36,000 Scouts and leaders recently returned home with many fond memories from the 10-day 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the new Bechtel Summit Reserve in West Virginia. Steve Henning of Rockland Township returned with one unexpected fond memory.
He was attending a Rotary Meeting at the Jamboree and the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive, Wayne Brock, was the featured speaker. At the conclusion of the meeting, Henning was surprised when he was called forward, and even more shocked to be presented the International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians Silver Wheel Award, their highest award.
IFSR International Commissioner, Brian Thiessen, presented the award,
“The Silver Wheel Award is for outstanding service to the International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians over years of effort.
Steve is not only active in IFSR within his home Hawk Mountain Council, but has served in IFSR exhibit booths at national and international Jamborees and Rotary conferences, is the author of the widely read and appreciated On My Honor ... The Hawk Mountain Council Story 1908-2010 hardbound book, is one of our nation’s leading experts in rhododendrons and azaleas (so much so that his email tells it all (rhodyman@) and has also served as IFSR’s Webmaster (http://www.ifsr-net.org) for more than half a decade.
IFSR salutes you, Steve, and thanks you for your tireless efforts on our behalf! You are indeed one of the Silver Wheels that makes IFSR roll smoothly!”
Henning has been a member of the Boy Scouts for 48 years and a Rotarian for 23 years. He heard about the IFSR while on staff at the World Scout Jamboree in Korea in 1991 with Brian Thiessen. His 48 years in Scouting included 13 years as a professional employee at Hawk Mountain Council. He retired in 2002 and has continued to be actively involved in Scouting.
“I found that Scouting and Rotary’s common goal of service combined with Rotary’s historic support of Scouting and other youth programs made the International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians a great way to inspire other Rotarians to be more supportive of Scouting and other youth programs,” Henning said. “And, by the way, Brian’s comment about rhododendrons is because he and I also share an appreciation rhododendrons and azaleas.”
Prior to becoming a professional, Henning held numerous positions in Scouting. He served as a leader with a Whitfield Troop. He later became an organizer and recruiter for Tigers Cubs, the BSA’s pre-Cub Scout program. He also worked to save Troops and Packs that were in jeopardy due to leadership and membership problems.
While serving as a BSA professional, Henning served as a District Executive in Schuylkill County, was on staff at National and World Scout Jamborees, and served as adviser to the staffs for advanced adult leader and youth leader training. Since retiring, he has served on staff at Trail to Eagle Camp and continues to serve on staff at National and World Jamborees as well as on various Hawk Mountain Council committees.
In 2008, Henning was asked to write a book on the story of Hawk Mountain Council for the BSA’s 100th Anniversary Celebration in 2010.
“It was a lot of fun researching the history of Scouting and how it came from England to Berks and Schuylkill Counties, but the best part of writing the book was in interviewing over a 100 veteran Scout leaders and collecting thousands of photographs. Every photograph had a story to tell,” Henning said.
As a Scouting Rotarian, he serves as the IFSR Webmaster, and sets up Scouting exhibits at Rotary Conferences and Rotary Exhibits at Boy Scout jamborees. He was president of the Mahanoy City Rotary Club and currently is Club Secretary of the Kutztown Rotary Club.
Henning noted, “the Boy Scouts justifiably received a lot of national publicity for having girls in Venturing, the BSA’s co-ed older youth program, as participants at the 2013 National Jamboree, but the publicity was incorrect in stating this was the first BSA Jamboree where girls were allowed to be participants. When I was on staff at the 1989 National Jamboree at Fort. A.P. Hill, Virginia, we had a co-ed contingent of Explorers as participants including 22 girls. Some of the girls were Girl Scouts that enrolled in Exploring so they could attend the Jamboree. From then until this year, girls were allowed to serve on staff, but were not allowed to be participants.”
Provided by Steve Henning, Hawk Mountain Council, BSA, retired, Reading.