OA Director Clyde Mayer to retire after 22 years of service to the Order

Clyde Mayer has seen many changes in his 22 years as the OA director. As his tenure comes to an end with his retirement in late 2015 Mayer is reflecting on the past and his final NOAC as director.

A professional Scouter, Mayer joined the OA not as a youth but as an adult. He is also the first OA director who never had the opportunity to meet co-founders E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson. The biggest surprise is that he didn’t like his first time at a NOAC!

With all of this as background, one could say that perhaps the job of OA director would not have been a good fit but that would be unfair. More likely, you could say he simply took a different path, matured in his outlook and succeeded – setting him apart in a couple of unique and honorable ways.

Mayer has served longer than any other Scouting professional with the OA, reaching the 20-year milestone in 2013. Even then, when Mayer was appointed as OA director, he already had 19 years of professional Scouting experience, having worked as an assistant Scout executive and Scout executive for Piankeshaw Council in Danville, IL. Mayer was encouraged and sponsored to become a member because of his position as camp director. He went through his Ordeal weekend in 1974.

Mayer’s performance as OA director attracted attention. He was presented the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, a rare honor in and of itself but even rarer for a professional Scouter. Aside from his own circuitous history, one aspect of the OA and Mayer’s beliefs that has remained the same are the OA’s values.

A reason Mayer held his post for so long is that he was always impressed with the Order’s ability to retain young people. More importantly, he said it was remarkable that young people could run such an organization.

Mayer also liked the idea of youth learning leadership skills and then putting them into practice in their units and lodges. “Developing youth into leaders is one of our foundational goals,” said Mayer. “And it really works.”

He describes his main role at NOAC as one of support. He has tackled tasks that most never see. Mayer’s first NOAC was at Colorado State University in 1978, but it’s fascinating to know now that he didn’t enjoy it. He only went to attend regional training sessions.

The first NOAC he enjoyed was in 1994 at Purdue University in Indiana. Mayer attended as a professional Scouter and was impressed at the professionalism of the youth managing the conference. While he has held many positions in his Scouting career, he loves and cherishes being national OA director the most.

“Being national director is the best position for a professional Scouter,” remarked Mayer.

After 22 years, Mayer is saddened to be leaving but sees a bright future for the Order because the values of brotherhood, cheerfulness and service are timeless.

“There are few organizations today that provide brotherhood like the Order does,” Mayer said. “The cheerfulness we have in the Order is what we need in the world…service is what makes the world turn; without it, we would be empty.”

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