Monroe Correctional Complex superintendent Mike Obeland hosted the Boy Scouts of America local Good Scout Breakfast fundraiser.
Monroe Correctional Complex superintendent Mike Obeland hosted the Boy Scouts of America local Good Scout Breakfast fundraiser.

Dan’l Adams hopes to usher close to 100 more youth into the Boy Scouts of America community throughout the upcoming year.

The Khlahaya District, which spans from Lake Stevens to Skykomish, already serves more than 1,000 boys and girls, but he thinks the goal is achievable. The district executive announced his plans to a small crowd during the annual Good Scout Breakfast fundraiser at Collector’s Choice restaurant in Snohomish on Friday, which included guest speaker Rep. Carolyn Eslick.

Adams earned his Bobcat badge 50 years ago. He volunteered and eventually became an employee of the organization.

“I believe in the program,” he said. “I am a product of the program.”

Seven districts, including Khlahaya, are run under the Mount Baker Council Boy Scouts of America umbrella. Each district hosts its own fundraiser breakfast each year. Khlahaya hoped to raise $10,000 to support the regional program. Nearly $200 supports one Boy Scout for a year.

Monroe Correctional Complex superintendent Mike Obenland hosted the gathering. He said he donates a portion of every paycheck. Obenland said service is what makes communities strong. He continues to be especially impressed with youth who participate in organizations like the boy scouts.

“Our vision at the Department of Corrections is working together for safe communities, and I think that starts with the young people and the adults that supervise that,” Obenland said.

The DOC has a number of programs in place that help support families with incarcerated members, including Boy Scouts Behind Bars.

“With the Scouts, the parents play basketball and volleyball with their kids and lead activities related to Boy Scout values, including community, loyalty and helpfulness,” according to the DOC. “Some of the parents won’t be out for years, but others are in transition and the Scouting programs serve a motivational purpose, as well: they lead the inmates to behave like good Scouts because only mothers who are infraction-free at the prison can take part.”

Adams announced two big changes coming down the pipeline within the next six months.

The district was part of new a pilot program that was rolled out in recent years. The region’s districts were among others throughout the nation chosen to integrate kindergartners and the Lions Club into programming. Not only will kids be invited in at the early age, but both genders can join, he said.

People ask Adams what that will be like.

“I remind them about the values of scouting: a scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent,” he said. “We do our duty to God and country, we are prepared, we do a good turn daily, we do service to others — tell me which of those is gender based — none.”

Girls have been participating in Boy Scouts to some degree for nearly two decades through Venturing, Adams said. Members of the co-ed program must be at least 14 years old, or have finished eighth grade, according to the Boy Scouts.

Hannah Jay spoke at the breakfast as a representative of Skykomish’s chapter. BNSF Railway sponsored its formation, which made it the first in King County, she said.

“Venturing is totally awesome,” she said.

The student spoke highly of the activities she and her peers participate in together. Being involved with the group allows members to engage more deeply within their community, Jay said.

They’ve planted trees in community public spaces, built a playground together, and go on hikes, she said.

“It has been a great opportunity, not only for myself but for my fellow classmates and the students in my school,” Jay said.

Eslick talked about the issues she has been working on in Olympia since she was appointed to the 39th District seat last year.

Mental illness has become an area of focus, and she said she sees many of the people in her community struggling, and believes many don’t have a sense of belonging.

Growing up on a farm, Eslick learned the value of hard work, she said. She has been dedicated to serving in her community throughout the years, most recently as mayor of Sultan.

Different organizations can teach youth those same skills and perspectives, she said, but the Boy Scouts stands out.

“Really, it’s about citizenship — it’s about becoming a good citizen,” she said. “I look at my lifetime and I look at my parents, and they were the best role models, teaching all eight of us children to be good citizens.”