SCA senior vice president for government and agency affairs | Springﬁeld, VT
Scott has been directly responsible for creating service opportunities for tens of thousands of students – including all three of his children, who are among SCA’s 75,000 alumni. For over three decades, Scott has worked tirelessly for SCA while architecting the Public Lands Corps Act and lending his leadership to the Public Lands Service Coalition. Prior to SCA, he was as a national park ranger and earlier this year accepted The Corps Network’s Legacy Achievement Award.
On leaving the staff at Yosemite to join SCA:
That ’78 crew was my ﬁrst SCA experience and it’s what really got me hooked into SCA. All three of the crews I supervised that year were way in the backcountry – a hike of more than 20 miles in.
Back then, we used mules to pack in all the trail crew food in tin cans and such, even real butchered meat. It took a lot of mules to pack in SCA’s gear to those remote locations and over the three weeks working at a campsite, a lot of uneaten food accumulated as well as tin cans with gummy residue still inside. To avoid attracting bears, crews would crush the cans and burn them in a ﬁre. They’d put these charred but now clean cans in burlap bags for mules to pack out.
Well, the SCA crew leaders at the time refused to burn their cans and stored them directly into burlap bags. Fortunately, the bears kept their distance but as those bags baked in the sun for two-to-three weeks they attracted other visitors: maggots! At the end of the hitch, the NPS mules packer had all the animals ready to pack out, when one of them acted up and backed into a tree. The burlap sack burst open and maggots spilled all over that poor mule. You can imagine his reaction – he started bucking and drove the nine other mules into a frenzy. Their bags soon split, too, and now all ten mules are smothered in maggots! It was rodeo time!
I helped the packer round up his mules. He wouldn’t even let the SCA leaders come close. The chief packer vowed none of his staff would ever pack an SCA crew again unless – you guessed it! Scott Weaver had to be the SCA crew leader. Thus began my SCA career!
On how he met his wife and co-crew leader, Kathy:
She was a Yosemite Institute environmental educator living in a park cabin, and I was a ranger living in another cabin up the hill. There was a Pileated Woodpecker in the yellow pine tree outside my cabin. These birds are huge, at least a foot high, and you can hear their drumming from a mile away. That’s what ﬁrst attracted Kathy and, with binoculars in hand, she got closer and heard me playing guitar. We talked birds for a while and suddenly she says “I play banjo! Want to come down to my cabin to pick a few?” That winter, Kathy got a job as an environment instructor on the Navajo reservation. So I applied for a job as a teacher on the reservation – with Kathy as my boss! It’s been the same ever since.
All of our children have served on SCA crews and all later as SCA interns. Then, two became SCA crew leaders – Travis supervised about four of ﬁve – and our daughter is on the SCA Alumni Council while working for the Climate and Land Use Alliance in San Francisco. If you can’t tell, I’m one proud Papa!
On his most signiﬁcant achievements at SCA:
Well, other than my SCA children, I would say creating SCA’s “urban” program as SCA’s assistant program director. That program became SCA’s ﬁrst diversity outreach and recruiting initiative comprised of and for minority students. After that, I’d say expanding SCA’s partnerships, which had been primarily focused on the National Park Service, and creating national agreements with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and many other agencies.