Contributed by Brian Woznicki, NESA@SBR Remote Staff
Make sure to meet the cast of Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout at 12:30pm onward today.
Are you tough? How can you be tougher?
These questions may sound like they are from a gang leader’s interview. But, I believe they are questions that every scout and scouter should ask themselves, especially during the 2013 Jamboree.
When we hear or read the word “tough”, certain images come to mind. They may be images of football players, soldiers, first responders or, even a neighborhood bully. The image of a Boy Scout is not likely to leap into our minds.
Yet, if we truly live the Scout Oath and Law, I believe we must have a certain toughness about us.
Let me tell you about one really tough scouter who I have known in my nearly 50 years of Scouting.
William L. “Bill” Kenny was born in Newfound land in 1924. He grew up near the sea and had a deep admiration for the beauty and power of God as found everywhere in creation. As a youth, Bill was a commercial fisherman. During World War II he served in Canada’s Merchant Navy. He later moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania. Bill worked as a grinder for ITE Imperial Corporation of Philadelphia. Bill’s experiences as a fisherman and a grinder helped Bill develop his own, personal brand of toughness.
Bill shown on left.
Bill has a rugged restlessness about him. This led him to start Scout Troop 652 in 1964. But, this was no ordinary scout troop. Troop 652 was, at its founding, for boy who lived at St. Edmond’s Home for Children in Rosemont, Pennsylvania. All the boys at St. Edmond’s had physical disabilities. Most of the boys used wheelchairs; others walked using crutches canes or other mobility aids.
So what’s this got to do with me and my toughness?
Well, here is the connection. Bill used his toughness to build up the toughness in every one of his scouts.
In Bill’s troop there were no short cuts, no byes, no doing less because these scouts had disabilities. Bill had a gift for finding strength, a toughness in each of his scouts. Once he found where a scout’s strength was he nurtured it; giving it every opportunity to grow and blossom.
So, what has been the result?
Bill’s troop boasts over two dozen Eagle Scouts, the troop regularly took blue ribbons at district camporees, alumni of the troop have gone on to complete college, have successful careers, and one of “Bill’s Boys” is currently serving on staff at the 2013 Jamboree.
Bill’s is a different kind of toughness. You could call it “Scout Tough”.
So, I ask you, are you Scout Tough? How can you be Scout Tougher? You can read an article about Bill, a few of his scouts and their troop here http://articles.philly.com/1989-02-26/news/26153158_1_boy-scout-troop-disabled-scouts-eagle-scout.