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Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 10:21pm
FORT BLISS — More than 70 parents and children attended a Boy Scout Round Up Feb. 20 at the Replica School Age Center to learn more about the extracurricular opportunities available for their children through the Boy Scouts of America organization.
Jessica Thompson was drawn to round up by encouragement from her son.
“He just came home yesterday, he got the recruiting flyer, and he’s like ‘Mom, we have to go,’” Thompson said. “He’s anxious and ready and wants to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow and go camping and fishing.”
The round up focused on three separate programs: Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venture Crew. Although the programs are sequentially designed for different age groups and follow a boy through his journey from childhood to the advent of adulthood, they operate independently of each other and have a different focus for each stage of development.
Cub Scouts is geared to boys ages 7 through 10 and is the most family-oriented of the programs.
With Cub Scouts, adults play an active and primary role in the activities of the boys. The children focus on the ideal of spiritual and character growth, citizenship training and personal fitness. Cub Scouts works to create a fun, safe environment while working to strengthen a child’s understanding of their place in the world and responsibility to their family and nation.
Boy Scouts is a separate program and is not a direct follow from Cub Scouts. With Boy Scouts, the focus is on twelve specific values: trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courteousness, kindness, obedience, cheerfulness, thriftiness, bravery, cleanliness and reverence. The troop direction is governed by the boys themselves with significant input from their elders.
Following the trend of increasing responsibility, Venture Crew is a separate program from Boy Scouts and is primarily lead by its members with very little input or direction from its adult advisors. Venture Crew is open to young men and women ages 14 through 20. Venturing focuses on challenging high-adventure activities, sports and hobbies for teenagers that focus on obtaining leadership skills and team work.
Victor Rivera is the district executive for the yucca council, which is the local arm of the BSA. He emphasized the many rewards boys involved with scouting experience from learning new things to developing in confidence and self-reliance. He also focused on some of the added benefits scouting can have for children with parents in the military.
“Boy Scouts is a world-wide organization,” Rivera said. “With scouting, every time military parents PCS, they know there are going to be Boy Scout packs in their area – their children are going to have a place where they automatically fit right in.”
Rivera quoted Exxon Mobil’s CEO Rex Tillerson, saying the most important thing about scouting it that it is “volunteer-driven and professionally-led.”
Because of this structure, the Boy Scout programs can be as individual as each pack. Parents and former scouts volunteer their time to lead or participate with each group with some guidance from a small BSA administration. A benefit to a set up like this is that it allows for many types of packs.
Some packs are large, with dozens of members and some are smaller and more intimate. Having such a variety of group dynamic allows each separate scout to find the pack that is the perfect fit for them.
Rivera urges prospective scouts to try out at least two packs before settling on the right one for them. For more information on BSA programs and packs in the area, call 772-2292.