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George Gayman - Portrait of a Lifelong Scouter
Having Fun But Not 'Til The Work Is Done
But it’s not all hard work. “He encourages us to try our hardest at everything, but he always makes sure everyone has a good time,” says Scout Doug Buckel.
Carl Schoon agrees - telling a tale of summer camp. "Everyone was up and ready to go to opening ceremonies, except two Scouts who had overslept," said Schoon. “Well, they were still sleeping, and we all snuck up to the tent and yelled ‘Hey!’ really loud. It was hilarious to see them jump out of bed!” Carl said.
Senior Patrol Leader Trevor Pullen chimes in, “He’s taught me everything I need to know about Scouting," Pullen said. "He’s a very good leader. We always have room for fun, but not 'til the work is done. That’s what George says.”
New to the troop, Raleigh Koeberle smiled and said "George says, 'Think of all the time I put in in my life to help you in yours.' That’s how he reminds us to stay involved.”
“When you take a group of boys and set them loose at a camp-o-ree—one time, they lost a wheel on their Klondike sled and still took first place," said Gayman. "When they do something like that, they make themselves proud and they make me proud. You know you’ve got to be doing something right.”
Gayman is right there. And it's not just his boys that think so. “The best thing about being in Troop 49 is the way people look at us as a troop under George's leadership,” Troop 49 Committee Member Todd Frey said. “He’s the backbone and we’re the ribs.”
Gayman is a highly-decorated Scouter. Over his lifetime, Gayman has won numerous awards, including the Scouter’s Training Award, the Scoutmaster’s Key Award, the District Award of Merit, the Silver Beaver, the Lutheran Lamb Award, the National Eagle Scoutmaster’s Award of Merit, the Governor’s Service to Youth Award, Wood Badge, and the Good Scouter’s Award. But of all these awards, one means more to Gayman than all the others.
In 1972, Gayman joined the Order of the Arrow. He’s been to many Vigils and Ordeals, picnics and dinners. In the late 1990’s, Gayman was nominated by his fellow Order of the Arrow members for the OA Founder’s Award. “It means the most because it’s the boys who choose you. It was really something,” Gayman said.
No Signs of Slowing Down
"We’ll go up to Tuckahoe and work our butts off all day,” Venture Roundtable Chair Fred Christiansen says of Gayman. “We’ll work all day and get sweaty, go home, and fall asleep dead tired. We’re just two old guys who love to camp.”
At 66 years old, Gayman shows little sign of slowing. Last year, he accompanied his Troop on a 185-mile bike trek at the C & O Canal. The trip was a week long, and Doug Buckel shed some light on it. “Gayman rode in the car driving our gear to the next campsite.”
When Gayman isn’t Scouting, he spends his free time with his family. He has two daughters, Robin Sheffer and Theresa Locondro. Both live close to their dad in Hellam. Gayman's son David passed in 1999, after serving with his father as Assistant Scoutmaster. But David’s son, Keith, is a Life Scout working on Eagle in Troop 49. Along with Keith, Gayman has seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, with one on the way.
When you ask Gayman why he stays in Scouting, after all these years, he simply says, “So the boys have something to do other than sit in front of the TV and play video games.”
You can see the difference this idea makes on Gayman’s Scouts. They are bright, enthusiastic young men. Several serve on camp staff, some have been to the National Jamboree, others have found camaraderie they where missing other places. But most of all, you can tell how much they respect Gayman. Brian Kurzik said, “He’s a great Scoutmaster. He has a lot of experience if you have a problem or a question, you can ask George. He keeps us going.”
And what does Gayman say about all this? “The people tell me, only the good die young. The devil takes care of his own, and I ought to live to be 120!”
-- By Heather Klinefelter, Indian Steps District Executive
Supported by donations from Shamiro and WeddenOp