Great Scouters keep coming our way for Scouter Spotlight,
but we’re always looking for more people to feature. Do you know someone who
should be next? Send us an e-mail [insertlink], and you might see that
volunteer in an upcoming week.
Today it’s all about Connie
Elliott, Venturing Advisor with Crew 705 out of Temperance, Mich. She’s
also the Venturing chairperson for Great Sauk Trail Council. Read on to learn
her Scouting story.
Tenure in Scouting:
15 years as a volunteer.
Son Greg, 20, is an Eagle Scout and Vigil member of the Order of the Arrow.
What is your favorite
That’s a difficult one because I have many fond memories.
One memory that stands out is of a 50-mile backpacking trip at Pictured Rocks
in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It rained every day and was unusually cold
for July. By the end of the week everyone was tired and dragging. At the end of
the trip one of the youth spoke up and said that was the best trip he had ever
been on. He thanked me for helping make it happen and for keeping spirits up, even
when everyone knew I was just as tired and wet as they were.
He stayed in Scouting, and a few years later he earned his
Eagle rank. At his Court of Honor, he told everyone that he was ready to drop
out of Scouting altogether. But then he heard about the backpacking trip that
was being planned. He went on the trip and learned that even though things
could get very tough, he was tougher and what matters most is how you handle the
tough times. He then said the reason he continued in Scouting was that he wanted
to help others learn they can do what they never imagined with the right
attitude. He never thought he could be an Eagle Scout, but a backpacking trip
showed him that anything was possible.
What does Scouting
mean to you?
Scouting is a way to touch the lives of our youth in a
positive manner. Whether it’s helping them learn life skills or become a better
leader, gaining self-confidence or learning how to work with others, Scouting
offers all of that and much more. It’s a program that instills values in our
youth and shows them that we do care about each one of them and their future.
What would you say to
a boy who is thinking of joining Scouting?
I always encourage youth to join Scouting. I explain that
not only is Scouting a wonderful place to make new friends, but it’s also a
program where they can experience new and exciting adventures. We talk about
Philmont, Florida Sea Base, and Northern Tier.
How do you make the
program relevant to your boys when there are so many other draws on their time?
I feel it’s very important to find out what the youth are
interested in. If they’re planning their programs and outings around their
interests, then it’s much easier to keep them involved. It’s when we don’t
encourage them to plan that they get bored and start to become interested in
other activities. Keeping excitement and anticipation in the air keeps our
youth involved. I’ve watched very shy and quiet youth grow to become outgoing
and successful leaders, and I credit their years in Scouting to making this
What advice would you
give to a new leader?
Get involved. Becoming a part of the Scouting program has
been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. And it’s a wonderful
way to spend time with your son or daughter. Even after they’re grown and moved
on, there are so many areas where your help is needed. The friendships I’ve made
over the years will last a lifetime.
Thanks, Connie. We’ve enjoyed your Scouting wisdom. Next
week we’ll return with another Scouter Spotlight.