Scouting has made an incredible impact in my life. Little did I know when I joined Cub Scouts over 35 years ago the journey would take me through adventures which would leave a lasting imprint on my development as a young man and prepare me for the challenges of adulthood. I eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout, after spending the majority of my youth in Boy Scouts. I learned invaluable lessons and made lifelong friends and memories through Scouting.
I was a member of Boy Scouts in Enid, OK, in the early ’80s. Our Scoutmaster was Al Briesemeister, a man I admired as an expert outdoorsman and master teacher, and whom I still call my close friend today. I thought there wasn’t anything Al didn’t know how to do. And he gladly shared his wisdom with us, eager young men so anxious to grow up. We treasured those bits of learning like they were the keys to unlocking ancient secrets. What boy wouldn’t be thrilled to know how to start a fire in the rain with only a flint, dry moss and carefully selected kindling? Who knows when you might need to know how to navigate by the stars, or apply a first aid dressing in the field? These were only some of the secrets our Scoutmaster taught us. In case I haven’t ever told you Al, thanks for being such a great role model.
Scouting was also a great place for me to bond with my dad. He was always there, helping, teaching, and being a great companion for a boy. Scouting brought us even closer together.We went on countless camping trips together. One time, we canoed over 100 miles on the Arkansas River and were the only canoe that didn’t tip over!
The Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared,” served me well as a young man. It also played a significant role throughout my Air Force career. I can think of no better way to train young men for success in life than Scouting. Happy 100th birthday, Boy Scouts! Thanks for all you’ve given to our youth!
Major, US Air Force (ret)