Written by Malinda Just Wednesday, 07 November 2007 10:19
In our individualistic culture, volunteers––people willing to give freely of their time and efforts––are hard to come by.
But for Lee Clark, Durham, volunteering is a worthwhile venture.
“People keep saying it––to volunteer and volunteer––on TV all the time,” Clark said. “Well, we need more volunteers to make life easier.”
For the past 12 years Clark has donated his time to the Hillsboro Boy Scouts, first as a helper with the Tiger Cubs, then as the leader. He also served as Cubmaster, assistant Scoutmaster, and eventually took over the Scoutmaster position from Todd Jost.
“For many years Todd was the Scoutmaster of five (boys), and just before I brought my guys out of Cub Scouts, there were only three boys in the troop,” Clark said. “But (Jost) stood fast with the boys.”
Through Jost’s dedication, Clark said, one of the three boys became the first Eagle Scout from Hillsboro in 10 years.
“(Jost) was a great leader,” Clark said. “He really inspired these boys, and through his inspiration helped me.”
After Jost left the Scoutmaster position in 2004, Clark has filled the role. Within the past two years, four of the boys he started with in the first-grade scouting level, Tiger Cubs, became Eagle Scouts.
Clark is quick to say, however, that the achievement weren’t the result of his efforts alone.
“It takes a village to make an Eagle Scout,” he said.
Clark said the dedication of parents has a lot to do with boys becoming Eagle Scouts.
“An Eagle Scout has real pushy parents,” he said. “At 17 or 18 it’s hard to motivate. You get kind of what we say, the fumes—there’s perfume, gasoline fumes. Once boys start getting those fumes up their nose, it’s kind of hard to focus on camping and citizenship and all the aspects.”
Clark said he enjoyed watching the boys develop during their years in the program––from being 14 and barely able to carry a 40-pound backpack, to being 18 and 170 pounds and carrying the pack with no trouble.
“It’s just being out there and watching them progress and watching them learn and grow,” he said. “That is what is so rewarding about this program.”
Not only does he watch the progress of the Scouts, but Clark has also experienced the life-skills training firsthand.
When Clark was a boy, he was also involved in the Boy Scout program. Although he didn’t make Eagle, Clark made it to First Class Scout before he quit after a family move.
“I was on my way up,” he said. “But I moved from a small town (of Hillsboro’s) size to a town of about 60,000. I didn’t know anybody and it was just one of those deals, I didn’t feel quite comfortable, so I quit. And I think that was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
“When I fell out of the program, I found the wrong people and started hanging out with the wrong crowd and getting in trouble,” he said. “You can’t look back like that too much, but I did learn from that mistake. I didn’t want these kids making that kind of mistake.
“When (my son) made first grade, I knew I wanted him in. I knew, as long as I could keep them interested––have fun and do things––they’ll make the right choices down the road.
“The ones that stayed in all made the right choices,” Clark said. “We all flounder, little things here and there, mischievous things, but they all stood the good path and did right.”
Although the boys Clark “brought up” through the program have completed the highest level of Boy Scouts, he is looking forward to a new group to teach citizenship, camping, first aid, environmental science, communication, physical fitness and family life.
“That’s basically what we try to focus is the family, because that’s what matters and that’s what makes for a great kid and a great adult—someone with that kind of background.
“It helps them in their future and schooling and leadership, because that’s what scouting does. It makes you a leader.”
The Scout law teaches members to be trustworthy, brave, loyal, helpful, friendly, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, clean and reverent, Clark said.
“Can I say any more?” he asked. “This is what we instill in our boys. And yeah, there’s a few that kind of give us a black eye on occasion, but they learn.
“Hopefully, they’ll learn from their mistakes, and hopefully we’ll turn them around.”
Scouts to peddle popcorn
Starting Nov. 9, the Boy Scouts will begin selling popcorn as their primary annual fundraiser. The money will go toward monthly camping trips and summer camp where scouts have the opportunity to earn merit badges, helping them advance in the Boy Scout program.