February 8 marked the 111th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. While some of the tools and techniques used to deliver the Scouting experience have evolved over the past century, the foundation and community impact remains the same.

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. The Scout Law: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. The Scout Motto: Be Prepared. These tenants along with the Scout Slogan have remained the same since the movements founding. The Scout Slogan, Do a Good Turn Daily, is what helped bring Scouting to the United States when an unknown Scout emerged from a London fog to help guide an America Businessman William Boyce to his destination.

When one references the Boy Scouts of America, the image most people conjure is one of kids camping and pinewood derbies. Both the camping and outdoor experiences along with the pinewood derby are by-products and draws to get youth involved in Scouting. The outdoor experience and pinewood derby are just small samples of what Scouting offers. Both experiences are examples where the Scout sets goals, learns new skills, put those skills to work and then teach skill to other Scouts. These experiences provide the opportunity to practice leadership skills and become cheerful, helpful, kind, and hopeful about the future and have higher intentional self-regulation.

Scouting is not only beneficial to a youth when they are growing up but builds a strong set of internal values making them outstanding employees and members of the community. Many of our local school districts have adopted “The Leader in Me” program which helps to build the culture of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to build leadership and soft skills within the academic day. The values taught within Scouting help to reinforce the efforts of our local school systems and the 7 Habits. As one municipal court judge has shared with me very rarely does he see members of Scouting or any other positive youth development organization in his courtroom.

As part of the planning for the outdoor experience Scouts learn how to be prepared not only for that campout, but for life and how to become resilient. It was hart warming as the council was navigating COVID related protocols last spring when one of the local health commissioners stated we need Scouts more now than ever.

While our Cub Scout and Scouts BSA programs help prepare young people for life, our Exploring program for young adults in middle school and high school takes a more direct approach. Exploring works by partnering directly with businesses in the community, the main difference for the Exploring program is the camping and outdoor experience are replaced with direct vocation skills related to that business.

Keeping kids safe is always the top of mind in any youth service agency. The Boy Scouts of America has been working since our founding to keep kids safe. Since 1987 the Boy Scouts of America has had a two-deep adult leadership requirement, which was a head of its time. To learn more about the Boy Scouts of America’s robust youth protection program visit www.BSAyouthprotection.org

As we all work to emerge into a post COVID environment the Black Swamp Area Council is working on Camp Lakota and Camp Berry 2021 summer camp plans. Also new this summer there will be an Adventure Day Camp program for all elementary aged youth in the community at Camp Berry this summer.

While the types of camping equipment and methods of communication have evolved over the past 111 years, Scouting is still developing future leaders and making today’s youth prepared for life. The Boy Scouts of America have programs for boys and girls in kindergarten through the age of 21. Join me and the more than 6,000 Scouts and volunteers in Northwest and West Central Ohio along the Scouting trail, find your local Pack or Troop at BeAScout.org and learn about our summer camp opportunities for all youth this summer at BlackSwampBSA.org. Scout Me In!

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