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Have You Seen the New Scouting Alumni Logo?

Newsletter for Alumni and Friends SUMMER 2017

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2 Message from the Director

5 How A Scout Was Able to Jump Into Action

8 Where Will You Raise Your Scout Sign?

11 Here’s How You Can Visit This Year’s Jamboree

15 Profile of a Nobel Prize Winner

18 Hear What it is Like Being a University President

A Message From The Director This summer, tens of thousands of Scouts and Venturers are enjoying the BSA’s four high adventure bases, and every one of them is under the leadership of an elected crew leader, a fellow Scout or Venturer who has accepted responsibility for the group’s success. This is just one of the ways Scouting places youth in “real life” leadership roles to gain experience, learn from their mistakes, and gain wisdom that they can apply in future leadership situations. Of course, standing behind each of those young leaders is a team of caring adults, people like you and me who believe in the awesome power of Scouting to transform lives. Leaders don’t have to be perfect, but they need to always be striving. And they must believe deep down in their cause. In the case of Scouting, our cause is nothing less than preparing young people for the future. The code and ideals of Scouting are noble and high-minded, and they are best captured in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. But for leaders, there’s one more ideal that’s critically important: authenticity. Young people are good judges of someone’s feelings. You can’t fool them; they always seem to know how you feel. As Shakespeare said, “What you are speaks so loudly, I cannot hear a word you are saying.” The good news is that a genuine interest in young people and a sincere belief in the values of Scouting will carry an adult leader far. Youth need examples more than sermons, and Scouting is more caught than taught. When willing adults step forward, whether it’s to lead a Cub Scout den or to organize a high adventure expedition, amazing things can happen. Leaders in Scouting believe in the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law and in the ideal of service to others. They believe that each young person is someone special with duty beyond themselves, and that Scouting builds not just outdoorsmen, but outdoorsmen with high ideals and a noble purpose. If you believe these things too, I invite you to re-engage with Scouting and help today’s Scouts become the productive citizens of tomorrow. Once a Scout, always a Scout.

Dustin Farris Director, Scouting Alumni and Friends

ALUMNI NEWS An Acorn Becomes an Icon Fresh off of adopting a new name — Scouting Alumni and Friends — the BSA’s alumni association has a fresh new logo, designed by Eagle Scout Mike DeSocio. As shown here, the logo’s central image is the letter “A” (for alumni) combined with an acorn, which has long served as the symbol of the group. The acorn is a reminder that mighty oaks grow from little acorns, and that Scouts and Scouters plant trees under which they may never sit. While it’s a powerful symbol, it’s not necessarily a powerful image, according to DeSocio. “I started by trying to create a simple but effective rendering of an acorn, but I think we all felt that was kind of lackluster,” he says. “It wasn’t something that felt unique or that it represented something specific. It was an acorn and some words.” So DeSocio spent a lot of time experimenting with ways to incorporate an acorn into the letter “A” itself, finally hitting on the dynamic approach shown in the final logo. He was inspired by other logos that make use of negative space, from the USA Network’s logo to the one created by Eagle Scout Philip Goolkasian for the BSA’s 100th Anniversary Celebration. (That logo combined a flying eagle with the letters “BSA.”) A fairly late tweak to the design was to use a font that made the A look like a varsity letter. Besides playing up the alumni connection, DeSocio says this tweak makes the logo easier to translate to polo shirts and other clothing. Ryan Larson, associate director of SAF and NESA, says the logo achieves its desired goal. “Scouting has a number of iconic logos that instantly communicate just what they represent, and now Mike’s logo joins them,” he says. “From the acorn to the red-and-blue color scheme to the evocation of a varsity letter, this logo does everything we hoped it would do.”


DeSocio minored in design at Boston University — he graduated in May — but much of his actual experience came in Scouting. After joining the Order of the Arrow late in high school, he served on the Order’s national communications team, spending the last three years as their branding lead. “Along the way I did a bunch of really cool projects,” he says, including overseeing branding for the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference and other major events. Although he’s now finished with his national-level OA commitments, DeSocio is still involved in Scouting. He recently became communications adviser for his Order of the Arrow section. When he’s not advising Arrowmen on communications, DeSocio works on digital production for “On Point with Tom Ashbrook,” a daily talk show from NPR and WBUR. You can learn more about his work at

New Affinity Group Targets Wood Badgers For nearly seven decades, Wood Badge has been Scouting’s premier training course for adult leaders. In every BSA council, Wood Badge-trained Scouters are known by their beads, their tartan neckerchiefs, their theme song (“Back to Gilwell”), and their commitment to providing the best possible program for Scouts. Now, 69 years after the first American Wood Badge course, Scouting Alumni and Friends has created an affinity group, American Wood Badge Alumni (AWBA), to connect Wood Badgers with each other and with the BSA. Its mission is to build a network of alumni for the betterment of American Wood Badge, the Boy Scouts of America, and especially local Scout councils. “Two of our most prominent and largest affinity groups, Eagle Scouts and members of the Order of the Arrow, already have a well-defined alumni program,” says SAF Senior Vice-chair Rick Bragga. “What better group to go to next than Wood Badgers?”

Bragga thinks reunions will be a key entry point. “Are we going to have a feast? Well, we’re going to have a mini-feast. Are we going to sing the song? You bet. Are we going to have a fire? Absolutely. Are we going to swap stories? Oh my gosh, the stories that will be swapped!” Bragga says. “But all of that leads to an ending which is purposeful: to allow people to feel good about it and to find ways for them to stay connected or to reconnect with a local council.” To join AWBA, a Wood Badger must first join Scouting Alumni and Friends at, either as a Hiker (free) or Pathfinder ($35) member. From there, they simply set up a profile and choose the appropriate Wood Badge patrol critter. For more information, visit or

One advantage of creating the new network is that Wood Badgers tend to be among the most spirited and committed of Scouters. Another advantage is that they’ve all had a similar experience, no matter when or where they took the course. Bragga knows that firsthand. He took Wood Badge in Wisconsin in 1970, even though he lived in Illinois. He then reconnected with the course in Oklahoma, where he attended law school, and Virginia, where he now lives. “The spirit and the purpose of it I think transcend course and place,” he says. As the AWBA mission statement says, a key purpose of the group is to support local councils. To that end, the group’s website,, offers information on how local councils can engage with and re-engage Wood Badgers. Ideas include everything from planning service projects at local camps to promoting upcoming courses to holding Wood Badge reunions. “As with all of our alumni programs, we want the opportunity to have them tell their story, and then we want an opportunity to tell the BSA story,” he says.


Letter to the Editor I was a member of the Trinity Church Boy Scout troop in York, South Carolina until 1996, when I turned 18 years old. I learned various skills that I still use today, but maybe none more important than CPR. For my Eagle Scout project, I organized a county-wide CPR class. The class was posted in the newspaper and I had fairly good attendance. Most were complete strangers to me, but by the end of my project, fifteen people were certified in CPR. Today, I continue that passion as a volunteer first responder in my work place at Schaeffer Group in Fort Mill, South Carolina where I am a tool designer. This past Father’s Day, my life changed forever. Fate presented me with my first ever emergency that would require CPR on an actual person. A motorcycle and truck collided, leaving the motorcycle rider laying in the street and in need of medical attention. I was so nervous, but all the skills that originated from that Eagle Scout project and subsequent training kicked in. Without hesitation, myself and a young lady (who happened to be 18, around the age I was first trained) jumped in and performed CPR in the center of a busy road until paramedics arrived. I admit, I did not fully follow the Scout Motto as I wasn’t fully prepared. I had to make the choice of whether or not to administer care without personal protection equipment. This decision didn’t take long to get past, but I now have to own that choice. My blood work is still pending and I pray for good results. The Scout Oath says “To help other people at all times.” I tried my best, even as my own wife and three children bore witness, but the gentleman didn’t make it. I still struggle with the loss of this father on Father’s Day, and pray that I was able to show my family what a good Scout is and that they are proud of me for trying. - Travis Taylor


Pictured above: Travis Taylor (right) and Blanca Barajas (left) performed CPR in an effort to save a stranger’s life. Photo courtesy of The Herald, Rock Hill, SC. Pictured below: Travis Taylor’s old Scout uniform.

“I pray that I was able to show my family what a good Scout is...”

Do you have an amazing Scouter story you would like to share with Scouting Alumni and Friends? We want to hear it! Send your story and pictures to

Alumni Spelling Bee Champions C o ng ratu lati o ns to this qu ar te r ’s wi n ne r s ! If you wou ld l i ke to b e fe atu re d i n a fu tu re e d i ti o n of A LU M N I A LI V E , watc h you r i nb ox fo r details .

Christopher Harris

Dr. Brent Florine

Troop 30, Redwater, TX

Eagle Scout, 1970 Troop 12 Mankato, MN

Currently resides in Carlisle, PA

Everett D. Randall

Stanley P. Jaskiewicz

Michael Hare

Troop 1 Meridian, MS as a youth

Chartered Organization Representative Troop 303 Landsdale, PA

Troop 90 Riverside, CA

Troop 6 Westchester, PA as an adult leader

Cradle of Liberty Council Pictured with Eagle Scout son, Peter

(He’s the one on the right)

William A. “Billl” Bridgforth, Jr. Eagle Scout, 1964 Troop 40 Watauga Ave. Presbyterian Church Johnson City, TN


HAPPENINGS Scouting Supports Schools - Now More Than Ever Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell once said that Scouting is a “school of the woods.” However, the program’s connection to education extends to brick-and-mortar schools as well. In fact, the BSA has a long history of working hand-in-glove with educators.

Unlike many Scouting awards, there’s no limit to the number of Fretwell Awards that may be given each year. The suggested rule of thumb is to present one award per year on each school campus; or two per campus for those campuses with more than 500 students.

In 1913, for example, the BSA launched Every Boy’s Library, a branded series of 73 books from authors like Jules Verne, Jack London, and BSA co-founders Ernest Thompson Seton and Dan Beard. In 1943, Columbia University education professor Elbert K. Fretwell, Ph.D., became the BSA’s second Chief Scout Executive and began lending his expertise to BSA training. In 1991, the BSA launched Learning for Life, a subsidiary that focuses on in-school and career-education programs (some of which, like Exploring, had existed for decades). And in 2012, the BSA launched the BSA Adopt a School Program, which encourages local units to partner with school administrations and offer the volunteer services that most effectively meet their school’s needs.

In addition to districts, all local councils, areas, regions, and the National Council may present the award. In fact, that’s just what the BSA did at May’s National Annual Meeting in Orlando. The first national-level awards went to Dr. Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, this year’s Florida Superintendent of the Year; and Dr. Sandy Shugart, president of Valencia College. Shugart’s college was a winner of the first Aspen Prize for Excellence, and he counts among his mentors Dr. Fretwell’s son, E.K. Fretwell, Jr., a distinguished educator in his own right.

The National Executive Board’s Education Relations Subcommittee — the successor to the Department of Education where Dr. Fretwell once served — has created a new tool to strengthen relations between Scouting and the schools. Called the Elbert K. Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award, the award is presented by Scouting districts to individuals in education who make their students better people by modeling and teaching Scouting values. While that could go hand-in-hand with academic excellence, being proactive in teaching values is the award’s key criterion. In fact, recipients don’t even have to be teachers. Administrators, resource officers, custodians, and cafeteria workers are all eligible. The recipients can work in public, private, or religious schools, and at any level from elementary education to higher education. They also don’t have to have any connection to Scouting, aside from a shared interest in the BSA’s mission: “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”


For more information on the Fretwell Award, including a nomination form and presentation script, visit http://scoutingwire. org/marketing-and-membership-hub/new-unit-development/ education-relationships/. While there, be sure to check out the Education Relations Subcommittee’s many other resources, including research studies like Baylor University’s report “Eagle Scouts: Merit Beyond the Badge” and fact sheets on what teachers and administrators should know about Scouting.

#ScoutSignsHigh It may not be a part of the Scout Law, but it is hard to argue that a Scout isn’t humble. Although, that may not always be for the best. There are some things that are simply worth sharing, maybe even worth bragging about. One of those is, of course, Scouting.

So, share your experiences. Brag a little. You may just ignite the same passion in somebody else.

Those within the organization know of the positive impact it has. From developing youth leaders to providing outdoor adventures, there are many reasons to be proud to be a Scouter. So, why not share them? That is the exact question the Scouting Alumni & Friends Association has asked, and in response, they have created a new initiative designed to help share Scouting’s program with the world. This initiative, #ScoutSignsHigh, is simple to take part in. At the next Scouting event you attend, just get a picture of yourself with your Scout sign up and post it along with #ScoutSignsHigh to social media. It’s a great way to share the fun experiences you’re having, but the benefits don’t end there. By posting with #ScoutSignsHigh, you’ll help to increase the visibility of Scouting across social media. Not only will this show your community’s members the great things Scouting is doing, it will also help connect individuals to the program. Whether your picture is seen by someone currently in Scouting or an alumni, it’s sure to resonate with them. Your post may be the one that inspires an alumni to reconnect with their Scouting family and rekindles their passion. It may even be what encourages a Scout on their trail to Eagle, or makes a community member want to become involved. By making just one post, you can help to make an impact larger than you can imagine. Scouts at the Order of the Arrow’s Section SR-7A Conclave in April were some of the first to get involved with this new initiative. While at Pipsico Scout Reservation in Spring Grove, Virginia, they snapped a handful of photos with their Scout signs raised high. As you can see through their example, it’s easy to do and really captures the experience. When you post your pictures with #ScoutSignsHigh, you’ll be helping tell Scouting’s story to everyone you know. This is one of the rare Scouting tasks that truly takes less than an hour a week, so there aren’t many reasons not to take part.


Survival Hacks with

Former President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” This is precisely what Creek Stewart, our contributor to this new series, had in mind for Survival Hacks with CR///EK. Creek gives the definition as: Sur-VIV-al Hack-ing: (v) The act of using what you have to get what you need to stay alive in any situation. He continues to say that “hacking” is making due with what you’ve got. It has three aspects: using knowledge of basic survival principles; innovative thinking; and exploiting available resources. We think he is right! Scouts are resourceful and prepared. And, they are always open to learning new things. So take a look and maybe you will learn a new trick or two!

About Creek Stewart CR///EK Stewart: Survival Instructor, Author, Host. Creek’s survival knowledge comes from experience. His life-long study of outdoor living and survival skills is backed by thousands of man-hours in the field. Creek is a frequent guest survival expert in the media and has been featured in/on magazines, talk shows, and countless radio and online events. He is a regular contributing author to the hugely popular men’s interest blog ArtofManliness. com, and his survival writings have been featured on thousands of websites. Creek is a published author of many titles, including Survival Hacks available here. In 2015, Creek was presented with the NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award (NOESA) by the Boy Scouts of America. The NOESA is a prestigious recognition granted to Eagle Scouts who have demonstrated outstanding achievement at the local, state, or regional level. Creek recognizes his experiences while earning the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge in the Boy Scouts of America as the fuel for a lifelong passion in learning and teaching self-reliant skills. Creek owns and is the lead instructor at Willow Haven Outdoor Survival School in Central Indiana. He is also the owner and curator of APOCABOX, a bimonthly subscription survival box. Currently, Creek is the lead survival instructor for the traveling survival training and competition series, ESCAPE THE WOODS.


Cr///ek Stewart here! I am extremely excited to be a contributor to Alumni Alive and share some more of my favorite survival hacks! This first hack will help you stay hydrated if you find yourself without supplies. The second is a great way to stay mosquito free, naturally! Enjoy! And remember, it’s not IF but WHEN.

Drink With A Bandana One of the most important elements in every survival scenario is water. Hydration is far more urgent than food. Many people completely overlook one of the best sources of water in a survival scenario–dew. Dew is safe to drink without purification. Using a bandana or article of clothing to absorb dew from grass, rocks, and leaves and wringing out the cloth into a container could save your life. I have collected more than 2 gallons of water in under 1 hour using this method. If you’re wearing clothing, then you have a means of collecting dew!

The Best Natural Mosquito Repellant One of the best natural mosquito repellents is found in birch oil. To take full advantage, you need to extract the oil using one large (gallon or similar sized) can and one small (soup can sized) can. Fill the large can with birch bark, put on the metal lid, and then punch a hole in the center bottom. Bury the small can in the ground so that the open top is flush with the ground then place the larger, bark-filled can directly on top of it so that the hole is over the smaller can. Let a fire burn around the large can for 30 minutes. The small can will collect oil as the heat extracts it. Apply the oil to your skin, and there you have it–natural mosquito repellent, deet free. 10

Program How to Visit This Summer’s Jamboree In just a few weeks, buses from every corner of America will begin converging on the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia to deliver Scouts to the 2017 National Scout Jamboree, which runs from July 19-28. While it’s too late to snag a seat on one of those buses, it’s not too late to participate in the jamboree as a day visitor. In fact, being a day visitor is a great way for Scouting alumni and friends to experience Scouting’s signature event — and maybe start making plans to return as a participant in four years. Visitors are welcome each day from Friday, July 21 through Thursday, July 27. As was the case in 2013, day visitors must pay to attend the jamboree, which helps defray costs. This year there are two options. “Observer” visitors get to visit the Summit Center, which gives them access to stadium shows, BSA and military exhibits, the conservation trail, the Sustainability Treehouse, Brownsea Island, food and retail outlets, and more. “Participant” visitors get the same access but can also try out bouldering, climbing, skateboarding, mountain biking, BMX riding, and a challenge course. Single-day passes for most days are $25 and $35 for youths, and $35 and $45 for adults. (Multiday passes are also available, and prices vary on July 22 and July 23; see www. for complete details or to purchase passes.) If you can’t visit the jamboree in person, you can still keep up with all of the action. Jamboree news will be front and center on the BSA’s social-media platforms, including Scouting Newsroom ( and Bryan on Scouting ( You may even find jamboree news closer to home if members of your local council contingent have signed up as Hometown Media correspondents. All youth participants are eligible to sign up, and those who do get access to special events, celebrity interview opportunities, and behind-the-scenes photo ops. (All they have to do is make arrangements ahead of time with a local media outlet and then register at forms/hometown_registration.)


Not surprisingly, Scouting Alumni and Friends will have a presence at the jamboree (as part of the National Scouting Museum exhibit). Throughout the event, we’ll be holding special reunion events for alumni from specific decades. Details will be announced soon on the Scouting Alumni and Friends Facebook page ( And whether you’re an Eagle Scout or not, you’ll want to stop by the nearby National Eagle Scout Association tent to learn more about the men who wear Scouting’s most prestigious badge. While there, you can meet exemplary Eagle Scouts, help to carve a unique Scout pole, and get your picture taken with a live bald eagle.

SAF Teams Up with Philmont and the Florida Sea Base Ask any Scout or Scouter what the highlight of their Scouting career is, and a good chunk will begin to animatedly recount stories of their trek to one of the BSA’s four high adventures, be it backpacking the Sangre de Christo mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch, canoeing through the lakes and rivers of the Northern Tier base network, exploring the ravines of the Summit Bechtel Reserve, or sailing across the vibrant blue waters of the Florida Sea Base. Some will return to these bases with sons and daughters of their own, but many are often wondering how they can stay connected with the high adventure bases whose names conjure memories of Scouting’s unparalleled backcountry adventures. Scouting alumni are in a unique position to reconnect with the BSA High Adventure bases through each base’s respective alumni association. The Philmont Staff Association (PSA) ( seeks to reconnect Philmont staff members with the legendary backcountry base they have served. The PSA has members around the world and seeks to support the Ranch’s future success through financial and physical gifts back. Members stay in touch through an expansive directory, bimonthly newsletter, and alumni treks. Scouting’s newest alumni association resides

at the Summit Bechtel Reserve ( and has a unique mission that reaches both members of the SBR staff as well as staff members of National Jamborees hosted at the Summit. Members have the unique opportunity to explore almost the entirety of the base through alumni day passes and alumni events hosted at the Summit. The Florida Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association (www. is open to both participants and staff members who have been a part of one of the many programs hosted at the Florida Sea Base. The SBAFA works to reconnect crews and staff members while supporting the development and expanding of the Florida Sea Base’s numerous programmatic facets. Far to the north, the Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association (www. seeks to bring the spirit of the “far northland” to Scouts and Scouters across the country by supporting the plethora of adventure expeditions and training opportunities hosted through the Northern Tier bases throughout the year. The CLSAA supports the bases year round through financial endeavours and volunteering opportunities, while also offering alumni the chance to reconnect with the magic of the northwoods.


Scouts: Then and Now If we look at photos from those two phases of life, the visible changes will be obvious. The non-visible changes — more confidence, better character, stronger leadership skills — are there, too. This life-changing power of Scouting inspired Scouts Then and Now, a Bryan on Scouting ( blog series. The premise is simple. He shares two photos of the same Scout or Venturer: once in their early Scouting years, and again in their later Scouting years. We are continuing his project here in AlumniAlive!


Abdelnasser, Emilio, and Juan Diego from Puerto Rico

Adem from West Virginia

Andrew from Maryland

Bob from New Jersey

We are excited to see our alumni and friends as they have progressed in Scouting! If you would like to feature your young Scout, or even yourself, in Bryan on Scouting’s blog, here’s how. Send two photos of your Scout(s) or yourself: one in their early years and one in their later years - and include their name and home state. The photos will be combined as a side-byside, so no need to fret about that. Send the images as attachments in an email to with the subject line “Scouts Then and Now.”

Cooper and Nemo from California

Donal and Brendan from Oregon

James from North Carolina

Kynzee from Texas


Profiles W.E. Moerner, Nobel Prize Winner

W.E. Moerner

If you’ve ever zoomed in on a photograph on your smartphone, you know that sooner or later you get to the point where the lack of resolution makes it impossible to see fine details. For more than a century, optical microscopy had an analogous problem, that could not be fixed by adding more pixels. The wavelength of light is about 500 nanometers, making it impossible to see very small objects.

“You don’t see structures smaller than about 200 nanometers or 250 nanometers,” says Scouting alumnus W.E. Moerner, the Harry S. Mosher Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University. “That’s been a fundamental limit to light microscopy ever since the beginning of light microscopy.” That’s also been a problem, because scientists need to look at smaller structures like viruses (100 nm), proteins (10 nm), and individual molecules (1-2 nm) in order to deeply understand cell biology. “Cells are filled with thousands and thousands of these tiny little machines — enzymes, proteins, DNA and so forth— moving around and doing their thing,” Moerner says. “You actually want to understand everything about how it works.” These days, thanks to Moerner and other scientists from around the world, seeing those structures is no longer a problem. In 1989, Moerner became the first scientist to detect a single molecule with light, work that led to the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, an award he shared with Eric Betzig and Stefan W. Hell. Now, scientists around the world are using his and related discoveries to peer deeply inside fixed and living cells.


To explain how super-resolution microscopy works, Moerner uses what he calls the firefly analogy. Imagine, he says, that it’s nighttime and you want to see the shape of a tree’s branches. To do so, you place fireflies along each branch, insects that randomly flash on and off. By taking a series of photos, precisely measuring where the fireflies are, and merging them together, you end up with a composite photo that clearly delineates the tree’s structure. In super-resolution microscopy, researchers use fluorescent molecules to do much the same thing on the nano scale. An Eagle Scout (like his father and grandfather), Moerner says Scouting’s emphasis on achievement — “the whole process of learning, getting merit badges, ticking off requirements and that sort of thing” — helped prepare him for college and career success. But he also credits Scouting with giving him the chance to practice leadership and teamwork, skills that are essential in science today. At Stanford, he leads a team of 16 graduate students and post-docs, researchers who come to his lab from all over the world with a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. “We have a culture of teamwork throughout because different students need to help each other; students that have one skill can train others in that skill, and then learn a skill from the other students,” he says. “There’s a collaborative spirit throughout my labs, and that’s sort of essential to do the kinds of experiments we do, which are pretty much at the forefront of this area of science.” Today, Moerner and his team are working on creating threedimensional images of assemblies of molecules, as well as looking into the cell nucleus. Other researchers are using super-resolution microscopy to better understand disorders like Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Will super-resolution microscopy lead toward cures for those and other disorders? Moerner says that’s impossible to predict. “We never know what the next breakthrough will be,” he says. “That’s the thing about breakthroughs and scientific research. You have to be exploring things that haven’t been explored before.”

Jeff Orlowski, Documentary Filmmaker A decade ago, Stanford University student and Scouting alumnus Jeff Orlowski traveled to the Arctic Ocean to help film retreating glaciers. He returned from the trip with stunning, scary footage — and with the idea for a documentary, 2012’s Chasing Ice. Eventually, the film, which he directed, would be shown on all seven continents, in the halls of Congress, and at both the White House and the United Nations. Now Orlowski is back with a new film, Chasing Coral, which documents the unprecedented death of coral in the world’s oceans. The film, which won this year’s Documentary Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, premieres in New York and Los Angeles and on Netflix July 14. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter calls the film “superbly crafted ... as beautifully descriptive as it is scientific.” Tomris Laffly of Film Journal International says it “dissects the complex phenomenon of ‘coral bleaching’ (or more plainly, mass coral death) with clarity, urgency, and even a hopeful sense of humor.” Despite his success behind the camera, Orlowski didn’t go to Stanford to study filmmaking. Instead, he studied anthropology, hoping one day to become a photographer for National Geographic. The only film classes he took were academic in nature. But thanks to that 2007 Arctic trip and the broad skillset Scouting gave him, he has followed a different path. “Especially when you’re young and going through high school and the Scouts and things like that, you have the time to explore and learn and figure out what you love to do. You can build those skillsets, earn those merit badges—both literally and figuratively. It just opens up the door for you to do whatever you want later in life,” he says.

But Scouting taught Orlowski more than how to survive outdoors and lead a team—it taught him to serve his community. To make his first film, he founded Exposure Labs, a company dedicated to using film and campaigns to change t h e w o r l d . To t h a t end, Exposure Labs organizes screenings, develops discussion guides, and offers viewers ideas for taking a c t i o n . “ We ’ r e l e s s Jeff Orlowski of a film-production company and more of an impact-production company,” Orlowski says. “Our goal is to have impact through film as a medium.” Scouts are often taught to leave a campsite better than they found it. This former Scout is now applying that lesson on a global scale.

Orlowski, who grew up in Staten Island, N.Y., credits Scouting with helping him feel comfortable in the outdoors, something that was important on both Chasing Ice and Chasing Coral. For the first film, Orlowski traveled to glaciers around the world and put his survival skills to the test. “Those early trips still kicked my butt,” he told Eagles’ Call magazine in 2012. “The very first trip to Iceland, I was terribly cold and miserable at times … but I quickly learned what survival is like in those conditions.” For the new film, he and other photographers spent more than 650 hours underwater over a three-year period.


Paul Lawlor, Scouting Alumnus Like many alumni, Eagle Scout Paul Lawlor credits much of his success and experiences to Scouting. Paul, a veteran of the National Guard and graduate of the Penn State forestry program, served as a camp staffer, cubmaster, troop committee member, and chairman, and remains active with the Maine Adventure Committee. One of his most impressive experiences, though, is his work on a committee for Maine Senator William Cohen nominating high school students to U.S. Military Academies. In his six years on the committee, many nominations went to Eagle Scouts. After serving as the Kennebec County chair during Senator Cohen’s campaign for re-election in 1990, Paul was asked to sit on the nominating committee. “I just felt that he was such a phenomenal person and I’m really honored to have known him and to have had time to sit and talk with him,” Paul says of the Senator. Each congressman gets to nominate one student to a U.S. Military Academy. Senator Cohen had five committees made up of three to five people. Most of the committee members had military backgrounds. Paul recalls, “I felt like I had to salute every time I walked into a meeting. I was only a Sergeant First Class, and I was working with a Captain, a Colonel, and a Major.” Paul reflects that the candidates “were the best of the best. They were the smartest, the most athletic that you could find.” Some candidates, though, stood above the rest: Eagle Scouts. Each year, each of the five committees met to present their chosen candidate to decide which candidate should fill the Senator’s single slot for a nomination. Paul remembers a meeting when one committee chair said, “Our candidate is an Eagle Scout. This means he has leadership ability that he has already presented. He can plan and follow a project. He will make a great leader for this country.” Paul was impressed by the weight that being an Eagle Scout had on committee members with no Scouting background. “Of course, that year, our candidate was also an Eagle Scout,” Paul chuckles. “Of the young men we interviewed, I think forty to fifty percent were Eagle Scouts.” Paul says Eagle Scouts stood out “because of their leadership. They’ve had the opportunity to become leaders, and prove they could lead men.” He adds, “They proved they could live by a code: the Scout Oath and Law. When you’re in the military, you live by a code.” A nomination to an academy is a prestigious honor, and many applied. But Paul said Eagle Scouts “seemed


to come forth with a whole different air about them. When I would sit there and talk with them, they really impressed me.” Paul credits his own successful career to being an Eagle Scout. The dean of the forestry program at Penn State noted the rank on his resume during an interview for the Forestry Honorary. “He started to ask me where I had done my Scouting, had I been Paul Lawlor to Philmont, etcetera. And then I was welcomed into the honorary.” During his senior year, the dean called him into his office. “I kept thinking, what did I do now?” Paul laughs. “I went into his office and he told me one of his classmates from Penn State is now the forestry manager of a division of International Paper.” The dean handed Paul a letter from the manager describing that they hadn’t had Penn State applicants in many years. Paul remembers the letter stated that the manager, “didn’t want the application handed out to all 80 or 90 students. Only pick one or two of your best applicants.” Many of the other forestry students worked in forestry over the summers, but Paul spent most of his summers working at Scout camp. “I didn’t have the forestry experience that the other students had. I was not a great student, so all I can figure is that my Scouting experience had to have made an impression on the dean.” Paul went on to work for International Paper for twenty-six years, and remains a passionate Scouter.

Steve Bahls, Scouting Alumnus Steve Bahls’s office is very much what you expect the office of a university president to look like – large windows overlook the campus, bookshelves dominate much of the wall space, and the sprawling desk faces a large conference table. In this particular o ff i c e , t h e S c o u t i n g influence is apparent from the moment you walk in. A silver beaver, suspended on a blue and white ribbon, hangs next to patches that Steve Bahls litter the small amount of available shelving space, placed carefully next to pictures featuring dramatic wilderness landscapes. It’s clear that Scouting has played a tremendous influence on the man who now occupies the office of Augustana College’s President.

Much like in Scouting, Bahls feels that his time at Augustana is reflective of something deeper. “This spirituality, this wanting people to be grounded, finding my own grounding as a boy through church and through Scouts continues today. I hope that our students at Augustana find this time to be a time in which they become grounded, that they address spiritual issues – what am I called to be? How do I conduct myself when no one is looking?” It’s this deeper experience that he feels is what makes Scouting valuable in the 21st century, saying, “I think the role of Scouting is to continue to provide experiences for youth that are deeper than the narrow experiences you might have in Little League or soccer, but ones that are more holistic experiences about how you live your life, connect with spirituality and relate to other persons.” This holistic experience is one of the primary reasons for alumni to stay connected and involved, he believes, saying: “Institutions in the United States are under pressure at all levels, and they all need support. Remember what Scouting has done for you. Talk about Scouting, talk about why Scouting should remain strong.”

The experiences as a member of Troop 24 in Des Moines, Iowa, “really opened my eyes to the world in a number of ways,” recalls Bahls. “I got to go to Philmont, and that was like a dream come true for me. It created a lifetime interest in the outdoors and in camping, and now at age 62, I’m still hiking and camping in the wilderness.” It wasn’t just a love of the wilderness that Scouting imprinted upon Bahls, but also an appreciation of diversity and people different than one’s self. It’s the experiences of Scouting which Bahls attributes his success in law and education. “Leading Scouts is very similar to leading an organization like Augustana – you can’t just mandate that something be done, you need to be persuasive and visionary, and encourage people to follow instead of require people to follow… The key to leading faculty, with tenure and academic freedom and so on, is that you don’t tell people what to do. Instead, you create a set of circumstances where people see it’s a good use of their time. People see, in higher education, that it’s for the cause of serving students.”


Alumni Alive - Summer 2017  
Alumni Alive - Summer 2017