Chuck Seykora and I attended the annual Three Rivers District Boy Scout Breakfast February 21, 2013. I have been attending this breakfast event for years and am continually amazed at the energy and enthusiasm that our community has for scouting. It is no surprise that many of our community leaders have a background in scouting. This organization serves more than 72,000 boys and girls ages 6 through 20 over the course of a year and supports nearly 21,000 volunteers.
The stars of this breakfast were, as always, the Boy Scouts themselves. Anyone that has ever worried about the future of our country should attend a Boy Scout event. We are in good hands for the future. My favorite part of the breakfast is when the current and former Scouts in attendance recite the Scout Promise. Listening to individuals in their seventies and eighties easily recite the Scout Promise is proof that Scouting stays with people all their lives. One thing I learned is that our local scouting organization now has a Lions Cub program for kindergartners.
In attending these events, I fondly recalled my time in scouting. I was a Cub Scout and made it to the Webelos level. Webelos means We’ll Be Loyal Scouts. The township where I grew up did not have a Boy Scouts program that I could join so my experience ended at this point. My mom was the Cub Scout pack den mother and earned her merit badge to heaven as she shepherded an unruly pack of enthusiasts towards good citizenship. Making soap and churning butter are skills I still remember today (although my wife won’t let us use lye soap and we buy low fat heart healthy stuff that dubiously passes as butter).
The fact that our family had a 1967 Buick Electra meant she could transport a considerable amount of the pack in one car. Under my mom’s firm direction, my dad and grandfather were required to keep their Pinewood Derby car designs to themselves as I built my own car that lost in the first round. My dad and grandfather shared days after the race that graphite serves as a good dry lubricant that would have reduced the friction between the axles and wheels and increased the speed of the car. I still keep graphite in my garage workshop and it often comes in handy.
The cool car designs my dad and grandfather shared after the competition introduced me to aerodynamic design and weight distribution concepts that subsequently produced multiple versions of fast (but often wrecked) homemade go karts into my teens. Scouting also introduced me to the concept of the emergency room and stitches as I did not receive a merit badge on the safe use of my Cub Scout pocket knife when I first got it. That experience made me a safe operator of sharp objects to this day.
Scouting has also played an important part for the lawyers in our firm.
Adriel Villarreal is the champion Boy Scout in our law firm. Adriel earned his Eagle rank in 1995. He built a volleyball court with net/standards etc. behind a youth group center in the little town of Othello, Washington for his Eagle Scout project.
Douglas Sauter was a Boy Scout. Doug’s favorite memory from scouting was in 1964 when he went to the National Jamboree at Valley Forge. It was the first time he ever went on a trip without his parents. He said his troop also visited New York City and went to the World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows. He met scouts from all over the world and country. He said it was a peak experience for a boy from Moline Illinois and that he has never forgotten it.
Darrell Jensen reached Life Boy Scout.
Daniel Ganter was a Star Scout. Dan said that he liked camping better than getting merit badges.
William Huefner was a Boy Scout who worked his way to 2nd Class Scout. Bill said this was his ultimate goal so he could go camping.
Elizabeth Schading was a Girl Scout.
Kristi Riley was a Brownie and a Girl Scout. She remembers that her great cookie selling skills were limited by the fact that her small town had three girl scouts competing for the same customers. (She did not mention the fact that her grandfather was nicknamed Cookie by the kids who rode his school bus based on his fondness for cookies and that Grandpa Cookie was an excellent customer).
Steve Thorson was a Cub Scout and Webelo. He remembers that his mom bought his first tan-and-khaki Boy Scout uniform just in time for his buddies to goad him into signing up for Little Guy Football and he could not do both. Steve said that a generation later, when it became time for his son to join Cub Scouts, he signed up for training to become certified as a BSA Adult Leader. He was a pack leader and, later, an assistant Troop Leader. Unfortunately the uniform that his mom bought him no longer fit.
The link for our local Boy Scout organization is Northern Star Council Boy Scouts of America.