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Warwick Woman is BSA Narragansett Council’s First Female Director of Field Services, COO

[CREDIT: LinkedIn] Tiffany Bumgardner-Scheffler has been named Director of Field Services and Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the BSA's Narragansett Council.
[CREDIT: LinkedIn] Tiffany Bumgardner-Scheffler has been named Director of Field Services and Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the BSA’s Narragansett Council.
WARWICK, RI — While the Boy Scouts of America have welcomed women leaders for 30 years, it only opened its Cub Scout ranks to girls in Feburary, a transition Tiffany Bumgardner-Scheffler, the Narragansett Council’s first female Director of Field Services and Chief Operating Officer (COO) will help oversee.

In January, the Narragansett Council of the Boy Scouts of America (NCBSA) in East Providence promoted Bumgardner-Scheffler, 34, to the position.

In her new role, Bumgardner-Scheffler is the first woman to hold the position in the NCBSA. She will work with field staff to promote Scouting and will be responsible for new Scout recruitment, including through the Family Program welcoming girls into the Cub Scout program.

When Bumgardner-Scheffler received news of her promotion from her position as the NCBSA’s Development Director, she recalled her initial shock.

“I almost didn’t believe it,” she said.

Bumgardner-Scheffler is passionate about her work for the Boy Scouts, said Tim McCandless, Scout Executive and CEO of the (NCBSA). That enthusiasm is key to her success, according to those who work with her. She has a quiet, solid confidence, and in conversation, and is calm and reassuring.

Bumgardner-Scheffler joined the Boy Scouts organization in 2006 as a district executive in Kansas City, Missouri, after graduating from Indiana University in Indianapolis, where she studied public-affairs administration with an emphasis on nonprofit administration.

She became the NCBSA’s first female Development Director in 2015, a role in which she ran special events as well as wrote foundation and grant proposals.

“I work really hard, and I don’t keep a 9 to 5 schedule. I put in a lot of time and energy. I love working with the Scouts. Everyone is mission driven, and I need to work with people on the same page as me. I love this organization, and I love working with volunteers and kids,” she said.

The Family Program will open the Boy Scouts organization to girls, who can join as Cub Scouts from kindergarten through Grade 5. Previously, girls could not join the Boy Scouts, but including girls in the Cub Scouts does not mean the Boy Scouts of America will become a co-ed program, she said.

Instead, there will be single-gender program for the Cub Scouts, which will provide girls the same opportunities to develop leadership skills and character.

Next year, the Family Program will begin a new program for older girls in the Boy Scouts, which will enable girls to earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.

The Family Program was begun so the entire family can participate in Scouting, according to Bumgardner-Scheffler. Families will be able to choose Cub Scouts for their sons and daughters, starting at age six.

“Scouting families are busier than ever, and all families have less free time to spend with their children. Often single moms and dads can’t drive their kids to different activities. Now they can bring all the kids to a single unit to participate. Girls and boys will still be gender separate, but girls can achieve the same rank advancement and awards,” she said.

Although the Family Program will begin in September, there are early adopters who have begun to set up Cub Scout dens for girls.

Two units in Warwick are early adopters of the Family Program that have started to integrate girls: Pack 1, which operates from the Heritage Christian Church in Warwick Neck, and Pack 4 in Gaspee in St. Peter’s Church.

A traditional organization with its roots in Britain, the Boy Scouts of America organization began in the U.S. in 1910. Its ranks include Steven Spielberg, who is an Eagle Scout. (“Once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout,” Bumgardner-Scheffler observed.) He achieved the cinematography merit badge, which sparked his interest in filmmaking.

Ross Perot and Gerald Ford were also Eagle Scouts, and John F. Kennedy was the first president to have been a Boy Scout.

The NCBSA serves 13,428 young people from Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts and southern Connecticut.

Bumgardner-Scheffler grew up in Independence, Missouri, where she started in the Girl Scouts while in elementary school. Her mother was her Scout group leader. She and her husband moved from Chicago to Rhode Island in 2015. The couple took a six-month lease on a place in Pawtucket, yet found themselves constantly on the road to Warwick.

“We were always coming to Warwick on weekends, so we looked for a place and moved to Warwick’s Oakland Beach neighborhood in 2016. I like living near the water now, too,” she said.

McCandless has no doubt that Bumgardner-Scheffler will be successful in her new role.

“She is a very competent and solid performer whom anyone would want on their team. During the national interview process, Tiffany stood out in terms of her confidence and her leadership style. She demonstrated that she would be committed to developing team members. Tiffany has no fear. She has confidence and is not afraid to tackle something new. Once she and I have communicated, she can take the ball and initiate the necessary steps to move forward with her staff,” said McCandless.

Like Bumgardner-Scheffler, McCandless has worked his entire career at the Boy Scouts of America since graduating from Colorado State University in 1987.

“We like to develop talent from within. We decided to do a national search for this position and had narrowed it to three candidates. I was thrilled and inspired at how Tiffany presented herself with poise and passion. It’s hard for people to argue with her because she has such a positive outlook on things. It is hard to think negative thoughts when she is part of the conversation,” said McCandless.

Author: LaurenLong

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