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Roughrider Roundup raises funds for Heart Butte camp

Northern Lights Council Executive Director Travis Christopher, left, and Roughrider District Executive Director Trevor Courneya meet with guests during the Roughrider Roundup barbecue held recently at home of Dickinson State University President D.C. Coston and his wife, Debbie. Press Photo by Linda Sailer

The Northern Lights Council Roughrider District of Boy Scouts of America sponsored its annual Roughrider Roundup barbecue and social on Aug. 15 at the home of Dickinson State University President D.C. Coston and his wife. It served as a fundraiser for foundation that supports the Heart Butte Scout Reservation at Lake Tschida.

It also was opportunity to meet the district’s new executive, Trevor Courneya, and the Northern Lights Council Executive Director Travis Christopher from Fargo.

Growing up at Hawley, Minn., Courneya remembers going camping with his family every summer. After graduation from the University of North Dakota, he was looking for a career where he could make a difference.

"What a great program to do that with," Courneya said. "My brother has the position I have in Fargo, so when this job opened, I applied."

He started working as district executive in April.

"We have a great program that’s up and running in Dickinson," he said. "We haven’t had a district executive for quite some time, so we’ve relied on volunteers."

Courneya’s focus is on recruiting members and leaders this fall. Dickinson’s annual School Night for Scouting is from 6:30-8 p.m. Sept. 18 in the elementary schools. It’s an opportunity to register, and is targeted to boys entering first through fifth grades, he said.

The second event is Cub Scout Fun Day on Oct. 6 in Dickinson at Turtle Park.

"It will be their first real Scouting event," he said. "We’ll have stations set up, open-house style where the boys can come and go as they please."

Christopher also greeted the Roughrider Roundup guests.

He said the Northern Lights Council extends from eastern Minnesota to Montana. There are approximately 400 Scouting groups in the geographic area.

"We travel thousands of miles every month," he said. "I come to Dickinson two times per month."

When he considers the success of a Scouting program, Christopher points to the number of youth who are giving community service hours and who are advancing in the program.

"In both cases, Dickinson is at the Gold Level — the to 10 percent — in number of community service by each members, and the boys are advancing at a higher rate than last year."

Christopher attributed the success to the volunteer leaders, who take the time to plan the program and to get the boys outdoors. The Heart Butte Boy Scout Camp is an example of opportunities for outdoor adventures, he said.

"The camp is wonderful and has been around for decades," he said. "Thanks to the volunteers, it’s maintained well. It’s used by roughly 12 Scouting groups in the Dickinson area alone."

Christopher will return to Dickinson on Sept. 8 to present an Internet training class for a Scout Troop. He will talk to the boys about computer safety, leading to a Cyber Chip Patch Award.

He’s also about to unveil a mobile app from the Council — the first in the country — that will enable parents to see events in the community and to contact the council directly.

For information regarding the Boy Scout program, visit the website,