Adventure & Opportunity
Since its founding in 1910, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has been training youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through a variety of programs that involve outdoor activities, service projects, and educational and career-oriented programs. The Rancho Coastal District – part of the San Diego Imperial Council – offers Scouting opportunities for everyone, serving both boys and girls in the Carmel Valley, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, and Carlsbad areas. Join our conversation with Rancho Coastal District Commissioner Dennis Chodorow to learn more about how local Scouting programs instill lifelong values and prepare young people for the future.
Q & A with Dennis Chodorow, Rancho Coastal District Commissioner
Can you give us a brief overview of Boy Scouts?
Our vision is to be recognized within the communities we serve as the premier youth organization. The program will have dramatic effect on the youth, adult leadership, and families we serve – building strong communities with more caring citizens.
What is the organizational structure of Boy Scouts in San Diego?
The San Diego Imperial Council is led by a Council President, a Scout Executive, and a Council Commissioner who work with a council board to oversee the Scouting programs serving the youth in San Diego and Imperial Counties. A similar structure is replicated in 12 sub-districts to serve families in Scouting.
Can you tell us about the Rancho Coastal District?
The Rancho Coastal District is one of 12 districts within the San Diego Imperial Council. Our district stretches from Carmel Valley to Oceanside and from Rancho Santa Fe to the sea.
What is your role within the organization? How long have you been in this role?
I am currently the District Commissioner for the Rancho Coastal District since July 1, 2016.
Dennis M. Chodorow At-A-Glance
Name: Dennis M. Chodorow
Position: District Commissioner
Education: Bachelors of Science from Woodbury University
Family: Wife Kurtina, six children, nine grandchildren, and Spike the dog
Hobbies and Interests: Crossword puzzles, reading, and spending time with family
What is the most rewarding part of what you do? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of working with scouts is seeing their maturity and achievements in earning ranks toward becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest rank a scout can earn. The most challenging is getting parents involved and getting them to participate.
What are the short-term and long-term goals for the district?
The short-term goals are getting various district positions filled by adult volunteers. The long-term goals are to provide good programs for the scouts and continue teaching them proper values.
What is the motivation for a child to join Boy Scouts? What are some unique experiences or opportunities available through scouting?
There is no other program in this city, state, or country that teaches young boys and girls about respect for the outdoors, conservation, our environment, first aid, how to camp, and cooperation and services to others, in home, school, and community.
Rancho Coastal District At-A-Glance
Number of Scouts: 1,309 youth
Number of Troop Leaders: 658 adults
Areas Served: Carmel Valley, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, and Carlsbad
Phone: San Diego Imperial Council Service Center, 619-298-6121
Mission: The mission of The Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout oath and law.
How does one go about joining a troop?
Any person who is interested in joining Scouts can contact our District Executive, Jeff Boswell, at 760-689-8268 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What ages can participate in the program? Please describe the different levels of Boy Scouts by grade.
Cub Scouts are open to all boys and girls ranging in age from 5 to 11. Scouts are open to boys and girls from ages 10½ to 18.
Can you tell us a bit about the individual troops in the 92130 area?
There are a number of Packs (Cub Scouts) and Troops (Scouts). There are four Packs within Carmel Valley – Packs 734, 720, 765, and 766. Troops are represented by 713, 765, and 766.
Tell us about some of the recent achievements of your district’s members.
I am proud to say that in the past 10 years, six individuals from our district have earned the Council’s highest honor, The Silver Beaver.
Are there any annual or upcoming events in which the Rancho Coastal District takes part?
Our district conducts monthly Round Tables for our adult leaders, where various Scouting topics are discussed and information and literature disseminated for their benefit. We also participate in the council’s Annual Scout Fair. In April we invite all Scouting troops in our district to participate in our Camporee for three days and two nights, where the troops show off their skills in cooking, first aid, teamwork, and other areas of expertise. It also gives the scouts an opportunity to meet other scouts from their community and in many cases the same schools. We also have a district dinner where we acknowledge adults for their work within the units and for the scouts and award the District Award of Merit to the outstanding district leader.
Does the Rancho Coastal District need volunteers? How can community members get involved?
Like any organization, we are always looking for volunteers. Cub Scouts earn belt loops for various achievements and Scouts earn Merit Badges. Qualified leaders are always needed to help out in these areas.
If you could grant the district one wish, what would it be?
I would love to have parents give their son or daughter the opportunity to get involved in Scouting. In our district, most of the children are involved in youth sports, music lessons, student activities, and other areas of after-school programming. Scouting teaches life skills. These young people should be allowed to try Scouting.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
All my responses are based on both Cub Scouts and Scouts. Beginning in 2019, because of the admittance of girls to the program, BSA kept the name Cub Scouts for the younger kids and dropped the name Boy Scouts to Scouts.