When his daughter started asking to spend more time with him, Mike Liby realized she deserved more of the minutes in his day. As he started to look at his calendar, he realized that to make a close father-daughter relationship a reality, something had to be cut from his schedule.
In response to his 10-year-old Allison’s request for quality time, the award-winning Boy Scout leader hung up his sash after 25 years of leadership as a scoutmaster, district commissioner and wood badge adult training coordinator.
“She’s in 5th grade now and she’s wanting time, so I needed to get out of the day-to-day stuff and give her the time,” Liby said. “It’s not that I disliked it. It does good things and it’s definitely been good for my son (Colten Liby) and me to do.”
The scouts of Troop 40 celebrated their scoutmaster’s retirement with a surprise cake and ice cream celebration on Sept. 9.
“He’s so good with the kids,” Scout mom Kristy Anguano said. “He lives the Scouts Oath and Law in his daily life and that’s something he’s done as a scout and now as a leader. He emanates it, and that’s something valuable.”
Liby joined Boy Scouts when he was in the 3rd grade and eventually became an Eagle Scout. In college, he heard the Abilene Boy Scout Troop could not find a leader, so he drove from Salina each month to serve as the scoutmaster.
During his 40 years of scouting involvement, Liby has gone with or taken troops to the Boundary Waters near the U.S.-Canadian border four times. He has gone on hundreds of monthly campouts in all kinds of weather.
“You’re out there in the woods for five days canoeing and you go around and do a lot of fishing,” Liby said. “We got to see tons of bald eagles. It was great, just away from everything. You see a few people but not very many and it’s just a good time to get away.”
Matthew Anguano, 11-year member of the local troop, said the trip to the northern border was his favorite expedition.
“You get to know people’s true character when you’re out there in the middle of nowhere,” Anguano said. “It was a week and a half. That was really fun.”
In his four decades of Boy Scouts participation, Liby reached the highest levels both as a scout and a leader. He earned Eagle Scout status when he was in high school.
In 2000, Liby received the highest volunteer award Boy Scouts of America gives: the Silver Beaver Award. The national association presented Liby with a signed letter from the President of the United States and a district-wide dinner at the Bicentennial Center in Salina.
Anguano said Liby is deserving of the award.
“He was always there, and if you ever needed help, he would help you with anything,” Anguano said. “He’s always a great guy to be around. He was nice to everybody and made sure you got everything done.”