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by mark ray WHAT I’VE LEARNED


Rebecca Feng This Scouter speaks Scout parents’ language.


FactSheet Rebecca Feng


YEARS AS A SCOUT LEADER: 9


CURRENT CITY: Saratoga, Calif.


CURRENT POSITIONS: Unit commissioner and Order of the Arrow associate chapter advisor


DAY JOB: Test engineer, Anritsu


FAVORITE CAMPS:Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island. “That’s a beautiful place. It’s better to go there to camp than on a cruise.”


PROUDEST MOMENT IN SCOUTING: “When both my sons ended up getting their Eagle badges in the same court of honor.”


REBECCA FENG ARRIVED IN Scouting relatively late. When her sons joined Cub Scouting, Cedric was a fifth- grader and Etienne was a third-grader. Feng quickly made up for lost time, becoming Etienne’s Webelos den leader during his second year. Since then, she has served in a host of unit and district positions. She has chaired troop, crew and post com- mittees, served as a unit commissioner and round- table staff member, and twice participated in the district nominating process. At one point, in fact, she held six dif- ferent Scouting jobs. The units Feng has


served are chartered to the Chinese American Scouting Association (CASA), a group that supports both Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting units in the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council. A first-generation American (she arrived during high school), Feng knows firsthand the unique challenges of serving


immigrant communities.


IT’S AMAZING THAT YOU’RE NOT BURNED OUT, CONSIDERING HOW INVOLVED YOU’VE RECENTLY BEEN. I think the key is to have some balance. Have some time for your family and also some time for yourself.


12 SCOUTING ¿  


I like to run, so I just put a goal out there: do a marathon. That kind of gave me something else to focus on.


DID YOU FINISH? I did, and it was pouring rain! I was happy there were so many crazy people running with me.


ANY OTHER ADVICE FOR AVOID- ING BURNOUT? Know yourself. If you know you don’t like to do certain things, don’t say yes to them. For example, I don’t like to organize, to be an event chair. Whenever somebody asks me to do that, I say, “I don’t think so.” I wouldn’t do the job as well as I would like, it would stress me out and it would keep the posi- tion from somebody else that would really love it.


SHIFTING GEARS, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN REACHING IMMIGRANT FAMILIES? When they come from China or Taiwan, their mindset is a little different. Academics is very, very important to them. They’re worried their kids are going to be behind.


SO THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT SCOUTING CAN SUPPLEMENT ACADEM- ICS? Many parents are concerned that Scouting would take the focus and time away from academics, as Scouting takes a lot of time.


HOW DO YOU COMMUNICATE THE VALUE OF SCOUTING TO THEM? We have Scouts talk to them, Scouts who can say, “I’m a valedictorian” or “I have straight A’s” or “It’s not going to take away from your goal.”


WHAT ELSE WORKS IN REACHING IMMI- GRANT PARENTS? Reach out to them. Do things by baby steps. Don’t try to preach a lot to them. Go slow. Make the bond first with the new parents. Once you have the relationship and communication, it’s easier to change their minds.


MELISSA BARNES


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