By Steve Seepersaud
In Boy Scout circles, it’s common to recruit troop leaders by promising the job will only be one hour per week. D. Brady Drummond-Ryan ’79 (second from right in photo above) and others quickly find out that’s not even close.
“The reality is more like one hour per week per scout!” he says. “I put in well over 900 hours each year, but I love it. Scouting is how I connect with myself. I enjoy the change of pace from work and everything else.”
Drummond-Ryan is a scoutmaster in the Charlotte, N.C., area, and a commissioner on a regional roundtable of scout leaders. The National Eagle Scout Association recently recognized him with its Outstanding Eagle Scout Award given to Eagle Scouts who have brought great honor to the Boy Scouts of America through personal and professional contributions.
Over a half century, the Watertown, N.Y., native has found that you can leave scouting, but scouting never really leaves you. He joined Cub Scouts as an 8-year-old, mostly because his friends were there. He left after a few years due to lack of leadership but rejoined as a teen because his brothers were going to the meetings.
“We had three scout masters in four years and I owe a lot to my second scout master, Bill Dean,” Drummond-Ryan said. “He walked up to me and said, ‘You’re going to be an Eagle Scout.’ I had never really considered it before that.
“Back then, the Eagle Scout projects weren’t as in depth as they are now. It was more based on acquiring and mastering skills. That’s why, after 50 years, I still know all the songs and how to tie all the knots. Only 2 or 3% of scouts make it to Eagle, and I appreciate it so much more as an adult.”
In college, he was a merit badge counselor and volunteered on and off in the ensuing years, even getting his stepson involved as a teen. In 2008, his niece called asking Drummond-Ryan to take his great-nephew to Cub Scouts. His great-nephew only stayed with scouting for three years, but the “reactivated, re-excited” Drummond-Ryan continued as a scout leader, moving up from a den pack leader to assistant scoutmaster to scoutmaster.
“People ask me what I like most about scouting, and I say ‘everything.’ It’s an honor to be part of a family and watch these boys grow up. We lure them in by saying they’re going to learn cool stuff like how to shoot BB guns, and then we teach them about leadership and community service projects.
“They come in as oblivious 11- and 12-year-olds, and it’s rewarding to see them grow, develop skills, take the lead on planning activities and oversee the advancement of younger scouts.”
Drummond-Ryan says less than 10% of the scout-age youth in his region participate in scouting, and he will be working to increase that number.
“A lot of young boys want to play football,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but how long are you going to play football? Scouting is something you can do for your whole lifetime! My reward comes from giving back and teaching others to give back.”