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19-year-old Brian Gasper from Ozark, MO is an exemplar of what Scouting is all about: after a lifetime in the Boy Scouts he's currently Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 201, and wants to become an elementary school teacher. KSMU's Randy Stewart offers this profile of Brian.
RANDY STEWART: This week we’re introducing you to outstanding young people in our area, kids and young adults who make an effort to give something back to the community. The Boy Scouts have always said that “Scouting builds character,” but I would say it certainly helps if the young person involved in Scouting is already of strong character. That definitely seems to be true in the case of 19-year-old Brian Gasper of Ozark, who has spent a lifetime in Scouting and has always had a strong desire to help others and give back.BRIAN GASPER: I started in Cub Scouts when I was in elementary school, and then I continued on into the Boy Scouting program and became and Eagle Scout.RANDY: One of the commitments one makes as an Eagle Scout is to continue to participate as an “adult leader” once you reach the age of 18. So Brian Gasper moved right into the position of Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 201. In that capacity he’s the right-hand man to the Scoutmaster, Dave Dooling--who can’t say enough nice things about Brian.DAVE DOOLING: Brian has just stepped right into it with gusto. Being the Scoutmaster, I have 40 boys to deal with, and usually 80 parents, and grandparents… (laughs) and there are always issues. And Brian helps out tremendously.RANDY: …especially when it came to helping organize Troop 201’s 25th Anniversary celebration.BRIAN: We were celebrating our 25th year of Scouting in Ozark, and one of the big things was getting a lot of previous members from the troop--old Scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts--to come into the event.RANDY: There were a lot of logistical things to deal with!BRIAN: Yes, there were.RANDY: And he dealt with them very well, says Scoutmaster Dave Dooling.DAVE: It was a great success. There was a lot of time and effort put into it. He did an amazing job. He gets along with anybody, basically. He’s always willing to dive in and help me--or anybody--if you ask.RANDY: Brian Gasper was part of the “A+” program at Ozark High School.BRIAN: It’s a program where you have to have good citizenship, a 2.5 GPA, and do fifty hours of tutoring to younger students. And then, after you qualify for all that, you get to have two years free at a local community college.RANDY: Was this too good a deal to pass up?BRIAN: It was one of those “too good of a deal to pass up”! My parents were very supportive of it, my older sister had used it. And so I was going to use that before I came to MSU.RANDY: 19-year-old Brian just finished his first year in this program at Ozarks Technical College, and is pursuing another year there, finishing up his General Ed. courses before going on to Missouri State University--where he wants to pursue an elementary education degree.BRIAN: I’ve always been around kids, whether it’s in the Scouting program, or work at church in different activities like that. I’ve always been working with kids--I enjoy it.RANDY: Brian works part-time in the “Tiger Care” program in the Ozark School system.BRIAN: It’s a paid, part-time job through the Ozark School District. It’s before or after school, and I go in and help the kids with homework, or read or play games with them, while they’re waiting for school to start or after school’s over. RANDY: What ages do you work with?BRIAN: We have kindergarten through 4th grade in our program.RANDY: Brian’s up at 5:00am to get ready for his Tiger Care job, then after classes at OTC he’s back at Tiger Care until 6:00pm or so, in addition to weekend duties with the Scout troop. Brian mentors a lot of the same kids in Scout Troop 201, says Scoutmaster Dave Dooling.DAVE DOOLING: He knows all these kids, he knows all their parents. And he babysits for a lot of these parents. They know him--they trust him. The boys just love him to death--they hang all over him (laughs)… and he’s a joy to be around.RANDY: I asked Brian if he’s always had this drive to make a difference and help others.BRIAN: I have--I’ve always enjoyed helping others and giving back to different groups and organizations. And so I’ve always really enjoyed it.RANDY: Brian is the middle kid in his family--he has two sisters, one older than him, one younger. Troop 201 Scoutmaster Dave Dooling speaks of Brian’s qualities of integrity and leadership.DAVE: He attends church every Sunday, and when we’re not camping he teaches Sunday school. I’m not sure where he gets some of those qualities from, but he is just amazing, amazing… gentle person, never a contrary word. Leadership? He’s an incredible example to the boys, because to be a good leader you’ve got to be a good follower. I’m very lucky to have him in our troop, and he’s just a tremendous, tremendous example of the youth that the Boy Scouts help produce. And his future is going to bring great things. I think he’ll be extremely valued as a teacher, because he brings so many different facets to the job.