• Man honored with Silver Beaver Award for service to youth

    By: DIONNE GLEATON, The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg

    ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) - Ron Mosely doesn't know how much longer he can climb mountains and run behind young boys in their inquisitive pursuits of knowledge in the great outdoors, but he is up to the challenge. For him, scouting is a calling.

    Mosely, who will turn 56 in May, has been a scoutmaster with various Boy Scout units since 1982. He has emotionally, physically and socially molded young men along the way.

    For that service, the longtime volunteer leader was presented with the Silver Beaver Award at the annual recognition banquet held by the Indian Waters Council of the Boy Scouts of America on March 15.

    Mosely also serves as the commissioner of the Indian Waters Council's Edisto District, which serves Bamberg, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties.

    Mosely, who has served as scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 500 of Neeses for the past 13 years, said it is an honor to be recognized by the Indian Waters Council for distinguished service to youth.

    "You do so much not looking to be recognized over that. Then when you do get recognized, you notice that people do see what you're doing in the community and you know the impact you have on it. It's an honor," he said.

    He recalled starting out as a Cub Scout.

    "I was with Pack 190 under Mr. Sydney Young at Trinity United Methodist Church. He was our pack master. We had a tragic incident where a kid got burned. My parents pulled me and my brother out of the unit. So I was out of scouting for several years and never became a Boy Scout," Mosely said.

    But that was not the end of the Orangeburg native's story.

    "When I graduated from high school and was in college, my mom was a commissioner over the Orangeburg Area Development Center on Sprinkle Avenue. They were trying to start a Boy Scout troop under Ms. Janie Clements, who was director at the time," Mosely said.

    "I was probably 19 or 20 years old. She asked me to help them run the Boy Scout troop over there, and I became a scoutmaster then. I was with them for probably about nine and a half years. That was Troop 401 out of the Orangeburg Area Development Center on Sprinkle," he said. "I'll never forget it. That's where I started."

    Mosely went on to serve as a scoutmaster with Boy Scout units at Felton Laboratory School and Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church before getting out of scouting for several years. Even after he got married and joined New Light Baptist Church outside of Neeses, he was never very far from scouting.

    "The sitting pastor at the time, Dr. Norman Brown, was looking for someone to run the scouting program there. I was one of the new ones in the church so I sat in the back. For about two months he was trying to get us a Boy Scout unit and get someone to head up the program," said Mosely, who said he continued to sit quietly in the back of the church.

    "The pastor didn't know me and I didn't know him but every time he was talking, it appeared that he was looking over in my corner. Knowing that I was the one that had all the training, experience, time and resources to do that, I gave up one day and came up to him and told him, 'I know you were looking for someone to head the program up, and I think I'm about the only one that's qualified to do it,'" Mosely said. "From that point, it was on from there."

    Being a scoutmaster was more than just a job for him, he said.

    "I can sincerely say that it was a calling for me because I was having some issues at the time. I had asked God, 'Whatever you want me to do, I will do.' When I went to church, that's when Dr. Brown stood before the congregation and said he was looking for someone," Mosely said.

    "I said, 'You know what? Out of all these guys in the church, nobody's got scouting skills except me. So that's my calling.' I accepted it, and I love every minute of it. It's very rewarding."

    Mosely's Boy Scout troop consists of approximately 18 youth from ages 11 to 18. His church's Cub Scout Pack, which he also helps oversee, consists of approximately 10 youths whose ages can can range from 6 to 10.

    "We're on our 11th Eagle Scout for our Boy Scout unit that I was able to assist in producing. I keep in close contact with a lot of my guys, particularly with the unit that I'm in now," Mosley said. "I have some in the military that text me and send me emails and things like that constantly."

    "That's the beauty of it, when you can still have that relationship with them even after they leave out of the program and have their own kids," he said. "Scouting is teaching them lifelong skills. We go to court with them, we go to school with them, we tutor them and we check their grades."

    Mosely added, "I have a one-on-one relationship with each and every one of my scouts. I always have."

    Scouting exposes young men to new experiences, he said.

    "Right now, there are so many young men who are not able to enjoy the outdoors, go camping or hiking, learn outdoor skills or have someone to mentor them. It's hard to describe, but I've done it so long and mentored and taught over 300 or 400 guys, I'd guess. It is being able to give back because I've been fortunate," said Mosely, who owns AutoMaxx, a body shop and pre-owned auto dealership in Orangeburg. He had previously worked in communications with the South Carolina Highway Patrol for 20 years.

    "I'm able to give back. There are a lot of kids that don't get to enjoy the outdoors, not able to do the things that scouting provides. So that's one of the reasons why I do it. This is a rural area so you have a lot of kids and parents who don't have the opportunities or resources to send the kids out like that. That's where we come in," Mosely said.

    He said his Boy Scout troop goes camping approximately four times a year.

    "We attend summer camp at Camp Barstow in Batesburg for a week. We attend our district and council camping event. We take them hiking, and in our troop, we ask them to attend church at least once a month," Mosely said.

    He said scouting remains relevant in today's changing society.

    "The times are changing, but scouting teaches you a lot of skills and moral values like loyalty and respect. That never changes and will always be relevant. Now scouting has switched to where we're getting girls in scouting. So it's a changing time, but the values we teach and the skills that we teach in learning the outdoors is something that's going to always stay relevant," Mosely said.

    His proudest moments in scouting include getting his first set of Eagle Scouts and taking his current troop to the inauguration of former U.S. President Barack Obama in 2008.

    "Out of all the years I've been in the program, to actually watch my Eagle Scouts grow from 10 and a half years old to become young men at 18 and go on to college and the military was one of my most proudest moments," said Mosely, who said he has enjoyed seeing his scouts explore the wonders of the outdoors.

    "It may be the first time they've ever gone camping or swimming. Just to watch them go in the mountains and take a hike ... . We've actually sent a group of scouts to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. And we've also had them go to the National Jamboree in Virginia this past year. I sent about half of my unit to the jamboree, and we're now preparing to go to the World Jamboree next year," he said.

    Mosely said he has also had to help his scouts work out issues at school.

    "There were some that had some little gang issues and because they were in scouting, they came to us with it, and we were able to walk them through the process to straighten that out. That was very powerful, and it's really needed in this area," he said, adding that he realizes he can't save everybody.

    "If you've been in it as long as I have, you see the need. But every now and then, one slips through the cracks. But, I mean, that's just the way it is. You feel bad about it," he said.

    Mosely is training his 7-year-old nephew, Derwin Brailey, to become his successor. As much as he likes the outdoors, he said he doesn't know how much longer he will be able to test his body's limits.

    "My nephew is only 7, but he loves the outdoors and he loves his Uncle Ron. I'm teaching him to be my successor because I don't know how long more I'm going to be able to climb those mountains like I did last year when I went to Table Rock State Park and we do like a 15-mile mountain climb," he said, laughing.

    "I got about halfway up the mountain, looked back and said, 'What am I doing? This hurts now,' but it's great, though. I love it. I'm gonna do it until I can't do it anymore."


    Information from: The Times & Democrat, http://www.timesanddemocrat.com

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