John Young has been wearing a scouting uniform for almost 30 years. He is one of six Eagle Scouts in three generations of his family. If all goes well, his 6-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte Peterson, will be the seventh.
Young is a Boy Scout troop leader for his grandson Joshua Young's Columbia Troop 121 and the district Scouting for Food coordinator. With his grandfather's help, Joshua Young already has achieved his Eagle Scout rank at age 16.
After three decades in scouting, Young is still passionate about turning young people into morally responsible and capable adults.
As a troop leader, Young said, it is part of his duty to teach not only youth camping skills, but also how to succeed in their career and family lives. Young has led boys who grew up to be successful law enforcement officers, bankers and businessmen.
"Scouting is about, in my mind, developing the character of young men — and eventually young girls, since they are going to be adding girls in Boy Scouts," Young said. "You begin to teach them and put them in situations that challenge them to make good and moral choices and make ethical decisions."
Area Boy Scouts will request food from customers at Jefferson City grocery stores for the Samaritan Center from 4-8 p.m. March 2 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. March 3. Young organized the effort in response to the decreasing amount of food area scouts were collecting during annual food drives. He hopes this additional project will help make up the difference and then some with a goal of 10,000 pounds of food items.
Young was born in Kentucky and earned his Eagle Scout rank more than 50 years ago. He studied environmental science at Eastern Kentucky University, where he obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees. He started working as a field inspector for the Department of Natural Resources and worked for the state 29 years before retiring in 2002 and going into private consulting.
He returned to the Boy Scouts when his two sons joined the organization and helped them increase the family's Eagle Scout tally.
Although sleeping outdoors gets a little harder on him every year, Young still enjoys camping with his troop. Just give him a cot in the summer and a few layers of extra padding in the winter, and he'll be ready to go.