Reunion Sees Scout Memorabilia

The history of Dhahran’s scouting community came to the fore at the recent KSA Reunion, with a number of retirees taking the opportunity to return Saudi Aramco memorabilia to the community. As a result of connections made through research into the early years of Scouting in Aramco, items belonging to Miles Snyder (Aramco’s very first Boy Scout) and Judy Webster Bauer (one of the first Girl Scouts) were donated to the Community Heritage Gallery where they can now be seen on display. The items were transported to Dhahran by ASC’s Art Clark on behalf of Miles and Judy. Miles Snyder’s donation includes the uniform he wore as a “Lone Scout” in Dhahran before the first Boy Scout Troop came into existence in late 1946, as well as his original Scouting handbook. Miles also sent some plans of the original hobby farm area, which he had hand-drawn for a badge requirement, unique historical documents in themselves. Judy and her sister Susan were members of Aramco’s first Girl Scout troop, also formed in late 1946, and Judy’s Girl Scout uniform can now be seen on display along with the colorful sashes, which demonstrate the range of badges both girls worked to achieve. A photo showed retiree Keith Worrell and his wife Levy looking at the new display of scouting items at the Heritage Gallery. Keith was actually a Cub Scout leader in Abqaiq from 1993–1996 during his tenure as a maintenance engineer with Saudi Aramco through 1981–2006. His six daughters were in Girl Scouts and one son was in Boy Scouts. He remembers that his troop was very “mixed,” about half of the 20 kids per year being American with the rest from other places such as Canada, Palestine and Egypt. “I appreciate what they did,“ he said, referring to the work of the scouting pioneers such as Dorothy Snyder, mother of Miles Snyder. “They made it possible for us to continue.” The donation of the items helps to reinforce a sense of continuity and identity within the Saudi Aramco communities and facilitates current residents to feel connected to the wider company history. Because of those volunteers who previously invested their time and talents in our communities, the traditions of groups like Scouting continue strongly today. At the end of April, Dhahran will be losing a much-appreciated Scout Master to retirement — geophysical consultant, Robert Ley. Robert, or ‘Bob’, was Scout Master for the nine years previous to mid-2014, and most remarkably oversaw the achievements of over 60 Boy Scouts in reaching the rank of Eagle Scout in that period. In recognition of his commitment to scouting, Ley was recently presented with a scrapbook recording his Dhahran Scouting achievements, which included many testaments from Scouts to his inspirational leadership and mentoring. ”I didn’t realize it back then but Boy Scouts made me a better man and I owe a lot of my success to you,” wrote Ahmed Lavanue, a sentiment echoed by many others, including Josh Ting who shared, “Because of your commitment to Scouting, many Scouts, like me, were able to have the times of our lives going on camping trips, learning new skills, and other activities. You inspired us to grow and mature into young men with values and morals.” The scrapbook also included many accolades from grateful parents. Don Merriwether wrote, “Thanks for being a true role model and giving the gift of time to shape so many young men,” while Jim Chrissie thanked Ley because he had, “touched more lives than you will ever know. You have guided boys along the Trail to the Eagle and watched as they matured into fine young men and skillful leaders. You have given up more weekends than you can shake a stick at and never complained. You have mentored the sons of many, Robert, with no expectation of reward, other than a thankful firm handshake.” Sumir Pattoo expressed the view of many parents by noting, “such a generous devotion is rare and exemplary for others to follow.” Ley will be missed from Dhahran, but his legacy of time invested in the lives of young scouts will continue to show fruit around the globe for many more years to come.