Three Maywoodians, Boy Scout Volunteers, To Receive Prestigious National Service Award
By Michael Romain
Tuesday, MAYWOOD — Don Emery was sitting quietly in the pew of his home church, Rock of Ages Baptist Church, one Sunday morning when he read in the bulletin that the Boy Scouts needed volunteers. “I figured I needed to give back to the community,” Emery said. Four years later, the retired electronic technician seemed more passionate about his troop than ever as he explained the details of an organization that is, quite frankly, still little known in communities of color. That passion hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Mr. Emery, the Cubmaster of Pack 78 and Scoutmaster of Troop 78; Shekila Paxton, Committee Chair of Pack 78 and Troop 78, and Membership Chair of the Twin Lakes District Cub Scout program; and Joe Douglass, Cubmaster of Pack 119 and Unit Commissioner, are all scheduled to be recipients of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award. The three volunteers, all residents of Maywood, will receive the prestigious award at a recognition banquet to be held Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 6:00pm at Pescatore Palace, 3400 North River Road, Franklin Park.
According to a press release, the award “recognizes outstanding services by an individual or organization for demonstrated involvement in the development of opportunities for youth from urban or rural backgrounds.”
“[The Boy Scouts] is a good program,” said Emery. “The program starts from Tiger Cub (1st grade) and advances to Wolf, Bear and Webelos before the kids advance to Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts typically start at 11 years old, or 5th grade.” Participants typically remain in the Boy Scouts until they’re 18. Emery also said that the Scouts may even help strengthen relationships between parents and their children.
“You get to bond with your mother or father,” he said. With Cub Scouts, parents are required to go on camping trips and take an active role in their children’s participation.
Emery, whose Pack 78 and Troop 78 may be the only ones in Maywood, leads a troop of about four boys, a number he’s looking to expand. He and his team of den leaders hope that more residents of Maywood realize the benefits of the program. A certified angling instructor qualified to teach fly fishing and regular fishing, Emery collaborates regularly with Maywood Trustee Melvin Lightford to share with children the joys, wonders and benefits of fishing. The bottom line, Emery notes, is about expanding young minds by expanding their experiences and possibilities.
“I try to expose them to new things,” he said. “One time, we spent a whole day watching tennis at Northwestern University. If you’re not exposed to something, you don’t really know it. There’s more than basketball, football and baseball. In fact, you’ll probably get a scholarship in golf or tennis quicker than in those more popular sports. Just because you live in Maywood doesn’t mean you don’t have to know anything else. The more you expose a young person, the better they know what they may or may not want to do.” VFP
Troop 78 meets every Friday at 6:30 at First Congregational Church of Maywood (400 N. 5th Avenue). For more information, stop by a meeting and pickup an application form.