Making way for a new leader

Published 9:05 am Friday, September 23, 2011

Tom Jones, left, poses with his son, Thomas, at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico in 1998. Jones will leave his post as Troop 17 Scout leader in December. -- SUBMITTED

FRANKLIN—Tom Jones has been involved in Franklin’s Boy Scouts Troop 17 for most of his life.

“Scouting was a great thing in Franklin and a great part of my youth,” Jones said. “I’ve always stayed active in it.”

That activity will slow down in December for the Troop 17 scoutmaster when he steps aside after more than 30 years as the troop’s leader.

“It’s been fulfilling to have a chance to have an influence on the lives of young people,” Jones said. “It’s nice to be in a position to teach and watch them learn.”

Ed Hull will take over the troop sponsored by High Street United Methodist Church.

Since Jones took over as scoutmaster in 1980, Troop 17 has grown from four members to 50 and has had a total of 81 boys, including Jones’ son, Thomas, achieve Eagle Scout.

“I don’t know how many picnic tables, park benches, blood drives, food drives and other (Eagle Scout) projects these boys have done,” said Bill Scarboro, Boy Scouts of America Siouan Rivers District commissioner. “A number of people have benefited.”

While the departure is certainly the end of era for Troop 17, Scarboro said he hopes Jones can still have an impact on the troop.

“He’s not going to drop off the end of the earth,” Scarboro said. “I’m hoping he’ll stay involved. He’s a great scout leader, great community leader and a great person to be involved with.”

Jones plans to stay involved in a lesser capacity. He said he would like to help scouts develop Eagle projects.

Scarboro respects Jones’ belief that a good scout leader takes his scouts camping often.

“Troop 17 and all troops should try and go camping once a month,” Scarboro said. “Camping is the vehicle that builds values that turn into leadership for these boys. It gets the boys interested and before you know it, they’re leaders.”

Jones said he couldn’t have succeeded without help from great assistant scoutmasters.

“I can’t begin to name everyone who has helped the troop in this role over the past 30 years,” Jones said.

Registered assistant scoutmasters include parents Hull, Raye Moore, Scarboro, David Hall, Robin Mason, Frank Jester, Bryan Fenters, Mark Drumheller, David Benton and Eric Cooke.

A group of leaders have remained active in scouting even after their children left the troop. This group includes Bess Kannan, Jerry Trier, Harold Burkett, Lynn Powell and Lewis Brown.