At a committee meeting, Charles Huntley and fellow members were asked why they were involved with the Boys Scouts of America organization. Huntley took one look around the council office, dubbed the Eagle Room for the pictures of Eagle Scouts on the wall, and had his answer.
“I looked up and here were pictures of two of my sons on the wall,” he said. “It was just a great experience for me.”
Huntley first became involved with Boy Scouts when he was a child. He spent nine years as a cub scout, boy scout and explorer scout. Then about 40 years ago, he put his own children into the program, and volunteered as a leader with them in Hudson Troop 140. After his boys had finished the program, Huntley stayed.
“I’ve been associated with them ever since,” Huntley said.
Huntley’s troop has seen 141 Eagle Scouts since its creation, and Huntley has been there for 112 of them.
“I’ve had an opportunity to meet many of Hudson’s fine young men,” he said.
For Huntley, it was the oath and laws of the organization that led him to be so involved over the years. Boy Scouts follow the 12 scout laws: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
“It’s the values and the leadership that they teach these young people. Really what they’re doing is teaching them skills for life,” he said.
Through his forty years of service, his favorite part of the experience has been working with the boys.
“These youth have so much energy, and great ideas,” Huntley said. “You can make a difference in their lives.”
In doing so, Huntley said he himself has been affected.
“You try to make a difference in them, but you’re really making a difference in yourself,” he said. “You get more out of it than they do.”
Huntley has seen the effect of his service in the boys he has worked with over the years. One Christmas Eve, Huntley was approached at church by a man who had been in Troop 140 for a few years. Huntley said the boy’s father had been in trouble at the time, and he needed a role model. The man thanked Huntley for the help he gave him while in Huntley’s troop.
“It doesn’t get any better than that,” Huntley said.
Seeing the boys he has helped grow and succeed is the best reward for Huntley. He said he and the other leaders recognize the influence they have on the boys, and strive to be a good example for them.
“Every time we have an Eagle Scout ceremony, I look at that as pay day for the leaders because we have so much influence on these kids,” he said.
In addition to serving as a leader in Boy Scouts, Huntley has also taken on the role of the organization’s founder in presentations. He travels all over the area, from Bismarck, North Dakota to Dayton, Ohio, to share the history of scouting with audiences.
“I hope that’ll be my legacy to scouting,” Huntley said. “You really acquaint a lot of people with how the program came about.”
In August, the Hudson Noon Rotary Club recognized Huntley for his service to Boy Scouts with the annual “Unsung Hero Award.”
“I was overjoyed,” Huntley said.
Huntley received a Paul Harris Fellowship Award and was able to donate to the charity of his choice. He selected the St. Croix Valley YMCA so the donation can be used for scholarships to families of active-duty military members.
Though his role with the Boy Scouts is impressive, Huntley has been involved in many different volunteer roles in the Hudson community. He currently serves on the Phipps Foundation Board and Teddy Roosevelt Medora Foundation as well as several other Boy Scout board positions. He has previously been a part of the Hudson Hospital Board, the Hudson Health Cooperation, the Hudson Parking Utility, The Edison Finance Academy Advisory Board, Valley Arts Guild, and many more.
“I’ve always had the belief that what you do for yourself dies with you, but what you do for others lives on forever,” he said. “If you make that choice to do something for someone else you’ll never regret it.”