Visiting speaker saved Clovis Boy Scouts program

By Don McAlavy: Local columnist

A brief article in the Clovis News of Dec 23, 1920, said, “Boy Scouts organized in Clovis by Rev. Polston at the Christian Church. Sixteen boys are meeting regular.”

This troop was evidently short lived as nothing else was found about it.

Clovis was active in helping organize the Council in 1924. For the first year of operation (1925) they had pledged $1,000 toward the budget.

One former troop was reactivated immediately and soon they had four troops.

There was no opposition to raising money for the budget but the committee was waiting for Don Weatherford, who was then secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, to tell them the right time to put on a drive.

The right time didn’t come soon enough and money was needed to continue the scout council.

Dan Steele, who was manager of the J.C. Penney store in Clovis, was also a Kiwanian and he had invited Mr. Olinger of Denver, Colo., to speak to the local club.

Mr. Olinger was a funeral director in Denver and had become well known for his boy’s work. He gave the Kiwanis Club an inspirational talk on the opportunity for service to the community through supporting boys’ work.

After the club meeting Mr. Steele pulled Mr. Olinger aside and told him of Clovis being behind with their Boy Scout commitment.

Olinger suggested they immediately get some business leaders together. They met that afternoon in the offices of Judge Carl A. Hatch.

As a result of this session with Mr. Olinger, 10 of the men present gave $100 each. This took care of Clovis’ share for the first year.

Clovis has always been an important part of the Council and many of their successful events can be located in other sections of this history.

Among the early Scouters we remember where Sam Stone, Ivan Bridges, Dan Steele, Dave Baumgarten, Carl Hatch, A. W. Hockenhull, James Bickley and Charles V. Steed.

Later C. C. Cagle moved into Clovis from Roswell and Rev. C. A. Lortz, from Portales. One of the earlier cub packs was organized and was sponsored by the Central Baptist Church. A. L. “Happy” Burch was the cubmaster.

In 1939 Teola Artman became a den mother. Den 1 of Pack 4. This was the beginning of Mrs. Artman’s twelve years as a den mother. She had continued her interest in Scouting and in 1971 was awarded the Silver Beaver.

Many Scouters in Clovis have assisted in gathering information including Reese and Bud Cagle, Don McAlavy, Carr Austin, Ridgley Whiteman, James Cowman, Oscar Cantwell and Mrs. Mack Engle.

Ridgley Whiteman spent his early years at Portales and Clovis. He was one of the first Scouts at camp We-Hin-Ah-Pay and returned for several years, contributing to the development of the camp program. Ridgley, born in Portales in Jan 15, 1910, said his parents were pioneers settlers. Ridgley and family moved to Clovis in 1925.