Stacie and Jared Sigler were not expecting to be involved with the Boy Scouts, but their roles in Iola Troop No. 55 have helped the program evolve into the strongest it has been in years.
When they took over the program, there were six Boy Scouts. Now, there are 18 involved in the program.
Stacie is Scoutmaster and Jared is her assistant. They became involved with the Scouts four years ago when their son, Zachary, said he wanted to join. Then, their older son, Austin, heard about the troop and thought it was too good to pass up.
“He said, ‘you get to shoot guns, do all this cool stuff, shoot bows and arrows,’” Stacie said. “He was like, ‘I want to be a Boy Scout.’”
At first, the Siglers used the boys’ Scout meetings as a “date night,” for them as a couple. It didn’t last long.
Scout leaders Tom Wheat and Mike Waldman wanted to move on from their responsibilities and asked the Siglers if they would take their place.
They said yes, and decided Stacie should be the Scoutmaster, due to Jared’s changing work schedule.
“We thought it would be best for Stacie to take the lead,” he said.
They attribute the high numbers in the group to a strong Cub Scout program, and increasing visibility in the community.
“You don’t usually retain them all,” Stacie said, “But we have.”
STACIE AND JARED were not Scouts when they were younger. Stacie, originally from Albuquerque, N.M., was involved with Explorer Scouts as a kid. They admit they are learning a lot with the boys, and about Scouting in general.
“I recognize the value of the program,” Jared, a Humboldt native, said. “It has the opportunity to change kids’ lives when they are younger.”
The troop, which meets every Monday, is made up of a senior patrol leader, patrol leaders, treasurer, quartermaster and scribe. They said the troop’s overall goal is to be completely boy-led and self-sufficient. But, until then, the Siglers are adjusting to being in charge of the 18 boys.
“It’s a growth process,” Stacie said.
“It’s an opportunity for us as well,” Jared replied. “It helps us work on our leadership skills.”
When they accepted the Scoutmaster positions, they enrolled in an Introduction to Outdoor Leadership program to learn some of the skills taught in Scouting. They most recently completed their Woodbadge training, an “intensive leadership training” over the course of two weekends (six days).
Stacie said being a Scoutmaster has pushed her in a way, and helped her to break out of her comfort zone.
“I’m not really outgoing,” she said. “It really pushes me.”
Jared said it helps to have the support of each other, and sets a good example for the boys as well. Many of their Scouts come from single-parent or split homes.
“It’s good for them to see us working together,” he said.
Leading the boys can be difficult at times, but they agreed the results they see in their Scouts and their growth, are always worth it.
“It’s all about the kids, it really doesn’t matter how much stress you go through,” Stacie said.
THE TROOP meets every Monday, and takes a monthly camping trip as well. Jared said oftentimes the outdoor mindset gets “lost in the shuffle” and people in Iola don’t realize the opportunities the Boy Scouts can offer.
“There is an exciting adventure program in Iola,” he said.
“We are not sitting in a basement, tying knots around poles,” Stacies said, laughing. “We put the outing in Scouting.”
Jared said the groups are very responsible during the camping trips, and the patrols cook their own meals — for better or worse.
“We’ve got kids that make great PBJ’s,” Stacie said. “We haven’t had a good pancake yet.”
Once the Scouts make the “first class” ranking, they are allowed to take patrol camping trips on their own time, with their parents approval of course. Jared said the independence and sense of adventure is important to young people, and too often is left out of their development.
“It’s hard to get them (young people) outside,” he said. “Digital America is where we’ve lost a lot of kids I guess.”
Nevertheless, the Scout troop is growing and the Siglers are moving toward their goal of having a “boy-led” troop. They said the boys, who range from 11 to 16, will have every opportunity to be successful in the troop — it seems to be working so far.
“We’re getting better and better all the time,” Stacie said