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Southern Region Director Receives Key to City

Ponce Duran Creating Leadership Legacy through the Scouting movement

by Angel Martinez for the Alamo Area BSA: April 22, 2015

Responsible for 90 Councils in 13 states, the Southern Region Director for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), Ponce Duran, began his career as a District Executive (DE) in the Rio Grande Valley over 35 years ago.  On Tuesday, April 7, 2015, the Mayor of the Rio Grande Valley City of Harlingen, Texas, Chris Boswell, recognized the leadership and multiple accomplishments of a man well respected.   From his humble beginnings to being presented the Key to the City that many in his family still call home, Mr. Duran still exhibits a calm excitement from having the privilege to serve his community through the Scouting movement. 

"In 1980, I became the district executive in my first District.  Two weeks ago, I was given the Key to the city of Harlingen!  Pretty cool!" exclaimed Ponce Duran from his Facebook page.

It's pretty cool, indeed!  A quick review of the career highlights found within the Proclamation accompanying the key given to Mr. Duran makes me want to cheer for him if he ever decided to run as a more-than-qualified candidate for Congress or even as a Presidential candidate.  Here are some highlights:

  • Earned Scouting's highest rank, Eagle Scout, and also Vigil Honor member of Order of the Arrow
  • University of Texas Pan American graduate, B.A. in Political Science
  • Led nation in percentage membership growth in 1978 while working as DE at Rio Grande Council in Harlingen, TX
  • Developed programs for non-profit management and leadership careers as Executive Director of the American Humanics Program for the National BSA Staff at UT Pan American.
  • Grew the San Diego, California Council's membership into the 12th largest in the Nation from 1985-1991 as Director of Field Service
  • Recognized as "Turnaround" Council in 1998 while serving as Scout Executive in Tucson, Arizona by eliminating $200,000 in debt and securing $14 million in deferred endowment commitments.
  • Increased membership by 51% in seven years and led a $10.1 million capital campaign while serving as Scout Executive at the Alamo Area Council in San Antonio, TX
  • Increased  membership by 10 percent, net-worth by $3.5 million, and launched a $90 million capital and endowment campaign while serving as Scout Executive at one of the Nation's largest Boy Scout Councils in Dallas, TX
  • Cultivated the largest single gift to a BSA Council of $25 million
  • Led the Region with the highest growth of Latino youth in the nation in 2011, increasing the number of Councils with growth and has developed innovative programs to deliver support to local Councils
  • First Hispanic Executive Director of Major Metropolitan Council
  • First Hispanic Region Director
  • Ponce Duran, Jr Day created on April 7, 2015 by City of Harlingen

Comments on social media upon the posting of this honor could be summed up by the words from Bob Myers, a performance coach at BSA, "Ponce, you have impacted more lives than you could ever imagine.  Congratulations!"

Ernie Gonzalez Jr, Chief Operating Officer/Director of Field Service for the Boy Scouts of America, Alamo Area Council in San Antonio reflected proudly on his early Scouting days and how grateful he is for Mr. Duran's leadership, "I was a Cub Scout in Brownsville (Texas) then...Thank you for your service!"

In a national survey conducted by the Pew Research CenterExternal Link,  three-fourths of Hispanics say their community needs a leader but most Latinos cannot name one.

As a fifth generation Texas Mexican American from South Texas, now in my fourth year of serving youth as a Communications / Marketing Director in San Antonio, I am moved by and applaud the man I call my boss's boss's boss.  

There have been some truly remarkable Hispanic leaders in our time and times before, but there is a need for us to find the next generation of leaders in the Latino community.  Regardless of race, there is also a need for overall great leadership to continue the traditions and values of Scouting to serve our communities and our great nation.  As the Southern Region Director impacting literally millions of youth and by himself serving as a role model, It seems Ponce Duran is creating a leadership legacy through the Scouting movement that helps reach out to both needs. 

About the Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be “Prepared. For Life.®” The Scouting organization is composed of nearly 2.4 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and approximately 960,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit www.scouting.orgExternal Link.

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