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Leader of the Pack

WHO? Steven Jacober

WHAT? President

WHERE? School, Home, and Office Products Association, Dayton, Ohio

WHEN? Since 1996

Q: When did volunteering become important to you?

A: I believe it's important to give back to society, so I've always done some kind of volunteer work. I became involved with the Boy Scouts about four years ago when one of my sons wanted to be a Cub Scout--and no one else volunteered to lead the den. Potential leaders in the Boy Scouts are reassured with the advice, "It's only an hour a week." Since that time, I've become Cub Master for the pack of 40 kids.

Q: What about the experience motivates you to continue doing it?

A: Seeing the development of the kids, watching them mature, and participating in their education through their scouting experience is a real high.

Working with the same boys for several years, I also feel a sense of continuity. Besides, the chance to develop a relationship with other adult volunteers who share the same values is rewarding. On a camping trip, the kids do eventually go to sleep and that's when the leaders can finally kick back, Enjoying the beauty and the quiet of the outdoors with friends is a real break from stress and pressure.

Q: At the end of a busy camping trip or tiring activity, what do you bring away from the experience?

A: I feel a greater appreciation for what's really important: family, friends, kids, and sharing. Volunteering also connects me to the community in a way that makes me feel I'm making a difference there.

Certain situations also allow me to apply some of my work skills to a completely different setting. The teamwork required in working with a large group, such as the 900 scouts at a recent campout, teaches the boys how to handle competition and foster cooperation.

Q: What is there about this particular volunteer experience that might carryover to your work life?

A: Many of us live and breathe our work. Scouting gives me a new perspective that is crucial to keeping my motivation and my edge. The day after a strenuous trip, I'll just feel that really good physical tiredness--and a greater appreciation for what I do and for what my staff and I can accomplish professionally. I realize that while the challenges are not the same--teaching young boys to start a fire, tie knots, or set up camp--they are directly related to education, learning, and teamwork. It all helps to make me a better leader.
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Article Details
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Publication:Association Management
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2000
Previous Article:With a multigenerational staff, how do you develop a spirit of community?
Next Article:AUSTIN.

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