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Front Page » October 3, 2006 » Local News » County youth summit: Youth learn leadership skills and more
Published 3,793 days ago

County youth summit: Youth learn leadership skills and more

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Staff writer

Local youth seem to enjoy the sounds of the Lokalgrown band.

The Emery County Youth Leadership summit was held recently in Castle Dale. The summit holds various workshops to teach new skills and leadership to the youth. The youth also did a service project where they collected donated items to package and ship to children in Zambia. Ninety area youth attended the summit.

One of the highlights of the day was Scott Waddle who spoke to the youth group. Before the speaker the adult leaders were honored: Julie Jones, Jamie Jensen, Sherrie Fausett, Caleen Jensen, Cindy Draper, Christy Reed, Lesa Bower, Mistie Christiansen, Gaylee Jeffs and Danette Waite. They also thanked the businesses that helped with the lamb fry, R-Pizza Place, Meat Shop, and Lee and Staci Moss.

The theme for the speaker was Standing Tall and Soaring High. Waddle said growing up he always wanted to be a pilot like his father, but he ended up in the naval academy and the commander of the USS Greenville. Waddle asked the students to imagine 19 year old kids navigating a $2.5 billion submarine.

Waddle told the students of his experience in meeting Admiral Hyman G. Rickover. He was called in for an interview with Rickover. He would give the standard Navy answers to Admiral Rickover's questions. No sir, yes sir, aye, aye sir, I'll find out sir.

Waddle was a football player and also a cheerleader for Navy and Rickover asked him to give him a cheer. He asked Waddle how much extra time each week he could spend studying and Waddle answered he thought about 10 extra hours and Rickover told him he would study 30 extra hours a week and send him a weekly report on his progress. He also asked Waddle for another cheer as he left the room. Waddle put this into practice and as a senior he had the highest GPA in the academy. Waddle learned to work hard and do the extra and value integrity.

The submarine Waddle commanded was longer than a football field and the crewmen slept in shifts in small bunks where one man got up and another man got in.

Waddle learned from his mentors to get up, get back, get down and get dirty. He wasn't afraid of hard work in commanding his ship and his crewmen learned from him. "If the boss isn't having fun, you can bet those working for him or her aren't having fun either," said Waddle, "Lead by example and invoke exacting standards. If you're the boss don't be late, because if you are it sets a bad example to employees. Learn how to listen and communicate effectively with a sense of purpose and meaning. Trust people, build up your people. Praise people in public and reprove people in private. Build the team.

Waddle told of the unforgettable day in his life of Feb. 9, 2001. His submarine was involved in a collision at sea with the Japanese motor vessel Ehime Maru.

Waddle said he worked hard to get his crew of 140 guys to get along and treat each other with respect. Morale on his ship was good and they had a lot of fun together. At the time of the accident they had along civilian guests at sea. During a surface attempt the submarine collided with the Japanese vessel. The Japanese ship sank within 10 minutes after being hit by the submarine. Eight people died in the vessel and the other crew members were rescued.

Scott Waddle speaks to the youth council summit about his Navy experiences.

The submarine had checked for surface traffic and looked through the periscope and nothing was detected on the surface prior to the ascent. The impact of the crash lifted the Japanese vessel out of the sea. Terror reigned on the Japanese vessel as they didn't know what hit them. People were thrown into the sea and people went down with the vessel. Within just minutes the Japanese vessel disappeared into the sea.

Commander Waddle was devastated his submarine had just hit a Japanese vessel that had kids on it. It was Waddle's darkest moment. It was something Waddle couldn't change, a terrible accident. He said a prayer for the Lord to save those on the Japanese vessel, but the vessel disappeared fast; they were nine miles from shore at the time of the accident. The survivors in the water ingested diesel fuel. The site of the crash was riddled with debris from the ship. "It was my worst nightmare," said Waddle. The vessel sank a half a mile down and now rests seven miles down in the sea. "How did we miss seeing that ship with all the technology available?" said Waddle.

The media came down hard on Waddle. Waddle was dismissed from his job the next day.

Waddle went through a dark period where the guilt of what had happened was almost too much, he contemplated ending his life. But, he called out to God in his pain; the flag that flew over Pearl Harbor went limp and the clouds kind of cleared and a grieving man called out for help and he remembered the words uttered in Admiral Rickover's office, he remembered integrity and knew he had to see it through to the finish and knew he had the strength inside to do just that. "Just tell the truth, do what's right regardless of how painful," said Waddle.

He apologized to the Japanese families who had lost loved ones. He appeared in court and told the truth about that day and what had happened. It was determined in court that it was an accident and the crew hadn't done anything wrong.

He also wrote letters of apology to the Japanese families and they began to realize that his feelings were real. "I'm sorry, if you do something wrong then own up to it," said Waddle. He told his crew to tell the truth and to learn from the accident and to move forward. His submarine went back to sea without him and it hurt.

In Dec. 2002, Waddle was able to visit the families in Japan and they appreciated the fact that he cared about them.

Waddle wrote a book called The Right Thing where he talks about what happened to him and how faith, family and friends saw him through the darkest time in his life. Waddle closed his talk with telling the students to stick together during tough times.

He encouraged them to have courage and to be able to forgive and to always tell the truth no matter what the consequences.

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