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Sugar Grove man receives award for service to Boy Scouts

SUGAR GROVE – Sean Williams doesn't volunteer with the Boy Scouts for recognition he may receive.

But someone – the Sugar Grove man doesn't know who – nominated him for an award that recognizes distinguished service to youth by a registered Scouter.

Williams went from Silver Beaver nominee to recipient this summer. Ten other individuals also received the honor from the Three Fires Council.

The 49-year-old said he is "very appreciative" of the award – for which he received a knot for his uniform – but he does what he does because he enjoys it.

"I've never been about recognition," Williams said.

Williams, who was involved in Scouts as a kid but didn't make it to Eagle, has volunteered with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, but he believes his Silver Beaver nomination stemmed from his work regarding special needs in Scouting, he said.

He and his now 21-year-old son, Richard, helped launch the Aurora-based Venturing Crew 88, which is for those with special needs.

Upon receiving the Silver Beaver award during a banquet in June, Williams credited his son for the honor. The youth was diagnosed with autism soon before starting high school.

"I was telling him he's the reason I got that award because he was my inspiration for my work in the special-needs program," Williams said.

Although his son aged out of Venturing Crew 88 when he turned 21 on Sunday, his father said their involvement with the group isn't over. The elder Williams is its adviser as well as the special needs chair for the Foxfire District, he said, and the younger Williams will be assistant crew leader.

"We have some fun stuff planned," Williams said.

The group, which this summer had an outing to U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago for an autism awareness event, is raising money for a trip to Seattle next summer, Williams said. He said the journey – made by train and by plane – will give the Scouts an opportunity to use their public transportation skills, social skills, dining skills and planning skills.

Williams encourages parents of children with special needs to check out the Boy Scouts' special-needs program, or what he calls the best-kept secret in Scouting.

When seeing the kids' accomplishments, he said, "the reward you feel is indescribable."

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