Tyler Johnson – “Hiamovi” (2011)

I’ve spoken about Tyler and his accomplishments a lot already. So I want to delve a little more about who Tyler is.

Besides being one of the best leaders we’ve ever had, Tyler is also a man of many interests and some unique traits.

One of those is musical. Everyone knows about Tyler’s talent with the guitar, which I can tell you has improved over the years, largely self-taught. You will find him on some Friday evenings at Bill’s Picn Parlor, where he may team up with Austen and others to jam some bluegrass.

If you’ve been around Tyler for a while, you also know about another constant: Cheerios. The cereal’s manufacturer is missing the best testimonial it could ever hope for in Tyler, who loves this cereal so much he will carry water bottles full on trips. I don’t know if that beats oatmeal, which he will also carry on trips, but if not it’s close.

There is his fascination with Frisbees. I don’t know how many he’s lost over the years. I remember he or someone through it off the lighthouse at Hunting Island and the crew worked for hours to get it down. A storm that night did the work for him.

Most crew members know he likes to sleep without a tent. And he has at times acted as the crew’s alarm clock. There is the time he dared to awake Stuart on one of our caving adventures. I still laugh when I think of the speed with which Stuart sprang up to catch Tyler after he gave him a wet willie in his ear.

Tyler has been on an awful lot of adventures with us but he’s also carried a huge amount of responsibility. There are only a few individuals who have ever served as both president of our crew and president of the Council Venturing Officers Association. Tyler is one of them. Either job carries weighty responsibility.

I will always remember the time he coordinated the Council’s Aquatics Weekend. There were some whiny adults as well as kids, lots of things did not go as planned. But it still turned out great. He accepted responsibility for the problems and shared credit for the praise.

But none of that responsibility has phased Tyler because as I said earlier, he has his mind and heart set in the right direction. Here is what he said three years ago when I asked him why he liked Venturing.

For me Venturing is much more than just camping and exploring. As much fun as caving, skiing, and ice skating (just to name a few of many adventures) are, they wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable without the crew. Everyone in our crew is a good, honest, well-rounded individual who is always willing to help a friend in a bind.”

Now he might edit that a tad after serving as president of both organizations. But he still has friendly feelings toward all. The worst you will ever him say is, through laughter, is that someone is acting like a chucklehead.

I will miss Tyler terribly when he leaves for Clemson. But the Council will miss him more. He is an exceptional leader and human being.

When it came time to name Tyler, I thought of how Indians organized their leadership. It’s a myth, you see, that every tribe has a chief. They had and have many. And all decisions in a tribe are made by a meeting of the chiefs, just as any decision among Indian nations is made by a great Council of chiefs. Scouting has borrowed much from Native Americans, including its ideas for leadership. Each crew, for instance, has a president, but decisions are made by all the officers, not just one.

Yet even among the Indians, some chiefs grew above their peers and held the respect of many nations, even their enemies, such as Sitting Bull. Those chiefs were the leaders among leaders, revered for their wisdom, courage, integrity and character. They were known as high chiefs.

So it is my honor, Tyler, to award you the Cheyene name, Hiamovi, which means “high chief.”


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