Year of the Volunteer—Central Region
Just a year out of college, Keith Gehlhausen became Scoutmaster of his old Boy Scout troop in Evansville, Indiana. Since then, he has gone on to mentor hundreds of Boy Scouts, Venturers, and Scouting volunteers as a Wood Badge and Powder Horn trainer, as a Philmont Training Center faculty member, and as a regional Venturing chair.
Although Keith Gehlhausen left his hometown of Evansville, Indiana, to attend college, he never quite left Boy Scout Troop 312. During summer breaks, he served as an assistant Scoutmaster. Within a year after graduation, he became the troop’s Scoutmaster. Two decades later, he still serves on the troop committee.
“I really believe that my Scoutmaster and my parents, who were active with the troop, left a legacy,” Gehlhausen said. “That legacy was me becoming involved as an adult leader and passing that down to the youth that I serve now.”
Involvement in Boy Scouting only begins to describe Gehlhausen’s contribution to Scouting. He has helped start six additional units—three of which spun off from his old troop—and has been instrumental in the growth of Venturing in the Central Region. During his time as regional Venturing chair, the region has enjoyed 23 consecutive months of Venturing membership growth and developed a Venturing Web site that receives over 110,000 visitors a year.
In the past 12 years, Gehlhausen has trained hundreds of young people and adult leaders at Wood Badge, Powder Horn, Sea badge, Kodiak, Philmont Training Center, and other training courses. Most recently, he helped spearhead the creation of the University of Evansville Scouting Scholarship, a $55,000 scholarship for recipients of the Eagle Scout Award, Venturing Silver Award, Sea Scouting Quartermaster Award, and Girl Scout Gold Award.
“What defines Keith Gehlhausen is his enthusiasm for, commitment to, and understanding and love of the Scouting and Venturing programs,” said Assistant Regional Director Joseph Vollmer. “During his tenure as Central Region Venturing Chairman, Keith’s untiring efforts on behalf of Venturing and Sea Scouting have impacted thousands of young adults not only in the Central Region but across the entire country.”
Gehlhausen and his wife take seriously their responsibility as mentors and role models. They remember in particular one Scout who was struggling to finish his Eagle Scout requirements. When the Scout’s father berated him in their presence, saying his son couldn’t possibly become an Eagle Scout, the Gehlhausens redoubled their efforts to help him. Thanks to them, the Scout succeeded. “He’s a good kid,” Gehlhausen said. “He’s in college now, and he’s going to turn out great.”