Virgil Bower Award
Skip was Scoutmaster of Troop 122 in Harlem – now part of North Kansas City – from 1934 until 1997 – 63 Years! This still remains the longest known continuous tenure of any Scoutmaster in the 106 year history of the Boy Scouts of America! Before becoming Scoutmaster of Troop 122, he attended college and graduated from William Jewell in 1933. He began his career as an Educator and found gratification in influencing and motivating young people to strive for excellence. This is when he began his tenure at Troop 122. He later became the principal of McElroy Dagg Elementary School, only to have his tenure cut short by the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Like so many young men, Skip answered the call of his country and served in World War II as an officer in the Navy.
Skip returned to North Kansas City, and in 1948, entered the Banking profession – serving as a public relations representative. He always made time to help any young men, and in turn – they became one of Skip’s boys!
Skip was awarded the Silver Beaver in 1939, and was awarded the District Award of Merit in 1968. He was a Sagamore in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. Skip passed away on August 31, 1997 – ironically on the same day that many of us received the September/October 1997 edition of Scouting Magazine, with Skip and some of his boys on the cover! It was an article celebrating his 63 Years as Scoutmaster! He had truly become “Internationally Famous.” You can read the article on Virgil Bower here.
The H. Virgil Bower Scoutmaster Award was presented for the first time in 1998. In 2010, the eligibility for this recognition was extended to all leaders of every Unit; the award is now presented to the Outstanding Unit Leader of the Golden Eagle District. In 2022, the North Star district created the Scoutmaster and Cubmaster of the Year awards, retiring the Virgil Bower Award.