Salzman displays collection of Boy Scouts memorabilia

GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis

Rodger Salzman has been part of the Boy Scouts organization for decades, and has curated an extensive collection of patches and other Scout memorabilia. 

Some people collect stamps, or books, or buttons, or patches. Rodger Salzman collects all of those things, but with one theme in mind — Boy Scouts.

Salzman displayed his collection of Boy Scouts memorabilia last week at the Masonic Lodge in Kemmerer, and it filled the entire room.

“I started Scouting as a kid, and I’ve been involved ever since,” Salzman said. “Scouting is like another family. I’ve traveled the U.S. and traveled the world with this organization.”

The Kemmerer resident has been a Boy Scout leader at both the local and national level. He has collected patches, kerchiefs and pennants from all the local and national Scouting events he has attended. 

Salzman is a leader for several scout troops in southwest Wyoming, which is part of the Trapper Trails council. He has been the head commissioner at the Summit Bechtel Scout camp and has served as a leader at several National Scout Jamborees, which happen every four years. He  has also been a chairman with the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity, which upholds principles of the Boy Scouts. Salzman will attend the 2019 World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the first one of its kind to be hosted in the U.S. since 1967. Salzman has also served on a committee to develop the STEM (Science, Tech, Art, Math) program in Scouting. 

Rodger Salzman’s collection of Boy Scouts memorabilia includes patches from all the National Jamborees he has attended.

“I hate to just leave this stuff sitting around,” Salzman said of his collection of Scouting patches and artifacts. “Hopefully by displaying it, people can see how much history is part of Scouting.”

He said some of his favorite pieces of his collection are from the National Jamboree he attended as a youth.

“Those pieces that are personal to my Scouting experience really mean a lot,” Salzman said.

Salzman’s collection doesn’t only feature souvenirs from the events he’s attended. He has artifacts chronicling the history of Scouting — from a second edition Scout handbook to artifacts from the founder of Boy Scouts, Robert Baden-Powell. Salzman even received his Wood Badge beads in England from Powell’s daughter.

The latest additions to Salzman’s collection are pennants from the 1935 and 1937 National Scout Jamborees.

Salzman recently acquired a pennant from the 1937 National Jamboree of the Boy Scouts of America. 

Salzman described his experience attending “trade-o-ree” events, where collectors of Boy Scouts memorabilia can buy, sell and trade pieces.

“I compare them to baseball card shows,” Salzman said. “At these shows you might find those elusive patches and pennants you’ve been searching for to complete part of your collection.”

The Boy Scouts are an international organization, and Salzman’s collection reflects that. He has books of stamps from around the world that commemorate the Scouting program.

“The fun of collecting is seeing the history and how things have changed,” Salzman said.

The long-time Scout said the program has helped him grow as a person. Salzman grew up in central Illinois and earned his Eagle Scout there.

“I attended and worked at a lot of summer camps out west,” Salzman said. “I love Wyoming.

“Scouting is all about helping you be a better person for tomorrow,” Salzman continued. “You meet great people and leaders, and you never know who you’ll be working alongside.”

Salzman said he has met Rex Tillerson and other national and international businessmen as part of his work with the Boy Scouts.

For Salzman, Scouting is really a family affair. He met his wife through the Scouting program, and they are passing on the tradition of Scouting. The Salzmans’ son just moved up to Boy Scouts from Cub Scouts, and he thinks his four-year-old daughter will eventually join the Scouting program.

Scouting as a world organization is co-ed, and Salzman said he hopes the program’s recent change to accept girls into the Boy Scouts will encourage entire families to get involved.

“The best payback is people coming back to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed Scouting, or seeing those kids who go on to be leaders,” Salzman said.

Salzman shows his collection of international stamps that commemorate the Boy Scouts. “The fun of collecting is seeing the history and how things have changed,” Salzman said.