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Scouting Adirondacks

June 12, 2011
By DON WILLIAMS , For The Leader Herald

The Adirondack Mountain region of New York state and the Boy Scouts of America make a natural marriage: there is no better place to be a Boy Scout than in Adirondack country. Scouting took advantage of those Adirondack attributes when I was growing up and they have stayed with me throughout my adulthood.

I have been involved with the Boy Scouts for 68 years. I became a Northville Cub Scout in Pack 55 in 1943 and never left the scouting program. I became a Troop 55 Boy Scout and camped and hiked the Adirondacks along with working on badges and leadership opportunities. It was a good choice, Scouting had a positive influence on my life and our family's life.

With four boys and an outdoor-loving daughter in the family, scouting was a partner in raising our children. Today, we have three Eagle Scouts and a Life Scout, as well as a scouting daughter who is an Outdoor Educator. Our Eagle Scout grandson, Ross, just graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with honors in geology.

The Twin Rivers Council of BSA chose to honor our family with the "Good Scout Award" at its annual fund-raising award dinner June 9 at the River Stone Manor in Glenville. Becoming a part of the Good Scout dinner raised my lifetime of scouting memories. I worked through the scouting ranks, becoming a Life Scout before our troop disbanded because of lack of attendance and adult leadership. One of my best memories is attending the Boy Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge in 1950 where I got to be in the honor guard for then Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, later President. Camping at Denton and Woodworth Lake was great fun and joining the Order of the Arrow was a great honor.

Leadership positions molded much of my later career; I served as Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, Scoutmaster and on endless committees including training, advancement, sustaining membership, finance, and as institutional representative. I chaired Project SOAR and was representative to the NE Region Association of Scout Camps. There is a place for everyone in the scouting movement.

The question should be asked - why do we find that Eagle Scouts go on to become among the most successful in their future careers? In my estimation, living the Scout Oath and Laws provide a positive template for a good life. The leadership opportunities built into the scouting program carry over into adulthood. Outdoor experiences and the knowledge acquired in the scout advancements up through the Eagle badge promote lifetime interests for a well-rounded adult.

You might say the first Adirondack campfire was held by the Boy Scouts of America. The year was 1910. Robert Baden Powell had organized the Boy Scouts of England just two years before. The YMCA promoted organizing the Boy Scouts in America by providing an organizational meeting at their Silver Bay Center on Lake George. It became the birthplace of scouting in North America, avoiding splinter groups of separate movements.

The Adirondack setting and the Boy Scout movement were natural partners. I am glad that Scouting was born in the Adirondacks and that I was born less than 15 miles from there.

 
 
 

 

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