The Boy Scouts first developed in the early 1900s, when a British Army officer wrote a handbook to teach his men basic survival skills. That handbook unexpectedly took off with the younger generation, setting in motion what would become today’s worldwide Boy Scout program. Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910, and the program has since grown and developed to meet the changing needs of the nation’s youth. The Buena Creek District, which was established in 2016, now serves San Marcos and Vista. 92078 Magazine spoke with District Communications Chair Karmen Harris to learn more.
Q&A with Karmen Harris, Communications Chair
What is the overall mission of Boy Scouts?
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.
What is the history of the Buena Creek District? What communities does the district serve?
The Buena Creek District was established by the San Diego-Imperial Council of the Boy Scouts of America on July 1, 2016. It includes all of San Marcos and Vista, and a small portion of eastern Oceanside south of Route 78. The purpose of the district is to support the Scouting units (Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, co-ed Venturing Crews) chartered by organizations in that area. There are more than 1,000 youths involved in Scouting in the district.
Tell us about the district’s leadership.
Each district is led by a committee of volunteers, who oversee aspects of the Scouting program such as Day Camp for the Cubs, a Camporee for the older Boy Scouts, training for the adult leaders, and encouraging community service by each of the units. There are about 38 adult volunteers on the Buena Creek Committee, and another half-dozen volunteer coaches, known as commissioners, who assist the unit leaders. There is one professional employee serving the district, known as a district executive.
Who else in involved with Buena Creek’s leadership?
The are more than four dozen volunteers involved in the district leadership, including District Chair Scott Packard, District Commissioner Trevor Bender, and Assistant District Commissioner for San Marcos Robby Wright.
There are also volunteer chairs for committees involved in promoting camping, rank advancement, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities, civic service and volunteerism, membership (recruiting), fundraising, supporting special-needs Scouts, and adult training. We have volunteer committees that run a week-long day camp each summer at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, plan a weekend Camporee skills competition for older Scouts, and plan and prepare our annual district dinner each spring.
The Boy Scout Oath
On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country And to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
What are the long-term and short-term goals for the district?
Buena Creek’s short-term goals are to plan and execute our upcoming Ten Commandments Hike that visits 10 religious houses of worship, and to hold this summer’s day camp and next fall’s Camporee. Our long-term goals are to work with area nonprofit organizations, religious congregations, and other community groups to establish additional Scout units so that more families are able to gain the benefits of Scouting’s curriculum for their children.
Are there any exciting plans coming up for Boy Scouts involved in the Buena Creek District?
Our 2018 District Camporee is scheduled for Oct. 12 through 14 at Camp Wildwood Ranch in Ramona. The three-day, two-night campout is a chance for troops and crews from our district and neighboring districts to come together and compete using Scout skills. It is an opportunity to meet other Scouts and showcase what Scouting has taught them.
What is the motivation for a boy to join Boy Scouts? What are some unique experiences or opportunities available through scouting?
Young boys are attracted to Boy Scouts because of the various outdoor activities they can do. The outdoor component gives youths an opportunity to explore and learn about camping and the great outdoors. Here particularly in California, Scouts can experience snowcapped mountains and vast deserts and forest. They enjoy tent camping, hiking, climbing, rafting, and so on. They are also attracted to the presence Scouts have when they are out in public serving their communities.
At-A-Glance | Buena Creek District
District Name: Buena Creek
District Chair: Scott Packard
District Commissioner: Trevor Bender
District Executive: Jim Trageser
Zip Codes Served: 92026 (W of I-15), 92056 (S of SR-78), 92069, 92078, 92081, 92083, 92084
How does one go about joining a troop? What age levels can participate in the program, and are there any other criteria to join?
Cub Scouts is available to boys and girls ages 5 to 11 who are in kindergarten through fifth grades. Boy Scouts is open to boys ages 11 to 17 in grades 5 through 12. Venturing is open to boys and girls ages 14 to 20. The only requirement to join is agreement with our statement of religious principle – that every Scout and volunteer affirms a belief in God. We are wholly nonsectarian, and all faiths are represented and welcome, from Hindu to Zoroastrianism, Christianity to Judaism, Islam to Sikhism.
Can you tell us a bit about the individual troops in 92078?
Pack 670 meets at Meadowlark Community Church, serving south San Marcos and San Elijo Hills. The pack has members from kindergarten through fifth grade with Scouts who attend Discovery Elementary, Double Peak Elementary, Carrillo Elementary, and San Elijo Elementary. We also have two Wards, or congregations, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving this area: The San Elijo Hills Ward and the Discovery Hills Ward. Each Ward has a pack for the younger boys, and a troop for the older boys.
The Boy Scout Law
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
Tell us about some of the recent achievements of local scouts.
In 2017, Buena Creek District saw two dozen boys earn Eagle, the highest rank in Scouting. A few of the local Eagle projects completed in 2017 were a memorial bench constructed out of cement, including a custom laminate memorial sign, to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego, placed outside of Tracy Hall; a display case and a map of horse trails around Walnut Grove Park in San Marcos; and two large benches at the entrance of the Escondido Humane Society, one on each side of the main walkway. The benches accommodate school children when they come to visit. They can eat their lunches or wait for a tour. Other 2017 Eagle projects included a horse mount for the Walnut Grove Equestrian Park in San Marcos, presented to the Twin Oaks Equestrian Association during their yearly fundraiser celebration; and installation of a butterfly habitat in Jack’s Pond Park in San Marcos. The habitat caters to the monarch butterfly to help with their conservation. The habitat includes an educational sign on planting a monarch habitat in their own yard and explaining why habitats like this are important to the monarch’s survival.
We collected several thousand pounds of food for local pantries during the Scouting for Food drive last March.
Are there any annual or upcoming events in which San Marcos Boy Scouts take part?
Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from 92078 participated in the San Marcos Veterans Day observation at Helen Bougher Park, and in the San Marcos Christmas Parade. We also had Scouts give a report on the State of Scouting in San Marcos to the City Council in spring of 2017.
Does the Buena Creek District need volunteers? What is the process for getting involved?
With more than 1,000 Scouts engaged in Scouting in Buena Creek District, and only access to one paid staff member, volunteers drive the Scouting program! Visit our district website to learn more.