Rich Pfaltzgraff, a longtime volunteer with South Carolina’s Blue Ridge Council who has earned the BSA’s Silver Beaver Award and District Award of Merit, has been named the new president of the National Eagle Scout Association.
Pfaltzgraff, who has served in leadership roles such as Scoutmaster, assistant Scoutmaster, pack committee chair, den leader, council executive board member and district chair, earned his Eagle Scout award in 1983 in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. He previously served NESA as vice president of finance from 2013-2021 and on the NESA Jamboree staff in 2013 and 2017.
Pfaltzgraff recently took time out of his busy schedule to answer my 5 Quick Questions.
Why do you think all Eagle Scouts should join NESA?
Pfaltzgraff: NESA’s mission is to provide a forum for Eagle Scouts to collaborate with other Eagle Scouts to support Scouting locally and help strengthen Scouting.
The final obligation in the Eagle Scout Challenge is service, which includes helping others on their trail to Eagle. NESA provides a wonderful opportunity for Eagle Scouts to give back to Scouting by helping other Scouts on their Eagle trail. We have many active NESA members who give back to their local councils, districts and units daily in many different ways.
Have you had time to think of any specific goals for NESA during your tenure?
Pfaltzgraff: I am still a little new in my role as NESA’s president, so I am actively listening to the input of our members to help guide my goals for NESA. As I develop those goals, you will see themes around important areas for NESA related to membership services and growth, growing our endowments, communication and recognition.
I would also like to go beyond that, to reach out in ways that respect every member and give them a voice as we look toward the future. This includes expanding the diversity of NESA by adding more young men and women as essential members of our committees. Council support is significant as well, as each council is unique. We’ll be reaching out to identify ways NESA can provide leadership and service where councils need it most.
You have served many roles as a Scout volunteer. Which of them best prepared you to be NESA’s president?
Pfaltzgraff: I have had many wonderful opportunities to serve Scouting and give back to the Scouting movement. In each role, I learned more about leadership and how to be a servant leader. As NESA’s president, I will continue to learn and develop my servant leadership skills. So, expect me to listen and learn while looking to use the resources and talents of our members to refine our goals and achieve them.
You currently are the chief financial officer for a financial services firm. How will that job help you in your role as NESA president?
Pfaltzgraff: As chief financial officer, I work across teams to help create and execute successful strategies for growth. As NESA’s next president, I want to continue the growth that Frank Tsuru, NESA’s immediate past president, executed and help our next generation of Eagle Scouts. This will include collaboration with the broader BSA alumni association, Order of the Arrow and local associations, to name a few areas where we have similar goals to promote and grow Scouting.
Tell us about your time as a youth in Scouting. Do you have any favorite memories? And what did you do for your Eagle Scout project?
Pfaltzgraff: I grew up in a small town on an island in Southern New Jersey with no Scout troop, so I joined Troop 76 in Sea Isle City, which was on the next island over. At the time, I was the only Scout in my town. I was lucky that my parents drove me to the meetings every week! We had a very active troop that made many amazing trips, from visiting the National Jamboree to camping at Disney World to participating in district camps and events. Some of my best memories as a Scout are from volunteering every summer at the district Cub Scout day camp. Each summer, I would help with the archery range.
For my Eagle Scout project, I partnered with the police department to develop crime prevention educational materials for local businesses and homeowners. I held seminars on crime prevention with the chamber of commerce and local town council. I actively distributed the materials to homeowners and small businesses. I also provided the police department with an inventory of educational materials to distribute.
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