In addition to his many other awards, like District Awards of Merit, Outstanding Eagle Scout Award, Silver Beaver and four-time Scoutmaster of the Year, Shelburne was recently honored for his many years of service. He received letters of recognition from South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan and U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott. One extra special part of the ceremony was a professionally printed book of letters and photos from former Scouts and leaders who know Shelburne. The book was in honor of Shelburne’s own tradition of creating a personalized slideshow and photo album of every single newly ranked Eagle Scout. And Troop 235 has produced 231 Eagle Scouts under Shelburne’s leadership.
Bo Crader, a current leader in the Cub Scout Pack 235, affiliated with Troop 235, both of which are sponsored by Fort Hill Presbyterian Church in Clemson, gained Eagle Scout ranking under Shelburne’s leadership. “I am one of hundreds of Eagle Scouts who were encouraged, challenged and inspired by Vic,” he says.
Crader also says that “the most significant aspect of Vic’s leadership is his commitment to the success of each Scout.” For example, he makes it a point to memorize everyone’s names the first day he meets them and ensures that no Scout is unable to participate due to a lack of funds. Shelburne’s commitment to Scouts has led to the fulfillment of various projects that help the community. “Simply put, Vic leads by example,” Crader says. “He sets a high standard for others and continues to be a role model for me, even as an adult.”
While balancing all of the demands of being a scoutmaster, Shelburne also served as a faculty member of Clemson’s Department of Forestry until he retired in 2012. He taught classes and conducted field research over the years, served as a faculty senator for seven years and in retirement was co-chair of the University Commission on Sustainability. He also co-wrote The Nature of Clemson in 2005, a field guide to the natural history of the University.
“My professional forestry career and Scouting ‘career’ are very much intertwined,” Shelburne says, a statement evidenced by the many Eagle projects he has helped facilitate on campus and in the Clemson community, including building and maintaining trails like the Waldrop Stone Waterfall trail in the Clemson Experimental Forest.
Forty years of experience as an unpaid volunteer scoutmaster is no easy feat.
The gratitude that floods in from those who know Shelburne and have benefitted from his leadership is immeasurable. “He has a deep-rooted love for his fellow humans,” says Chip Egan, former dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities and an assistant scoutmaster who has known Shelburne for almost four decades. “Vic cares about [Scouting], like it provides the core meaning of his life.”