Local volunteer named VP for Michigan Scouting

By Brandon Kathman  District Executive

Scouting’s Michigan Crossroads Council has nominated and confirmed a local volunteer to serve as a vice president for Scouting in the state of Michigan.

Jennifer Sanker, a manager with General Dynamics, will now oversee “district operations,” supporting the volunteer leadership structures of 15 districts across the state. According to the council, Sanker previously served with distinction as chairwoman for Scouting’s local Pontiac-Manito District. During her tenure, Scouting in Oakland County weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing shutdowns, emerging with one of the best retention rates in the state.

“I would like to see us continue to grow and come back from the COVID situation,” Sanker said. “We want to re-engage people and bring them outdoors. I want to have all our districts experience that growth and that comeback” 

Sanker said her time with the movement began with her sons. Though she has received numerous honors for her work with young people, including the Silver Beaver Award, the highest honor local Councils can bestow, she said she is proudest of working with her own boys.

“I’ve had four boys go through the program. When they were still 16, they could stand up in front of a crowd and get them excited to do things,” Sanker said. “For me, that’s heartwarming.”

According to Sanker, the joy of watching young people grow made her stick around even after her children aged out of the program. Sanker said she especially enjoys working with youth in the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s honor society. She will remain an advisor with the Order of the Arrow’s local chapter.

With Sanker now serving at the council level, Dane Bezemek, a volunteer from the Holly Area, was selected to take her place as district chairman. Bezemek has served as a liaison between Scouting and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, one of their most critical chartering partners for local units.