Despite declining roster, local Scouts make their mark

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CHIPLEY ? When Lord Robert Baden Powell began the scouting movement in 1907, one can scarcely believe he knew how quickly that movement would spread worldwide. Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is now in 216 countries with over 38 million members. However, the local BSA Chapter, Troop 39, is seeing a decline in membership. 


Troop 39 serves both Washington and Holmes County and has a current roster of 10 scouts with five of those heading toward the highest rank in BSA, Eagle Scout, within the next month. Once the rank of Eagle is earned, unless a scout decides to become adult leadership, their time in the scout world is up. This is usually done by the age of 17. 


The need for younger scouts to take the place of outgoing scouts is at an all-time high. One of the major reasons for that shortage is the lack of local Cub Scout Troop 339 adult leadership. The pack was active until about a year ago when the adult leadership moved away. The Charter for both Troop 39 and Pack 339 is held by Blue Lake Baptist Church. Both Blue Lake Baptist and Troop 39 Scoutmaster Ted Spangenberg Jr. are in discussions on having the Pack started back up by this fall.  


According to Spangenberg, Cub Scout Packs are led differently than a Boy Scout Troop. “Packs are generally more family led and oriented than a troop,” said Spangenberg. “That is not to say that Troops are not family oriented, but a Cub Scout cannot even go camping without a parent present so when they get to a Troop, it is a whole different ballgame.” 


Spangenberg believes the disconnect, aside from the absence Cub Scout Pack, is the lack of organization and marketing of the Troop itself. 


“It is a lack of having things organized and ready to go for families,” said Spangenberg. “We have not gone out and marketed ourselves as we should have. The Cub Scout Pack usually feeds into our troop with two-thirds of our troop having been prior Cub Scouts. The other third are exceptions as they joined BSA at age 11 with no prior scouting experience.” 


The mission of BSA is simple: to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Each scout is required to learn the oath and law and can recite them at any given time. They are as follows: Scout Law?A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. 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.  


Troops across the world take part in many different activities such as summer camps, treks, fishing trips and leadership training experiences. Troop 39 recently took four scouts on such a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico for National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE). Life Scout Chance Robinson says it was the trip of a lifetime. “Aside from this being the best trip of my life,” said Robinson. “I feel blessed to have been able to attend the NAYLE at Philmont.” 


Robinson says learning about servant leadership was the highlight because it was learned by experience instead of just being told what to do. 


 “Servant leadership is much better in my opinion,” said Robinson. “Because we learned to lead by example using servant leadership in order to reach the common goal. We learned to lead by example.” 


If you are interested in volunteering to become part of adult leadership, or in having your child become a part of The Boys Scouts or Cub Scouts, contact Ted Spangenberg at 850-338-3301 or email at tspang2@live.com

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