps is responsible for 27 units, which consists of 14 Cub Scout packs of first- through fifth-graders, 11 Boy Scout troops of sixth- through 12th-graders and two Venture Crews that are for boys and girls ages 14 to 21 who do high adventure activities.
Phillipps, who lives in Baxter, never thought he could get paid to be involved in the Boy Scouts, an organization he loves. Phillips, who grew up in Grantsburg, Wis., where he became an Eagle Scout, attended the University of Oklahoma to major in film and video studies. He wanted to make films, but when he found out a year ago that the Boy Scouts hires professionals at the council level he applied.
Nate Phillipps (right) headed up a Boy Scouts leadership training meeting Tuesday in Brainerd. Earlier this year, Phillipps became the executive director of the Pine Tree District of the Boy Scouts of America Central Minnesota Council. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
"I grew up in Scouting," said Phillipps. "From first grade to becoming an Eagle Scout. Scouting did a lot for me and my two younger brothers. Being in the Scouts has made me more open, confident and more self-reliant. I believe in all 12 principles, which includes (being) trustworthy and loyal."
Phillipps wanted to work for the Boy Scouts somewhere in the Midwest and there was an opening in the Sartell office for the Pine Tree District.
Phillipps works out of his home, but travels frequently, including weekly trips to the Sartell office. His responsibilities include managing and assisting the Scout leaders and the volunteers to bring the best programs to participants. He also directs leadership training, round-table discussions and helps plan all the activities, fundraisers and day camps.
The popcorn sales are the biggest fundraiser for the Scouts and about 25-35 percent of the sales go to the Scouts, a portion goes to the council and the remainder covers the product cost. The Scouts also have food drives to benefit food shelves and the council conducts a Friends of Scouting fundraiser campaign to raise donations.
The biggest challenge in the Scouts, Phillipps said, is recruiting youths and adult volunteers. Phillipps said the number of youths in Scouts is down. On Oct. 31, there were only 416 Cub Scouts, compared to 516 Cub Scouts at the end of 2008 in the Pine Tree District. Phillips said the number of Cub Scouts was even lower when he started in June, but he has been working hard recruiting more Scouts. Phillipps said there were 144 Boy Scouts as of Nov. 2, but he did not have the numbers from 2008.
Phillips said he also has been working on starting new units in the district and he will continue his efforts. For instance, he said Emily has a Boy Scouts troop but not a Cub Scouts pack.
Phillipps said the adult volunteers for the Boy Scouts are dedicated, but more are needed. Phillipps said he'd like to see at least eight volunteers per unit at each level.
Another challenge, Phillipps said, is creating a committee in the district. This committee would plan activities, take care of operations and help with the programming, marketing and fundraising at the district level.
"We've made some progress," Phillipps said on forming a committee. "Once the committee is formed, members would make sure that everything is run more efficiently and then we can do more things."
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.