I am pleased to announce that Dean Whinery has agreed to occasionally write blog posts for us. What follows is his bio of sorts, so that you know the person behind future posts. Please make him feel welcome...
Born in East L.A., I lived in South-central LA until the family moved to Whittier during hgh school sophomore year. Sold newspapers on corners and in industrial areas of South-central. One of my sometimes customers was a big fellow in a paper hat who sold chili dogs from a small stand. Years later, whenever the founder of Carl's Jr. saw me, he would give me a gold card for a free meal at any of his restaurants.
In late 1949, I joined the biggest Boy Scout troop that I've seen to this day, 12 patrols of 12 Scouts each. Associated with it were two very large Cub Scout packs, Sea, Land and Air Explorers, and a Rover unit.Something happened during Scout Week, 1950, and all these units were disbanded. I moved to a small troop where marching was the only thing we did. Finally, I latched onto a troop sponsored by the Goodyear factory 10 blocks from home, and several of my friends joined too.
After re-doing Tenderfoot, total of three times, I reached Second Class Scout and was troop Quartermaster. We were a growing troop, and were the largest in the district before long. We camped almost every month. When we got a new SM, a good ol' boy from Kaintucky, he asked me to be SPL for a troop that had become 96 Scouts. He discovered that I could pronounce "all the Mexican" names that were just tongue twisters for him, and the nicknames just confused him. I was SPL for two years.
In 1953, still a Second Class Scout, I saved up the "huge" $50 Jamboree fee and was an APL at the event on Irvine Ranch, Calif. That fall, having finally learned to swim, they pinned on a First Class badge, followed in a few months with the Star rank. We had attended council summer camp for two years, patrol cooking and a total fee of $15 for a 7-day week. My last year we camped in Kings Canyon National Park. where I found myself surrounded on evening by bears while trying to take a cub's picture. I was an Explorer for about a year, but did not stay with Scouting during my last two years of high school. I spent one summer as a counselor in a private $ummer camp.
Then I was an ASM who, in his 18th year, took two dozen Scouts to Cherry Valley, Santa Catalina Island. Since that time, as a volunteer, I have been ASM, SM, or committeeman, for troops in California, Arizona, and in Munich, Germany. Also have volunteered in Cubbing, Exploring and Venturing, and have served as UC, ADC, and DC, and was SM for JLT. In 1969, at the personal invitation of the National Council's PR director, I was a photographer at the Jamboree in Idaho, where I had a long chat with Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, and was a tiny part of security operations at the 2005 Jamboree.
At 21 I had earned the Scouter's Training Award, and in Germany (63-65) did the 10-day outdoor segment of the "old-old" Wood Badge, where one of the staff had been a trainee of Green bar Bill in the late 40s. Eventually, I acquired the SM, Commissioner, and CM Training Keys, as well as most of the later Cub training recognitions. I've been to Philmont twice for special conferences, and at one time carried three certifications from National Camping School. I also did Cub Scout Leader Trainer Wood Badge, and a couple of years ago, Powder Horn.
My peers have honored me with the District Award of Merit and Silver Beaver. I also hold the International Scouter's Award, reflecting, in part, my time as Counselor for my Lone Scout son in the middle of Mexico.
After a 30-year career in the newspaper business, I was hired as PR man (and bunch of other hats) for a BSA council, and eventually was "lead secretary" in the Camping Department, staying there for about five years before moving on to another council and its Hispanic Outreach Program. While a "camping secretary"...with a NCS camp director certification...I was honored to have an evening with Bill Hillcourt who was visiting our camp.
I'm "retired" now, registered as a volunteer with Direct Service because my "official address" is in a mountain village in the middle of Mexico, and serving as Associate Advisor of a fine coed Venturing Crew in California.
Many years ago, I was surprised to be introduced at a Blue and Gold Dinner as "our District Commissioner. He has all the answers." I quickly recovered and told everyone, "I don't have all the answers, because I haven't heard all the questions yet."
Issue 443 – May 19, 2015
My previous column closed on a bullying scenario—something that seems to be in the news more and more these days. When I was a kid growing up, bullies were pretty...