Two Kokomo Casting Plant employees have their eyes on the next generation as they’ve been leading a local Boy Scout troop and helping them build skills that will be useful throughout their lives.
Mike Bultman and Paul Amaya are scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster, respectfully, for Troop 519, based out of the Russiaville Lions Club. Both men have been involved with Boy Scouts in some capacity for years, ever since their sons joined at young ages. Since then, both Bultman and Amaya have stepped up to their leadership roles to give the young men a sense of adventure and an understanding of the value of public service.
“I’ve always been involved in some way, and me and Paul have been kind of side by side the whole journey,” Bultman said. “We have sons. His youngest son and my son are in the same grade, and I guess that I held a leadership position before. I was just worried that nobody was going to do the job and that the troop would fail. And I wasn’t going to let that happen on my watch, and I stepped up and said that I would be the leader.”
Since then, both of their sons, and the troop as a whole, have been led by the two men.
Amaya sees the value in the different projects and endeavors the boys take on. For example, Amaya said got to see his son complete a boat launch at Oakbrook Valley during “Dad Camp” for his Eagle Scout project, and his son is also part of the High Adventure group for those ages 14 and older.
That group participates in once-in-a-lifetime events, such as hiking in the Appalachian Mountains. Last year the High Adventure crew intended to go to Europe to visit Switzerland and France and stop at the beaches of Normandy. Although COVID-19 put a stop to those plans, the troop masters didn’t stop teaching the young men about the importance of getting out in nature.
According to Bultman, the troop met virtually for a few months during the initial stages of COVID-19, but he said the virtual meetings missed the mark for many of the scouts.
“So it’s definitely taken its toll on the group as a whole,” Bultman said. “We implemented some rules when the weather was warmer. Before Howard County went ‘red’ we would camp, but we wouldn’t share tents. Everyone was in their own tent … (We’d do) all the things you’re supposed to do where we could get out, even if it was just for the day, to go out and have fun and tramp around the woods or go for a hike or something.”
This year may prove more fruitful for the High Adventure group. Plans are in place to take the crew to Hawaii during spring break where they’ll backpack at Volcano National Park and take a trip to Pearl Harbor.
“So we have just recently reassigned our trip this spring break to go to Hawaii, and we’re going to do a tour of the big island, do a day at Pearl Harbor and just learn the history and sacrifice (made there),” Amaya said. “And we’re really excited about that.”