Watching boys become men and those men become leaders kept Tim McCoy serving as Clintonville Boy Scout Troop 474's scoutmaster well after his sons moved on.
However, last week's Mega-Huge Garage Sale fundraiser marked McCoy's swan song as the troop's leader. The event, held Saturday, Aug. 16, at Overbrook Presbyterian Church, the troop's sponsor, helps pay for programs throughout the year.
"Either they're a lot younger coming in or I'm getting older," McCoy said in an interview. "I think it's time for someone younger than me to come in and have the fun I had.
"I've been doing it for so long, and here recently I haven't been as active as I wanted to be on camping trips; I missed a few."
McCoy became scoutmaster in the late 1990s when his oldest son, now 27, moved up from Cub Scout ranks. He stayed on after his twin sons, now almost 20, aged out of the program.
In that time, McCoy said proudly, 25 members of Troop 474 have become Eagle Scouts -- the highest rank attainable.
"I think that's a testament to his involvement and the parents' involvement as well," said Jim Ray, committee chairman for the troop. "You couldn't accomplish that without a good strong leader."
McCoy wasn't a part of Boy Scouts as a youth. He can recall making fun of a friend for putting on his Scout uniform every Sunday to go to a troop meeting.
"I'd just tease him endlessly," McCoy said.
Many years later, after the friend had gone into the home-improvement business, Tim and Janine McCoy hired him to fix up a bathroom in a new home to which they were moving, but the scoutmaster was off for weekend training when the work began.
"Where's Tim?" the friend asked Janine McCoy.
"She said, 'Boy, he about passed out when I told him,' " her husband related.
Tim McCoy grew up in the Linden area, graduating from North High School in 1974. He spent four years in the Army and was married not long after returning to Columbus.
It was while attending an Eagle Court of Honor put on by a small rural troop for a cousin of his wife, McCoy said, that he first became impressed with the overall program, especially its character-building and leadership-training aspects.
He and his wife decided they wanted that for their sons.
"I got a lot of pleasure out of watching 11- and 12-year-olds grow into young men," McCoy said. "That's something when you can look back and say: I can remember when this kid was not even up to my waist and now I'm looking him in the eye or even looking up to him."
Scouting allows participants to explore different leadership styles, the retiring scoutmaster said.
"To me, that's a benefit that I can see that I can't put a price tag on, to see these guys growing into fine young men," McCoy said. "Between character-building and teaching the kids how to be leaders and the ethics of business, the ability to explore all these different career possibilities, I think that's the biggest service scouting performs."
"He just does a nice job with the kids," said Ray. "Even though his sons aren't in Scouts any more, he still continued to work with them. He just enjoys that environment. He also brings a lot of wisdom from being around for a long time. He knows the cadence of the scouting year, what happens when."
Ray said he's put out some feelers among parents of Troop 474 members seeking a replacement for McCoy.
"It's a tough act to follow, but sooner or later you have to do that stuff," he said.