Over the past few decades, David Pickler has supported the local scouting movement by developing, organizing, and executing plans that have raised over $10,000,000 in operations and capital support. He has also personally donated over $500,000 to the Council over the years and has been recognized by the Boy Scouts of America for his leadership and service over the past quarter century with the Silver Beaver Award.
CHICKASAW COUNCIL, BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
David Pickler became involved with Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in 1990 when his son Chris, who would eventually become an Eagle Scout, earning an impressive 100 merit badges, joined Cub Pack 368 as a Tiger Cub. David immediately volunteered to be Assistant Cub Master, supporting Joe Keohane in his efforts to encourage and shape the young troop into engaged and responsible citizens. Upon Joe’s job change and exit from the position, David became Cub Master, unlocking a future of scouting and leadership excellence.
Cub Pack 368 was the region’s largest pack with over 120 boys. Not only was it the largest in size, but it was the largest in fundraising impact.
After four years, Chris transitioned into Boy Scout Troop 368 and so did David, serving as an Assistant Scout Master. In this new role, David planned all of the weekend excursions, putting his passion for community service to practice for his community’s next generation of leaders. David served in this role from 1997-2005 and organized annual high-adventure camping experiences including scuba diving at Sea Base in Florida, canoeing 100 miles on the Canadian boundary waters in Minnesota, and participating in the ultimate scout trek at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico, as well as two National Jamborees.
As David became more active in his son’s scouting life, he found himself becoming even more involved with the District and Council, when, in 1995, he joined the Executive Council Board. For 25 years, David would serve on the board with passion and purpose. David also served on staff for three National Jamborees: 1997, 2001, and 2005.
David was eventually asked to chair the Council’s Friends of Scouting fundraising campaign with an annual budget of well over $1 million.
In the summer of 1998, when David was serving on the board of the local Chickasaw Council executive board when the council president and a Scouting executive approached me with the unique challenge of resurrecting the Scout Base event that had, at the time, been defunct for a few years.
Agreeing to this monumental challenge and collaborating with Council District Executive Phil Shipley, David decided to pursue and create an event that was completely refreshed and revised. After building a team of 40 of the best and brightest volunteers across the district, they were ready to pursue their goal.
David secured the Navy base for Scout Base 2000 as well as significant resources and volunteer personnel for the massive event. In October 2000, Scout Base 2000 launched with massive success at the new naval support activity campus. This event generated positive revenue for the council, becoming the largest revenue contributor to the council budget.
Because of the events of September 11th, 2001, the next Scout Base event was hosted in Millington, Tennessee, outside of the Navy Base, in 2002. Attended by 2,500 Scouters and scouts, the event was an enormous success.
In 2001, David was honored with the Golden Eagle Award. In 2002, David received the District Award of Merit and, in the same year, became a distinguished James E. West Fellow.
In 2004, under David’s leadership, Scout Base was moved to Tunica, Mississippi at the Paul Battle Arena. The event attracted attention all over the country when more than 6,000 Scouters, scouts, venders and exhibitors attended, representing 20 states. Again, it was a huge success.
In 2008, David and his team hosted well over 15,000 Scouters and scouts representing every state in the union. Scouting magazine did a feature article proclaiming it “Scouting at its best.” They provided scouts with incredible experiences including listening to Native American folklore and learning about aircraft mechanics. They even got to see the Navy’s elite parachute unit, the Leap Frogs, perform.
David and his team achieved their goal to create and deliver a National-Jamboree quality event that brought the magic of Scouting to thousands of young Scouts and Scouters throughout the Mid-South. A primary focus for the events was to deliver Scouting programs to underserved and inner-city Scouts.
Over the years, David has been invited to be the keynote speaker at numerous fundraising events for other councils across the country including the Good Scout Luncheon in Abilene, Texas.
Through his tireless work spanning over three decades, David has raised over $10,000,000 in operations and capital support, and personally donated over $500,000 to the Council. He has also been recognized as a James E. West Fellow, and was awarded the Golden Eagle Award, the District Award of Merit, and the Silver Beaver Award.
The David A. Pickler Council Ring
Because of David’s devotion to Scouting and the leadership he displayed for decades, the Chickasaw Council recognized him with the David A. Pickler Council Ring in Camp Currier, just East of Tunica. The Council Ring is the main arena for all of the camp’s activities and ceremonies, and a beautiful place of reverence and significance. The area’s scouters’ most significant events will occur in the confines of this ring.
On October 21, 2023, Casey Norwood, CEO & Scout Executive at BSA Chickasaw Council, honored David with a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the David A. Pickler Council Ring. This momentous event drew together hundreds of scouts, as well as their friends and family, to commemorate this special occasion. During the ceremony, David made a commitment to contribute $1,000 towards the purchase of brand-new BB guns for the scouts at Camp Currier. The evening concluded with a celebratory bonfire, where attendees of all generations joined in the celebration.