Special to The Sun
Boy Scouts of America’s Eagle District has a new chairman, Robert Gray. Gray, a native Oklahoman who lives in Edmond, is an attorney by trade, but a Boy Scout at heart.
For 47 years, Gray has been involved in scouting. From his first campout in 1967 at Camp Kickapoo (presently the John Nichols Scout Ranch) to his leadership positions today as Last Frontier Council board member, lodge advisor for Ma-Nu Lodge and Eagle District chair, Gray has always been passionate about and energized by Scouting.
As Eagle District chair, Gray oversees 162 units (comprised of Packs and Troops) across Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Luther, Crescent and Wellston. “It is important that we look at solid programming for the kids, but it’s also important to make sure that our boys are supported by trained adult leaders,” Gray said.
Gray hopes to recruit more and more Scouts. A recent Gallup survey (for Baylor University) of Eagle Scouts, former Boy Scouts and men who never joined scouting found that America’s Eagles are far more engaged with the world around them in almost every way — in community service, club membership, churchgoing, outdoor recreation and the fields of education and health.
Gray also wants to generate more interest among adults in the programs Boy Scouts has to offer. He’s also trying to raise $90,000 for Eagle District in the 2013 Friends of Scouting campaign.
“We are asking people to invest in the lives of youth — not just a contribution, but an investment,” Gray said. “It costs $300 per boy per year for the Scout program. We would love for people to give us their time, as well as their money.”
Having joined Norman Troop 226 in 1964, Gray was inducted into the Order of the Arrow in 1967; he completed his first trek at Philmont in 1968 and earned his Eagle rank in 1969. He became Den leader for Pack 341 in 1988, Cubmaster for Wolf, Bear and Webelos 1 & 2 in the ’90s. After his own sons crossed over into Boy Scouts, Gray became a district advisor for OA and served on the Nominating Committee for Eagle District, lodge advisor for Ma-Nu Lodge of Order of the Arrow and was elected to the Last Frontier Council Board of Directors in 2010.
Gray credits two men, Bill Beaugerd and Neal Vic, for shaping his life, and said he wants to be that same mentor to others today. These men, he says, were not only his Scoutmasters, but also became father figures to him. They gave up their own family vacations to camp with him and other boys who didn’t get to go on vacations. They inspired him to earn his Eagle rank — Boy Scouts’ highest rank — and now Gray says he takes seriously, “the Eagle charge to use his rank and influence to better Scouting in our community.”
He has received many accolades for his service to Scouting, including the Sliver Beaver Award, the God & Country Award, the Vigil Honor Award and the District Award of Merit.
Far more important to Gray than awards is his ultimate goal of making more people aware of what Scouting does for our community.
“We are more than Eagle Projects and the Fourth of July parade,” Gray said.
He believes Scouting is vital because it teaches “respect for the flag, duty to God, duty to country and duty to others,” and he talks enthusiastically about boys learning valuable life lessons in the midst of having fun with their peers.
“Scouting is for life,” Gray said.