Scouting's Silver Beaver Award given to Leo Louis

This article submitted by Stephanie Everson on 05/13/97.

Leo Louis, Boy Scouter, has received recognition and awards in many different facets of scouting throughout the last 40 years, the most recent being Silver Beaver status, but he is most proud of the things he and the boys in his troops have learned; most of all, the fun they've all had throughout his years with the Boy Scouts.

The Silver Beaver Award is a national award presented by the Boy Scouting councils each year. Each award recipient is chosen from nominations made by fellow scouters, and is awarded to adults for noteworthy service to youth. Two others from Paynesville have also received the award: Marianne Bjork in 1994, and Carl Wagner in 1971.

Louis has been involved in an exhausting list of scouting, community, and religious committees and boards, but recognition hasn't been a driving factor in any of it. "I do stuff because I have fun doing it," he said. "We have fun, meet people, and do things we haven't done before."

Louis first became involved with the Boy Scouts when he was a boy. A group of his friends were involved, and seeing how much fun they were having, someone paid his membership fee of 50 cents and thus began his lifelong involvement with scouting.

Louis and that group of boys stayed close friends throughout his youth as a Boy Scout. They all kept themselves busy thinking up things to do and different ways to raise money. Some of them even made up their own businesses. "Some of the stuff we did you couldn't do now," Louis said. "There are more rules."

He worked his way up through the different ranks, under the direction of his scout leader, Carl Wagner, until he reached the rank of Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout's highest honor. Louis was also inducted into the Order of the Arrow, and belonged to the scouting fraternity Alpha Phi-Omega while attending college at St. Cloud State University. That wasn't the end for him, though; it was just the beginning.

"The Eagle is not the end," Louis said. "Getting an award doesn't make you a better scout. I got my Eagle because it was a goal, but not everyone has to advance to belong. The boys should be involved in scouts because they have fun doing it."

Louis stressed that it's a myth that a boy has to be in Cub Scouts before he can become a Boy Scout. A boy can always join the scouts, no matter if he's seven, or 17. While Louis served on the Eagle board of review, there was one young man who hadn't joined the scouts until he was 15 years old, but still received his Eagle Scout Award at the age of 18.

Louis has been involved in the Boy Scouts, on and off, for the past 25 years. He's worked on the local level as a scout leader, the district level as a various board and committee member, and he has no plans of retiring from it. The most important aspect of his years in scouting has been to learn things he didn't know before, and have fun doing it.

On the local, as well as the district level, Louis has met many different people from many different places, and from all walks of life. It is important, Louis said, to not limit your experience to the local level, but have someone who's also trained on a wider level. "If you have a local organization, you have to have exposure outside your area," he said.

At this point, Louis is taking a break from scout leading as he pursues other areas, but, he said, "I have no plans to end my involvement in the scouting program, I've had too much fun."

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