Missy Halda knew she was passionate about the outdoors when she started going to Camp Wilderness as a child. “I was part of the Holy Cross Catholic Church group out of Fargo and we went to Camp Wilderness as a church group and I just fell in love with it,” Halda says. Camp Wilderness, near Park Rapids in Hubbard County, is owned by Boy Scouts of America and overseen by their Northern Lights Council. Halda began working summers there when she was only 15 years old and throughout college, and became camp director three years ago. On Nov. 1, she was appointed district executive of the Oxcart Trails district, overseeing 26 Boy Scout units in Otter Tail, Richland and Wilkin counties.
Boy Scouts of America is divided into different councils that oversee different parts of the United States. Northern Lights Council serves all of North Dakota, parts of South Dakota, northwestern Minnesota and northeast Montana. Northern Lights Council itself is divided into 10 districts. Halda was offered a full-time position with the Northern Lights Council at the beginning of August and worked with Northern Sky district out of Fargo before being moved to the Oxcart Trails area in November. “Being a district executive, I am in charge of Otter Tail, Richland and Wilkin counties so I’m kind of like a resource to all of the units that we have across those three counties,” Halda says.
As district executive, she acts as a resource for the different units in the area, traveling around to meet everyone, teach training courses and start new units. She’s currently starting a new unit in Rothsay. “I’m just really excited to help scouting over in the Oxcart Trail district, this is a new opportunity and a new adventure for me and I’m really excited to see where it goes,” she says. “I’m excited to meet everyone in the community and I’m excited just to be a resource to everyone and help everyone out.”
Working with the Boy Scouts through Camp Wilderness helped Halda cultivate her passion for outdoor education. “I was originally going to school to be a teacher and then I realized I really love the outdoor education setting, so I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2016 with my degree in individualized studies, which I based off of outdoor recreation, education and business courses, all combined into one degree,” she says.
Halda is still the camp director for Camp Wilderness in addition to her new responsibilities as district executive for Oxcart Trails. “My favorite part is just seeing youth develop through an outdoor education setting and watching them grow throughout the years,” she says. “You see someone come in at 11 years old, all the way up until they’re 17 or 18 to get their Eagle and just watching them get their achievements and reaching their goals and watching them grow over the years to become a better leader, that character development, those outdoor skills, it’s really great to see.” This year, the Oxcart Trail district has seven Eagle Scouts, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts (now called the Scouts BSA, since both boys and girls can join as of February 2019).