Archive for Thursday, February 11, 2010

100 years of Boy Scouts

February 11, 2010

The Boy Scouts of America are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year and events will get started with “Boy Scout Anniversary Week,” from Feb. 7-13. There will be a variety of events commemorating the anniversary this year.

The organization was founded in England in 1908 by Lord Baden-Powell who was a hero of the Boer War and a nobleman. It seems that Lord Baden-Powell was impressed by the physical fitness, outdoor skills and knowledge of the Boer youth. This was the motivational factor behind the founding of the organization, which has spread around the world. Baden-Powell’s idea was excellent, however, I doubt that he ever thought it would spread around the world.

Since its beginning, the scouts have taught values that will benefit young men throughout their lives. Boy Scouts has been a character building force in the lives of millions of young men.

Yes, I will admit that I have a special love for the Scouts. My father was a long-time Scoutmaster and adult leader for Troop 126 in Garnett. I was an Eagle Scout, and that is just the first in a family heritage of scouting. My brother-in-law is an Eagle Scout. I have a son-in-law who is an Eagle and was a long-time volunteer in the program. My two oldest grandsons were Eagles. I don’t want to forget two of my daughters were active as leaders in Cub Scouts. I remain active as a citizenship merit badge counselor.

Incidentally, since the program was started, more than one million young men have become Eagle Scouts. What I like about Scouting is that you don’t have to be big, fast or athletic to reach the top. What is required is a lot of hard work and dedication. It also takes a lot of family support and adult leadership. What an Eagle Scout gains is a tremendous amount of knowledge and an introduction to leadership.

We are fortunate in this area to have strong troops and leadership. One of the area’s first “tourist attractions” was the Theodore Naish Scout Reservation. It has been providing high adventure for young people since 1928. Naish died in the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. His wife, Belle, donated 180 acres to the Scouts as a memorial to her husband. The camp has more than 10,000 Scouts each summer. Since 2004 more than $6 million in improvements have been made at Camp Naish.

The program has changed over the years with expanded programs and remains very alive and vital in 2010. In the Heart of America Council, there are 1,165 Cub packs, Boy Scout troops and Venturing crews. These units serve more than 46,275 youths. A total of 800 community organizations are sponsoring organizations for troops and packs throughout the Heart of America Council.

The idea of “doing a good turn daily” is a keystone of the Scout program. Troop 149 in Bonner Springs responded quickly to the new “snow angels” program in Bonner Springs and provided many volunteers to help the elderly and others dig out from the big snow storm in January. The young men were trying to get service hours for one of their merit badges. To become an Eagle Scout, a young man has to complete a major service project and there are many examples throughout the area. The program remains dedicated to teaching self-reliance and the value of community service.

Troop 149 will play host to its annual pancake fundraiser starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Bonner Springs United Methodist Church. Tickets are $5 each and proceeds will benefit the troop’s programs.

The Scout program continues to help train and mold young people into leaders of tomorrow. Congratulations to all the Scouts and to the dedicated and hard-working adults who make the program possible.

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