In 1960, Dave Bush was fresh out of college and teaching fourth grade at Red Jacket Central School in the Manchester-Shortsville area when he was asked to become assistant cub master for Shortsville’s Cub Scout Pack 49.
When asked why he decided to help out with the pack, Bush chuckled and said it was because he had nothing else to do. His time became more limited after he married his wife, Barbara, and had six children, but he continued to work with the Boy Scouts of America and now, 44 years later, is still so involved that the Rochester Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting recently honored him with the St. George emblem.
The St. George emblem is a national award presented to adults who have made significant contributions to the spiritual development of Catholic youths in Scouting. According to the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, selectivity is very important when choosing the recipient of this award, and the recipient must be sought after and nominated by a diocesan committee.
“I felt very honored, a little bit humbled, too,” said Bush, a member of St. Dominic’s Parish in Shortsville. “Along the way if you’re around long enough you start getting some awards for things you do and you sometimes wonder why. It’s not something you go after, but somebody thought you did something right.”
During his first year as assistant cub master, Bush learned more about the Boy Scouts of America and how the program was run. In 1962 he became Scout master of a Boy Scout troop, which he led for the next four years. He continued to lead packs and troops until 1998, when he retired from teaching at Red Jacket Central School after 38 years.
That same year, he became a commissioner for the Boy Scouts, a position he still holds today. As commissioner, he is responsible for five Scouting units in Geneva, Phelps and Clifton Springs and must make sure they all run properly according to the policies of the Boy Scouts of America. For the past 10 years, he has also served on the Finger Lakes Council’s religious-relations committee, where he helped promote various religious emblems for Scouts to earn.
About six years ago, he also became round-table commissioner, meaning that he runs round-table meetings and makes sure meetings and training sessions provide leaders with the information they need. Around the same time, he also became the Finger Lakes Council’s representative to the diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, which includes representatives from all of the Boy and Girl Scout councils throughout the Diocese of Rochester.
Members of this committee promote the Catholic emblems that can be earned by Catholic youths involved in Scouting. As part of the Catholic Committee on Scouting, Bush also promotes an annual Catholic retreat for both Girl and Boy Scouts and works to make sure that Scouts at weekend events have the opportunity to attend Mass.
Bush admits that he will probably be involved with Scouting for the rest of his life. He has been involved for so long not only because he enjoys camping and working with kids, but also because he relishes the opportunity to help children have a positive experience through Boy Scouts.
“I wanted the program to be right and I wanted it to be the kind of program where the guys would get the outdoor (experience) as well as follow the guidelines and policies of the Boy Scouts of America,” he said. “I believe very strongly in the program. I think there are a lot of things in the Boy Scouts that nobody else does.”