With the 2016 National Annual Meeting in the rearview mirror and the role of the BSA’s National Commissioner now led by Charles W. Dahlquist II, we wanted you to get to know the man behind this volunteer role. Sure, you know he’s the man charged with leading efforts to help chartered organizations and BSA leadership achieve the aims of Scouting, but what does he have to say about being the 10th National Commissioner? Through Scouting Wire’s 5 Questions series, we interviewed Charles and discovered five new things about him that’ll give you a better idea about what makes Charles the perfect guy for the job.
What’s most exciting about your role as the Boy Scouts of America’s 10th National Commissioner?
Charles: I am thrilled to continue working alongside dedicated, trained and inspired leaders to strengthen the lives of the rising generation. I have been impressed by the impact a devoted and trained leader can have in the lives of the youth. It is my blessing to serve youth with such devoted leaders. It is not uncommon for someone to ask me if Scouting is as relevant as it was 50 years ago. My answer is clear: Scouting is needed more and is even more relevant today. Just think where our youth and adults would be if everyone lived the principles of the Scout Oath and Law. Our youth would be better prepared for life, with the requisite character values and life skills. Families would be stronger and happier. Individuals would be healthier and happier. We would be better prepared for natural and man-made disasters. Jails would be empty. The earth would be in better shape. Patriotism would be key. We would treat each other with greater kindness and respect.
What is your Scouting background? What drew you to the BSA?
Charles: As a young boy growing up in Boise, Idaho, I was a Cub Scout and loved the experience. I recall taking my dime to our den meetings to pay for our treats each week. We learned magic tricks, did projects, learned knots and had a grand time. Later we moved to a small Idaho town and had a great Scouting experience, until we moved back to Boise in an area that had a non-functioning Scouting program. Still, I was involved in Exploring and was the Explorer Association President in Boise for a short while. I became involved in Scouting again over a decade later when I was in the Washington, D.C. area after law school in 1976. I have been actively involved ever since.
What’s your favorite Scouting memory?
Charles: I have a lifetime of favorite memories – most of them related to a Scout applying the principles, life skills or character values he has learned in Scouting. On one occasion, I was attending an LDS baptism and watched a 13-year-old Scout look into the baptismal font as someone said, “Look, there’s a baby drowning in the font!” Apparently a 2-year-old wandered into the font, not realizing there was water there. The Scout immediately jumped into the water and lifted the baby to safety – only to realize that it was his own baby brother!
How is the commissioner role significant to the Scouting experience?
Charles: We know that the longer youth stay in the program, the more they will apply the principles of the Scout Oath and Law throughout their life to make moral and ethical choices. We also know that, for the most part, a youth will stay in the program longer if he continues to have a growing, challenging and fun experiences. That experience is heightened by the level of training received by his leader. The commissioner is the link between the Scout movement and unit leader. One of the most important roles of the commissioner is to initiate and maintain regular contact with and provide support to the unit leaders. The Commissioner Corps is strong and active and has seen great growth under Tico’s leadership. With the help of Scott Sorrels and the strong and devoted National Commissioner Team, we have seen great progress. But there is much more to do. As we move ahead to grow Scouting throughout the movement and bring the Scouting experience to more youth, communities, charter partners and families, the role of the commissioner is key to the retention of each. The role is key to seeing that unit leaders feel empowered, committee chairs feel informed, parents feel engaged, and youth have trained leaders.
And, most important, what’s your go-to campout food?
Charles: I was taught by a wonderful mother to eat anything that was placed before me and, as a result, I have learned to like almost everything I have eaten. I love to try new things. I enjoy something as simple as a hot dog roasted over a flame in a slice of bread with a little ketchup and mustard or the “foil dinner” experience. I also salivate over anything cooked in a Dutch oven!
Save the 5 Questions infographic and then share with your Scouting network on social media using #BSA5Questions! You can also get to know our previous 5 Questions Scouters by checking out features on our Corporate Engagement Dept. Mgr and Sustainability Director, Scoutbook Team Lead and Product Owner, Director of Health and Safety, Directors of STEM Programs and Market Intelligence Manager. Know a Scouter who should be in the next 5 Questions? Comment with your suggestions below!