Trying to become a Boy Scout during the Depression wasn’t easy for neighborhood resident Rowland C. Lewis.
In 1937, the 11-year-old Lewis wanted to be a Scout, but no one could be found to lead his troop, he says. At the time, women couldn’t be Scout leaders, and the Depression and war that followed swallowed up America’s men.
More than 20 years later, Lewis became a Scout. When his oldest son, Mark, joined Cub Scout Pack 203 in Little Rock, Ark., Lewis took charge as Cubmaster.
Since that time, Lewis has served in many positions for the Boy Scouts. He now is an active member of Troop 890, sponsored by Lake Highlands United Methodist Church, and of the Scout’s North Trail District, which includes Lake Highlands, North Dallas, the Park Cities and Richardson. He specializes in health and safety issues.
“I enjoy working with the boys,” Lewis says. “I enjoy young people.”
Lewis has been working with Dallas youth since he moved to his home near Lake Highlands High School in 1966. A strong family man, Lewis also has a strong sense of community.
In addition to serving the Boy Scouts for 34 years, Lewis has been involved with his church and neighborhood schools. He has worked for the Neighborhood Youth Services and the Lake Highlands Youth Activities Commission, doing among other things one-on-one drug counseling.
He has received awards for his distinguished service to youth, including the Silver Beaver, one of Scouting’s highest honors, and the Torch Award, presented at the Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
If you meet Lewis, don’t expect him to tell you about his accomplishments. He prefers talking about his wife, sister, two sons or daughter, or telling you about a Scouting campout.
“I went on just about all the campouts with my sons,” says Lewis, whose sons are both Eagle Scouts. “A campout is a really good place to get to know each other.”
“If you have $10,000 in the bank, but you’re cold and the fire won’t start, you are on the same level as the boys. The boys will tell you things they don’t tell you other places, not secrets, but stuff about their lives.”
Lewis’ boys are now men, and his daughter, a girl scout as a child, works at Presbyterian Hospital. His children may be grown, but Lewis continues Scouting.
“Sure, the kids get on my nerves sometimes,” he says. “But, I’m comfortable with them.”