The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 10, 2013

Leaders make difference in Scouts’ lives


Feb. 3-9 was National Scouting Anniversary Week, which marks the founding of the Boy Scouts of America on Feb. 8, 1910. We always wore our uniforms to school that week. We were brothers in olive green, and proud of it.

The Boy Scouts have been in the news lately because of the national organization’s historic — now controversial — ban on participation by openly gay men and boys.

I am from another era. If I belonged to a bigoted, discriminatory organization, I didn’t even know it.

I was in the Scouts from 1963 until 1971. As a Cub in Pack 13 at old Washington School, I earned my bronze Bobcat pin (which I still have), then moved on to Wolf, Bear, Lion and Webelos. When I was 11, I joined Troop 34, sponsored by Westville American Legion Post 51. I earned my Tenderfoot pin, then Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle. I still have my Eagle pin, too … it’s real sterling silver.

Back then, nobody could even imagine an “openly gay” scoutmaster. Our troop leaders were World War II veterans, and most worked at the General Motors Central Foundry in Tilton. They were just regular men, like our own dads … “openly heterosexual,” I guess.

I rarely see a Boy Scout in uniform these days, but they were everywhere in the 1960s. Little Westville had two good-sized troops and Danville had some gigantic ones. We Baby Boomers were of Scout age. There were no computers, so most boys still loved being outdoors, doing fun stuff.

Our lives revolved around hikes, campouts, patrol activities, troop meetings, merit badge projects and devouring the latest issue of Boys’ Life magazine.

Our troop was run by Scoutmaster Joe “Pooch” Chmielewski and his assistants, Johnny Shapuras and Catty Serpinas. They were wonderful men who, without pay, took an unruly mob on camping trips when they could have been sipping beers at the Legion.

Text Only
Local News
  • Kindergarten roundup nears

    April 20, 2014

  • Head Start services offered

    April 20, 2014

  • City to discuss chicken ordinance, animal control DANVILLE -- Residents love their pets -- ranging from the furry to feathered kind -- and let city officials know about it. Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said two of the biggest issues he's received phone calls about since he's been mayor have been about the

    April 20, 2014

  • NWS-CN0420 - Vignette2 image Danville thrift store glass gets a second life Chris Moore of Danville admits he's never been known as an artistic person among friends and family. But after seeing some glass garden decorations at a landscaping business about a year ago, something clicked and he decided to try his hand at creati

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three injured in shooting on east side DANVILLE -- Police have made one arrest in connection with a triple shooting incident Friday night on the city's east side. Police and emergency personnel responded around 6:30 p.m. Friday to the 1000 block of Moore Street to reports of shots fire. T

    April 20, 2014

  • NWS-CN 0420 - Vignette3 image Odds and ends turn into great useful objects Four Danville Area Community College students took some wooden pallets, a used tire, two broken clocks and a fallen tree limb and created four completely usable objects that will be entered in the college's Trash to Treasures repurposing challenge on

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - CN0420 - Repurpose5 image Trash into treasure What started out as an idea for a class project quickly snowballed into a campuswide initiative at Danville Area Community College, with the results being on display this week. To mark Earth Day this year, the Biology Department and the Sustainabilit

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS - CN0420 - Rock Church cross image Floral cross celebrates Easter DANVILLE — A cross at The Rock Church is blooming with the beauty of spring and the promise of Easter.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-CN 04-20 Vignette1 image Couple creates rustic salvaged furniture Kim Hannah of Danville has been salvaging and reusing materials -- most notably barn wood -- for close to two decades. Hannah has sold her handmade crafts and primitive, rustic furniture made of salvaged barn wood at shows around the Midwest for 18 y

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Auxiliary buys ‘Wagons for Warriors’ Auxiliary buys ‘Wagons for Warriors’

    A benefit last month raised $771, which was donated to Wagons for Warriors.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
NCAA basketball
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
Must Read