As BSA welcomes families into Scouting, councils add a Family Scouting Director

Left: Julie Anderson of the Orange County Council, with her family. Right: Claire Osterman of the Cascade Pacific Council at the 2013 Jamboree with the stars of the National Geographic Channel series "Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?" Anderson and Osterman serve as their councils' Family Scouting Directors.

Do you crave more time with your children and less time bouncing between drop-offs and pickups?

Julie Anderson has been there. Like most parents, she laments not being able to spend enough quality time with her two children, Ian and Samantha.

That’s why Anderson is such a fan of Family Scouting, the BSA’s push to welcome all members of the family into our life-changing movement.

She’s such a fan, in fact, that she made it her career.

As the BSA brings the benefits of Scouting to more young people, at least two councils are preparing for the influx by adding a newly created position: Family Scouting Director.

Today, let’s meet these two women and hear how their vibrant Scouting pasts will help them shape Scouting’s future.

Julie Anderson, Orange County Council

Julie Anderson and her children at Philmont in 2014.

Anderson, who began her BSA career in 1997, has been promoted to Family Scouting Director for the Orange County Council, based in Santa Ana, Calif.

She’s pumped to share the ways Family Scouting will appeal to moms and dads out there. It lets parents “take the whole family on outings and activities for scheduled fun family time,” she says.

Anderson has seen firsthand how the program makes a huge impact on Scouts and their families.

Both her son and daughter have been involved in Scouting since they were kids. Ian is now 11, and Samantha is 13. They’ve been to countless Orange County Council camps, day camps and campouts.

While her time in Scouting has been “unofficial” to this point, Samantha is eagerly awaiting Feb. 1, 2019, when she can become one of the first girls in Scouts BSA.

Anderson knows that the benefits of inviting the entire family into Scouting will extend far past her own home.

“Having more of our children who will become our future leaders, learn the values of the Scout Oath and Law, have a love of the outdoors, and embrace everything the BSA stands for is very exciting,” she says.

Claire Osterman, Cascade Pacific Council

Claire Osterman (back row, left) stands with some girls who are interested in joining Scouts BSA. The other adult pictured is Kaleen Deatherage, the council’s Family Scouting volunteer chairwoman.

The Cascade Pacific Council, based in Portland, Ore., has promoted Claire Osterman to Family Scouting Director.

Growing up, Osterman watched with envy as her older brothers enjoyed their time in Scouting. She wanted to do what they were doing and “be just like them,” she says.

When she was 12, the family traveled to New Mexico to visit her brother, who was working that summer at Philmont Scout Ranch. This sealed the deal.

“I fell head over heels for the whole thing,” she says. “Desert vistas, hiking, climbing, stepping off a bus and into the wilderness for 10 days with nothing but a pack on your back. It was so much more exciting than anything I’d experienced in the small town I was growing up in. I was sold.”

Pretty much everything Osterman did during her teenage years put her on a trajectory to get back to Philmont as a staff member.

She worked at Cub Scout camp with her brothers. She explored the natural world. She enrolled in college to study anthropology.

Then, finally, she landed a summer gig at Philmont’s archaeology backcountry camp, Indian Writings.

“It was everything I’d dreamed of,” she says. “I hiked 6 miles every day to a turnaround called 7-mile road. I climbed up mesas in the dead of night to sleep on top of them. I still remember falling asleep outside looking at the sky, only to wake an hour or so later to see thousands of stars suddenly shift. It was just one summer, but it meant so much to me and has framed my entire life since. Philmont taught me what adventure is.”

After graduation, Osterman visited her college’s career fair. She was there for one reason: to seek out the Boy Scouts of America booth and get a job.

Unsurprisingly, she was hired. She has been a district executive, senior district executive, district director and field director. Now she’s the Family Scouting Director.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this new role,” she says. “I consider it an honor.”

What a Family Scouting Director will do

Before she became Family Scouting Director, Anderson served as director of activities for the Orange County Council. She has held several other positions in the council, including Cub Scout activities director, district director, senior district executive and Canyons District director.

In her new role as Family Scouting Director, Anderson will work with units and their chartered organizations to help them determine the best way to provide the Scouting program.

She will help leaders with questions, offer additional information and supply support materials. She’ll reach out to the community and various organizations to enlist their help in introducing more families to Family Scouting.

Osterman says she’ll seek to “create a space where every kid knows that they are celebrated and welcome.”

And what she’s learned so far won’t be a trade secret.

“I am happy to share all of the tactics we’ve used with other councils,” she says. “Feel free to reach out!”

These two women are paving the way for Scouting’s continued success. Let’s wish them the best of luck!


Thanks to Melissa Dundovich for the blog idea.