Merit Badge Counselors

Merit Badge books c 1960sYesterday I ran a list of Boy Scout merit badges available in 1965, along with a gallery of merit badge books my brothers and I collected over the years. Today’s post will have a list of every counselor registered with the Shawnee district in 1971, and a little about the counselor’s role.

It’s interesting to read through the list of counselors. The men who volunteered for the job included some of the top in their field: names like Hal Lehman (Architecture), Jake Wells (Art), Weldon Hager (Athletics), Lawrence Bahn (Atomic Energy), John Seesing (Aviation), Bill Ewing (Music and Bugling), Fred Wilferth (Citizenship in the Nation and Scholarship), Ed Blummenberg (farming badges), Earl Siemers (Dairying), Dr. L.W. Hathaway (Dog Care and Pets), Tom Holshouser (Drafting), Milton Ueleke (Electricity and Electronics), Sheriff Ivan McClain (Fingerprinting),  Henry Ochs (Fruit and Nut Growing and Gardening), John Blue (Journalism), Dr. W.O. Seabaugh (Horsemanship), Claude Foeste (Landscape Architecture), Richard Flentge (Swimming and Lifesaving), Harry Siemer (Personal Finances), Dr. J.A. Kinder (Personal Fitness, Wildlife Management and Public Health), B.W. Birk (Plumbing), Bill Nowell (Photography), Clarence Suedekum (Salesmanship), James L. Garner (Sculpture), Larry Grisvard (Theater), and Calvin Brennan (Wood Carving).

What was a merit badge counselor?

1971 Merit badge counselors 01The counselor was an adult who had a specialized field of knowledge who could determine if a Scout had met all the requirements for a particular badge. The official rules make it clear.

You are expected to meet the requirements as they are stated—no more and no less. You must do exactly what is stated in the requirements. If it says “show or demonstrate,” that is what you must do. Just telling about it isn’t enough. The same thing holds true for such words as “make,” “list,” “in the field,” and “collect,” “identify,” and “label.”

Contacting a counselor could be scary

1971 Merit badge counselors 02The scariest – and, to me, most valuable part of the process – was when you had to screw up your courage to set up an appointment with someone who might be a prominent citizen in the community. When you got there, you were generally pleasantly surprised to meet someone who had a real interest in the topic you had picked, and was more than willing to share that knowledge.

That’s not to say that some counselors weren’t tougher than others. Dad wasn’t afraid to tell a boy that he needed to schedule another appointment because he didn’t meet the requirements. That, too, was an important lesson.

Mass production Eagles

1971 Merit badge counselors 03Troop 8, sponsored by the Trinity Lutheran Men’s Club, didn’t have many Eagle Scouts when I was in it. We looked up at those who had attained the rank with awe. Part of that was that we felt that it was a rank that was best achieved by an individual who was motivated to make those “scary” calls on his own.

There were some troops in the area that we perceived to be “mass-production Eagle factories” that brought in counselors and ran boys through the merit badge process in groups. Even as young boys, we could see the difference. Our perception might have been wrong, but our Eagles were numbered in the ones, and other troops had them by the tens.

Obligatory confession since a Scout Is Trustworthy: I never felt I deserved my Horsemanship merit badge that I earned at Camp Lewallen. I think everybody who signed up for the course and paid for the riding time passed it. I was about as good at riding a horse as I was at dancing. I read everything in the Horsemanship merit badge book, but the horse and I were never on the same page at the same time.

Times have changed

1971 Merit badge counselors 04I met with all my counselors on my own. Generally, my folks would drop me off, and I’d call them for a pickup when we were done. That’s not how it’s done today. The official policy:

You must have another person with you at each meeting with the merit badge counselor. This person can be another Scout, your parents or guardian, a brother or sister, a relative, or a friend.

The list of counselors

Here’s the rest of the list. Finding a counselor for Citizenship topics, Cooking, Electricity or Photography was pretty easy. I don’t know what you’d do if you wanted to earn Textiles, Skiing, Small Boat Sailing or Pottery. Click on any photo to make it big enough to read, then use your arrow keys to move around.

 

Picking the Perfect Tree

Christmas Tree Lot 12-12-1966I’m pretty sure Missourian editor jBlue gave me a Christmas bonus in 1966 without calling it one: he ran five of my photos on the front page. That’s $25 in my pocket when my salary was in the neighborhood of $50 a week. Here are most of the shots that ran, plus a couple of extras for good measure. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

The caption on the Dec. 12, 1966, paper read, “Louis Owens, 805 South Sprigg, asks Mrs. Owens if the specimen he holds is satisfactory.”

“I found it!”

Christmas Tree Lot 12-12-1966

Joy Metje, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earlie Metje, McClure, Ill., shouts she’s found the one she wants.

 It’s a cold day

Christmas Tree Lot 12-12-1966To Jimmy Trickey, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Trickey, it’s a cold day and he wishes mom and dad would hurry and make up their minds.

Mother and daughter choice

Christmas Tree Lot 12-12-1966Mrs. Lowery B. Miller, white coat, and her daughter, Diane, discuss a tree.

Not the Stones

Christmas Tree Lot 12-12-1966The paper ran a photo of Mr. and Mrs. John Stone and son, Timmy, 1726 Stoddard Court, but I couldn’t find the negative. I’ll substitute this young woman with a boy instead.

Is this Milton Ueleke?

Christmas Tree Lot 12-12-1966I don’t know for sure, but this pipe-chomping man looks like “Uncle Milty” Ueleke, science teacher at Central High School.

Coming down to the stretch

Buy From Amazon.com to Support Ken Steinhoff

Kid Matt is bugging me to go into the holiday shopping home stretch with a reminder to click on the big Click Here button if you are going to buying gifts through Amazon.

(Actually, I’ll post a really good deal in a few days if you are thinking about signing up for Amazon Prime. The special hasn’t started yet, but I’ll announce it when it kicks off December 26.)

Here’s more info on how it works.

Howard Bock Changed My Life

Howard Bock CHS 23 When I ran across this portrait of Howard Bock it got me to thinking about a post I did about him on my bike blog when he died. It’s worth revisiting and revising. You can click on the photo to make it larger. I really like it.

Howard Gilbert Bock, 87, lifelong resident of Cape Girardeau, died Monday, May 11, 2009.

It was a longish obituary by most standards because he had a much more active life than I ever knew.

B-26 Engineer Gunner in WWII

The quiet-spoken man had been an engineer gunner on B-26s in World War II. You would never know from talking with him that he had he been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, five air medals, American Defense Medal and campaign ribbons (Battle of Europe, Battle of the Rhineland and Battle of Ardennes-The Bulge).

Howard BockHe had been a teacher, coach and administrator for 32 years.

The Bocks lived on my newspaper route (on the left side of the road on a downhill stretch; they didn’t have any special requests, so I could fling and wing without slowing down). Jo Ann Bock, his wife, was my Cub Scout den mother.

When I was 12 years old, our family took a vacation / business trip to Florida. (Dad was looking for construction equipment to buy.) He gave me a Kodak Tourist II folding camera and I fell in love with photography.

When I was a high school freshman, I discovered the debate club, which caused photography to take a back seat.

My partner and I were undefeated for the year, so I thought law and politics were in my future. (You’ve heard me tell about why I abandoned politics.)

Do you want to join photo staff?

Howard Bock CHS 24Mr. Bock approached me one day, said he had heard that I was interested in photography and wondered if I might like to join the newspaper and yearbook photo staffs.

Darkroom was our special place

Cape Giradeau Central High School Girardot Photo Staff 1965I don’t know that I gave it much thought, but I joined the staff and learned how to process film and make prints in a tiny darkroom on the second floor down near the science classrooms. There wasn’t enough room to swing a cat, but we photographers had a key to the darkroom and it was our special place to hang out between classes.

It wasn’t long before I was freelancing for the local papers and discovering that being a photographer doing exciting things was more fun than the prospect of doing dull lawyer research. I can thank Mr. Bock for sending me off on a career path that was satisfying and rewarding. You never know where the ripples are going to go when you drop a pebble in the pond.

Uncle Milty and General O

Two of Central High School’s other science teachers were equally colorful and were war veterans of note.

1964 Award Ceremony

1964 Last Day of School Awards 06-03-1964This is the 1964 last day of school award ceremony. I’m surprised to see both male and female students wearing shorts on stage.

The three fellows sitting on the left were the 1964 and 1965 Student Body Presidents, Kenny Fischer, Mike Price and Jim Feldmier. Bill Wilson and I ran against Jim for SBP. I don’t know why Bill didn’t win, but I blame my loss on general candidate ineptitude and picking Bill Hopkins to be my campaign manager. Mike Daniels is getting a handshake from principal Fred Wilferth.

Preston Foster

1964 Last Day of School Awards 06-03-1964Milton Ueleke may be recognizing Preston Foster for having the greatest height discrepancy between presenter and presentee. Cornelia Glockel looks on.

Susan Seabaugh

1964 Last Day of School Awards 06-03-1964

I recognize Susan Seabaugh because the first big assignment debate coach Ruby Davis gave me was to give the nominating speech for Susan at a student congress or something. I figured she trusted me with the task because Susan probably had such a lock on the office that even I couldn’t foul it up. The last thing Ruby did was to scrub my speech for any words that would trigger my Swampeast Missouri twang. Every once in awhile I let slip the word “warsh” just so I can hear Ruby spinning in her grave.

Here was another story about the last day of school.

Photo gallery of award winners

I’ll let you figure out who is who and what they did that was special enough to make it to the stage. There are a few faces who look familiar, but I can’t put a name to them. You WILL see Robert Sheets and Bill Kuster. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the sides to move through the gallery.