September 27, 1999

 

 

Boy Scout leader Winkley still enjoys roughing it after 38 years


 
The News-Times/Carol Kaliff

Donald Winkley has been involved with the Boy Scouts since 1961.

By Robin DeMerell

THE NEWS-TIMES

BROOKFIELD Donald Winkley's secret to staying young is simple: he loves working with children.

An active Boy Scouts of America leader since 1961, Winkley is still going strong at age 61 as the assistant leader of Brookfield's Troop 5.

"I've always been interested in working with kids. After I got active in Boy Scouts, I had two daughters," said Winkley with a laugh.

A Brookfield resident for 38 years, Winkley is an insurance agent for the Davidson Agency in Danbury. He has been in the insurance business for 40 years.

Winkley and his wife Gail have two daughters, Marla and Donelle, and four grandchildren.

Pointing out that there are three troops in town, Winkley is pleased to see so many local boys active in scouting.

"It really teaches family values. They learn self-sufficiency, they interact with other scouts and they interact with adults," Winkley said. "For the most part they don't learn it somewhere else. Boy Scouts puts the boy in a position of having to rely on his partners or patrol to accomplish a task."

In April, Troop 5 went camping on the Niagara Peninsula, where it met up with a Canadian troop.

"We go camping once a month year-round and (Troop 5 members) have not missed (a month) since February 1963," Winkley said.

Other camping trip locations include state parks and forests. During the trips, scouts are required to set up their own tents and cook their own meals.

"Sometimes the food works out pretty good. Sometimes it doesn't," Winkley said. "But, Mom isn't there to help out."

The 30-member troop meets once a week at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, where the boys learn first-aid skills and advance through the ranks by earning merit badges.

"It's a constant setting of goals," said Winkley.

Troop 5 has produced 40 Eagle Scouts, which is the highest rank attainable in scouting.

"My favorite thing is watching kids mature," he said. "I get calls from kids who were in the troop 30 years ago calling to see how I am."

Two past troop members have sons in Winkley's troop.

A member of St. Paul's, Winkley is also serving in his third consecutive year as president of the town's Historical Society. The proud owner of 1965 and 1966 Ford Mustangs, Winkley is also active in Habitat for Humanity and the Lions Club.

 

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