Guest Intro - Dean Whinery
By: Dean Whinery
Posted On: 2018-11-16
It's always a pleasure to share these pages with like-minded people. Dean Whinery is a respected friend, journalist and a lifelong Scout. When he accepted my invitation to share his wisdom with my readers, I was thrilled. I know you will be too!
I joined Scouting in November 1949 at age 11, in a barrio of Southcentral Los Angeles. The large (12 patrols of up to 12 members each, with two feeder Cub packs, attached Explorer Post, Sea Scout Ship, Air Scout unit, and Rovers. The whole family of units was disbanded during Scout Week, 1950 when the SM had to leave. I joined two other troops before one "stuck". Over the next four years, I attained Second Class Scout rank and was SPL as we grew to 96 members. SPL for two years because I was the only "ranking" Scout who could pronounce all the members' names for our "good ol' boy" SM from "Kentucky". In fact, I stayed with the troop after our family moved, by bicycling 20 miles each way every Monday night (I already had earned the Cycling MB and had finally reached First Class Scout rank.)
I dropped out for a couple of years due to a heavy high school schedule, but signed on as ASM for a troop in a nearby community in 1956, and was in charge as that troop spent a week at summer camp at Cherry Valley, Santa Catalina Island.
Late that year transferring to the troop sponsored by my local Catholic parish, I was presented a belated Star Scout badge. With full training and a Scouter's Award. I stayed on, even through 38 months of active duty in the Army, until 1965; I also served as a Webelos Den Leader. At age 21 I was inducted into the Order of the Arrow in LA council, and Brotherhood in Cochise Council a couple of years later.
Joining the Army
During my military service, I was ASM briefly at Fort Ord, Calif., then ASM and SM at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Reassigned to the Army hospital in Munich, I was soon SM again. Back home, my parish troop committee had been holding the SM slot open for me and I took charge.
A few years later, I was on the district committee as a publicity man, later serving the same district in various Commissioner positions, including DC. I also put my Wood Badge from Transatlantic Council to work as JLT leader and in other training functions. I later attended Cub Leader Trainer WB, resulting in becoming "Tiger Cub Commissioner", that saw me out several nights a week organizing that then-new program in parts of two councils.
A public relations opportunity
Calling upon my lifelong career in journalism, I was hired by LA Area Council as their public relations man, later taking on responsibilities in the Camping Department, including National Camping School for certification as camp program director, Cub Resident Camp Director, and Camp Commissioner.
After about five years, I was hired by a neighboring council in their Hispanic Outreach Program and served on the summer camp staff for three years. Two of those years in the camp, I was additionally appointed "Lay Catholic Chaplain" by the local diocese.
Boy Scout Leader
Following that, I served at pack, troop and Exploring/Venturing unit levels, and as a "retread" SM for a troop whose popular SM had died suddenly. I was also Lone Scout Counselor for my Mexican son, later for my "special needs" legal ward whose troop folded and couldn't find a "fit" anywhere close.
As a youth, I attended the 1953 Jamboree in California, and on the national staff in 1969 in Idaho, and 2005 in Virginia. I was fortunate to attend sessions at Philmont Training Center twice.
Training and awards
Along the way in addition to taking whatever training was required for volunteer positions, sometimes receiving associated awards, I have been honored with the District Award of Merit, Silver Beaver, International Scouter's Award and Order of the Condor, and Catholic religious recognitions. I've lost count of days and miles of camping, hiking, and canoeing, from the US West Coast to the Alps, and from northern Idaho to Scouts de Mexico's Metztitla, south of Mexico City.
Many backpacking and hiking adventures
For almost ten years, while an ADC, I was also the leader of a Cadette Girl Scout troop that averaged more than 50 members each year. I lost count the number of times this girl-run troop summited Mt. Baden-Powell--usually singing--and camped, hiked, biked and canoed in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho. Members also did four week-long backpacking trips in the High Sierra, including Mt. Whitney.