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
  • Diversity conference planned

    April 23, 2014

  • Library shows after-school film

    April 23, 2014

  • Westville council reaffirms departments

    Village trustees approved Mayor Mike Weese's appointments for the next fiscal year which begins May 1.

    April 23, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    April 23, 2014

  • Committee OKs chicken ordinance research

    DANVILLE - A proposed chicken ordinance for the city already has its supporters. Resident Ed Strahl said he's more concerned about dangerous dogs than chickens. "I don't see much wrong with it (chickens in residents' backyards), if contained right,"

    April 23, 2014

  • New arrest in Friday's triple shooting DANVILLE -- Police have made a second arrest as part of the investigation into a triple shooting last week. Joquin Washington, 19, of Danville, was booked at the Public Safety Building jail around 9:20 p.m. Monday on preliminary charges of aggravated

    April 23, 2014

  • Police Report Incidents reported to police include: Danville Sunday: Domestic battery along East Main Street. Disorderly conduct in the 900 block of East Madison Street. Property damage in the 500 block of Highland Park Road. Monday: Retail theft at Mach 1, 510 N.

    April 23, 2014

  • Fire Calls Firefighters responded to the following calls: Friday, 9:23-9:36 a.m. -- A carbon monoxide check in the 1300 block of Harmon Street. Friday, 11:50 a.m.-12:08 p.m. -- An illegal burning in the 1600 block of North Gilbert Street. Friday, 12:28-12:45 p.

    April 23, 2014

  • Fire destroys mobile home DANVILLE -- A leaf fire cost a local man his home Tuesday afternoon west of Danville. A total of seven fire departments, led by Kickapoo Fire Protection District, responded to an out-of-control leaf fire at 16930 Vermilion River Lane. Kickapoo Assist

    April 23, 2014

  • shoes1.jpg Men urged to 'walk in her shoes' at fundraiser TILTON — To understand the issue of sexualized violence against women, men need to take a walk in their shoes — both figuratively and literally.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
NCAA basketball
NDN Video
Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes
Must Read