As part of National Volunteer Week, April 7-13, we’re highlighting OUC employees who donated a significant amount of their time through community volunteering last year.
Having never been a Boy Scout himself, Lawrence Strawn was unfamiliar with the lasting impact it can have on youth — and on parents.
Strawn, Manager of Corporate Analytics and Planning at OUC, says that when his two sons first got involved with the Boy Scouts of America, as Cub Scouts in Pack 42, he assumed he would drop them off at the meetings, have a little free time to himself, and pick them up afterward. He quickly discovered that as a parent of a Scout, you have an opportunity to be a lot more engaged than that.
Nine years later, he’s the Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 23, participating in 75-mile hikes through Ocala National Forest and giving an inspirational Scoutmaster Minute at the end of each troop meeting.
“At first I was just another parent listening from the back of the meeting room,” he shares. “But over time, I became more invested and involved, first as an assistant Den Leader, then as an assistant Scout Leader, and eventually as the Troop’s Scoutmaster.”
‘What Scouting Is All About’
Today, with 664 volunteer hours under his belt, Strawn provides direction and support to the troop. He believes his sons – Robert, 15, and Teddy, 13 – have both been transformed as a result of their experiences with Scouting. Their confidence has increased, as have their leadership abilities. And he sees these positive traits emerging for others in the troop, as well.
“I try to be encouraging in my Scoutmaster minutes at the end of our meetings,” he says. “Recently, I shared a popular quote with the boys: ‘If not now, then when? If not here, then where?’ I said, ‘Go ahead and do the thing you know you need to do here and now. Don’t wait.’ The next morning, the mother of one Scout called me and was so pleased. She said her son proactively unloaded the dishwasher, then reloaded it. He took the initiative, and that’s what scouting is all about.”
Strawn plans to stay with Scouting until Teddy turns 18, at which point he may relinquish his Scoutmaster responsibilities. His wife is also very involved with the troop.
“It has enriched our lives,” he asserts. “Camping is so much fun, and the camaraderie among the boys, and the parents, is inspiring.”