Great Alaska Council Program Realignment

Redesign of Great Alaska Council District Structure

The Great Alaska Council (GAC) has been serving the youth of Alaska for many years.  As time went on the Council organized itself by geographical districts (Bear Paw, Denali, Eklutna, Maritime, Totem, and Tustumena), which met the needs of youth residing within those boundaries with support from the GAC professional staff.  In more recent years, two other “districts” were added, that being our Exploring District and STEM Scouts, both of which serve Scouts not in one geographical location but across Alaska.

Scouting has seen many changes in recent years.  This generation has seen the addition of Lions & Tigers (serving kindergarten and first grade) to the Cub Scouting Program and most recently the development of a family-centered Scouting program that includes girls.  While these changes have the potential for growth in program participation, we have also seen a move away from Scouting by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) that significantly impacted our membership and number of chartered units.  Fiscal management dictated that an adjustment in professional and support staffing was needed to maintain a balance between revenue and expenditures. 

It is with the conditions listed above that our Council convened the Polaris Project Committee.  Their task was to review the effectiveness of the GAC district organizational structure and to determine if current conditions warrant any change as well as to determine if the program in place is structured to best serve our GAC youth today.  The committee was tasked with finding a path forward, which leveraged the strength of a smaller professional staff and solid volunteer partnership, to guide our program for the foreseeable future.  Rather than limiting their thinking to current organizational structure, the committee was given latitude to think outside the box by letting that which is best for our Scouters be their guide.

After several meetings, the Polaris Project Committee recommended a fresh redesign of the current district structure.  The plan was shared with the Executive Committee at its September 18, 2019 meeting.  The Executive Committee voted unanimously to forward the recommendation to the GAC Board of Directors at their October 9, 2019 meeting.  After considerable discussion, the GAC Board of Directors approved the recommendation to move forward with the proposed redesign set forth by the Polaris Project Committee.  The Board also approved the date the plan would officially take effect; that being Saturday, February 15, 2020 at the annual Business Board of Directors meeting.

In this redesign, the organization will be program-centric, that is, rather than using geographical lines which created districts, the lines will be drawn by program elements and called Teams (the Family Cub Scouting Team and the Scouting BSA Team).  This provides an exciting opportunity to focus on key programs for growth with all current volunteer talent. The one exception will be the Southeast Alaska districts (Maritime and Totem) will merge into one traditional district under a new name of their choosing.  The new Southeast Alaska District may ultimately transition to the Team model at a later date (allowing time to study options for full engagement of our Southeast Alaskan Scouters).  The attached organizational chart provides the detail envisioned by the Polaris Project. 


File Name Description
BSA Org. Chart 01.15.20.pdf Download