welcome to the super bowl of sportfishing! it pays to play! observer information bts leg #1 harbour island, bahamas bts leg #2 bermuda where the granders lurk! bts leg #3 us virgin islands
Article - April 2006


Executive Director
VI Council, Boy Scouts of America

By Carol Bareuther


He's never been to the Virgin Islands before and has yet to catch his first marlin, but Matt Holmes, the newly hired executive director of the Virgin Islands Council of the Boy Scouts of America, says he can't wait to get his feet wet in his new job.

Born and raised in north central Kansas, Holmes entered the world of Scouting by working summers as camp staff during his teenage years. He then attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney where he majored in recreational management. "I thought I'd work in parks and recreation," Holmes says, "but then I had the opportunity to work with the Boy Scouts full time."

As one of 3,500 professional Scouters nationwide, Holmes started off his full-time career in 1993 by running a Boy Scout camp. He then progressed to other administrative positions in Kansas and most recently, Illinois. "My role as a scout professional was to provide support for the local unit - Cub packs and Boy Scout troops - by recruiting new Scouts and adult volunteers, raising money to support Scouting programs, and plan and coordinate programs for multiple Scout units."

Photo Left - Travis Morrison welcomes Matt to the Virgin Islands.

Last fall, Holmes continues, "I was at a place in my career where I was being considered for a promotion. The opportunity to become CEO of the Boy Scouts in the Virgin Islands became available. I interviewed for the position in November. It was the first time I'd ever been here. One of the things that impressed me the most was the friendliness of the people. People are genuinely nice here."

Holmes' plan for the future of Scouting in the Virgin Islands is two-fold. "First, I want to expand programs and grow the number of young people who are involved in Scouting. To do this, we're planning a fall membership push with the schools. We'll recruit boys into existing troops or start new ones. Perhaps we'll look to do outreach out of churches."

Currently, there are 300 Boy Scouts in the Virgin Islands.

Holmes second plan is to develop Scout-owned land on St. Croix into a camp. "We'd like to develop the property that we have on St. Croix into a camp. This will give us an opportunity to offer young people in the Virgin Islands a chance to attend a camp locally and an opportunity to reach out to Scouts in cold weather states. If we are able to host visiting Scouts, perhaps over Christmas or Spring Break, and offer them programs that make use of the unique resources here in the islands, then that would bring in revenues for Virgin Islands scouting programs."

One of the biggest revenue generators for the Virgin Islands Council of the Boy Scouts of America is the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin tournament, commonly referred to as the 'Boy Scout Tournament'.

"I attended the Miami Boat Show with Jimmy (Loveland) and Jeff (Kreiner) and got a crash course in billfishing," Holmes says.

He adds, "I've fished before and I enjoy bending a rod. My grandfather and I fished a number of times on the lakes in Kansas. It was usually for bass and crappie. I'm looking forward to my first marlin trip."

Right now though, Holmes says, he's in a learning phase when it comes to local Scout operations and fund-raising. "I'm being a sponge and soaking up as much information as possible."

Note - Matt attended the IGFA Observer class in February and he passed the written part of the test. By summer's end he hopes to be able to tell the difference between a blue and a white! Welcome aboard Matt!