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'You want to take these kids to the end' | Geneseo man has devoted 50 years to Boy Scouts

Scott Johnson was a Boy Scout growing up and has been a leader with it for the past 43 years.

GENESEO, Ill. — For half a century, Scott Johnson has devoted his life to the Boy Scouts of America.

He first joined the Boy Scouts when he was 15, and for 43 years has been a leader within the organization. He raised his three sons to be Eagle Scouts and is now the Tiger Den Leader in Geneseo for Troop 627. Johnson's grandson is also now involved in it.

"When you're younger, it's the camping and the adventure, but now it's the passing on everything to the younger kids," Johnson said. "I love that I like to start with a blank screen and make up an event for 200, 300 kids and they come out and have fun."

The troop honored him Sunday with a plaque during the annual Pinewood Derby. 

"Scott is so serious at all times, but when he cracks a joke, the boys just love it. He gets just as excited as they do," said his daughter-in-law Bonnie Johnson. "He's made an impact on so many different lives."

Johnson has lost track of how many kids he's worked with over the years.

"I do Eagle Boards and I've done four or 500 of those?" he said. "I can't count them. 1000s."

And for him, it's not just one thing he loves about Boy Scouts.

"It's just meeting after meeting and you want to take these kids to the end," Johnson said. "That's it. There's no single thing."

His current scouts say he's funny and they like learning and playing games with him.

"We learn about fossils and we learn about maps," said seven-year-old Griffin Mance. He's been a Scout for two years.

"We went and did a hike, and we got to go to Scott's house and look at his Legos," William Deaner said. "He has all sorts of Legos."

"We get to play fun games like red light, green light," Tristan Neuleib said.

Johnson has been married to his wife Janet for 43 years, as long as he's been a leader in the Boy Scouts. 

"Scott believes that Scouts makes an impact in his life," Janet said. "He is able to make that program accessible for every boy, every single boy. And if it doesn't work, he will find a way to make it work. He loves those boys."

Johnson retired from John Deere five years ago and is now a full-time volunteer with the Boy Scouts. He's collected hundreds of badges over the years. The ones that aren't on his uniform are in a box for safekeeping.

"You pick up a lot over the years," he said. "I have a rule that if you put it on, it doesn't come off."

His favorite badge is from a 50-mile hike he did with his son at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

He also has his three sons' Eagle Scout uniforms hanging up in his basement, Bonnie said.

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