Not every youth-centric organization can boast ringing endorsements from countless big name athletes, like Rocky Bleier, Magic Johsnon, and now Jerome Bettis. The Boy Scouts of America can, however. Maybe that’s because sport superstars know how crucial formative years are for motivating and molding the minds of America’s youth.
For former Pittsburgh Steeler Bettis – set to be inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame this August – the mentorship offered by organizations like the BSA are key in youth development. As a standout in the Steelers’ Super Bowl-winning 2005 season, Bettis’ beginnings are particularly telling of how a good mentor can have a colossal effect on the life of a child.
“With the Boy Scouts of America, that’s what it’s all about,” Bettis explained in his keynote address at the annual William Penn Boy Scouts luncheon. “It’s about each and every one of us giving our time, our money, to effect change. And if we can affect one kid, you never know — he could grow up to be an NFL hall of famer.”
Bettis, who was a Cub Scout in Detroit, spent his earliest years bowling – not playing football. He credits the sport with keeping him off the streets and out of trouble.
In high school Bettis hit his stride with football under the mentorship of former NFL lineman Reggie McKenzie. In McKenzie’s Detroit area football summer camp, Bettis realized the importance of adult leadership and guiding examples for inspiring youth.
Find out what Bettis told his mentor and how he’s paying forward the guidance he gained from McKenzie by reading the full story on the Indiana Gazette.
The 2015 William Penn Boy Scouts luncheon is where the Laurel Highlands Council honored Todd Brice, president of S&T Bank, with the Distinguished Citizen Award. Learn more about the event and honoree here.