Life Lessons | Stan Frager: professor, psychologist, scoutmaster

Stan Frager, a professor emeritus of social work at the University of Louisville, was recently honored by the Boy Scouts of America for his service in bringing scouting to culturally diverse and underserved youth. He was presented with the prestigious Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award, which recognized him as an advocate “seeking to improve at-risk conditions affecting America’s youth and communities.”

Stanley Frager

Stanley Frager

Frager also is a licensed psychologist in private practice, and continues to volunteer his time with the U.S. Army, the Colon Cancer Prevention Project and the Boy Scouts. Here, the 37-year cancer survivor shares some lessons learned.

• Having been blessed with a plethora of life experiences — professor, psychologist, talk show host and on it goes — it has been a heck of a ride. But the title I take most pride in is “scoutmaster.”

• When (former scouts) see me and we reminisce, it is about values learned, leadership skills, surviving hardship, improvising and more. It is all about values and friendships. The camping trips remembered are always the ones that were most challenging and (where) they had to adapt, modify and overcome.

• It has not been a perfect life, but the lesson learned is to work hard at not making the same mistake twice, and work hard at being better.

• I am proud of the Whitney M. Young Jr. award. The point is that it is all about enjoying doing for others, especially those less fortunate. We are blessed in Louisville, with thousands of folks who donate incredible resources, time and effort to helping others.

• We spend a great deal of our lives trying to get more “things,” such as a bigger house, a nicer car, etc. As we get older, we realize that the greatest joys come from giving.

• As a professor, I often taught a grief counseling class. I would take the students to Cave Hill Cemetery and ask them to check out the tombstones. A tombstone is basically a summation of one’s life in a few words. I asked them if anyone found anything to the effect of “Billy drove a really hot Porsche” or “Betty lived in a 10,000 square-foot house.” It really didn’t matter.

• It was all about what kind of person he/she was: “a wonderful mom,” a “great dad,” “cared about others,” “helped the underserved” and so on. It’s about what the person did for others.

• I have spent the last several years on the Army Science Board and helping the Army to reduce suicide. It is a horrible problem that will unfortunately get worse before it gets better. From many trips to our military bases, the Pentagon, etc., a great lesson about the fragility of life has been learned. The pain and darkness of depression is taking a terrible toll.

• The lesson learned is to try and make every day count, be nice to those nice to me, and never say goodbye to my wife and children without saying “I love you.”

• By the way, I would like my tombstone to say: “He was a good Scout.”

— Ken Neuhauser, The Courier-Journal

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Related Links re Scouting (coutesy

  • Boy Scouts of America National Council
    Official site. Provides educational programs for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.
    Official online reference for information about camping equipment, uniforms, handbooks, pinewood derby supplies, and other scouting merchandise.
  • U.S. Scouting Service Project (USSSP)
    Provides information and resources to Boy Scouts of America leaders and scouts as a public service.
  • Robert Baden-Powell (1857-1941)@
    Find sites for Robert Baden-Powell (1857-1941), the British Lieutenant-General and founder of the world’s Scouting Movement. Sites feature his biography, genealogy, military career profile, as well as scouting and military books written by Baden-Powell.…/People/Baden_Powell__Robert__1857_1941_
  • Scouting Bear’s Page
    Lists BSA-run high adventure bases and camps throughout North America.
  • Boy Scout Requirements Library
    Ranking system of the BSA.

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