Column: Boy Scouts welcome two new leaders in 2010
By Maria Saporta
Friday, January 1, 2010
As we enter 2010, the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America will be celebrating several new beginnings.
It has a new scout executive — Tracy Techau — who is coming to Atlanta after serving as scout executive of the Council in Cincinnati. He succeeds Don McChesney, who has been promoted to regional director of the Northeast region for the Boy Scouts of America.
The Atlanta Area Council also is welcoming a new president — Steve Sitton, president of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets for the Southeast region. He is succeeding John Heagy, senior vice president of marketing for Hines Southeast Regional Office.
Also, the council is less than $1 million away from completing a $15 million capital campaign that will significantly improve the Bert Adams Scout Reservation near Covington, as well as finance other projects. The campaign is expected to be wrapped up early in the year.
Lastly, the Atlanta Area Council will be holding a series of events to celebrate 100 Years of Scouting in the United States — a yearlong celebration.
These are all significant developments for the Atlanta Area Council, which serves 13 counties in metro Atlanta, including 50,000 youth and 11,000 adults, on an annual basis.
“It’s one of the top five councils in the United States out of 292 councils,” said Larry Chase, a senior vice president of BrightClaim Inc., a national property and casualty insurance claims adjustment company, who is chairing the centennial events in Atlanta. “It’s a very, very large council with a robust program.”
Among some of the activities planned for the centennial include: planting 100 trees on Feb. 8; a “Scouting for Food” project during March to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank; a special exhibit at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival from April 16 to 18; and a Centennial Gala at the Cobb Energy Centre on Aug. 21.
Chase said the Atlanta Area Council was established in 1916. According to Sitton, one example of Atlanta’s prominence in the Scouting world is that it had more than 500 Eagle Scouts, the highest possible rank, from the Atlanta council in the past year, which is quite an achievement.
Sitton, who moved to Atlanta in 2004, has been involved in Scouting in just about every city where he has worked in the telecommunications business. When he moved to Atlanta, he quickly “was ushered into Scouting” through his national contacts.
“When you move to new places, it’s nice to know some very good people,” said Sitton, who was a Cub Scout, a Boy Scout and an Explorer.
One of Sitton’s efforts will be to wrap up the $15 million capital campaign as quickly as possible.
The campaign includes $12.3 million for the Bert Adams Scout Reservation and that is going toward the J. Erskine Love Jr. Dining Hall, a program stockade, a swimming pool and an archery range. All should be completed in 2010.
“We are developing one of the best Scouting Centers in the country at Bert Adams,” Sitton said, adding that one of the main goals is to get young people comfortable with the outdoors.
Meet the Mayor
Atlanta Mayor-elect Kasim Reed is scheduled to speak to the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta on Jan. 5, just one day after he is inaugurated as the city’s top leader, according to past President Phil Smith. This continues an annual tradition that Kiwanis has had — inviting the Atlanta mayor to give a State of the City Address at its first meeting of each year.
But one traditional mayoral event is being delayed.
For years, The Coca-Cola Co. has hosted the Mayor’s Business Breakfast during the first week of the year. Almost always, Coca-Cola’s CEO (this year it would be Muhtar Kent) introduces the mayor to the business community.
This year, there was too little time after the run-off election for the event to take place in early January.
“It’s still happening, but it will probably be scheduled in February or early March as we’re trying to sync with Muhtar Kent’s calendar so he can be there for the breakfast,” according to Reese McCranie, a Reed spokesman.
Earth Hour Returns
The light will once again go dark in Atlanta (and around the world).
On March 27, 2010, the World Wildlife Fund is asking companies, governments, organizations and individuals to turn off all non-essential lights between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.
For the past several years, Earth Hour has been a successful way to make a global statement about climate change concerns and solutions.
Last year in Atlanta, more than 500 buildings participated in the event including every signature landmark, including the Varsity, The Fox Theatre and Philips Arena.
Keeping kids warm
The Brookhaven Chamblee Home Owners and Neighborhood Business Alliance and other groups sponsored 92 children from the City of Refuge Home Shelter on Dec. 22, providing them with more than 100 coats, 40 jackets and 60 pairs of gloves.
This is the fifth year that the association has sponsored a different homeless shelter for the Christmas holiday, according to Kevin Hughley, president of the organization.
Hughley also is executive producer of Focus on Metropolitan Atlanta on Comcast Cable.
Toys Instead of gifts
Canvas Systems donated 750 new bicycles and 400 new helmets to the Atlanta Toys for Tots campaign.
Mark Metz, co-founding partner and CEO of Canvas Systems LLC, said the company wanted to make a difference in the lives of 750 children during the holiday season.
This is the second year that the company has decided to give to Toys for Tots instead of sending corporate holiday gifts to customers. Last year, the global management firm donated $15,000 worth of toys to the organization.