FORD DEDICATION CEREMONY
LINDA K CLOSSEN (ZXRA59A@PRODIGY.COM)
Thu, 17 Apr 1997 16:10:59 -0500
Today, I and 6 Scouts from my Troop 135 had the supreme honor of
serving at the dedication ceremony of the new Gerald R. Ford Council
Offices. What a glorious day! There were 500+ people in attendance.
All Scouts visible were in full dress uniform. The council offices
are the first in the history of Scouting to be named after a living
individual. Flags were flying, patriotic music playing. My boys had
been invited to both participate in the actual ceremony and to
construct a "mock" camp site for visitors to come through. We were
joined by members from Troop 244 and their Scoutmaster, Kathy
Ainsworth. (also a member of the Scouts-L) at the site. The day
started tremendously rainy and at the moment (talk about the power of
God) the President and his fellow guests stepped on the stage the sun
broke through the clouds and shined on us during the entire ceremony.
President Ford is our hometown boy and we all love him to death. He
is a great guy.
Let me try to tell you about the beautiful offices we can all claim
as our own. The building is described as a rustic one. It is 2
stories with a walk out basement. It is rustic brown with white
accents. The building contains professional Scouting offices, Scout
store, many meeting rooms, a basement near completion with 2 separate
locker rooms with showers, lockers, etc and storage.
The building sits on 15 acres of beautiful hardwoods and will contain
not only the Center for Scouting, the France Scout Museum, and it's
Scout Store, it also will become home to the Wege Bio-spheric Walk.
This is an area under development contains the hardwood forest, a
salmon stream and an area for a fire bowl and practice camp site.
The offices themselves are designed in a light almost pickled wood.
When you walk into the building, you are in a 2 story atrium. Around
the top of the first floor are the points of the Scout Law carved
into the wood. It is simply beautiful.
The official name of the offices is now the
Gerald R. Ford Council Offices,
Boy Scouts of America,
Devos Family Center for Scouting.
So, let me tell you about the ceremony.
It started with the ROTC from our local high schools giving a formal
opening ceremony. A breath taking rendition of the Star Spangled
Banned was given. There were many speakers leading up to the
statements of our President Ford. President Ford spoke about his
years in Scouting with Troop 15 and the life long impressions
Scouting has made in his life. He spoke to the fact that during his
25 years in congress, 9 months as Vice President and 2 1/2 years as
President that every decision he made was made remembering the Scout
Oath, Law and Promise. He said the the principles and values that he
learned from Scouting made his life what it became. He spoke of
Scoutmaster Kindle, his Scoutmaster and how he helped mold his
Scouting career. He also spoke that he was a product of a public
school education. (A big controversy here in Grand Rapids as our
public schools are held to ridicule quite often by many) He
continued that his public schools produced a president, how bad can
they be? We who are in education applauded tremendously at this.
We dedicated a bronze life size statue of him as an Eagle Scout at 16.
It is beautiful. At the base it says "Not every Eagle Scout
becomes a president, but some do." The detail in it is tremendous.
President Ford commented that Charles Parks, the creator of the
statue took some creativity with his likeness as he remembered having
much less hair, a chubbier waistline and very bowed legs. We all got
a laugh to out that.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, I was asked to sing a solo of "God
Bless America". I was so thrilled to be asked to do this as Mr. Ford
has been my hero since I was 7. What a fabulous day! A reception
followed with tours of the new building.
I will never forget this day as long as I live. There were news
people from all over the USA. Our Scouts were interview by Scouting
Magazine and many, many picture were taken. Maybe, you will see us
in their future feature story on the event.
So, that's my take on the big day! Please, when you all come up to
Grand Rapids camping, stop and visit our new offices.
Yours in Scouting,
Scoutmaster, Linda K. Clossen
Gerald R. Ford Council
Grand Rapids, Michigan
...I used to be sane...
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City