American Legion’s National Eagle Scout of The Year – Michael Ankner’s Eagle Leadership Service Project at Denver Indian Center, Inc.

2017 DAC Enews Banners_600x144_All




Michael John Ankner of Denver is The American Legion’s Eagle Scout of the Year for 2018. The announcement was made May 10, to the National Executive Committee, during the Legion’s Spring Meetings in Indianapolis. He has received a $10,000 scholarship.

Michael Ankner, a member of Boy Scout Troop 199 in Denver, Colorado with over 35 business partners throughout the metro area, and over 1,000 volunteer hours enriched a cultural staple, the Denver Indian Center, Inc. (DICI), planted firmly since the 1980’s along the Morrison Road corridor in the diverse, changing Westwood community. Sixteen year old Michael Ankner, student at East High School and resident of the Park Hill neighborhood of Denver, hIMG_0433as planned, funded, and executed, as his Eagle Service Project, in conjunction with a vast array of partners, infrastructure consisting of a propane firepit and benches to support cultural transmission through storytelling, a xeriscape, low-maintenance garden to beautify the corridor, and a public space to display local American Indian art adorned by a culturally relevant glass mosaic.

This unique project is unusually large, requires diverse skills to accomplish the work, and requires over $18,000 be raised. Work was completed June 2017. The DICI held a dedication ceremony in September 2017, and was held in conjunction with Michael Ankner’s Eagle Scout ceremony at the Center located at 4407 Morrison Road, Denver, CO.

The Community

The Morrison Road corridor in West Denver, rich in cultural to a diverse number of ethnic groups, small business and community facilities, is ripe for growth with multiple new housing developments springing up, potential ballot measures investing in local infrastructure and streetscapes being cultivated, and a distinctive neighborhood emerging that welcomes new interest and commerce while enriching the lives of its residents.

The Denver Indian Center, Inc.

The DICI is situated on Morrison Road in the midst of several new housing developments being constructed.  The Indian Center is a cultural mecca for people from over 200 tribes, many originally displaced from government assimilation programs that encouraged removal of tribal people from their homelands and many suffering from economic plight and access to resources. Their mission is to empower American Indian youth, families and community through self-determination, cultural identity and education.  Its primary services are:

  • Community event center for powwows and other culturally-based activities.
  • Native Workforce Program.
  • Honoring Fatherhood Program.
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).
  • Programs for the Elders.
  • Daycare Program.
  • Holiday Celebrations.

American Indians are one of the fastest growing populations in Colorado and in the United States of America.  The American Indian population grew nearly 27% in the last ten years according to the U.S. Decennial Census.  One in 4 American Indians are unemployed and many live in poverty.

The DICI is highly aware that big change is coming to the Morrison Road and Westwood community and wants to be a good citizen and participant in this growth. As such, they are undergoing a significant street front face lift part of which integrates with their mission of cultural transmission across generational lines.

Trustee Meeting - May 18, 2017 jml_Page_1 a

The Eagle Candidate

A Scout must plan, fund, and execute a service project for a non-profit organization to obtain Eagle, the highest rank in scouting. The real purpose of an Eagle Scout Service Project is to teach leadership skills, not for the scout to do all the work. This project exemplifies this notion with over 35 businesses contributing from across the Denver metro-area, 1,350 volunteer hours, and approximately $18,000 in cash and material donations.

In addition to working on his Eagle Scout Service Project, Michael maintains A’s in all of his Honors and Advance Placement classes, plays club rugby and is on the Model United Nations team for East High School, and won first place in Denver Public School and fourth place in Colorado in the National History Day (NHD) senior paper competition. He will also serve this coming school year on the Kansas Federal Reserve Bank Student Advisory Board at their Denver location.

The Project

Michael’s Eagle Scout Service Project consists of three main components.

  • A propane fire pit and four benches veneered with natural stone providing the DICI a new place to have events where elders and other community members can share their stories in a traditional setting.

Trustee Meeting - May 18, 2017 jml_Page_2 a

  • Landscaping a 1,200 square feet area adjacent to the south side of the building to improve curbside appeal and welcome neighbors and members including replacing and improving an irrigation system, and planting low-maintenance, drought resistant, regional plants important to American Indians in the northern plains

Trustee Meeting - May 18, 2017 jml_Page_3 a

  • Repairing, decorating and repurposing an existing structure into an art kiosk to display art from child care programs.  Art display panels will be built, a culturally relevant glass mosaic will be designed and installed, and the existing structure will be repainted.

Trustee Meeting - May 18, 2017 jml_Page_4 a

The Partners

  • Denver Botanic Gardens
  • Mosaic Artist, Lisa Wasiecko
  • Lehrer Fireplace and Patio              
  • Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores
  • General Shale
  • Home Depot
  • Elite Rock Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply
  • JBlanco Enterprises Rockler’s Woodworking and Hardware
  • Aquacita, LLC Metal Supermarket Warehouse
  • DBC Irrigation Supply
  • Port Plastics
  • Rain Bird Corporation
  • Little Caesars Pizza
  • Alameda Wholesale Nursery, Inc.
  • King Soopers
  • Arbor Valley Wholesale Nursery
  • Einstein Brothers Bagels
  • Wilmore’s Nursery
  • Friends, Family, Park Hill Neighbors & Troop 199
  • Reusable Fiber

Trustee Meeting - May 18, 2017 jml_Page_5 a


Please contact Michael Ankner at

Denver Health Explorer Post

Exploring is an opportunity for young women and young men to gain real life career experience first-hand from businesses in their community! As a career education program, Exploring partners local businesses with youth, ages 14 – 20, in order to provide unique and exciting experiences that offer insight into the day to day operations of a multitude of careers. The Exploring program’s primary goal is to help young adults make more informed decisions about their future careers and whether a particular career is right for them. As an Explorer they will be able to have experiences that focus on: Career Opportunities, Life Skills, Leadership Experiences, Character Education and Citizenship. It is our hope that they can find out enough about a career before investing time, energy and money into pursuing training or a degree in that field.

A few of our outstanding partners that help make this program happen are; Denver Zoo, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver Health, Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital, Law Enforcement agencies across the Denver Metro Area, St. Anthony North Health Campus, Black & Veatch, Castle Rock Fire Department, and many more!

For our business partners, this is a recognized opportunity to address workforce retention, workforce development and invest in pre-on-the-job training for these potential future employees. Discover how the Denver Area Council Career Exploring program for high school students can add to your employees’ outlook, productivity, and assist the young people of our communities learn about your business and careers.

For more information about this program, to volunteer or sponsor a new Explorer Post, contact Elliot Chong at 720.266.2123  |

Key to Selling Popcorn: Shawn P. – Top Selling Scout for the Past Three Years

Shawn P. has been the top seller in the Denver Area Council for the past 3 years for the annual popcorn sale. Over the past three years Shawn has sold nearly $30,000 of popcorn, resulting in about $20,000 back to Scouting here in the Denver Area. Shawn started as Tiger Cub with Pack 848 in Westminster back in 2011. He worked his way through Cub Scouting and earned the highest rank, the Arrow of Light. In the spring on 2016, he crossed over into Boy Scout Troop 337 in Broomfield.

Shawn Prather_top popcorn sales 1

This year Shawn sold $10,725.00, last year $10,370.00 and the year before that $7,820.00. From working this hard he received $1,300.00 worth of Scout camping gear at the Denver Scout Shop, money in his college scholarship fund, paid for summer camp for those years, an iPad, a laptop, a robot, and an Xbox. He was also very excited to ride on the top of the stagecoach at the National Western Stock Show for Boy Scout Day and be announced that he sold the most popcorn in the Denver metro area for three years in a row. In school, Shawn play’s a saxophone in band. He also enjoys being in glee and acting in the school musicals.

Shawn Prather_top popcorn sales 2

Every fall between August and November, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts sell Trail’s End popcorn products for their annual fundraiser. The Trail’s End popcorn sale helps pay for local Scouting programs in communities all across the country, and Scouts enjoy a great return on their sale, with more than 73% of the purchase price going to fund local Scouting. In 2016, $2.4 million worth of popcorn was sold by Scouts in the Denver Area Council with over $1.6 million staying to support Scouting locally. Products offered in the popcorn sale include Trail’s End Microwave Popcorn, Caramel Corn with Almonds, Pecans & Cashews, Chocolatey Caramel Crunch, Gourmet Cheese Corn, and other quality treats.

The Scouts’ popcorn customers can donate Trail’s End products to our military men and women. More than $45 million of popcorn has been purchased and sent to members of the military. The Trail’s End Popcorn Program is also an important ingredient for leadership development and helps boys develop five key skills:  goal setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics. Many Boy Scout alumni credit programs like the Trail’s End Popcorn Program as the place they learned their early business skills.

For more information, contact Scot Fuller:

720.266.2126  |

Cole Hancock – William T. Hornaday Award Recipient


Soaring to New Heights: How an Eagle Scout’s Vision Transformed His Life and Community

 The Littleton community is blessed to have Eagle Scout, Cole Hancock, in their midst. From some people’s perspective, he may appear to be an average young man preparing for high school graduation. But for those that know Cole, the word average would never enter their minds. They are more likely to use the word extraordinary when describing Cole’s outlook on life and his unprecedented work in the community.

Cole earned his Eagle Scout medal when he was 14-years-old. His Eagle project included detailed planning and logistics, writing a grant and recruited volunteers. Under his leadership, 78 crabapple trees were planted in Littleton alongside a seven-mile loop.

Cole was far from done though. He had a new vision . . . earning the Boy Scouts’ prestigious William T. Hornaday Bronze Medal. The award is named in honor of the renowned conservationist and founder of the National Zoo.

Founded in 1889, the Zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex. Today, the Zoo sits on 163 acres in the heart of Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park and is home to more than 1,500 animals across 300 different species.

The Hornaday Medal required a total of four original projects which included educational components. Cole knew the rigorous work would hone his leadership skills and positively impact Littleton’s environment and natural eco-systems. Only 1200 Hornaday national medals have be awarded since 1914. Undaunted by the odds, Cole was determined to be recipient #1201. So, it was GAME ON!


Project #1 – Forestry & Range Management

Cole and his team of volunteers planted an additional 30 trees along the Littleton Crabapple Route, distributed 469 flyers to notify homeowners along the route and counted 6,727 crabapple trees in Littleton.

Cole 4

Project #2 – Soil and Water Conservation

Cole helped draft policy legislation to improve residents’ ability to conserve water. Legislators were successful in passing HB16-100 which made the collection of rooftop water legally permissible.

Cole 5

Project #3 – Hazardous Material Disposal and Recycling

Cole developed seven monofilament recycling containers at a local wildlife refuge. He created this eco-friendly system after seeing huge wads of fishing line strewn across the grounds and trees.

Cole 3

Project #4 – Invasive Plant Species Removal

Cole conceived and executed a plan to eradicate invasive and noxious weeds from the Bird Habitat Garden at Denver’s Audubon Society. With his leadership, volunteers established a flagstone pathway where visitors could observe birds in their natural habitat.

Cole 2

Cole is the first Denver-area Scout to earn the William T. Hornaday Bronze Medal. U.S. Representative, Mike Coffman, presented Cole with the Medal on March 6, 2017. “I feel optimistic about America when I’m you,” said Coffman.

This fall, Cole will attend the University of Pennsylvania’s Huntsman Program – a dual degree program between International Studies and the Wharton School of Business.

Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch St. Joes Regional Shower House


St. Joes Regional Shower House


OPENING: SUMMER 2017 (for camping season)

Construction has started on the St. Joes Regional Shower House at Camp Dobbins at  the Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch in Elbert, CO.  The 3,000 square foot wood framed, metal cladded facility will be accessible to adult leaders and camp staff, providing first class restroom and bathing facilities.  Also included is a new, enhanced meeting/program room, expanding the facilities available to campers and staff and providing new areas to work during inclement weather.


St Joes Shower House Floor Plan

Meet: Michael Fifhause, Director of Development, Boy Scouts of America, Denver Area Council


Michael Fifhause became the new Director of Development on April 1, 2017 for the Boy Scouts of America, Denver Area Council.  Mike is an Eagle Scout and recently served as the Director of Field Services and Chief Operating Officer in the Aloha Council in Honolulu for the past three years.  Previously he served in the William Boyce Council in Peoria, Illinois in various positions including the Director of Development for seven years and Finance Director for three years.  Mike and his wife, Lyndzie, have twin girls who are seven years old.

Contact Michael at:

Meet: Robert Nakagawa, Deputy Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America, Denver Area Council

Robert-Nakagawa-DAC-Deputy-Scout-ExecutiveRobert Nakagawa started as the new Deputy Scout Executive on April 1, 2017 for the Boy Scouts of America, Denver Area Council.  Robert is an Eagle Scout with an extensive Scouting career.  He recently served as the Scout Executive for the Maui County Council in Wailuku, Hawaii. In his seven years as Scout Executive, Robert worked to stabilize the Council’s finances, raised $3.5 million towards property improvements, and helped increase service in the rural and remote areas of the Pacific.  Previously Robert served in various positions in the Aloha Council in Honolulu for eleven years.  In this position, Robert helped revitalize the Pacific Basin Scouting program while managing staff and volunteers across five time zones on thirteen different islands.  Robert and his wife, Becky, have four children, between the ages of four and ten years old.

Contact Robert Nakagawa at

LeAP Builds Character and Honor at the University of Denver’s Lincoln Park Bridge Project

The Denver Area Council (DAC) Leadership Assistance Program (LeAP) was launched in 2012, bringing the Boy Scout program to youth in the Denver metro area who are affected by economic and social issues. Participating communities include Denver, Westminster, Thornton, Lakewood, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Sheridan, Idaho Springs, Commerce City, and Aurora. Today LeAP partners with 98 schools, churches and community organizations and includes over 2,000 young people.   Part of the 98 programs include 12 special needs and 1 incarcerated unit. The leadership Assistance Program serves youth 6 to 20-year-old youth. LeAP does Cub Scouts for boys 6 to 10 1/2, Boy Scout 11 to 18, and Venturing for boys and girls 14 to 20. The leadership Assistant Program has three full-time Professional and 27 part-time Program Aides.

Many LeAP participants come from families that are struggling to make ends meet and are often identified as At-Risk youth. LeAP participants benefit from a structured, after-school or community center based programs which offers a safe space and engaging activities for one hour a week. The Denver Area Council (DAC) hires and trains adult leaders to provide Scouting program. LeAP Program Aides deliver the scouting program which instills the Boy Scout Oath, Law and is building good character traits. LeAP delivers a tradition scouting program in a modified version.  Each Scout earns advancement.

The Bridge Project was created in 1991. It began as a collaboration between community representatives and the Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver’s faculty members. The mission of the Bridge Project is to provide a path for youth living in Denver’s public housing neighborhoods to graduate from high school and attend college or choose a vocation. Young people are presented with unique educational opportunities and encouraged to develop life skills as well as self-sufficiency. The Program’s three components include distinct opportunities for children, youth and parents. With over 25 years of service to the Denver community, the Bridge Project has positively impacted over 10,000 students.

Sergio Colmenero, Lincoln Park Bridge Project Site Director, remembers growing up in some of Denver’s public housing neighborhoods. Back in those days, after-school programs were virtually non-existent. In 1999, he began working for the Project as a summer camp coordinator. Throughout the years, he has served in various leadership capacities which include being Scoutmaster for the Program’s four sites.

The Denver Area Council and Sergio have worked together on establishing the Boy Scout program at Lincoln Park. The Council finances 100% of the programs’ costs. “Boy Scout activities help young people build character and encourage them to give back to their community,” says Sergio. He sees how the lessons learned impact their decisions. “We’ve had some fundraisers where the boys and girls want to give the money to the poor instead of keeping it for themselves.”

LeAP provides activities the for-Scouting family, LeAP has six all city pack meetings which includes the parents and sibling. LeAP’s summer activities include camp outs for older youth, Day Camp for the Cub Scouts, and Family Camp for all LeAP participants and their family. LeAP’s special needs units attended Learning for Life Special Needs Adventure Day at Sloan’s Lake and a Fishing Derby at Cherry Creek Lake State Park.

For more information about this program, contact Bob Williams

720.266.2136 |

Meet and Greet with the Consul General of Japan Makoto Ito.

DSC06382Clarence Low, President of the Asian Chamber of Commerce (pictured on the right) and a member of the Denver Area Council’s Community Alliances for All Markets committee arranged a meeting with the Consul General of Japan in Denver Makoto Ito.

Clarence Low is a proud father of an Eagle Scout and is working with the Denver Area Council to bring Scouting programs to additional youth and families of Metro Denver.

The Denver Area Council was represented by John Cabeza, Scout Executive and Joe Farrell of the council staff who met this week with the Consul General to begin to further relationships and provide Scouting programs to Denver’s Asian community.


A Klondike Centennial or Valley Will Not Forget

Klondike_16-11On a cold and windy Saturday morning, Scouts from Valley & Centennial Districts woke to start their Klondike derby.
This is an annual event and held by the Denver Area Council Districts during the winter months. The Klondike derbies are based on the heritage of the Klondike Gold Rush. Boy Scout units have been conducting their Klondike derbies since 1949, and they may differ in what is planned, but the typical Klondike derby consists of several stations. These stations test patrols/units, Scouts skills and their leadership abilities. Some of this year’s stations were fire building, and a sled race, both were huge draws during the Klondike_16-15derby. Life Scout Parker who is the Senior Patrol Leader stated that the sled race, “allowed us to be a team and when you cross the finish line you know you made it as a team and there is no better feeling”. I would say that the combined Klondike was a great success and both Districts showed their stuff and did great during the stations. But there can be only one winner during the derby. For the first time ever the father Dyer “Ski” a prized trophy given to the winner of the District Klondike from Centennial District will find a new District home in Valley District who was the winner the combined District Klondike derby.