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Council Awards Reception recognizes outstanding youth and volunteers

January 29, 2014

A record number of 18 Silver Beaver Awards were presented at the Mid-America Council Awards Reception, Saturday night, January 11, at the Truhlsen Campus Events Center in Omaha. Youth and adults were recognized for outstanding service, including the Top Popcorn Seller, Venturing Leadership Awards, Veteran Scouter Awards, a first-time ever presented Outstanding Eagle Scout Award, and maybe the most important of all – a Medal of Merit was presented to a Webelos II for saving his younger brother’s life.

The evening started with Lewis & Clark District Boy Scouts Jared, Grant, and Sam from Troop 597 presenting the Colors, and Pack 63 Wolf Cub Scout Dylan leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Well done, Scouts. Reverend William Williams of the Rockbrook United Methodist Church delivered the invocation. After a dinner of pasta and salad, Council Chairman Chris Murphy spoke of the successes of 2013.

2013 saw a 3.5 percent increase in Cub Scout growth, which means 885 more families of Cub Scout aged boys joined Scouting than in the previous year. Fifteen new packs were created, and retention rate is up nine percent. Traditional and overall membership grew as well. We balanced our budget and Friends of Scouting had a jump in donations. These are signs of the positive feelings our families have about Scouting through the efforts of all of us working together as the Mid-America Council providing unparalleled experiences in the Scouting program.


The Top Popcorn Seller award was presented to Cody Bachtell., from Troop 143 in Goldenrod District. With the support of his family, Cody sold $7,410 of popcorn. Congratulations, Cody! Read Cody’s popcorn selling tips!

Joshua Royal, from Pack 494 in Soaring Eagle District, was awarded the Medal of Merit for saving his younger brother’s life. He performed the Heimlich maneuver when his brother was choking on a taco shell. Joshua said it was his Webelos Readyman training he received at Scout camp that taught him those lifesaving skills.

The Robert Mueller Memorial Eagle Scout Scholarship was awarded to Matt Ostdiek from Troop 430 in Soaring Eagle District. The scholarship was established in 2004 in memory of Robert Mueller, an 18-year old Eagle Scout. The scholarship is awarded to a Scout that similar to Robert, truly found his place in the Scouting program.

Nani-Ba-Zhu Tribal Scholarships were developed to encourage and reward ongoing participation in Scouting and long-term camping at Cedars. The Chieftains Scholarship was awarded to Becky Burbach. The Cedars Legacy Scholarship was awarded to Kyle Mason. Tribal Scholarships were awarded to Matt Ostdiek and Brittany Bloemendaal-Westhoff.

Venturing Leadership Awards were presented to Kathryn Miller and David Miller, both members of Crew 326, the council Camp Staff Crew. Venturing Leadership Awards are presented by councils, areas, regions, and the BSA National Council to Venturers who have made exceptional contributions to Venturing, and who exemplify the Venturing Code and Venturing Oath. There are 750 Venturers in 55 Crews in the Mid-America Council.

Harry Stanley, Jr., a member of Sea Scout Ship 542, was recognized as the Mid-America Council National Youth Leadership Society Inductee. The National Youth Leadership Society was created to recognize youth members of the Boy Scouts of America who have learned and practiced outstanding leadership. Only those youth who have successfully completed qualifying leadership development courses and performed eligible leadership roles may be nominated for induction to the National Youth Leadership Society.


The Veteran Scouter Recognition is a special way to acknowledge the years of service given by our most trusted and admired volunteers. After five years of registered service in the Boy Scouts of America, an adult may, upon application and approval, receive the designation of “Veteran.” Larry Janousek was presented with a 25-Year Veteran Scouter award, and Tim Place was presented with a 30-Year Veteran Scouter award. An informal recognition and survey of all Veteran Scouters in attendance revealed two Scouters still standing as 59-Year Veterans!

Wally Farley, from Soaring Eagle District, was recognized as our newest James E. West Fellow. It is earned through a contribution of $1,000 or more in cash or marketable securities to the local council endowment trust fund. The award is a national recognition named after the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America.

Scott Vlasek, MPA was presented the William H. Spurgeon, III Award, the highest recognition for individuals and organizations contributing significant leadership to the Exploring program. Mr. Valsek has been involved with the Aviation Exploring Post 518 since its inception in 1997, as Post Counselor, and now serves as Post Adviser. He is currently Director of the School of Public Administration and Aviation Institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Dan Hunt, was presented the NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award (NOESA), a prestigious recognition granted by the local council NESA committee to Eagle Scouts who have demonstrated outstanding achievement at the local, state, or regional level. Dan has served in just about every position there is at the unit, district and council level. He’s been active in a pack, troop and crew. He’s served as District Chair in Goldenrod District, Council Commissioner, 2010 Jubilee Chair and is currently our 2014 Jubilee Chair. Dan is also the first recipient for the Mid-America Council to be named a National Outstanding Eagle Scout.

The Silver Beaver Award is presented by the National Council, Boy Scouts of America, through the local council to adult volunteer Scouters for their distinguished service to youth and their community. The award is made for noteworthy service of exceptional character to youth by registered Cub Scouters, Scouters, Varsity Scouters, and Venturing Leaders within a local council. It is the highest award a Boy Scout council can bestow upon a volunteer Scouter. The Mid-America Council was honored to present the 2013 Class of Silver Beaver recipients.

Dennis Bender, Lewis & Clark

James Benes, Lewis & Clark

Melvin Clark, Lewis & Clark

Robert Dalrymple, Council

Thomas Gensichen, Lewis & Clark

Warren Johnson, Soaring Eagle

Kathy Joiner, Soaring Eagle

Suzette Juel, Trailblazer

Michael Livergood, Wagon Wheel

John Matteson, Petah La Shauro

Deb Reinard, War Eagle

Daniel Rock, Lewis & Clark

Kristina Ronfeldt, Soaring Eagle

W. David Scott, Lewis & Clark

Clarence Sholly, Thundercloud

Christine Sjoberg, Wagon Wheel

Justin Wyatt, Trailblazer

William Young, Trailblazer

The Mid-America Council thanks Brian Mastre, from WOWT6, for serving as master of ceremonies. View the WOWT6 video. Thank you to Mid-America Council Board of Directors serving as awards presenters: Council Chair, Chris Murphy; Council Commissioner, Steve Lanni; Camping and Outdoor Program Chair, Dan Owens; Council Advancement and Recognition Chair, John Shores; District Operations Chair, Dan Hunt; Scout Executive/CEO, Eric Magendantz; 2013 Silver Beaver Selection Committee Chair, Gaylord Mussman; and Membership/Relationships Chair, Hal Daub, Jr. Thank you to the Council Awards Reception Committee for putting this outstanding event together: Chairperson – Tim Place; Committee Members – Scott Erikson, Wally Farley, Bob Foley, Robin Jaeckel, Joe James, Kathy Joiner, Trish Place, Rod Van Horn, Jeff White, Jay Witty, Randy Yates, and Administrator Mindy Lammers. Thank you to Warren Johnson of Lens Art for providing the excellent photographs of our 2013 Class of Silver Beavers. Thank you to all who help provide unparalleled experiences each day in our Scouting program for the Mid-America Council, Boy Scouts of America youth and volunteers.

Author – Dixie Wagner, Mid-America Council, Boy Scouts of America

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