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Eagle Scout | Spotlight

Eagle Scout Spotlight is a weekly blog post highlighting individuals who have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Eagles are given a set of prepared questions in writing and they respond to them as they see fit.  Responses may be edited for spelling mistakes, but they are the words and thoughts of each Eagle Scout.

Do you know of an Eagle Scout that should be spotlighted or have a question you want to ask future spotlights?  Visit our request form to share.

Spotlight: Rick Pickering

Rick with Eagle Scout sons
Rick at Josh’s Eagle ceremony in 2013, along with Eagle Scout sons Nick and Chris.

This week’s spotlight is with Distinguished Eagle Scout Rick Pickering. Rick is currently the CEO of the California Exposition and State Fair and lives near Sacramento. Before moving, Rick was an active member of the San Francisco Bay Area Council’s leadership, serving in positions such as Council Board Chairman, Council President, and Council Commissioner, to name a few. His scouting career started as a Cub Scout and spent time as a Boy Scout in both the San Francisco Bay Area Council and Mount Diablo Council, ultimately earning his Eagle Scout with Troop 89 of Pittsburg. A Vigil member of the Order of the Arrow, Rick served as the Lodge Chief for OO-YUM-BULI of then Mount Diablo Council. In 2010 the Boy Scouts of America recognized him with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. Rick served as an Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 941 of Pleasanton, where all three of his sons achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.

People are always watching how you lead, how you follow, and how you help others along the way.  The moto “Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle!” requires that I live by a set of core values.

Rick Pickering

Are you a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award, NESA Distinguished Service Award, or Adams Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award, or a member of the NESA Legacy Society?

Recipient of the National Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 2010 (San Francisco Bay Area Council.) Became an Eagle Scout with Crossed Palms in 1975 (Mt Diablo Council.)

Eagle Fact
The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (DESA) was established in 1969, and is NESA’s highest honor. You can learn more about the award and read the citation that accompanied Rick’s award on our Distinguished Eagle Scout Award page.

Are there other Scouting or Non-Scouting awards or recognitions you would like to mention?

  • Silver Beaver
  • National Vigil Honor (Youth)
  • Lodge Chief OO-YUM-BULI Lodge 468 (Mt Diablo Council)
  • Host Lodge, W3A Conclave at Treasure Island
  • “Most Indian Lodge” recognition for 3 years
  • Council Board Chairman, Council President & Council Commissioner (SFBAC)
  • Council Friends of Scouting Chair (SFBAC)
  • District Chair and District Award of Merit (Twin Valley District)
  • Boy Scout Wood Badge & Wood Badge Staff (Mt Diablo Council)
  • Wolfeboro Pioneer
  • God & Country (Youth & Adult)
  • Various Training Awards & Scouting Knots
  • Attended BSA National Annual Meetings as a Voting Delegate
  • Assistant Scoutmaster & Assistant Crew Advisor (T941 & C941)
  • Helped plan and completed 10 “50 Mile” Backpacking Treks
  • Hall of Fame inductee, Western Fairs Association.
  • International speaker and trainer on Fairs and Festivals.
  • Service on numerous nonprofit Boards and industry Boards.
  • University Trustee (William Jessup University)

Tell us a little bit about you…

I now reside in Carmichael, California (near Sacramento) with my wife of 39 years, Dawn.  We are proud and humbled that all three of our sons are Eagle Scouts from Troop 941 (Chris, Nick & Josh Pickering.)
My Scouting journey began as a Cub and Webelos in Texas, before moving to Oakland, CA and joining Troop 359.  Later we moved to Pittsburg, CA and I joined Troop 89. 

My first Merits Badges were earned at Camp Royeneh, and then more at the Wente Scout Reservation.  Greatly enjoyed serving seven summers on Staff at Camp Wolfeboro.  I’ve also conducted numerous events and training programs at Camp Hermes and Rancho Los Mochos.

Masters Degree from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Biola University.

I’m currently employed as the CEO of the California Exposition and State Fair in Sacramento, CA.  Previously worked at the Alameda County Fairgrounds and the Orange County Fairgrounds.  My first career was in City Management in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.  Becoming the District Chair for Twin Valley got me back involved in Scouting as an adult.  When my sons joined Troop 941, I quickly became an Assistant Scoutmaster and then Assistant Crew Advisor.

When and where did you earn your Eagle Scout?

Eagle Scout Rank was awarded on April 11,1975, Troop 89, Pittsburgh, CA, at age 16.  (Mt Diablo Council, Delta District.)  Crossed Silver Palms.

What did you do for your Eagle Project?

My Eagle project was building a 10-Position Pistol Shooting facility at the Pittsburgh Outdoor Shooting Range.  This included grading the ground and backstop area, pouring the concrete firing line, building target support frames out of wood, setting metal poles in cement to support shade coverings, and landscaping the general area.

In 2010, Rick hosted the area’s “100th Anniversary of Scouting” at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, CA. Do you know where your Unit camped in this photo?

Did you have a favorite merit badge(s)? Did any merit badges(s) lead to a hobby or profession?

My favorites were First Aid, Emergency Preparedness and Lifesaving.  These coupled with the three Citizenship Merit Badges are used in my daily profession.

Do you recall an experience or situation that being or becoming an Eagle Scout aided you in?

My Eagle Scout experience is something I rely on daily in my profession and in my volunteer work.  Planning, executing, evaluating, refining, building new plans, etc, was just as key to being a good Senior Patrol Leader and OA Lodge Chief as it is today in my role as a CEO.  Setting goals, measuring progress, and building strong relationships is paramount to success.

Overseeing a Police Department and millions of patrons each year, I deal with unusual emergency situations on a regular basis.  My Scouting background helps me to be prepared ahead of time and pre-plan how to address emergencies.  

What is the greatest personal asset you developed while earning your Eagle Scout or from being an Eagle in the greater community? How has this asset contributed towards personal fulfillment and success in your professional or personal life?

Since I lead an organization that hosts more than 3 million attendees across some 100 events each year, “Being Prepared” is more than a catch phrase, it’s a way of life.  As an Eagle you are a marked man or woman.  People are always watching how you lead, how you follow, and how you help others along the way.  The moto “Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle!” requires that I live by a set of core values.

Having been a leader on more than 50 backpacking treks, I’ve learned the importance of carrying your own weight, carrying group gear, and helping others who are less experienced.  Always ask for advice from others who have already hiked the trail. This is as key on the trail as it is in leading an organization.  We don’t get to the top of a mountain or the top of an organization without the help of others.  You also have to have the “grit and fortitude” to set out on a path and stick with it no matter how hard it may seem.

Rick at Philmont in 2003, along with NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award recipient Calvin Masuda.

If you could add a thirteenth point to the scout law, what would it be?

Thirteenth Point could be: A Scout is “Adaptable” or a “Peacemaker.”  

Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?

As Eagle Scouts, we each know we are regularly expected by others to set the example and lead the way. Whether it’s our families, our friends, our co-workers, our communities, our religious institutions, our Nation, etc, – people expect us to lead them. Try not to let this become a burden, but instead seek to be rejuvenated by having fun along life’s journey with the people we enjoy spending time with.  Remember to smile, laugh, pray, and don’t sweat the small stuff –it’s all small stuff when you keep the perspective that your faith and your family is the big stuff.

Rick with Family
Dawn Pickering with her four Eagle Scouts: Josh, Rick, Chris and Nick.

To quote Forest Witcraft, “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” The most important child you can invest in is your own, then your neighbors, then your community’s and so on…. Each life you touch, in-turn touches another, and they too touch another – so no act of kindness is too small.

Eagle Service Project Map

Have you completed an Eagle Service Project in the GGAC or one of it’s legacy councils?

Eagle Service Project Map

Coming Soon: Eagle Mentoring Panels

GGAC NESA Committee will host one-hour virtual panel / mentoring discussions to connect new Eagle Scouts, and Star and Life scouts, with industry leaders and older Eagle Scouts. Stay tuned for me details.

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