THE happiest camper at the first National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia had to be one of its oldest, Stephen Bechtel Jr., 88, who became an Eagle Scout at age 15. He later was given the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and the Silver Buffalo Award, Scouting's highest honor.
Bechtel and his brother, Riley, co-own Bechtel Corp., which their grandfather founded in 1898. Over the years, the construction and engineering firm has been involved in projects ranging from the Hoover Dam to the Hong Kong International Airport.
He and his family donated $50 million so the Boy Scouts could build a permanent home for the Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve.
"I got an awful lot out of it," Bechtel said of Scouting. "I learned a lot. I was blessed with a mother and a dad who were very good at teaching me values, but Boy Scouts helped me solidify it."
His generosity and involvement in the Summit will help pass those values on to other generations. Bechtel helped bury a time capsule that will be opened in 300 years.
May Scouting and those values last that long and longer.