On February 8, those who are involved in Boy Scouts – both young and old – celebrated National Boy Scouts Day. Leo Lee, an 86-year-old resident living at Presbyterian Village North, not only achieved Eagle Scout status in high school, he continued his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America for 33 years after he returned home from serving in the Korean War. Lee developed a strong passion for the Boy Scouts mission and way of life, and he wanted to continue his involvement and sought a career with the organization. During his time working for The Boy Scouts, he served in several positions in various cities throughout Texas and Oklahoma. After joining in 1955, Lee would travel from Austin to Odessa to Waco to Dallas to Bartlesville in Oklahoma serving the Boy Scouts as scout executive, assistant scout executive, director of activities and public relations, director of training and finally director of camping. The initial draws for him were the outdoor activities and camping. He was happy to continue going on trips during his career and eventually shared that passion with his two sons, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren, all of whom achieved Eagle Scout status, just like he did. Lee still has his uniform and other memorabilia that he shares with family and friends.
“I joined Cub Scouts when I was nine years old, and I will be an Eagle Scout for life,” said Lee. “The most important lesson I took away from being a part of the group is that if you set a goal you can achieve it with the right plan, a good attitude and a lot of hard work. One of the more challenging badges that I worked on and eventually received was for the bird study, which I needed to finish my Eagle Scout requirements. Knowing the level of effort and involvement that goes into achieving Eagle Scout status, I am extremely proud of my sons and grandchildren for achieving this status as well. Our family still goes on camping trips that we organize in South Fort, Colorado. During these trips, we swap stories from previous Boy Scout camping trips – like the time we fought a beastly storm on Lake Texoma and had to hold down our tent poles so they wouldn’t fly away. We recite a familiar blessing we learned in scouts over the meals and we get supplies to make and enjoy our favorite dessert – s’mores.”
The ways and lessons of The Boy Scouts made their way into Lee’s family’s traditions, values and memories. His two grandchildren recently received their Eagle Scout status. One is a senior at Oklahoma State University this year, and the other is a sophomore at Texas A&M. When asked why Lee valued being a part of the Boy Scouts for so many years, he responded that it was simply a lot of fun, but that it also instills boys and men with kindness and wholesome values. It also teaches them how to work in groups, take on new challenges, follow rules and achieve goals. He believes that scouting helped shape him into the person he is today. When he served the Boy Scouts, he said it was a true joy watching young boys and men learn new skills, see how those lessons shaped them and then watch as they chose careers based on what they experienced in scouting. It was fascinating for him to see the paths people chose and to watch them turn into amazing individuals.
“There are several residents and team members whose children and grandchildren are involved in scouts,” said Ron Kelly, executive director of Presbyterian Village North. “It is so fun hearing them swap stories with the residents and seeing these families pass down traditions and knowledge learned from Boy Scouts. On this day, we acknowledge an organization that makes a difference in the lives of young boys and men; an organization that shapes and develops outstanding individuals.”