Mentorship, growth realized in Scouting

by Paul Rignell

Contributing writer

Elk River area Boy Scouts, along with their troop leaders and Central Minnesota Council officials, welcomed 85 attendees April 25 for a 10th annual Leadership Breakfast at the Elk River American Legion.

Guests were encouraged to pledge support for the local initiatives – a suggested gift of $155 would sponsor one youth for the next year of programs. They were addressed by council Executive Board Member Jim Acers, Ramsey; Scout Executive Dave Trehey, Sartell; and keynote speaker, Metal Craft co-founder and Senior Adviser Jack Mowry, Elk River.

Mentorship and growth were common themes for those who stood at the podium.

“We’re trying to teach these kids how important it is to be responsible for their personal activities,” Acers said. “They listen (as a Scout), and that’s what determines what kind of person they’re going to be as an adult.”

Mowry, being honored as a local resident who has grown a successful business while keeping commitments to family and recreation, said he was being careful with his words because he never takes them lightly.

“The words you say can be very significant, especially to a young person,” he said, adding that those words or talks will not always be pleasant.

Mowry recalled his first employee whom, due to inattentiveness and other issues, was starting to hurt productivity more than being of help. Mowry called that worker for a meeting and said he would give the young man another chance, but the employee fell back into old habits after a week, Mowry said, and he was fired.

Some years later, Mowry entered a Perkins restaurant and recognized his former worker seated with a group of other diners. Mowry tried to be discreet in passing that table but was surprised later to receive a friendly greeting at his table from the other man.

“‘I want to thank you,’” for those parting words and actions, the man told Mowry. “‘It woke me up,’” the man continued.

Mowry then learned that the man had entered business with his father, opening a tool and die shop.

“They’re very successful, so it makes me feel good,” Mowry said. “We all have the opportunity to encourage and to guide.”

Trehey, an executive for the past 10 years with the Central Minnesota Council,   said it’s important for parents and other adults to step up as volunteers. Aside from his paid duties, Trehey has volunteered throughout his tenure by linking up as an adviser for a different Cub Scout pack each school year.

Since last fall, he has been driving usually twice per month from Sartell to meet with children and parents from Elk River’s own Meadowvale Elementary School. He laughed at remembering the moments when the young Scouts have had trouble staying on task – “I forget how random 6-year-old boys can be,” he said.

Trehey told friends April 25 that he looked forward to the weekend starting Friday, April 26, when 450 Boy Scout youth from the council’s 12-county region would gather at Camp Ripley for an annual “Ripley Rendezvous,” to learn and practice rescue drills and shooting sports among other activities.

He noted some of the attending Scouts would receive special honors during a Saturday night banquet. One honoree controlled the bleeding for an injured sibling who broke a wrist while riding an all-terrain vehicle. Trehey said that boy learned his medical response skills through Scouting.

A boy, 9, from Park Rapids is being honored for his response and rescue of his 4-year-old sister who fell through a lake’s frozen surface during a family ice fishing trip.

That 9-year-old learned those skills just two weeks earlier when his pack volunteers had arranged for a class to be taught by area firefighters.

“There really is good Scouting taking place in each of our communities,” Trehey said at the Elk River American Legion. “Elk River’s a good town for Scouting.

“Thank you for your support. Thank you for your future support.”