Today is an important day, my Dad is retiring from his career. I know that may not sound all that special to most, but in my world it’s a big deal. You see, my Dad has worked for the same organization for 45 years. Yes, he started working for the Boy Scouts of America in 1969, and has continued to represent them each day until today.
Everybody’s father worked someplace when you were growing up, and that decision marks the family in different ways. For instance, my guy’s work has moved our family quite a few times over the years and we are able to travel a great deal because of his job. But my Dad’s work was truly unique for our family. We lived three years at a Boy Scout Camp, and returned there for the bulk of many summers for my Dad to run the camp. We would pack up all our belongings for the summer, pets and all, and live in a cabin on a weekly camp rotation. There was a several-year stint when I was a kid where we had to answer the family phone with “Boy Scouts” instead of hello because, well, I’m still not sure why. My father was known as a Scouter to everyone, probably because he showed up to many games and concerts in full uniform, having come from work or a Scouting program.
Having my Dad work for a non-profit organization was sometimes hard, money was tight when we were kids and he worked a lot of nights and weekends. But my father’s employment was more like a family than a job; it was something that people dedicated their careers to, not just a stepping stone to the next big thing. Many of his closest friends were with the Scouts throughout their lives as well, and then go on to volunteer after retirement. I can honestly say that I watched my Dad enjoy his work, believing that what he did mattered and was a lot of fun.
I don’t know all that he did while he was with the BSA but I do know a few things: my Dad started out recruiting boys to give Scouting a try and encouraging parents to get involved and went on to manage others who did that job. From there, he was a Scout Executive for the Daniel Boone Council in NC, leading that group for several years. He went on to the National office in Texas in 1989 to become a trainer, teaching others to be professional Scouters and then he was given the opportunity to be the editor of the Boy Scout handbook. Twice. A lot of the work he has done most recently has been in volunteer training and writing and re-writing curriculum. I may have missed some major steps along the way, the way I see it is that he spent years working with the Scouts, then the professionals and then had a great deal of influence over future Scouts. Quite a progression.
You may be familiar with the Boy Scout oath (isn’t everyone?): On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. My Dad did his best to teach us these qualities over the years, but mostly what I learned from him was the importance of doing what you love. Happy retirement, Daddy!