Post Best Practices: Building Vibrant Communities

For the Guam Post, giving back comes naturally. Through a variety of service projects, fundraisers, and outreach activities with other local organizations,  the Post has become a pillar of the community.

With a friendly Hafa Adai! and many Si Yu’us Ma’åse! (Hello and Thank You in Chamorro), Bricks & Clicks recently chatted with Post President Scott Thompson to learn about how the Guam Post has built a valued role in its community and keys for other Posts looking to deepen their local presence.

Bricks & Clicks: Can you provide a brief overview of the Guam Post, its programs, and the value it provides?

Thompson: Chartered in 1952, the Guam Post has continuously supported Guam’s military engineering, A/E/C, and civilian community needs. Our Post has 312 active members, including 44 companies and roughly two dozen University of Guam Student Chapter members. We also support the Philippines Field Chapter.

The University of Guam Student Chapter, founded in 2016, has received the highest accolades within the SAME College Outreach Program. In our mission to support the local community, we have committees for small business, veterans, young professionals, K-12 outreach, and education and training, as well as the Charlie Corn Scholarship Golf Tournament. The Guam Post provides valuable opportunities for industry-government engagement through Industry Forums (Guam and the Pacific Region) and Joint Meetings with 10 local sister organizations that we work alongside during Engineers Week, Architects Week, and Land Surveyors Week. The Guam Post was the first recipient of SAME’s Industry-Government Engagement Award in 2018.

Bricks & Clicks: The Guam Post is a great example of a “vibrant and locally relevant” Post. How do you provide support and value to the local community?

Thompson: Our Post is proud to be a passionate supporter of this vibrant community! Members volunteer for outreach opportunities such as coastal cleanups and activities including the Andersen AFB Christmas Drop, Camp Blaz Toys for Tots, CANstruction Competition, and outrigger canoe races.

Our premier fundraiser is the Charlie Corn Scholarship Golf Tournament, which supports students who are pursuing engineering and architectural degrees. Launched in 1978, this tournament, believed to be the longest running on the island, has raised more than $250,000 in scholarships, recently averaging about $30,000 awarded each year.

The Post has also been an avid supporter of the University of Guam’s engineering department and has donated $40,200 since 2019. The program provides regional students with a degree in civil engineering, and hopefully inspires more students to pursue careers in STEM professions.

In 2017, we started our first STEM Camp for middle school students with volunteer instructors from private industry and military engineering ranks, and it has had over 250 students in attendance so far. We also sponsor competitions such as MATHCOUNTS and a Bridge Design/Build Competition, and conduct engineering presentations to students during Engineers Week.

Young Professionals are a huge part of our volunteer base. Whether painting a bus stop, providing fencing for an animal shelter, or remodeling a community gym used by veterans’ basketball teams, our Young Professionals are never reluctant to get their hands dirty and learn new skills.

Bricks & Clicks: How has the Guam Post overcome challenges caused by the pandemic?

Thompson: Our Post adjusted quickly to conducting meetings virtually, including board meetings. As expected, there were adjustments, but many of us were virtually savvy thanks to already needing to be creative to navigate the vast distances to other Posts in our Region.

The virtual platform has its benefits, too. Meeting attendees were no longer limited to Guam and could include those off-island, including Philippines Field Chapter members and former Guam Post members. When in-person meetings resume, we plan to incorporate a hybrid platform, allowing a wider audience to engage.

Bricks & Clicks: What are some of the key ways to keep your members engaged?

Thompson: We offer diverse community-related activities and try to keep them fun and relevant. Our members and volunteers are sincerely passionate about supporting the local community; the island’s warm, friendly culture makes it easy to help!

We also are fortunate to have a large military presence with a constant influx of new projects with potential members and volunteers. Some newcomers were previously involved with other SAME Posts and are looking to stay engaged. Current members see the value and benefit of involvement and invite others to join. The ever-changing group of members and volunteers is key to our success, and helps new members learn more about Guam.

Bricks & Clicks: How do you see the Guam Post contributing to building and sustaining resilient communities, one of the five goals of the 2025 SAME Strategic Plan

Thompson: Guam can be exposed to severe weather and seismic activity, so preparedness in the face of such events is crucial. We have hosted presentations by the Government of Guam, Office of Homeland Security, the National Guard, and local military installations, all intent on keeping our island community informed and prepared for any disasters.

Guam also is considered a tip of the spear and has had threats from its eastern neighbors. With support from military membership and local government, there is great collaboration against man-made threats to the island.

From Andersen AFB in the north to the naval complex at Apra Harbor on the west side of the island and the future Marine Corps relocation to the northeast, the military mission is growing. Our Post provides a link between organizations—bolstering our resilience and self-reliance. Furthermore, we support and promote the advancement of our skilled local workforce so that these critical resources are constantly developed and readily available across our community.

Bricks & Clicks: What advice would you give other Posts looking to increase their community outreach?

Thompson: Being active in the community is a hands-on effort. Encourage members to propose ideas for outreach or projects that they are passionate about and have a natural desire to champion. This will make them more interested in sustaining the involvement needed. Repeatedly, our Young Professionals, Student Chapter members, and Philippines Field Chapter members take the lead in managing outreach efforts and obtaining membership support.

Together, we get things done. Shared enthusiasm is a great motivator!