As a leader of line workers who serve as first responders when the power goes out or electrical equipment repairs are needed, Bill Kropa is ready for just about anything.
He couldn’t have had better training.
The PPL Electric Utilities field supervisor has spent more than 40 years with Boy Scouts of America. He achieved Eagle Scout rank and later became a Marine. He’s put his leadership skills to work while taking on various roles with the Scouts over the past three decades.
The Lehigh Valley father of two recently took on a larger role with the scouting organization. He was appointed to serve on the Scouting Alumni and Friends National Committee, which is made up of scouting alumni from across the country. More locally, Kropa was recently appointed as assistant area commissioner for the northeast region, which includes Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Kropa was selected to serve in the national post for a one-year term that is renewed annually. The committee he has joined is responsible for supporting alumni of the Boy Scouts of America and regional and local alumni groups and helping to retain those alumni. The group was formed as part of an alumni program formed in 2008. The committee is responsible for identifying and reconnecting alumni and friends and getting former Scouts involved with the organization in the coming years.
It was the latest step in the evolution of his service, which has seen him progress from scoutmaster to district commissioner to executive board member. He’s watched hundreds progress through the ranks of the organization and has served as a mentor to many of them.
“The Scouts have been a huge part of my life,” said Kropa, who grew up in the Scranton area and now lives in Northampton County. “It gave me a taste of leadership when I was young and gave me confidence that I could lead people.
“It taught me a lot of skills that you wouldn’t learn anywhere else and I feel a sense of obligation to pass that along to as many kids as I can.”
Young men he hasn’t seen in years will often stop Kropa at a grocery store or on the street to ask how he’s doing and update him on their lives and careers. He was once surprised when a newly inducted Eagle Scout singled him out for serving as his role model and inspiration.
“I’ll sometimes look at them and wonder if they would have gotten to where they are had they not been a part of the Scouts,” Kropa said. “I honestly don’t know where I would be without my background in scouting.”
(Photos: At top, Bill Kropa is seen on the job as a field supervisor at PPL Electric Utilities. At bottom is Kropa after ziplining at the 2017 National Jamboree in West Virginia.)