When Bill Shaffer returned to Tulsa from military school in 1969, his pastor asked him to take over as Scoutmaster of his old Boy Scout troop. “I can do anything for a couple of years.” Forty-eight years later, at 72, he’s still leading Troop 26, sometimes working with the grandsons of his early Boy Scouts.
She struggled to recognise how dangerously overweight she was until a child she was babysitting told her she was 'fat' and inspired her to lose weight.
She is now 138lb (9st 12lb), right Now she's training for bodybuilding figure competitions and uses pictures of how she used to look as motivation to keep working on her transformation.
For example, at awards ceremonies, Troop 26 sets up a troop museum filled with photos and artifacts dating back to the 1950s.
“When kids see their dads as 10-year-olds and their granddads doing the same things they’re doing now, they have a tendency to feel that they’re a part of something bigger than themselves,” he says. They respond better to adults who are real, rather than ones trying to be young and hip.
“The more people I have, the easier it makes my role.
I can concentrate on the things I like to do, which is to work with my senior patrol leader (the troop’s top youth leader) and his staff.” Shaffer says he doesn’t really feel old these days and credits Scouting for that. It just does, because you’re more tuned in to what’s going on daily,” he says.
(You can also find other ways to volunteer with kids through the Generation to Generation initiative which matches up people over 50 with young Americans who could benefit by having mentors and guidance.) On a recent Friday, Shaffer got sent home early from work at his job at a technical staffing firm, in part because it was his birthday and in part because his phone kept going off.
“Before I left work, I got about 150 dings on my phone from people wanting to wish me a happy birthday; 96 or 97 percent of them were former Scouts who were checking in,” he says.
“They see right through people who are trying to pretend to be something they’re not,” he says.
Ultimately, Shaffer says, kids are still looking for consistency in programs like Scouting — a home base for the turbulent teenage years.
She weighed 235lb (17 stone) four-years-ago, which at her 5ft frame put her into the highest level of obesity.