The Boy Scouts of America aims to instill lifelong values from the Scout Oath and Law into young people. While the organization often focuses on the impact of unit leaders, council volunteers, and BSA professionals, members of the educator community sometimes fulfill this mission.
To recognize the valuable contributions the educator community makes in the lives of young people, the BSA introduced the Elbert K. Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award in 2016. Teachers, coaches, administrators, custodians, cafeteria workers, and many others can have a profound impact on preparing youth to become better citizens and leaders. These educators understand that ‘Scouting’ values can also make excellent ‘teaching’ values.
Named after a Columbia University education professor (who also happened to be the BSA’s second Chief Scout Executive), the Elbert K. Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award is presented to those who work in education and who follow the BSA’s mission “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.”
This award can be presented at the district, council, area, region, and national level based on the reach of the impact of the recipient. Recipients do not have to be teachers or have previous Scouting connections. They can work in public, private, or religious schools, and at any level from elementary education to higher education.
While the award was just created in 2016, it has already been presented to dozens of worthy individuals across the nation.
Patrick Gibbons, a teacher at San Pablo Elementary within the North Florida Council, is one such recipient. Gibbons is known for modeling integrity, self-confidence, helpfulness, and kindness to his students. He creates a culture of respect for others in his 4th-grade classroom, ensuring that each student has an opportunity to shine.
Outside of just the classroom, Gibbons shows an attentiveness to his students’ well-being and personal interests, eating lunch with students and attending all school functions. He also leads a competitive school running club; Gibbons is known for teaching youth that if they finish first, to go back and help somebody — because no one should finish alone.
Several other remarkable individuals have also been recognized with the Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award.
Take duWayne Amen, a director of facilities at a school in Old Hickory Council, who goes above and beyond his responsibilities to serve the school and community.
Another example is Kim Wilburn-Cullom, an elementary school principal in Great Smoky Mountain Council. Kim believes in the importance of teaching youth to be prepared and do their best; she also supported the formation of a STEM Scout Lab at her school.
Another recipient, Nicole Adell, wanted to start a program to instill values and leadership in the youth attending the middle school she administered. She saw this as an excellent opportunity to partner with Chattahoochee Council to bring Scouting into her school.
The list of outstanding individuals in education who support Scouting values (either directly or indirectly) goes on and on. And unlike many Scouting awards, there’s no limit to the number of Fretwell Awards that may be given each year. The suggested rule of thumb is to present one award per year on each school campus; or two per campus for those campuses with more than 500 students.
For more information on the Fretwell Award, including a nomination form and presentation script, visit http://scoutingwire. org/marketing-and-membership-hub/new-unit-development/ education-relationships/.
This article was contributed by Cathie Seebauer, Communications Lead for the BSA’s Education Relationships Subcommittee.