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Spring 2013 (April 29, 2013)

Badges of Honor

By Joy Riggs


For 44 years, Ed Buchwald has introduced a troop of Northfield Boy Scouts to the great outdoors: hiking with them up mountains in Montana and Wyoming, canoeing rivers, exploring caves, and walking the length of Isle Royale National Park.

But this past fall, Buchwald, a geology and environmental studies professor emeritus who taught at Carleton from 1967 to 2002, retired as leader of Boy Scout Troop 337. Buchwald formed the troop in 1968, and Carleton agreed to provide a meeting space for it in the former carriage house behind Parish House, where the troop still meets.

When Buchwald started the troop, he figured he’d lead it for a few years. However, he soon realized that teaching the boys to be better citizens was helping him grow as a father and a husband, too. “The purpose of Scouting is to become a good man, to say these ideals out loud, and then live by them,” says Buchwald, who led his last meeting in October—on his 75th birthday. “I think I could save the world if I could get everybody to live by the Boy Scout Law.”

Under his guidance, 44 boys—or 20 percent of the group’s total membership—became Eagle Scouts; the national average is 5 percent. An Eagle Scout himself, Buchwald doesn’t expect every Scout to reach the highest level of Scouting. His goal was simply for the boys to have “tremendous adventures, while learning more about themselves and the outdoors.”

Retirement notwithstanding, Buchwald still plans to volunteer regularly with his old troop. “I have stepped down as Scoutmaster, but I’m not going to stop being a part of these boys’ lives.”

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