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Boy Scouts Of America

February 6, 2012 by staff 

Boy Scouts Of America, District Executive Emily McRae begins a Scout meeting by leading the group in the Cub Scout Promise. McRae, the new director of the Riverbend District for the Central Wyoming Council of the Boy Scouts of America, is one of few women in a professional position with the Boy Scouts.

A group of Cub Scouts push two long tables against the wall, rushing to clear the floor for game time. Emily McRae corrals the 7- to 10-year-olds into lines and provides the proper instructions for a homemade game.

The 23-year-old fashioned cardboard into oversized chocolate chip cookies for a February meeting at the Boys & Girls Club in Casper. She challenged kids to cross the floor on them without touching a “peanut butter river” below.

“My job is like this,” she said. “To make sure that all the youth in Casper, I guess is my main area, have an opportunity to be a part of Scouts. It’s kind of fun.”

The Central Wyoming Council of Boy Scouts hired McRae as executive for the Riverbend District in late November. She has been working since to coordinate programs and increase fundraising as the first woman Boy Scout professional in the area. In the coming months, McRae will create a cohesive day camp for Wyoming Cub Scouts.

“We do six different camps throughout Wyoming, and so I’ll be doing that,” she said. “That’s next on the agenda.”

Four executives cover the six districts in Wyoming, each assigned to one or more. McRae’s Riverbend District covers Casper, Alcova, Douglas, Edgerton, Evansville, Glenrock, Lynch, Midwest, Mills, Lusk and Kaycee.

Mark Francis, executive director of the scouts’ Central Wyoming Council, said McRae manages 53 Scout groups in Wyoming. As the first female executive, she has already organized a Scout snow day and planned a Scout group in coordination with the House of Hope.

“She’s doing a great job,” he said.

McRae got her start in Boy Scouts working for a neighbor who directed a Scout camp in Utah, and she spent three summers there in high school. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication from Southern Utah University, where she participated in student government. McRae also spent time in the Tacoma, Wash., area for church mission work.

“I think it really backed up my communications major that I did in college and kind of taught me a lot of what I’m doing here,” she said.

When she returned after a year and a half in Washington, McRae said an executive from the Great Salt Lake Council encouraged her to apply for a leadership position. When the application process was finished, McRae said the Utah council did not have an opening, but Wyoming did.

“My plan in general is to spice it up,” McRae said. “I think things are kind of at a lull.”

McRae said she hopes to encourage new ideas by bringing energy, creativity and knowledge from her past experience to the Boy Scouts. Although she is Wyoming’s first female district executive, McRae said women have already played an active part in the Boy Scouts as volunteers and troop leaders across the state. According to the Boy Scouts of America, more than one-third of Scout volunteers are women.

“I think Scouting in general has kind of changed over the past couple of years,” McRae said. “Although there aren’t tons, I think there are more women becoming involved in the professional side of scouting.”

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