Prepared for Adventure
Through the activities and adventures of Boy Scouts, boys learn valuable leadership and decision-making skills. As the largest district in the San Diego Imperial Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Rancho Mesa District is proud to bring Scouting to over 3,000 local youth members. The district includes a number of North County communities – including our own Scripps Ranch – and is committed to building a diverse, inclusive membership. We spoke with District Chair Earl Wong to learn more.
Q&A with Earl Wong, District Chair
Can you give us a brief overview of Boy Scouts?
The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development, outdoor adventure, and values-based leadership training to its more than 2.3 million youth participants. Scouting is an ongoing adventure that teaches a powerful set of real-life skills and develops fundamental qualities that help young people become “Prepared. For Life.”
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 Scout Law.
What is the organizational structure of Boy Scouts in San Diego?
Boy Scouts has nearly one million adult volunteers in approximately 280 local councils throughout the United States and its territories; the San Diego Imperial County Council is comprised of districts, which support troops, packs, and crews (Scouting units).
Can you tell us about the Rancho Mesa District?
The Rancho Mesa District is the largest (by Scouting members) district in the San Diego Imperial Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The district consists of over 3,000 Scouts, over 100 Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, and Venturing Crews, supported by over 700 volunteers who share their love of Scouting and serve the communities that they live in. The Rancho Mesa District includes Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch, Del Sur, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Rancho Peñasquitos, Poway, Scripps Ranch, Mira Mesa, Miramar, and Sorrento Valley.
What is your role within the district? How long have you been in this role?
My role is the district chairman, and I serve as the top volunteer Scouting leader of the district. Key responsibilities, technically described, include; membership, programs, and finance functions of the district. My primary contribution is to attract, maintain, and motivate a talented team of scouting volunteers; I preside over district committee meetings and represent the district as a board member on the BSA Council’s Executive Board of Directors. More plainly spoken, I view my role as someone to inspire other leaders, organizations, and our community partners to choose “good” and share the benefits of developing strong character in our future leaders and provide opportunities for our community to make a positive difference in their life and the lives of others.
In Their Own Words
“One of my favorite memories from Cub Scouts is learning to make a fire during a camping trip. It was a fun learning experience.” – Michael M.
“I remember rafting down the Kern river.” – Nicolas N.
“My favorite memory of Cub Scouts is playing with friends.” – Cameron S.
“A few things I have learned are how to use a pocketknife, how to make a movie, and how to pitch a tent.” – Max S.
“I have learned how to use a paintball gun and a fire extinguisher.” – Seth F.
“I learned a lot of fun things in Boy Scouts like making a bird house, the Scout Oath, camping, making a fire, and shooting arrows.” – Max M.
“I have learned about the sections of government, knife and gun safety, and being a leader.” – Justin W.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
Being a role model for my son and daughter; seeing tangible results of BSA programs that have changed attitudes, transform lives, and restore hope in other individual Scouts, homes, and throughout our community.
What are the long-term and short-term goals for the district?
Our long-term goals are to grow membership by attracting and retain Scouting members; sufficiently and sustainably fund Scouting operations; flawlessly deliver Scouting programs to our members; and improve our community through impactful community service projects.
Our short-term goals include:
- Increase membership through the implementation of a diversity and inclusion program with an eye towards reaching “hard to reach” communities.
- Increase financial contributions by improving the visibility of the work and projects Scouts are doing; to make the over 100,000 hours of community service provided by Scouts and their families more tangible to all.
What is the motivation for a boy to join Boy Scouts? What are some unique experiences or opportunities available through scouting?
“Some boys avoid obstacles. Scouts overcome them.” The life lessons learned in Scouting form a foundation to embrace opportunity and overcome obstacles in life. Scouting is a fun and safe environment to learn and grow while developing interests and skills. The programs deliver character-building and development centered around good morals and values. Scouting is a chance to learn life skills that help Scouts be successful adults and contributing members of society. Most of all, it’s fun and exciting, with outdoor experiences boys love like hiking, camping, mountain biking, exploring, and more.
How does one join a troop?
Simply check out beascout.scouting.org for all the details needed.
Please describe the different levels of Boy Scouts by grade.
- Cub Scouts is a year-round family- and home-centered program that develops ethical decision-making skills for boys in the second through fifth grades (or who are 7, 8, 9, and 10 years old).
Boy Scouts is a year-round program for boys 11 through 17 designed to achieve the aims of Scouting through a vigorous outdoor program and peer group leadership with the counsel of an adult Scoutmaster.
- Sea Scouts is a year-round program for young men and women who are 14 (or 13 years of age and have completed the eighth grade) through 21 years of age. Sea Scouting builds character through high adventure.
- Venturing is a year-round program for young men and women who are 14 (or 13 years of age and have completed the eighth grade) through 21 years of age to provide positive experiences through exciting and meaningful youth-run activities that help them pursue their special interests, grow by teaching others, and develop leadership skills.
- Order of the Arrow is Scouting’s National Honor Society and recognizes those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Scout Law in their daily lives and promote camping and responsible outdoor adventure, leadership development, and cheerful service to others.
Tell us about some of the recent achievements of your district’s members.
There were approximately 40 Scouts who earned the rank of Eagle Scout, and over 10,000 hours of community service were provided by Scouts and their families.
Are there any annual or upcoming events in which the Rancho Mesa District takes part?
First, 2017 marks the centennial of Scouting in the San Diego and Imperial County Council. The centennial committee has put out a challenge to our Scouts and Scouters to celebrate this event through a series of requirements in four focus areas: families, Scouting, service, and history.
Here are a few ways our community can help us celebrate:
- Recruiting: 100 new Scouting members signed up by Dec. 15, 2016
- Eagle Scout Projects: highlight 100 Eagle Scouts and report on their projects
- Friends of Scouting: 100 new community and corporate partner gifts for our Friends of Scouting Second Century ProgramsCommunity Service: 1,000 hours of service
- Create a Legacy Project: committee to lead a legacy project adopted and implement by Scouters and the community
- Second, the 2017 National Scout Jamboree, held in Mount Hope, WV. A celebration of Scouting held every four years for Scouts, Venturers, volunteers, and staff from across the nation. The 2017 theme, “Live Scouting’s Adventure,” speaks both to Scouting’s century-old tradition of creating adventures that develop young people into the leaders of tomorrow and to the developing adventures of the next century of Scouting.
Does the Rancho Mesa District need volunteers?
Yes! Boy Scouts is a volunteer-led organization, and we need you to be the foundation! Behind every trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent Scout is a long line of committed volunteers who share those same traits. Volunteering has always been the very bedrock of the Scouting program. Check out beascout.scouting.org more information.
At-A-Glance | District Chair
Name: Earl Wong
Education: Graduate work UCSD, University of Notre Dame – Mendoza College of Business
Profession: Investment advisor, Mayor’s Asian Pacific Islander Advisory Board, various boards and executive committees
Family: Wife Beth, son Justin, daughter Meredith, and our family mascot, golden retriever shepherd mix Rocky
Hobbies & Interests: Backyard grilling, craft beer and craft food, baseball, football, and serving my community
Favorite Boy Scouting Memory: New friends made at summer camp as a youth, one-on-one time with my son as a youth leader, and being influential about Scouting as community leader.
At-A-Glance | Rancho Mesa District
District Name: Rancho Mesa
District Chair: Earl Wong
Youth Members: 3,100
Adult Members & Leaders: 1,700
Zip Codes Served: Parts of 92121 and 92130, and all of 92145, 92126, 92127, 92128, 92129, 92131, and 92064
Earl Wong, District Chair
Laura Scheid, District Executive
Wayne Brown, District Commissioner
Winnie Lee, Vice Chair of Membership
Steve Lee, Vice Chair of Diversity and Inclusion
Paul Honeycutt, Vice Chair of Training
Rebecca Kelly, Vice Chair of Marketing and Communications
Patty Schreibman, Vice Chair of Community Affairs
Club Scouts in 92131
Pack 0614 – Jerabek Elementary School
Cubmaster Duane Stewart Maxwell
Pack 1216 – Kiwanis Club of Torey Pines
Cubmaster Jason Moorhead
Pack 0615 – Rotary North San Diego
Cubmaster Kevin Krown
Pack 0616 – Scripps-Mira Mesa Kiwanis Club
Cubmaster Michael Cronin
Boy Scouts in 92131
Troop 664 – St Gregory The Great Catholic Church
Scoutmaster Art Nagano
Troop 0301 – Dingeman Elementary
Scoutmaster Dr. Bryon Solberg
Troop 0663 – South Bay Rod and Gun Club
Scoutmaster Fred Murillo
Troop 0616 – St Gregory The Great Catholic Church
Scoutmaster Paul Honeycutt
Troop 0474 – San Gabriel Knights of Columbus
Scoutmaster Erik Basll
Sea Scouts in 92131
Ship 7907 – VFW Post 7907
Skipper Michele Vaineharrison
Venturing Scouts in 92131
Crew 1218 – LDS-Peñasquitos – Scripps Ranch 1st Ward
Venturing Advisor Timothy Franklin