Scoutmaster named for Monroe's West End
ADELE R. ARGOT/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Scoutmaster Steve Rhoads serves Troop 98 as leader. He is currently taking Wood Badge Leadership Development Training.
It could be his wife's fault.
It could be his 15-year-old son's fault.
It just could be his own interest.
Over the years, all have helped to "make" Steve Rhoads the Scoutmaster for Troop 98 in Monroe's West End.
This Lehighton High School graduate's path of scouting included being a member of Pack 82 in Lehighton all the way through Webelos.
Then came his son's entry into scouting with Pack 99.
At a parents' meeting at Effort UMC, the announcement was made that the pack needed a treasurer.
"You could do that," his wife Cindy told him. After all, he had a B.S. in Accounting from Penn State University,
Steve agreed and when Nathaniel became a Webelos, Steve took over as den leader from Cindy, who had served in that capacity for two years.
When Nathaniel crossed over to Boy Scouts, into Troop 98, Steve "crossed over," too, becoming an Assistant Scoutmaster.
"We searched for a Scoutmaster for a year," says Steve, recalling David Weinman's announced intention to retire from the position he had held since Ralph Manento retired.
As it was, two of the Assistant Scoutmasters were qualified and Steve was one of them.
Among the requirements are trainings such as "Scoutmaster Specifics, Outdoor Leader Skills, and, of course, all the screenings required of all leaders and volunteers including Youth Protection training.
When promised great support by the other leaders of Troop 98, he accepted the position and has been serving as Scoutmaster since Jan.1, 2012.
His best experience with Scouts is, "Watching kids develop and put into action what they learned."
Seeing those who crossed over with Nathaniel to be approaching Eagle Scout is a particular joy.
Scoutmaster Rhoads says, "More than likely Troop 98 will award its 100th Eagle Scout during 2013," with young Rhoads a likely candidate among the upcoming honorees.
What the troop needs is "boys interested in learning about the outdoors and leaders interested in teaching them," says Rhoads. Those youth can come not only from the Pleasant Valley School District, but also home-schooled, charter-schooled or other wise. The boy needs to be 11 years old with his Arrow of Light if coming from Cub Scouts or 12 years old with no such affiliation.
Among the special events the troop has had in the recent past are going to the Florida Sea Base in 2011 and doing the annual campaign of sending Christmas cards to the troops.
"Last year they sent 3,000," says Rhoads, gaining the troop National recognition for being the troop which sent the most.
This year's campaign was to begin in two weeks.
Another activity that gives the scout troop members hands-on opportunity is selling Christmas wreaths made by the boys and families themselves.
Funds realized from that project allow for special events, which in 2013 may include the National Jamboree being held at Bechtel Scout Reserve.
There are 50 young men in the troop now. They make up 6 patrols, each with its own Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader. The troop offers a 1st-year program, designed to get new scouts to 1st Class rank in one year.
The troop meets once a week, with meetings being from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Pleasant Valley Elementary School in winter and Chestnuthill Park in the summer.
Scoutmaster Rhoads, who is taking Wood Badge training right now, has his MBA from Moravian and became a CPA in 2000. He's taught swimming in Lehighton and Findlay, Ohio.
A resident of the West End for a goodly number of years, he likes to hunt and fish and be involved in other community entities. That he does by serving on the Organization Committee for Monroe County's annual Youth Field Day and as yearly auditor for the Garden of Giving.
His son, his wife, his previous scout experience, his professional skills, his enjoyment of the outdoors and serving others are all, or may be, part of the reason why the families of Troop 98 have Steven G. Rhoads as Scoutmaster. His pay is seeing the growth of the scouts.