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Bev Armstrong After a quarter of a century, what keeps this ‘temporary’ den leader on the job?

FactSheet Bev Armstrong


Webelos den leader, Pack 636; vice president of membership, Utah National Parks Council

DAY JOB: Homemaker and community volunteer

FAVORITE CAMP: Philmont Training Center, where I have participated in three conferences

PROUDEST MOMENT IN SCOUTING: Having former Cub Scouts stop me on the street or contact me, telling me about their own kids. Next year, I’ll have the son of one of my early Cub Scouts in my den.

IN 1985, WHEN Bev Armstrong’s oldest son was a Bear Cub Scout, she volunteered to lead his den—just until the bishop of her LDS ward could identify a permanent leader. That permanent leader turned out to be Armstrong herself, who marked a quarter-century in Scouting last summer. Besides serving as a Bear

or Webelos den leader for almost 200 boys, Armstrong has served the Utah National Parks Council as a round- table commissioner, district commissioner, sector com- missioner and chair (in her council, districts are grouped into sectors), and vice presi- dent for membership. She also has spent the past 15 years as a Girl Scout leader and now chairs the commit- tee for the Venturing crew her husband, Bob, leads.

WHY HAVE YOU STAYED IN SCOUTING FOR SO LONG? I guess I never grew up. Scouting gives me a chance to do fun things like set up a weather station in my back yard, pour plaster in animal

tracks, make things out of papier- mâché … and I can say, “Oh, it’s for Scouts!” Plus I feel like I am giving these kids an “I can do it” attitude many lack. Values training, confidence,


and service are the side effects for the boys that keep me tied to the program.

SO YOU WEREN’T TEMPTED TO QUIT AFTER YOUR OWN SONS GRADUATED FROM CUB SCOUTING? I was just as con- cerned about the other boys accomplishing their goals and advancing and learning to feel good about themselves as I was about my own kids. I want to help them learn values and service, things they don’t get at school and sometimes not even at home. Some of these kids come from fabulous, supportive families, but some don’t. Some of these boys are not getting any values training anywhere.

HOW DO YOU TEACH SCOUTING VALUES? We expect the boys to live by their Promise and by the Law of the Pack, and we expect older boys to live by the Scout Oath. We can’t expect the boys to live that way if we don’t. Kids can see through that. You can’t live a double standard.

WHAT’S THE KEY TO AVOIDING BURNOUT AS A DEN LEADER? The key is getting people to roundtables and training. You get a new leader, and she has so many ideas. And within six or eight months, she’s used up her stash

of ideas. It’s like, “Now what do I do?” If leaders are reading the material, if they’re using the yearly program guide, if they’re going to roundtable every month, they won’t get burned out because there’s so much there.

YOU COULD ALSO AVOID BURNOUT BY TAKING SUMMERS OFF, BUT YOU RUN A YEAR-ROUND PROGRAM. WHY? I feel strongly about that. A lot of the activ- ity badges are obviously better done in the summer—Forester, Naturalist, Outdoorsman. In fact, activities in all of the boys’ levels are better done


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