Scoutmaster has mentored 750 Eagle Scouts over 48 years.
Bill Shaffer has volunteered with the Boy Scouts since 1966. The boys in Troop 26 range in age from 10-18.
Bill Shaffer never really left Boy Scout Troop 26. As a boy, it was where he learned the importance of service and leadership. Now he has been the troop’s scoutmaster for nearly a half-century.
Shaffer began his service to Boy Scouts of America in 1966 with a Webelos Den at Franklin Elementary School. He became scoutmaster of Troop 26 in 1969.
The troop’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed over the years. “We worked initially with Hissom Memorial Center, taking the children camping to teach basic scout skills,” Shaffer says. After Hissom closed in 1987, the troop continued volunteering with some state-sponsored group homes and facilities. “We still hold our annual Christmas party for many of the special kids who started in that Hissom program so many years ago,” Shaffer says.
In 1981, Troop 26 was honored by the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation and the Special Olympics as one of three Outstanding Organizations of the Year, alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Toronto Blue Jays.
During his tenure, Shaffer has mentored more than 750 young men through the rigorous process to earn the Eagle Scout Award, Boy Scouts’ highest honor.
Ironically, it was an award he never attained. “I quit, caving in to peer pressure,” he says. “That’s why we try to make our program strong enough to withstand the peer pressure that comes with the age group we serve.”
In fact, only 2 percent of Scouts in the U.S. become Eagles, according to Shaffer. He says boys don’t always see the payoff until later in life. “Scouts in general, and Eagle Scouts specifically, stand for trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, obedience, thrift and all the other scout laws,” Shaffer says. “Scouts promise to do their best, and they have honor. Who wouldn’t want those traits in an employee?”