Tom Switlik and wife Zeta with their children.Jeremy Hall, District Executive and Lisa Clark, District Commissioner of the Grand River Trails District with the Silver Award for Journey to Excellence.

Cameron Resident honored with Scouting award

On St. Patrick’s Day evening, the Pony Express Council held their Annual Council Recognition Dinner at Grace Evangelical Church in St. Joseph. During the program after the dinner, the Silver Beaver award was presented to four Scouting volunteers in the Council.

According to the Pony Express Council: The Silver Beaver award was created by the BSA National Council and first presented in 1931. The Silver Beaver award is a council-level distinguished service award and recipients of the award are registered adult leaders who have made an impact on the lives of youth through service given to the Council. The Silver Beaver is presented to those who implement the Scouting program and perform community service through hard work, self-sacrifice, dedication, and many years of service.

Among the recipients was long time Cameron resident and long time Scouting volunteer, Tom Switlik. Tom began his Scouting career as a youth in Pack 85 in Kansas City until his family moved to Cameron in 1969. Tom currently lives in Cameron with his wife of 34 years, Zeta. Tom is the proud father of three Eagle Scouts and a daughter who is a member of Venture Crew 911. Tom became involved in Scouting again when his oldest son became a Tiger cub in Pack 208. When the Webelos needed a leader, Tom stepped into the role. Tom then became Scoutmaster of Troop 175 and served in that capacity for 14 years, becoming a member of the Tribe of Mic-o-Say 17 years ago. Tom received the District Award of Merit in 2005 and is a recipient of the Bronze Pelican – an award given by the Catholic Church for significant contributions. Scouting runs deep in the Switlik family, Tom’s wife Zeta serves as a committee member for the Troop and two of his sons are Assistant Scoutmasters. Tom said one of his greatest joys is watching not only his children continue to enjoy scouting, but seeing his grandchildren enjoying the program as well.

Dick Doornink, fellow Scouter and long time friend of Tom stepped up to introduce him at the Silver Beaver dinner and remarked that often during Tom’s time in Scouting someone would say, “let’s have a meeting” because with Tom they always knew they were going to have fun.

Doornink said Tom is one of the only people he has ever known who could take a kid who was terrified of water to the Niangua River to a campground with a swimming pool and before it was time to get in the canoes, would have the kid qualified to be in a canoe. Doornink said he has never seen anyone else do that.

Tom upon receiving the award said, “I feel humbled and honored. I look at some of the things others in my district have done and I fail to compare. It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve enjoyed it. I got into Scouting because my boy was in there and I’ve stayed in because of the kids and I have had a lot of fun. I truly appreciate this.”

Other recipients of the Silver Beaver included: Dennis Draper, Jack Hussey, and Brad Weil.

During the recognition dinner the Grand River Trails District of the Pony Express Council received the Silver Award for the Journey to Excellence.


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