This award was not just earned by me, but by all the scouts and leaders that I have been involved with over my 34 years as a scoutmaster. I especially would like to thank the scouts of Troop 282, as they are the true backbone of a scout troop, not the scoutmaster. As the Scoutmaster, I have watched as numerous boys grow and mature into effective leaders and excellent citizens as they move their way from the Scout Rank to earning the Eagle Rank.
I have been involved with scouting since I was 8 years old. My scouting career has taught me many skills, introduced me to new ideas, allowed me to cross paths with many people and provided me with opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to me. Just like any other job, I worked my way through the leadership position, starting as a Cub Scout Denner, Den Chief, Assistant Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, Jr. Asst. Scoutmater, Cubmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster and to my current roles as a Scoutmaster and a Wolf Den Leader.
I contribute my success as a Scoutmaster to all of the young men and leaders that I have encountered during my scouting career. Each of them has enhanced my life as well as my scouting skills. I have formed lifelong relationships with many fellow scouters. Watching each young man grow mentally, physically and morally into adults is what makes being a Scoutmaster so rewarding.
I have also been very lucky because I had four great mentors who taught me about being a scoutmaster; JD Hammontree, Bobby Morris, Paul Arend and my father. All four of these men understood what it meant to be a Scoutmaster and/or Leader in the Boy Scouts. It was not about them, the awards they earned or the recognition they received. Instead, it was about the scouts they led, setting a good example for the scouts and to mentor them to become effective scouts and leaders. These four men understood that it was their responsibility to stand in the background, watch, listen and provide guidance when necessary.
Both of my Scoutmasters, JD Hammontree and Bobby Morris, both taught me leadership skills that have allowed me to continue in their footsteps allowing the young men to function and lead our troop while the other leaders and I remain in the shadows providing guidance.
One of my most memorable scouting moments occurred during my first time as the Blue Elk District Training Coordinator in 1987 or 88. At that time, I was only 28 or 29 years old and had only been a Scoutmaster for four or five years. All of the participants were gathering to begin the course, when Mr. Paul Arend walks in and sits down in the center of the front row. At this time, Mr. Arend was a tenured scoutmaster with 46 years of experience. As I am standing in the front of the participants waiting to start the course, I am thinking to myself, what I am going to say or what is this training course going to do to inspire Mr. Arend. I could not figure out why such a tenured Scoutmaster would take time out of his busy life to attend basic leaders training again. When I was finished with the opening remarks, we went around the room and asked each scouter what they were hoping to gain from this training course. Mr. Arend stands up and says, “A Badge to wear is a responsibility to bear”. He then said, “How else can you fulfill the responsibility of a Scoutmaster but to come to training and learn what your role is in the troop. There is always something to learn each time you take a training course.” Although having him present made me a bit nervous, it was refreshing to know that even he felt the need to retake training to enhance his scouting skills. Mr. Arend was a man who had compassion and inspiration. I try to follow his lead, keep an open mind and view opportunities as a learning experience.
I hope that I can continue to grow as a scoutmaster, remain a positive role model and provide opportunities for boys that otherwise would not be available to them.
I would like to thank my mother who allowed me to be a Cub Scout some time ago.
I would thank my dear wife Stacy, my two Eagle Scout Son’s Scott and Adam for allowing me to spend that one hour a week and one weekend a month to be a scoutmaster. As my wife married into the scouting program, Stacy and I will be celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary in May and I have been a Scoutmaster for 34 years.
Thank you for honoring me with the Paul Arend Outstanding Scoutmaster of the Year Award.