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Column: Put out the word

Posted: April 19, 2018 3:09 p.m.
Updated: April 20, 2018 1:00 a.m.

An elected official in Camden never wants to hear: “How come there’s no place for kids to hang out?” One answer that doesn’t necessarily translate well: “Kids who plan to get anywhere need to go home and do their homework!” The next best solution for supervised learning and recreation is the Jackson Teen Club at the Boys and Girls Club. And there’s something else: For boys 11-18 in particular, don’t forget the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts provide a time-tested opportunity for learning and growth. (NB: The Cub Scouts are for boys 6-11. The Girl Scouts offer girls six different programs between the ages of 5 and 18.)

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was founded in 1910; since then, more than 110 million Americans have joined. Today, the Boy Scouts number more than 2.4 million boys and nearly 1 million adult volunteers. The BSA’s goal: to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, for older boys, career-oriented programs.

The Scout oath: On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

What could be more important? Especially today, when the next generation is dealing with many complex issues that require them to be strong and steadfast. Sometimes, as we know too well, the issues can take over and people get lost in the politics. Not with the Boy Scouts.

With the Scouts, there’s no overload of philosophical arguments, only the belief in oneself and faith in community. The Boy Scouts provide the arena for the transmission of values and standards and cultural ideals to those who will become our next generation of leaders. The boys learn to become people of consequence that others can count on -- to be resourceful, to appreciate the beauty of nature and to understand their personal gifts of mind and heart.

Former Boy Scouts include: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; President John Kennedy; astronaut Neil Armstrong; Hank Aaron; Bill Gates; presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; movie legend John Wayne; President Barack Obama; Harrison Ford; Sam Walton of WalMart; Paul McCartney of the Beatles; David Beckham; and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

There are four known Nobel Prize laureates who were Eagle Scouts.

At least 40 astronauts were Eagle Scouts. How about Marriott International CEO J. Willard Marriott and Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City and head of the multiple Bloomberg enterprises? More Eagle Scouts include President Gerald Ford, Robert Gates and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. How about filmmakers Michael Moore and Steven Spielberg? How about former Secretary of State and four-star general, Colin Powell?

Some memorable quotes: I don’t remember the serial number of my gun in the army. I don’t remember the number of my locker in school. But I remember the Boy Scout code. -- Tommy Lasorda, manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers

The Boy Scout movement is an asset to our country for the development of efficiency, virility, and good citizenship. -- President Theodore Roosevelt

The Boy Scouts have contributed to a deeper appreciation by the American people of the higher conception of patriotism and good citizenship. -- President Woodrow Wilson, who grew up in Columbia, South Carolina and who signed the BSA charter

Next to active military service itself, there is no higher opportunity for serving our country than helping youth make themselves physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight -- President Franklin Roosevelt

Friends of Scouting is the Indian Waters Council’s annual giving campaign, conducted from January through June. If you’re interested in giving, Marge Morris is the key financial person: to contribute to the program here in Kershaw County, call Marge Morris at (803)750-9841 or email her at marge.morris@scouting.org. Donations are payable to: BSA, Wateree District Event. To volunteer with the Scouts, or if you want your son or daughter to join, phone Wyndell Waldon at (803) 750-9868, or email Wyndell.waldon@scouting.org, or call Art Graham at (803) 432-7370, or email Art at grahamrealtyinc@aol.com. Contributions are tax-deductible.

The Wateree District (Kershaw County) has 372 registered scouts sponsored by different organizations. It’s a great program for our youth. Put out the word: They need more scouts and volunteer leaders.

Good news: Starting this year, girls will be allowed to join Cub Scout dens, and in 2019, a scouting program will allow older girls to earn the rank of Eagle Scout!

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