Thanks to your tremendous response and support, the Summit Bechtel Reserve Staff Association (SBRSA) is off to a fabulous start. I think it appropriate in this first newsletter to document how the SBRSA came into existence and to acknowledge and thank those individuals who played a part in that process.
Although Jack Furst, Dan McCarthy, and I had been talking about a staff association for SBR since the early days of the project, it was just over one year ago that a small group of us (SBR Group Director Dan McCarthy, BSA legal counsel Steve McGowan, Gary Schroeder, and myself) put together the official documents and an initial proposal for our Association and presented them for consideration to the Executive Board of the BSA. On October 15, 2014, the Executive Board passed a Resolution establishing our Charter to exist as an official part of the Boy Scouts of America, which was signed by Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock. This charter established SBRSA’s accountability to the Summit Committee, a support committee of the BSA National Adventures Committee.
On December 4, 2014, the Summit Committee established a set of Operating Guidelines for the SBRSA and also approved a group of volunteers (Kay Trick, Jillian Infusino, Sarah Mittrucker, Andrew Miller, Gary Schroeder, and myself) plus SBR professional staff member Danny Bell to serve as the official organizing committee for the SBRSA. In less than a month during the busy holiday season, this dedicated group approved an official logo, developed detailed membership guidelines, plus established a website and Facebook page and Twitter feed to spread the word about the SBRSA to our BSA membership. (Looking back at my records, there are dozens of emails dated either December 30 or 31 as we ironed out the last -minute details before the proposed January 5th launch date.)
At 12:01 PM on January 5, 2015 (following several days of “teasers” on Facebook and Twitter), we opened an online registration system which was developed in less than 7 days by BSA professionals Lonnah Curry and Marty Teare working with our organizing committee and SBR Controller Amy Grace. At 4:30 PM, Lonnah Curry sent me a recap of the first few hours of activity and we had already processed 121 applications. By late January, that number had grown to well over 300. Our professional staff representative Danny Bell worked long hours checking the applications to make sure that everyone met the approved standards for SBRSA membership and received an acknowledgement of their membership status.
On the evening of January 28, Gary Schroeder and I participated in a 90 minute conference call with Philmont Staff Association (PSA) Executive Director Randy Saunders, PSA President John Murphy and former PSA Presidents Jim Lynch and Ed Pease. These amazing guys shared freely with us “the good, the bad, and the ugly” as well as the outstanding historical accomplishments of the PSA during its long history. Their information and suggestions gave Gary and me guidance and ideas on how to keep SBRSA focused on its mission. As a part of the discussion, the PSA agreed to co-host a reception with the SBRSA at the BSA’s 2015 National Annual Meeting in Atlanta. (Photo below)
In March, SBR professional employee Phillip Ferrier was appointed by Dan McCarthy to be our first official professional staff advisor. Danny Bell continued to assist us with membership approvals while doing his primary job as Marketing Director for SBR BSA Programs.
In early April, with over 440 members now registered, we posted an invitation for candidates for the four regional representatives for the SBRSA Executive Committee (EXCOM). After reviewing the applications, the organizing committee selected three candidates from each region and submitted the names to the membership in an online balloting process, which began in early May. Three regions required a run-off election and at the Summit Committee meeting on May 19, 2015, the following persons were certified as the inaugural members of the SBRSA Executive Committee:
President – Russell Smart (appointed by Summit Committee Chairman Jack Furst)
Summit Committee Representative – Gary Schroeder
Northeast Region Representative – Pete Myers
Central Region Representative – Robert Fish
Southern Region Representative – Mark Harris
Western Region Representative – Jillian Infusino
SBR Professional Staff Advisor – Phillip Ferrier (appointed by Summit Group Director Dan McCarthy)
Ex Officio Member – Jack Furst, Chairman of the Summit Committee
Several days later, the 2015 seasonal staff at SBR elected second -year- staffer Matt Cree to serve as their representative on the SBRSA EXCOM for 2015.
Also during that meeting, the Summit Committee approved the expenditure of SBRSA funds by the EXCOM to provide an appropriate form of recognition for the 2015 seasonal staff. The details of what was done can be found in the opening article of this newsletter.
The regional representative candidates who were not elected were subsequently asked by the President to serve as “at-large” members of one or more of the SBRSA Standing Committees. A conference call was held on June 2, 2015 among the EXCOM and provisional committee members to begin “official” operations and make plans for the next year. Here is the current roster of committee chairs and members appointed and approved during that conference call:
Membership – Chairperson Jillian Infusino, Gary Williams, Matt Cree
Service – Chairperson Bob Fish, Bob Cunniff, Sherri Moravec, Matt Cree
Finance – Chairperson Phillip Ferrier, Perry Ives, Jacques Behar
Administration – Chairperson Gary Schroeder, Bob Cunniff, Sherri Moravec
Development – Chairpersons Mark Harris & Pete Myers, Perry Ives, Gary Williams, David Ramirez
Also approved during the conference call was a proposal to partner with the Scouting Alumni Association (SAA) and offer ALL SBRSA members a “free” basic level membership in SAA. This was heartily endorsed by SAA and has since been accomplished.
At the time of the conference call, the following statistics were reported by Phillip Ferrier: Total membership = 488 (200 life members). Total fund balance = $78,415. Revenues of $81,350 with expenses of $2,935 (primarily credit card processing charges and the first order of member patches).
The minutes of future EXCOM meetings and the SBRSA newsletters will document our subsequent history, and now this part of our history has been recorded as well. Thanks to each of you who have been a part of our formation and especially to those mentioned above who played a leadership role in this first year. May our Summit Bechtel Reserve Staff Association have a long and productive life as we seek to make the Summit an even better National High Adventure Base of the Boy Scouts of America.