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Scouts celebrate a century

The Boy Scouts of America organization has been around for 100 years, and area Scouts and their leaders are gearing up to celebrate with special events this month.

“The 100th anniversary allows us to say, ‘Look, we’ve been doing this for 100 years, and we’ve got a great program,’” said Dick Collins, Scout executive for the Colonial Virginia Council of Boy Scouts of America. “We have a lot of people who get their Eagle Scout and turn around and give back with their time and their energy and their talents.”

The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated Feb. 8, 1910. On June 21, representatives from 34 representatives of boys’ agencies met in New York to develop organizational plans.

The next year, the National Council office opened in New York City with seven employees. The first annual meeting was held at the White House, and was addressed by President William Taft, who was honorary president of Scouting. At that time, the Scout Oath, Scout Law, badges and fundamental polices were adopted.

Since then, the Boy Scouts of America have provided opportunities for more than 100 million young people, and graduated two million Eagle Scouts. The organization typically holds national jamborees once every four years. Its most recent one was this year; but this year Scouts will hold a special national jamboree in celebration of the century anniversary.

“They learn so many things that are important and in a lot of ways are overlooked in just the normal scheme of school,” said Cindy Fegley, who chairs a number of activities for Cub Scout Pack 73 in Suffolk. Her son has been involved in Scouting for six years.

Fegley said Scouting helps boys develop positive attributes such as leadership, responsibility and more.

“It’s always an important program from my perspective in that the boys are learning character traits, responsibility, leadership and survival skills,” Fegley said. “They learn to make appropriate decisions. They have a lot of responsibility in their own progress at the Boy Scout level.”

Boys in Scouting also participate in additional programs and projects that meet their interests, and earn merit badges for completing them.

“One of the reasons behind the merit badge is to spur those interests, and learn more about things that could potentially become a career for them,” Fegley said.

In addition, boys learn about civic responsibility by volunteering with numerous nonprofit organizations, she said. They learn about physical fitness by discovering different skills to maintain their health, and they learn about financial responsibility by raising money for their various trips and activities.

“They learn to pay their own way,” Fegley said. “They know that if they want to do things with the troop, the fundraisers they’re doing will help them get to summer camp.”

To celebrate the 100th anniversary, Feb. 7 is being observed as Scout Sunday. More than half of Scouting units are chartered by churches, so Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops will attend church for services at their chartering churches.

In Suffolk, Pack 73 and Troop 73 will attend the 8:30 a.m. service at Magnolia United Methodist Church, and then hold a spaghetti luncheon fundraiser afterward. The $6 price will buy salad, spaghetti, bread and a drink. Desserts are available for an additional price.

Also, Feb. 13, the Norfolk Admirals hockey game has been designated “Scout Night” for Scouts in Suffolk and Isle of Wight County. The boys will donate $2 of each Red Level ticket (total price $10) sold to the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia.

For more information on Scouting, visit www.Scouting.org. For the Colonial Virginia Council, visit www.cvcboyscouts.org.