Vince LaBarbera
Freelance Writer
May 16, 2017 // Special

Brouwer receives Scoutmaster of the Year honor

Vince LaBarbera
Freelance Writer

Johnathan Brouwer recently was named Scoutmaster of the Year of the Miami District, serving the southern half of Allen County including parts of Fort Wayne, New Haven, Monroeville and all of Aboite Township. The district is one of six in the Anthony Wayne Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, serving 11 Northeast Indiana counties.

Scoutmaster of Troop 19 at St. John the Baptist Parish, Fort Wayne, Brouwer is involved in the council and the district, helping mentor others and training scoutmasters.

Johnathan Brouwer, center, named Miami District’s Scoutmaster of the Year, stands with District Commissioner Bob Fast, left, and District Chairman Dan Soloman, after receiving the award.

Born in Fort Wayne, Brouwer never was active in scouting as a youngster; but he did participate in Indian Guides, a YMCA program that reinforces awareness of nature, community and family ties. His brother was an outdoor education major at Indiana University, so every summer young Brouwer accompanied him to several camps.

Brouwer earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Purdue University and an associate’s degree in computer management from Ivy Tech University. Initially he was involved in the arts, appearing in shows with the civic theater and IPFW in Fort Wayne. In 1995 he met his future wife, Margaret, who also participated in theater. They married in 1996 and moved to Boca Raton, Fla., where their sons Gareth and Sean were born.

Troop 19 at Camp Chief Little Turtle in 2016.

He has worked in many fields and businesses, including feature films, production and research companies, and media groups; he even ran a school-lunch program for two years. “My longest, continuous job has been as a scoutmaster,” he quipped. The couple returned to Fort Wayne in the late 1990s.

Brouwer and his sons got involved with the Cub Scouts at St. John in 1999, following a parish open house and after witnessing the good scouting can accomplish in youngsters. In 2000, he assumed the scoutmaster post at the parish. “Few parishes still charter a BSA troop,” he added. “In fact, Troop 19 is the oldest, continuous troop in the region.”

Unlike the Cub Scouts, which are parent led, the Boy Scouts are boy-led, Brouwer explained.

“And that’s a big challenge sometimes. Often, someone will ask me what it’s like to be a scoutmaster: I tell them it’s like herding cats or getting pecked by a bunch of ducks. They all start ‘quacking’ and want attention. I have to get them organized and headed in the same direction. Parents often want to step in and correct the boys, and that’s when I say, ‘Let ’em go, they’ll get it!’ Sometimes it’s maddening, because it takes forever to do something. But I try to give them the tools to be good leaders and then bump them back on the path if they stray.”

Two Catholic awards are a vital part of Troop 19’s agenda. The Ad Altare Dei is a program developed by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting for scouts of the Catholic faith. Its purpose is to foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person by encouraging him to actively live out his Catholic Christian faith. “Our six Eagle Award winners enrolled in the AAD program together and accomplished the award in six months,” said Brouwer.

In addition, the Pope Pius XII Award is a program developed by the NCCS also for Catholic scouts. It’s vocation-based and designed for high school- and college-age youth. “For a Catholic scout to earn those two awards is very important to us,” Brouwer emphasized.

Troop 19 Scoutmaster Johnathan Brouwer is pictured with two of seven recent Eagle Scout award winners, Jacob Fabina, left, and Luke Fabina.

“A scoutmaster is not a singular person, but a combination of all the adult leaders in our troop,” Brouwer said. The more we can work together as a team the more successful the troop is going to be. This award is not about me, it’s about the past leaders and the awesome adults in our troop. A troop is not just one individual, it’s the whole troop — the scouts and the adults, working together and having fun. In fact, that’s the whole point of all the regimentation — having fun!”

“I’m not ready to give it up yet,” said Brouwer. “Scouting is very rewarding for me. I enjoy it immensely. It’s been a constant in my life for the past 16 years. My greatest achievement is seeing the boys — the young men — learn and take what they’ve learned to encourage and guide others.”


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