Some reacted with surprise. Others were confused, at least at first. One was nearly in tears.
But everyone on Mark Logemann’s “Scouting Gratitude Tour” was incredibly thankful to hear the word “thanks.”
Logemann, an Eagle Scout who currently serves as Assistant Chief Scout Executive and National Director of Support Services, started his Gratitude Tour two years ago in a moment of contemplation.
“As I reflected on my career, I decided I wanted to go back to some of those individuals who had greatly impacted me,” he says. “Many were volunteers, some colleagues, others staff leaders.”
Like many of us who have spent decades in Scouting, Logemann realized he had a lot of people on his list. His Scouting journey includes time as a youth participant, adult volunteer, Eagle Scout dad (times two) and Scouting professional.
“I just wanted them to know how much I appreciated their investment in me,” Logemann says.
In this season of thanks, we should all consider embarking on our own “Scouting Gratitude Tour.” Nobody takes their Scouting journey alone, so let’s thank those who helped us along the way.
‘It took on added significance’
With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and a little bit of time, Logemann has developed an even sharper picture of the ways certain individuals helped him. That makes his ability to articulate his gratitude even more effective.
“I’m certain I said thanks then,” he says. “It’s the proper and polite thing to do. However, now decades later, it took on added significance to them.”
One of the first people on Logemann’s list was the chairman of his finance committee.
“He taught me everything I needed to know to successfully raise money in the BSA,” Logemann says.
As he continued making phone calls or in-person visits, Logemann encountered a range of reactions.
“Some were confused by my call because they didn’t recognize their impact,” he says. “Others choked up, and one was nearly in tears. Yet another allowed us to reconnect after over a decade. Each was so thankful that I took the time to reconnect and say thanks.”
Logemann has two more people on his list — for now.
“Who knows? I’m having so much fun with it, I’ll probably go back over my 35 years in professional Scouting and add more names to the list,” he says.
How to start your ‘Gratitude Tour’
- Make a list: Begin by writing down all the people who played a transformative role in your Scouting journey. These can be people you see every day or those you haven’t heard from in decades.
- Consider their impact: Take time to record the specific reasons why these people were so impactful. That’ll make the actual thanking more meaningful to you both.
- Find their contact info: If you don’t have the person’s contact information at your fingertips, begin investigating. That’ll only make it sweeter for both of you once you track them down.
- Deliver the message: While it’s tempting to do this by email or Facebook Messenger, try for something more personal. A phone call, face-to-face meeting or a handwritten letter makes all the difference.
My gratitude list
My Scouting journey began when I was a 6-year-old Tiger. Today, I’m lucky enough to share my Scouting memories with hundreds of thousands of fellow Scouters on this blog.
In the nearly 30 years between then and now, I’ve learned from countless fellow Scouts, adult leaders and BSA professionals.
It all starts with my dad, an Eagle Scout who is the whole reason I joined the BSA. He somehow always found the right words to say to encourage — but never force — me along the Scouting trail. He taught me how to prevent blisters, pack a backpack and lead a team the right way. We’ve been to six consecutive national Jamborees together, and I hope to make it a seventh in 2021. Thanks, Dad.
There’s also Patrick Adams, my first Scoutmaster and the man who showed me what selfless service is all about. You expect your own parents to be supportive and kind. But when someone else’s parents put in extra hours to help others? That’s inspiring. Thanks, Mr. Adams.
And David Demarest, who asked me to serve as his Wood Badge scribe in 2016. The experience, as I shared back then, was magical. David showed that productivity and fun don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Thanks, David.
There are countless more “thank yous” to go around, and I’ll get to each of them in a more private setting when the time is right. But for now, let me say one more: Thanks to you, the loyal Bryan on Scouting reader, for your 10 years of support.