Sarah Ford | June 18, 2014

Impacting Youth Through STEM Initiatives, Ethics and Leadership, Character Building, and Strong Outdoor Education

National Capital Area Council (NCAC), Boy Scouts of America is the largest youth-serving organization in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area which includes Virginia, DC and Maryland. NCAC was organized in 1911 and today stands as one of the oldest and largest councils in America. NCAC serves more than 55,000 youth members and 22,000 adult leaders, making the Council one of BSA’s largest.

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 Law. In this Q&A, Gary Carroll, Boy Scouts of America Camping Director, shares how he got started with Boy Scouts and his role in executing Boy Scouts of America’s mission.

Q&A With Gary Carroll:

What attracted you to this job & particular cause?

I participated in camping at Goshen Scout Reservation as a youth.  I joined the staff in my teens and learned much about teamwork, ethics, initiative, leadership and elbow grease.  The skills I learned at Goshen transferred into my academic career and my professional life.  

Walk us through a “typical” day in your shoes. How are you making an impact through your work?

The most typical part of my process is that I approach every day with an open mind.  I’m trusted to serve a vast realm of responsibility; the projects are different every day.  Most of my work involves preparing for the upcoming camping season—hiring staff members, purchasing supplies and equipment, and making facilities upgrades.  Additionally, I serve as the staff adviser to our local chapter of Scouting’s honor society.  In this role, I help to empower youth to participate in projects that better our entire community.

What do you find most rewarding about your job at the end of the day?

I find it extremely rewarding to watch as young people mature into conscientious, community-minded adults.  There is no way to describe the feeling when a young person you’ve mentored greets you with a great poise and a firm handshake after a time of absence.  It’s extremely gratifying to know that I’ve had some impact on the next generation of leaders.

If you had a list of ‘best-kept secrets’ or advice you’d give to anyone with a similar position, what would it be and why?

The Boy Scout Handbook has a lot of great information inside!  It is designed to help Scouts (and others) in taking care of themselves and then later, others.  Additionally, I was turned onto the book Gung Ho by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles.  It really solidified my earlier teamwork experiences in Scouting and has helped me in my current leadership responsibilities.

Looking out 3 to 5 years, beyond the obvious trends, what do you think will be the next big change in your industry?

The Boy Scouts of America is going through an exciting period of change and reflection.  I think that we will continue to create programs that address the needs of youth in our society.  It is hard to determine what the National organization will do but locally, we are going to continue focusing on STEM initiatives, ethics and leadership, character building, and strong outdoor education.

Our thanks to Gary Carroll, Camping Director for Boy Scouts of America, for sharing his time and expertise with us!  To learn more about the impact Gary and his organization are making, visit their website and connect with them at and  Click here to support their work with a donation.

The primary goal for any nonprofit is to get people to support that nonprofit’s cause so they can make an impact. But, behind each of those causes are hard-working individuals, actively involved in making that impact happen. Through our Making Impact Blog Series, we’re going behind the scenes with America’s Charities member organizations to learn how they’re making impact happen and share insights and advice from the staff and volunteers supporting these initiatives.


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