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Boy Scouts visit school board

Sunday, April 11, 2010

During the regular meeting of the Clay Community School Board of Trustees Thursday, there was a sight unlike any other.

The Clay County Boy Scouts of America (BSA) made their presence known.

"I am before you this evening to ask you to allow the Boy Scouts back into our schools," Andrew Bowman said. "Since 2006, our recruitment has gone from107 boys to just 30 boys in 2009. This stems from our denied access to our local schools."

Bowman, an Eagle Scout from Brazil, told the board about the grim future of Boy Scouts in Clay County if action isn't taken.

"We have been doing everything in our power to encourage boys to join Scouting, but without the help and support of the schools, our efforts show little results," he said.

"If we do not take action right now, Cub Scout Packs and Boy Scout Troops in Clay County will dissolve."

Bowman sighted Title 20 U.S. Code 905, which allows schools to grant access to certain groups and organizations.

"In this code, they list patriotic organizations under Title 36. Included under Title 36 are, but not limited to, Future Farmers of America, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Little League Baseball and The Boy Scouts of America," he said.

"We are asking that you allow Title 36 groups access to our public schools. By specifying Title 36 in the decision, you would not be going down that very slippery slope of having to allow every organization in, but only those organizations specifically stated as Title 36 organizations."

Bowman told the mission statement of BSA, to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices during the lifetime by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

He then compared it to part of CCSC mission statement, "to develop the skills necessary to earn a living and enjoy a high quality of life."

He sighted the overall goal of both was to prepare individuals to be productive members of society.

"Why would you want to keep an organization that instills these values into the lives of young men out of our schools," Bowman said. "If more youth are exposed to the values taught by the Boy Scouts of America, 'the high quality of life,' that the schools are trying to instill in the classroom will be reinforced by the Scout Oath and Law."

According to Bowman, CCSC is the only school corporation in the area that restricts the Boy Scouts from speaking with students about joining.

"We are not asking to come in and take away from classroom time, but give presentations during lunch periods or to have campsite displays on during recess," he said.

"The 15 minutes that we would have with a boy to encourage him to join Scouts could reap a lifetime of rewards for everyone."

According to Bowman, there have been 13 young men that have earned the rank of Eagle in Clay County since 2004, which has resulted in more than 1,600 hours of community service for projects.

"That does not include the countless hours of service that troops in Clay County provide to every community," he said. "From helping clean up the Popcorn Festival to Adopt-A-Highway, youth in Clay County are making an impact. The impact is being felt by everyone, especially the schools."

By using his own Eagle Scout Project as an example, Bowman explained how making learning tools for the Staunton Volunteer Fire Department during Fire Prevention Week were directly proportionate to education taking place in schools.

"When they were completed, I was asked to go to Staunton Elementary and assist the volunteer firefighter teach students about fire safety," he said.

"The tools I made for my project were directly used in aiding the students in gaining a better understanding for fire safety."

During the future agenda items, board member Brian Atkinson asked for the corporation attorney to look into what Bowman discussed regarding Title 20 and Title 36 organizations.

He asked for them to be placed on the May agenda.

Mission, oath and law

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices during their lifetime by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

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.

Scout Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

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Schools need to encourage this type of involvement. When students make the comment "there is nothing to do" Here is something they could be doing. I would be surprised if they would not encourage this. BSA has a variety of programs that help both young Men and Women. If the Times took a straw poll on how many adults have had some scouting experience you may be surprised how many have.

-- Posted by coachB on Mon, Apr 12, 2010, at 10:36 AM

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