Boy Scouts of America Knox Trail Council Executive Director Dennis Prefontaine will retire on Dec. 31, after four decades working with Scouts.
A Life Scout, Prefontaine joined the Cub Scouts in 1954 and was awarded the Life Saving Award for his part in assisting a young man having a seizure, and is a vigil member of the Order of the Arrow, where he received the Order of the Arrow Distinguished Service Award.
Being a professional with the Boy Scouts of America is the only job he has had since graduating from New Hampshire College (now Southern New Hampshire University) in 1970.
He began his career with Pine Tree Council in Portland, Maine from 1970 to 1977, where he served as district executive, program director and district director of Casco Bay, the largest District in New England. He then went to Quinnipiac Council in New Haven, Connecticut where he served as field director and assistant scout executive from 1977 to 1994, when he came to Norumbega in 1994 until its merger in 1996 to Knox Trail Council.
Prefontaine has served as Knox Trail’s only scout executive since its inception in 1996.
Prefontaine successfully guided the former Norumbega and Algonquin Councils through a merger resulting in the current Knox Trail Council, which encompasses 21 communities and serves more than 7,000 youth, with more than 2,000 volunteers. The Council HQ is located in Framingham.
The Council includes three districts.
- LIBERTY DISTRICT: Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Maynard, Natick, Sherborn, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland
- TRI RIVER DISTRICT: Hudson, Marlborough, Southborough, Westborough, Hopkinton, Milford, Hopedale, Mendon, Northborough
- VIKING DISTRICT: Weston, Newton, Wellesley
The Knox Trail Council will host a retirement party in honor of Prefontaine on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza, Natick. All of Prefontaine's family, friends and supporters are invited to attend. To be included in the festivities, contact Scott Harvey at Knox Trail Council at 508-872-6551.
Under Prefontaine dedicated, professional leadership, guidance and the support of volunteers, Knox Trail was able to bolster its Endowment Fund after a nine-year effort with key volunteers by granting a Conservation Restriction on a portion of the Nobscot Scout Reservation, which will preserve it in its current state for generations to come. He also led a successful Capital Campaign to provide for major projects at both Camps and the Council, including his own personal contribution of “Prefontaine’s Privy” at Nobscot.
When Prefontaine first came to Massachusetts as the scout executive of Norumbega Council, he was made aware of a major infrastructure problem at Nobscot. Through dedication, perseverance, volunteer involvement as well as community support, Prefontaine led a three-year restoration effort and was able to eradicate the problem and guide Nobscot to the beautiful, safe and protected educational facility it is today.
Under his leadership, the Knox Trail Council has been named a Quality
Council for 13 of its 16 year history by the Boy Scouts of America.
Through his relationships with both business and community organizations, Prefontaine has been able to develop a Brazilian Outreach Program providing Scouting to hundreds of members through their Soccer Program.
He has worked with Framingham Deputy Police Chief Craig Davis and the United Way of Tri-County to develop a Youth Diversion Program to keep at risk youth out of the court system and direct them toward a more favorable path in life.
Further, through his hard work he has been able to establish a working relationship with the local technical schools which has enabled the
Council to perform major projects at the two camps at a greatly reduced financial obligation, while providing needed projects for the schools in a real world environment.
Prefontaine has been at the helm of major projects at both camps, providing leadership and a hands-on approach to getting the job done.
During the course of the Nobscot revival, Prefontaine spent many weekends, along with his wife, Kathi, and their children, working alongside professional and volunteers to get the work done and done right.
Also at Camp Resolute, he was not just the Council scout executive, he was a volunteer at Order of the Arrow Inductions, emergency repair projects following storms that hit the camp hard and in 17 weekends of building log cabins for staff at Camp Resolute, said Harvey in a statement.
Prefontaine also brought Cub Day Trek to Nobscot each fall to introduce new Cub Scouts to their first outdoor experience at camp, leading three hikes each day to Tippling Rock and providing a history of the area to the Scouts and their parents along the way.
Prefontaine doesn’t lead by direction, he has always been right there, side by side with the professionals and volunteers to ensure that his Scouts received the best the Council could offer, said Harvey in a statement.
Prefontaine is active in the Newton Rotary Club, where he served as its president in 2000-2001 and is a graduate of the 1997 class of MetroWest Leadership Academy. He also a member of the International Harvester Club Chapter 18, owning a Farmall Super A tractor, as well as a member of the Oldsmobile Club of America with his 1936 Oldsmobile.
Prefontaine and his wife, Kathi, reside in Holliston. They each have four children from previous marriages, seven grandchildren as well as their “osmosis” daughter, Ashley and her son, Joshua.