Great Life Lessons And Adventure Awaits
This month of February marks the 109th birthday of the Boy Scouts of America. It was on February 8, 1910, that the Boy Scouts of America was chartered. The first Boy Scout troop was organized in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then more than 110 million boys have participated in the Boy Scouts.
I was moved to write this column because of the rash of bad behavior exhibited by men as well as teen age boys. Perhaps had they participated in the Boy Scouts, they might have learned how to behave and contribute to society. Because there wasn’t an active scout troop in my neighborhood, I didn’t join the Boy Scouts until I was almost 14 years old. The objective of Boy Scouts is to teach young men how to be independent, but also to work as a team and to be self-reliant. The Boy Scout oath is: “On my honor, I will do my best, to God and country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” The Scout Law is: “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” Boy Scouts move up through the ranks with the first rank being Tenderfoot, then Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. The first three ranks are fairly easy for most boys to attain. Just participating in troop activities would enable any boy to achieve those ranks. The higher ranks usually demand more commitment. It is not easy to achieve the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
I never made Eagle Scout. I got as far as Life Scout and just needed a few more merit badges to make Eagle. But I was in high school and joined an Explorer Post that was more suited for high school age boys. However, two of my nephews made Eagle Scout.
Community service and leadership are two things that the Boy Scouts teach very well. Boy Scouts are expected to participate in community service, whether it is assisting elderly or disabled people or major projects such as repairing picnic areas. As far as leadership, boys learn that leadership is more than being the “boss.” Leadership involves responsibilities and setting an example for others to follow. These lessons follow a man through his entire life.
As far as adventure, the Boy Scouts offer a lot of that. Whether it is just a weekend camp out in a local park, a week at summer camp or a major expedition, there are plenty of opportunities for young men to experience great adventures. There are national Jamborees where Boy Scouts from all over the world come together. I attended one in 1964 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. It was an experience that I still remember more than fifty years later. I was able to see and meet the President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson.
But then there is the really BIG adventure that is available to any boy who is able and has the desire. The Boy Scouts of America operates several sites for big adventure from a sea camp in the Florida Everglades to a canoe base camp in Canada to the Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico, at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
I had the opportunity to spend seven days and seven nights backpacking in the Rocky Mountains at Philmont in the summer of 1965 when I was 16 going on 17 years old. This was true wilderness backpacking and everything we needed was carried in our packs, which weighed 32 pounds. If one got sick or injured, the only way down was on the back of a pack mule. We learned how to secure our food and items from bears and mountain lions. Of course, we did have guides along the trail, but we were really backpacking in the Rockies. Needless to say, this was very rugged so being in good physical condition was a must for this expedition. After we came down from the mountains, I got to ride in a rodeo.
How many men can brag that they got to backpack in the Rockies and ride in a rodeo before they graduated from high school? But this is all possible through the Boy Scouts of America. All it takes is for a boy to join a local troop and let the adventure begin. In addition, a young man learns character and leadership; two skills that will carry them through their life.
Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.