By Michael Buhler
Winning the Silver Beaver Award stirred a lot of emotions in Clifford Pray, not the least of which was humility.
Pray, who lives south of Clearwater, received the award from the Boy Scouts last month in recognition of his work with the Webelos Den, which is part of Cub Scout Pack 899 in Clearwater.
“The way that they decided on it is one of the members in the scout community filled out an application on my behalf,” Pray said. “I think it was one of the other leaders in my pack, William Allmond, who felt that I did good service to the troop in Clearwater.”
Pray was touched by the award, especially since his childhood scoutmaster also won the award.
“I’m very humbled,” Pray said. “I feel like I was just doing what I should be doing for the community in teaching young men to be good leaders and be good young men. My scoutmaster received this honor two years ago. It’s been many years since I was in his troop and to win it just two years after he did is humbling. To be in that same category with someone who has given his life to scouting is humbling.”
Pray’s involvement with Boy Scouts goes back to his childhood in the mid-1980s.
“I started back when I was in school around the time of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion,” Pray said. “It seemed like all the boys in my school at the time were in scouts. After that, it was just another thing we all did together. You didn’t have nearly as many video games and other things as we do now.”
As an adult, Pray got involved with leadership in the scouts approximately five years ago. Pray has been the den leader for the Webelos in Pack 899 for three years. Before that, he was the committee chair for the pack. He has worn many hats with the Boy Scouts, and currently is serving as the pack’s unit commissioner.
“When my son signed up, there was an open position for a committee chair,” Pray said. “I thought I might bring some new ideas to the pack, so I signed up for that. From there, other positions opened up and things fell together.”
One thing that Pray has worked on as a troop leader is making sure that his kids spent more time outdoors. His kids have gone to summer camp every year and his kids camp four or five other times each year.
Pray believes that outdoors element is very important to scouting.
“We’ve really pushed getting them out after they join up,”