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Home»News»News Releases

Two Decades Of Memories And Counting...

2/12/2014

Do you remember when you first got involved in Scouting? Maybe you volunteered to be your son’s leader or perhaps stepped in to organize an event. Or maybe you just made sure to attend every den meeting, outing, and activity — and helped when little things came up. For long-time volunteer Alexia Arensmeier, it was a little bit of all three.

“My oldest son (Tad) got started in Tiger Cubs in the first grade,” remembered Alexia. “I actually got involved as a leader when he went to Webelos Mini-Camp. The den mother at the time did not want to go camping, so I stayed with the pack because I’ve always camped and went backpacking as a child. I kept with it and I enjoyed the kids and enjoyed doing the program with them — learning from them, learning from the other people around me. I transferred to the troop and at the same time my little one (Alex) started as a Tiger Cub. I was the leader of his Tiger pack that started with 18 boys. Somewhere along the way, I picked up another Webelos group for a couple of years. And then later on I got involved with district events.”

And by “got involved,” she means serving as a day camp director, working on National Youth Leadership Training staff (called JLTC at the time), running Cub Scout leader training, and chairing the Cub Scout roundtable for the Gravois Trail District — just to name a few things she has done over the last two decades. A Wood Badge course in 2002 adds to her growing list of training courses.

Some might assume Alexia’s involvement stemmed from a family history in Scouting when actually she had no prior experience with Scouts. Despite going in clueless, it didn’t take long for Alexia, who has held just about every leadership position available at the unit level, to see how valuable the Scouting program was for her son.

“He had good role models,” said Alexia. “It was very different from school or sports. It taught leadership skills, and morals. Our unit is chartered by a religious organization so religion was a part of it too. I liked that they learned how to get along with each other, how to be respectful, and had the 12 points of the Law to look up to.

“One of the things I’ve learned watching adults go through Cub Scout leader training is how much they didn’t realize how many purposes there were in Cub Scouting when they were Scouts because all they saw was the fun. They never realized that they were getting sportsmanship and responsibility and all of those things that we as parents like.”

Alexia always keeps her motto in mind: It’s for the kids. She enjoys the small moments when she knows a Scout finally “gets it,” when they understand the program. Or seeing some of her Scouts years later when they’re grown and married with families of their own, but they still recognize her and stop to stay hello.

There is one particular moment for Alexia that has stood out in her mind as one of the bigger moments of her Scouting career.

“This was a moment to be really proud of the whole troop,” Alexia recalled. “A man collapsed of a heart attack during Scouting for Food. A nurse was there and I was there, and we did CPR. I had just gone through the first aid requirements with the Boy Scouts and one of the things is keeping the scene safe. That is one of the things you always teach. So after we were done working on the man and the ambulance got there, I looked up. The troop had all of the pack in the grass playing football. [The 911 dispatchers] had sent extra police cars thinking there would be chaos with 60-70 kids around, but we were complimented on how well the older boys had handled the situation. There was no adult supervision over there at all. The younger kids didn’t even know an ambulance had come because they were so occupied and distracted playing with the older boys. So the scene stayed safe, and they did a wonderful job. They ‘got it’.”

It is reasons like that that keep Alexia involved in the Boy Scouts despite the fact that her own sons have already finished going through the program. Of course, she forgot to mention that she just took over as Cubmaster for her sons’ former unit, so it is also reasons like that.

After all, it’s just one hour a week.