Here are some words you need to keep in mind before reading tonight’s feature:
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.
Yes, there are some strong statements from an equally strong organization! Who’s ready to go scouting?
This week, we’re joined by Evan Pollock, the senior district executive of the Boy Scouts of America (Nevada Area Council). Throughout his life, Evan has immersed himself in the ways of the Scouts! After leading Summer Camps and running operations all over the West, Evan and his family eventually brought their passion for seeing young people grow and thrive to the Elko area! And nothing, not even Coronavirus, has stopped Evan and his team from passing along timeless values to the Youth of our community!
Thank you for joining us this week, Evan! Now, from what I understand, you’ve been involved with the Scouts for quite a while. From where did you get your start, how did you get to where you are today?
“My first exposure to scouts was at my grandparents’ house. They had a cedar chest that I found when I was nosing around one day, and inside was my dad’s Scout uniform from when he was a child. At that point, I was too young to join, but my dad kept it in the back of his mind that I was interested in Scouts after finding that cool uniform. They waited until I was in first grade, and then I joined as a Wolf. From there, I went on through the program until I was eighteen-years-old. I got involved with their national honors society, which acts heavily above the local areas that meet.
“I went to community college for my general Associate’s’ degree. Afterward, I went to Eastern Washington University for the rest of my schooling. I was looking through their course catalog and stumbled across this program that involved camping, wilderness survival, and emergency response for the first responder. I read the requirements and realized that the program was basically just Scouts! That solidified me getting my Bachelor of Arts in outdoor recreation. While in college, I was still helping with the Scouting program, Scoutreach program, and their Summer camp program. From there, I tried really hard not to become a professional because my internship in college was in the local Boy Scout council. I learned through the course of that internship that I didn’t want to do all the fundraising, recruiting, and other un-fun stuff! So, I found a job with a parks and recreation department. Then the recession hit. I was unemployed for three years.
“At one point, donating plasma as the sole source of income that I was providing. We were on food stamps and getting support from family throughout that time. However, in April of 2010, I had an epiphany! Since I couldn’t find a job anywhere, I wondered if the Scouts were hiring, least for a Summer camp job. So, I called them up and found out they had a position open for a program director for one of their camps; I got hired on, and that kick-started the rest of my journey!
“When it came to working in Elko, I was working in the Reno office for a year before my current position became available. I requested to come out here and take this post. We had never been here before visiting for the move. We just really like small towns!”
Wow! You’ve been involved for most of your life; what’s kept you so motivated to stick around for so long?
“It’s all about the kids! Anytime I need to recharge my batteries, I’ll watch the programs in action. This is why I love working as a camp director; you get to watch the kids in action, and that recharges me!”
What, specifically, about Scouts, do you consider to be very important for people to know? If someone may be on the fence about signing up their children, what should they keep in mind?
“One thing that I’ve found is that the values of scouting are timeless. 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. There’s nothing with the mission, oath, or law that isn’t centralized around something that is dedicated to one group or another. It’s timeless, and it’s meant for everybody. Girls are now welcome to join Scouts, we have applications for registration and handbooks in English and Spanish, and we offer financial support for anyone who needs it to register their kids. We’re here to have dialogues. If there are problems with program elements or certain misconceptions, we’re here to help. We’re here to help break down any barriers that might be there. Anybody that wants to join should!”
What about scouting here in the Elko area have you found to enjoy, specifically?
“Here, specifically, the volunteers are amazing! In fact, we have established quite a few friendships with the people that we’ve worked with. I love working with them; they’re all very community focused. And we’re always looking for help! We’re always trying to pull more people to help support our local Scouts, even if the mining schedules can get a little tricky!
“What’s the easiest way to eat an elephant? Traditionally, the answer is one bite at a time; the better answer is to invite the neighborhood! That’s the level I work at.”
That’s right! Well, thank you so much for joining us this week, Evan! Before we let you get back to the kids and campfires, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
“There’s real value for the money when it comes to Scouts. We’re a lot cheaper than many of other youth organizations and programs out there, and we’re year-round! And, for the most part, we’re COVID proof! Our units have been meeting virtually and doing the program using the various communication platforms. While everyone else was shut down, we were still able to make things happen. The element of Scouts being timeless extends into more than just our values; it spills over into our entire program!
“We hope that there are no barriers to participation. If anyone has any questions on where or how to get started, please visit our council website http://www.nevadabsa.org/ and https://beascout.scouting.org/ is how you find your local unit!”
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See you around, Elko!