Sam Houston Area Council
2017 Annual Report

Leading Youth to Lifelong Values, Service and Achievement, Throughout Our Diverse Community.

Each year, the Sam Houston Area Council produces an annual report. This report is an overview of our accomplishments and provides an outline of the services provided to the 16 counties we serve. 

The council achieved the silver level status for 2017 in the National Boy Scouts of America Journey to Excellence performance program.

Our Leadership

Dear Friends,

Through your support and leadership, 2017 was another exciting year for Scouting in Southeast Texas.

The Sam Houston Area Council served approximately 49,000 youth during 2017 through traditional Scouting, career-based Exploring and school-based Learning for Life programs.  Scouting programs continue to offer opportunities for youth to develop their character and self-confidence.

Scouting teaches leadership through experience.  It fosters a young person’s talents and inspires them to reach their full potential. Scouting develops character through service, teaching youth the value of community and giving back. Scouting also teaches a duty to God.  It helps Scouts understand there is a power greater than themselves and give them reasons to appreciate and respect their fellow man.

These very traits were displayed for the world in August when Southeast Texas was ravaged by Hurricane Harvey.  Facing the devastation head-on, our Scouts answered the call of service.  They provided over 50,000 hours of community service work during the recovery. Beyond that, our Scouts and volunteers gave back another 425,000 hours of community service during 2017 -- and collected over 208,000 pounds of food during the annual Scouting for Food/Souper Bowl of Caring in February.

Getting youth outdoors lies at the very core of Scouting. Our vision is to provide “Exemplary, Sustainable Outdoor Experiences and Creative Learning for 21st Century Youth and Their Leaders.”  More than 14,000 of our Scouts enjoyed a long-term camping experience in 2017.  The Sam Houston Area Council is a leader among Scouting organizations with its first-class, well-maintained camping facilities that provide safe, fun and educational outdoor programs for our Scouts.

As a key measure of our membership strength, programming quality, community service and financial health, the Boy Scouts of America recognized our Council with Silver Level status in the national Journey to Excellence program.

All these 2017 successes were made possible by tireless efforts from roughly 19,000 volunteers and 7,000 donors.  Thanks to your support and to their commitment to Scouting, we continue to lead youth to life-long values and a commitment to service and achievement throughout our diverse community.

Richard A. Eichler
Chair of the Board

Forrest J. Bjerkaas
Council Commissioner

Thomas O. Varnell 
CEO/Scout Executive


2017 Officers and Executive Committee

Richard A. Eichler
Chair of the Board
Forrest J. Bjerkaas
Council Commissioner
L. E. Simmons
Executive Vice Chair
Rodney W. Eads
Immediate Past Chair
Thomas O. Varnell
CEO/Scout Executive
Charles E. Schneider
Steven D. Oldham
Assistant Treasurer
Nelson R. Block
Legal Counsel
Daniel D. Domeracki
Vice Chair - Development
To Be Determined
Vice Chair - Endowment
Robert Weeks
Vice Chair - Exploring
Brian W. Foster
Vice Chair - Field Operations
Allen D. Brown
Vice Chair - Finance
 Deborah A. Rollinson
Vice Chair - Membership
Diane M. Cannon 
Vice Chair - Program
Alberto Santos, Jr. 
Vice Chair - Real Estate
Daniel G. Bellow
Vice Chair - Relationships
William L. Peel, Jr.
Vice Chair - Sales & Marketing
Lionel R. Jellins
Vice Chair - ScoutReach
William J. Carr
William H. Caudill David E. Creasey Charles D. Davidson George A. DeMontrond, III
Stewart W. Gagnon Dr. Carlos R. Hamilton, Jr. J. Webb Jennings, III Roger C. Mosby
Stephen D. Strake Howard T. Tellepsen, Jr. Frank D. Tsuru John B. Walker
T.J. Wojnar, Jr. Susan E. Yeldell    

2017 Board of Directors

Chief Art Acevedo W. Reynard Alton Judge Alfred H. Bennett Meherwan P. Boyce, Ph.D.
Victor Burk Lytle D. Burns Charles A. Calderwood  Felix Chevalier
William E. Chiles Daniel J. Churay Craig W. Collins Tony L. Council  
Tracy L. Dieterich Dan O. Dinges  John W. Dutch Jeffrey B. Early 
 Michael E. Fossum O. Duane Gaither, II Sergio Garza Shad A. Higdon
Judge David Hittner Brent M. Jones David R. Klein Marc J. Krebs
William B. Lee, Ph.D. C. James Looke, III Wilburn McDonald Claudia Mollerup-Madsen
Franklin Myers Adam R. Oglesby Daniel G. Ownby  Michael L. Patrick
Daniel H. Pears Charles Penland  Marc G. Portal, Ph.D. Jay R. Pryor
Erin P. Roberts Robert H. Roy, Jr. Thomas Scoulios Richard A. Shappard
Charles M. Sledge Richard E. Tauber  Trent D. Tellepsen S. Nick Vellani
Judson B. Walker Clay C. Williams    

2017 Honorary Life Board

Robert J. Allison, Jr. Victor G. Beghini Ernest H. Cockrell James H. DeNike 
Harold S. Hook Emmett A. Humble Walter E. Johnson Rev. William A. Lawson
Douglas G. Mac Lean Rollie S. McGinnis Bobby S. Shackouls C. Travis Traylor, Jr.
David M. Weekley      

2017 Advisory Board

 John W. Allen Judge George H. Boyett  John Castellano Richard Claussen
Christopher A. Daniel Dr. James M. Douglas Cornelius Dupré, II Alan El-Lahham
Dr. David L. Ferris James C. Flores Lex Frieden Adrian Garcia
Raymond T. Garcia Robert W. Gibbs, Jr. Arthur R. Gralla, Jr. Dominique Guinand-Vargas
Robert L. Hargrave   Bernard A. Harris, Jr., Ph.D. W. David Harris Robert L. Hilsher
Howard W. House Vernon Jones Michael Kasecky Steven R. Knowles
Hon. Sheila Jackson Lee George S. Littell Mike Narvaez Christopher J. Pappas
Christopher J. Patton T. J. Raguso Jack P. Randall C. Bari Saunders
Brian G. Smith Samuel E. Stubbs William H. Wallace Alfred C. Warrington, IV
John Wilkirson William A. Young, Jr., Ed.D.    

2017 District Chairs

Robert D. Ausmus Walter Brookhart Nick Dockum Harry C. Drew
Andrew R. Friedman Craig A. George Christopher Gray Christopher K. Green
Steven Calens Haley Catherine Diane Harrison Bruce E. Hillegeist Gary A. Hinners
Paul C. Huttenhoff Dr. David A. Jackson William D. Marsh Michael W. Mathena
Randy Allen McQuay Kent Ross Nuttall Judge Russ Ridgway Stuart Lee Schroeder
Dr. Nathaniel Shelton, Jr. Brian K. Turner    

Our Youth

48,579 Total youth served in 1,693 units

26,781 Cub Scouts in 721 packs

Cub Scouting is a year-round program for boys in the 1st through 5th grade. The program is uniquely designed to meet the needs of boys and their families through fun and challenging activities promoting education, character development and physical fitness. Members meet weekly in small groups called dens. Once a month, all the dens meet together as a pack. Cub Scouts work on award requirements at meetings and with their families. Many Cub Scout packs schedule camping trips or attend summer resident camp at Bovay Scout Ranch. During the summer, many individual Cub Scouts attend a district day camp.

16,084 Boy Scouts in 712 troops

Boy Scouting is an exciting leadership and character development program for young men who are at least 10 years old and have completed the fifth grade, or who are 11, but not yet 18 years old. With the support of adult leaders, youth learn self-confidence and develop personal values guided by the ideals found in the Scout Oath and Law. The merit badge program develops skills in addition to and beyond the classroom. Members usually meet once a week as an entire troop, and then have a group activity once a month – typically a weekend camp-out. Scout troops are encouraged to attend a week of summer and winter camp each where they work on merit badges and enjoy other activities. Boy Scouts also organize and take part in community service projects, benefiting neighborhoods, schools, churches and more.


1,264 Venturers and Sea Scouts in 176 crews and ships

Venturing is a program for young men and women 14 years of age or 13 years of age and have completed the eighth grade and are under 21 years of age. Through this youth-led program, members enjoy wilderness survival camping, emergency preparedness, high adventure camping, search and rescue training and more. They work in groups to learn teamwork, leadership, respect and responsibility. Sea Scouting is organized to promote better citizenship and to improve members’ boating skills and knowledge through instruction and practice in water safety, boating skills and service experiences. Typically, a Venturing crew or Sea Scout ship will meet at least once a month, along with a monthly event or trip.


1,786 Explorers in 71 posts

Exploring is a worksite-based program for young men and women ages 14 through 20. Exploring units, called posts, usually have a focus on a single career field, such as law enforcement, and may be sponsored by a government or business entity. This program, which gives youth a practical learning outlet, aligns Scouting closely with the business community in law enforcement, medical, fire fighting, engineering, aviation, science, law, government and public service.



2,664 Learning for Life Participants in 13 groups

The Learning for Life Curriculum is designed to help our youth develop social and life skills and helps them formulate positive personal values. It prepares them to make ethical decisions that will help them achieve their full potential. Learning for Life also enhances a teacher's capacity to increase youth learning by using a fun and relevant curriculum. Youth build a greater understanding of real world situations and how to negotiate them. The Learning for Life Champions program provides students with mental disabilities additional help in developing social and personal, life and self-concept skills to help them achieve greater self-sufficiency.





Reaching More Lives

ScoutReach is the Sam Houston Area Council's initiative to provide an opportunity for all young people to join Scouting, regardless of their circumstances, neighborhood, or ethnic background. The programs include Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturing. ScoutReach gives special leadership and emphasis to economically-challenged youth via non-traditional methods. Through caring, well-trained, paid leadership, and with neighborhood partners who will provide a safe, regular meeting place, ScoutReach delivers a Scouting program to our most needy youth in the inner-city neighborhoods of Southeast Texas.  This program encourages parental involvement, but is fully subsidized through the council's annual operating budget. In 2017, this amounted to a total of $1,639,226.


2017 Highlights

As a result of our multi-year partnership, the Souper Bowl of Caring presented the Sam Houston Area Council with the 2017 Tackle Hunger Humanitarian - Outstanding Youth Organization Award.


Youth Served and Volunteers

  • 48,579  Total youth served in 2017
  • 44,129 Youth registered in Scouting programs of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturing
  • 1,680 Youth participants in Exploring program
  • 2,664 Youth participating in school-based Learning for Life programs (includes special needs)
  • 17,692 Registered volunteer adult leaders


  • $12,364,517  Operating expense
  • 1.6% Excess revenue over operating expense
  • $1,482,891 New permanently restricted endowment gifts
  • $254 Estimated dollar amount to support a youth in Scouting, Exploring, or Learning for Life
    *Numbers reflected are unaudited


  • 62% Cub Scouts participating in a camping experience
  • 72.3% Boy Scout and Varsity Scouts participating in a long-term camping or high advnture experience


  • 1,120 New Eagle Scouts
  • 19,583 Cub Scout ranks earned
  • 6,445 Boy Scout ranks earned
  • 33,852 Merit badges earned
  • 473,426 Community service hours preformed by Scouts and leaders



Scouts in Action

Scouting for Food

The value of serving others was practiced by the Scouts of the Sam Houston Area Council by participating in the service project Scouting for Food.  Partnering with the Souper Bowl of Caring and area food banks, over 7,000 Scouts and leaders collected over 208,000 pounds of food.  The food was then distributed to those in need in our area. 

As a result of our multi-year partnership, the Souper Bowl of Caring presented the Sam Houston Area Council with the 2017 Tackle Hunger Humanitarian - Outstanding Youth Organization Award.



  • Kody Ngo and Oskar Oberg received the Honor Medal awarded for demonstrating unusual heroism and skill in saving or attempting to save a life at considerable risk to himself.
  • Jeremiah Farrell received the Certificate of Merit Award which is awarded to an individual who has performed a significant act of service that is deserving of special national recognition.
  • Matthew Benavidez and Charles Dailey received the Medal of Merit Award presented to individuals who performed an act of meritorious service above and beyond what is normally expected. 

Oskar Oberg
Honor Medal

Kody NGO
Honor Medal


Scout Fair

In May, Scouts were able to witness “Scouts Today. Legends Tomorrow” at our annual Scout Fair. This year's Scout Fair, held at Minute Maid Park, is the largest gathering of Scouts and leaders in the Sam Houston Area Council.  Thanks to a partnership with the Houston Astros, our Scouts were able to sell over 153,000 Scout Fair Coupon Books to help fund their programs.





Outdoor Learning

Outdoor adventure is the promise made to Scouts when they join Scouting. Scouts yearn for outdoor programs that stir their imagination and interest.

The Sam Houston Area Council operates three camp properties in Texas. Through the initiatives of the Leaders of Tomorrow campaign, the Sam Houston Area Council strives to have camp properties that best serve the needs of Scouting in the 21st century.


Total campers:

District Day Camps 3,159 
Cub Scout Resident camp 353
Scouts attending long-term camp within Sam Houston Area Council 1,420 
Scouts attending long-term camp outside the council 5,664
Scouts attending High Adventure Camp 3,569

Total long-term camping:

Cub Scout 3,512
Boy Scouts and Venturers 11,204

Bovay Scout Ranch 

Scouts head to Bovay Scout Ranch, located three miles south of Navasota. The 1,488 acres are a natural paradise for plants and wildlife with several lakes teaming with a variety of fish. Nature study, bugs, animal tracks and conservation are vital elements of the camp program. George Lake offers paddle boating, sailing, canoeing, and rafting. The water park is the center of swimming and fun activities. Scouts also enjoy field sports, BMX, archery and rifles. There are two camps at Bovay Scout Ranch:

  • Resident camp is a three-night campout for Cub Scouts and includes activities such as riding BMX bikes, shooting archery and BB guns, playing sports, canoeing, fishing, making crafts, learning about STEM, exploring nature, stargazing, branding, and splashing in the pool.
  • Adventure Camp is an overnight, full program camp for all family members and includes an exciting variety of activities at several program areas and food service in the camp’s air-conditioned dining hall. A staff member in each area will provide program supplies and support the parents who will be invited to assist in leading the activities.


  • Tellepsen Scout Camp has eight campsites that can accommodate 48 individuals per site. Each campsite has a 30 foot x 40 foot pavilion and one shower and restroom facility for every two campsites.
  • Tellepsen Scout Camp is the home of the council’s largest rifle range and a 41-foot climbing tower. The rifle range consists of four 50-yard high-powered rifle stations, four 100-yard high-powered rifle stations, a five-stand gun range, eight shooting stations for .22 rifles and pistols and an archery range.
  • The climbing tower has four rappelling stations of 11-feet, 22-feet, 32-feet and 41-feet, where campers are able to climb the council’s highest climbing wall. 



Camp Brosig is available for weekend camping year-round. With 20 campsites, a large covered pavilion and meeting room are available and are used regularly for district camp-outs. This 92-acre property is located six miles north of Sealy, Texas in Austin County. 


On July 15th, a special decommissioning ceremony was held for El Rancho Cima. The day was highlighted by a summer camp staff reunion and final closing ceremony.




Cub Scout day camps are held throughout the council in June. The camps depend heavily on parents and volunteer leaders to spearhead the programming. Cubs Scouts participate in shooting BB guns and archery, playing sports and games, making crafts, learning Scout skills, participating in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities and earning rank advancements.


Camp Strake

The future Camp Strake will be located in a rural site adjacent to the Sam Houston National Forest located near the community of Evergreen, Texas, which is between New Waverly and Coldspring.

Camp Strake will be first-class and state-of-the-art for Scouts and their leaders and will have two distinct sections:

  1. The Tsuru Scout Camp developed for weekend and resident camp operations for Boy Scouts and Venturers, and
  2. Leadership Institute for advanced training programs for adult leaders and Boy Scouts/Venturers.

The camp is scheduled is to open in late 2019. That date is predicated on favorable weather conditions and no unforeseen circumstances. For additional information about Camp Strake (design plans, construction schedule and periodic updates) please visit



Producing Leaders

Eagle Scouts

In April of 2017, the Sam Houston Area Council held the New Eagle Scout Reception for the Eagle Scout Class of 2016. The 2015 Eagle Scout class was named in honor of Bob Tillerson.

The rank of Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable by a Scout. This accomplishment is recognized worldwide and is seen as a positive achievement throughout an individual’s lifetime. The 2016 Eagle Scouts Class consisted of 1,112 new Eagle Scouts.

All Scouts are required to perform a service project in order to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. A Scout must plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project. The Eagle Scout class of 2016 completed over 140,000 hours of community service during their collective service projects.

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award is presented to Eagle Scouts who have achieved extraordinary national-level recognition, fame, or eminence within their field, and have a strong record of voluntary service to their community.

The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award was presented to Sam Houston Area Council Executive Committee Member Frank Tsuru.

Frank Tsuru
Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award

The National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award is a prestigious recognition given to Eagle Scouts who have demonstrated outstanding achievement at the local, state or regional level. The National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award was presented to the following individuals:

Judge George H. Boyett 

Robert M. Collie, Jr.

James C. Flores
David G. Gaither



Christopher J. Patton

William L. Peel, Jr.

Richard E. Tauber

Glen A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award

The Glen A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award recognizes a young man who has demonstrated excellence in his Eagle Scout service project. The award program of the National Council is designed to recognize the valuable service of an exceptional nature by an Eagle Scout to a religious institution, a school, community, or other entity. The award recognizes the Scout for his Eagle Scout leadership service project, which is part of the requirements for earning the Eagle Scout Award.

The Glen A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award was presented to Garrett Hermes. Garrett's Eagle Scout project consisted of building a 50-foot bridge that provided access from a recreation building to two stocked fishing ponds at Parks Youth Ranch in Richmond, Texas. Parks Youth Ranch is a home for homeless boys and girls ages 7 to 17.

Garrett Hermes

Honoring Volunteers

Council Recognition Reception


The Sam Houston Area Council is grateful to our nearly 19,000 volunteer adult leaders. On November 28, the Sam Houston Area Council hosted the annual Council Recognition Reception. The reception is held to honor adult volunteers who have received the Silver Beaver Award, the highest recognition a council can bestow on an adult volunteer leader, and other distinguished awards.

Silver Beaver Award

The Silver Beaver Award was introduced in 1931 and is a council-level distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America. Recipients of this award are registered Scouters who have made an impact on the lives of youth through service given to the council. This is the highest recognition a council can bestow on an adult volunteer leader.

2017 Silver Beaver Recipients
Robert Ausmus Robert Fuglaar David Rudzinski
Russell Carman Joan Gorney Douglas Sivula
Michael Cawley Dana Harkey Wendel Skolaski
Patricia Chapela Roger Hoover Steve Strake
Donna Coselli Richard Lipham Carl Soderland
Joseph Dante Eugene Manuel Howard Tomlinson
Ray Duerer Bill Peel Thien Tran
Cynthia Edwards Angela Repman Tina Turner
Kerin Farrell Timothy Richard Kelley Whitehead
Sergio Fernandez Bob Roy  

William H. Spurgeon Award

The William H. Spurgeon Award for contributing significant leadership to the Exploring program was presented to
Dr. Wanda Bamburg.

Dr. Wanda Bamburg
William H. Spurgeon Award


Celebrating Cultures

In November, the first Celebrating Cultures event was held at the Buffalo Soldiers Museum.  This community and business leader networking event celebrated African-American, Asian and Hispanic cultures, and highlight the wonderful and unique food, beverages, dress and customs of these prominent cultures in Southeast Texas. The event also recognized individuals and organizations who have made an outstanding contribution toward implementing Scouting opportunities to African American, Asian American and Hispanic American communities.


Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award

Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award for outstanding services by an adult individual or organization for demonstrated involvement in the development and implementation of Scouting opportunities for youth from rural or low-income urban backgrounds—this is in fulfillment of Whitney Young’s dream of justice and equality for all. The 2017 Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award was presented to Deborah & Louis McKinney 

Deborah & Louis McKinney
Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award

Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award

Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award for outstanding services by an adult individual or an organization for demonstrated involvement in the development and implementation of Scouting opportunities for Asian American youth. The 2017 Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service award was presented to Ajey Chandra.

Ajey Chandra
Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award

iScouting!... Vale la Pena!

iScouting!... Vale la Pena! Service Award for outstanding service by an adult or an organization for demonstrated involvement in the development and implementation of Scouting opportunities for Hispanic/Latino youth. The 2017 iScouting!... Vale la Pena! Service Award was presented posthumously to Raul Dominguez.

The Family of Raul Dominguez
iScouting!... Vale la Pena!

Financial Support

Friends of Scouting

Friends of Scouting, the annual giving campaign of the Sam Houston Area Council, received 6,622 gifts which totaled $2,423,368.

Product Sales

The Sam Houston Area Council has two product-oriented fundraisers that help fund unit programs. 

  • The popcorn sale, which takes place in October and November, netted $1,050,065 in sales. 
  • The Scout Fair Coupon book, which featured coupons for Kroger and other retail partners, netted $672,536 in sales. Units who participate in the sale receive 33% of the generated funds.

Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner and Heroes of Harvey

Each year, the Distinguished Citizen/Family Award Dinner affords an opportunity to honor individuals or families who have made a distinct difference in the fabric of Southeast Texas. The 2017 Distinguished Citizen Award was presented to Richard A. Eichler. That evening, special recognition was given to "Heroes of Harvey," which saluted Scouts that went above and beyond the call of service during our community's time of need and assistance. The event generated net proceeds of $577,788 to support Scouting.

New Eagle Scout Reception

The New Eagle Scout Reception was held at the Crowne Plaza Houston and generated $69,957 in net proceeds. The event honored the 1,112 Eagle Scouts of the Bob Tillerson Eagle Scout Class of 2016.

Celebrating Cultures

Celebrating Cultures is a community and business leader networking event held to celebrate African-American, Asian and Hispanic cultures, and highlight the wonderful and unique food, beverages, dress and customs of these prominent cultures in Southeast Texas. The event also provided an opportunity to recognize individuals and organizations who have made an outstanding contribution toward implementing Scouting opportunities for under served youth in urban and rural areas. The net proceeds of the event totaled $61,248. The Honorees included: Ajey Chandra “Asian-American Spirit of Scouting Award;” Raul Dominguez “Scouting … Vale la Pena! Service Award;” and Deborah and Louis McKinney “Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award.”

Corporate Dodgeball Challenge

The 7th Annual Corporate Dodgeball Challenge, sponsored by Anadarko, was held at Competitive Edge Sports in Spring, Texas.  The event generated $148,022 in net proceeds.

United Way

The Sam Houston Area Council received $1,300,827 in support from our United Way partners, which included United Way of Greater Houston, Montgomery County United Way and United Way of Greater Baytown & Chambers County.

Sam Houston Area Council Golf Classic

BlackHorse Golf Club hosted the 41st Annual Sam Houston Area Council Golf Classic.  The event garnered $29,095 in net proceeds.

Sporting Clays Tournament

The 21st Annual Sporting Clays Tournament was held at Rio Brazos Hunting Preserve.  The event generated $293,552 in net proceeds.


In 2017, the Council received $1,482,891 in new gifts to the endowment.

Leaders of Tomorrow

In October 2014 the Sam Houston Area Council launched the Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign. The Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign is designed to produce the funding to unleash the potential of our programs and camp properties to best serve the needs of Scouting families. The goal of the campaign is $43 million which will provide exemplary, sustainable, outdoor experiences and creative learning for 21st-century youth. As of December 31st, the campaign has achieved $25 million, which represents 58% of the goal.



Financial Statement


The 2017 Sam Houston Area Council's Auditor's Report will be uploaded upon completion.











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