Bryan on Scouting

Dancer Derek Hough using star power to support Scouting, national parks

Images via @derekhough on Instagram

You couldn’t choreograph it any better: A big-name celebrity using his fame for a pair of great causes.

Derek Hough, the Emmy-winning dancer and choreographer known for his work on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars and NBC’s World of Dance, is using his talents to support the Boy Scouts of America and America’s national parks.

On Nov. 17, Hough will host the Great Salt Lake Council’s annual holiday gala and auction. In addition to emceeing the event, Hough has put up for auction a number of priceless items and experiences. Winning bidders will receive a dance with Hough, a piece of his artwork or a mini-dance lesson.

Proceeds from the auction and event will benefit the council that serves 100,000 Scouts, Venturers and adult volunteers in central Utah.

In a post on Instagram, Hough invites his 2 million followers to attend and support a good cause.

All the right moves

This is hardly Hough’s first bold move in support of Scouting. In August 2016, he showed up for a pre-Emmys dinner wearing his old Cub Scout uniform shirt. He posted a photo on Instagram of himself wearing the uniform and holding up the Scout sign. The caption listed the 12 points of the Scout Law and what they mean to him.

That same summer, Derek and his dad, Bruce, visited Teton High Adventure Base, operated by the Great Salt Lake Council. They went whitewater rafting, tested out Derek’s drone and greeted (and took selfies with) Scouts and camp staffers.

Derek Hough was in Scouting until age 12 when he moved to London with his sister Julianne to pursue a dancing career full time.

Though his Scouting career ended relatively early, his belief in the movement’s power lives on.

Derek Hough told his dad that wearing the shirt and posting about the Scout Law on Instagram “was a reminder to him that he needs to live these things each day of his life,” Bruce Hough told me last year.

Supporting lesser-known national parks

These days, you’re as likely to find Derek Hough exploring a national park as twirling on a dance floor.

That’s why he eagerly signed on to help the National Park Service with Parks 101, a new online series that focuses on lesser-known destinations within the NPS’s 417-site system.

In the series, celebrity ambassadors share videos and social media posts about these hidden gems.

Derek Hough’s chosen destination: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

He told The Washington Post that his goal is getting people outside to explore — just like he did as a Scout and continues to do today.

“As a kid, I was a Boy Scout and my dad was very into the outdoors, so we would take these big road trips every year for my birthday and go camping and see all the amazing parks,” he told The Post. “When someone asks me what my favorite thing about America is, one of my first answers is the national parks. My trips with my dad, listening to U2, Bruce Springsteen, singing and blasting the radio, instilled in me a sense of adventure and an appreciation for our planet and the natural beauty of Earth.”


Thanks to Peter Self of the Great Salt Lake Council for the story idea.