The Clay County Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is actively seeking youth to join the ranks.
"We have three aims within the Boy Scouts," District Director of the Wabash Valley District Jaime Wilder said. "We encourage character development, citizenship training and personal fitness."
After working in BSA for nine years, Wilder said she is still amazed by the activities and the opportunities the young men experience from climbing a tower to firing a bow and arrow.
"There are so many experiences the kids can't get anywhere else," she said.
According to Wilder, scouts of all ages are encouraged to work on all of their merit badges. There are a total 126 merit badges and to advance to Eagle Scout an individual must earn 21 merit badges, including twelve from a required list. Another right of passage is to become involved in their Eagle Scout project and those of their fellow troop members. This project alone encourages the young men to take on the leadership role of the operation.
"It is like when you are in college," Wilder said. "You have the required curriculum, that in order to graduate you must take. It is just like that to become an Eagle."
The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization and therefore it is governed by its own set of rules.
"All we ask is for the scout and parents have a belief in a higher being," she said. "We do not tell them what to believe."
For the last 100 years, the BSA has continued to encourage young men to reach their highest potential.
In recent years, the Cub Scout Packs and Boy Scout Troops in Clay County have seen a decrease in numbers. This is in part due to changes made within the Clay Community School Corporation policy to not allow any organizations to pass out material or recruit students during class time.
"Our organization is in sync with what the schools are trying to teach," Wilder said. "So not being allowed in the schools is very frustrating."
Though the BSA has continued to conduct recruitment activities they are not having the same impact and results in numbers compared to the interaction in the schools with the students.
"We have made some progress with the board of trustees," Wilder said. "We want to let the community know scouting is still here."
The goal of BSA is to prepare the future leaders of tomorrow.
"Every meeting starts with the pledge of allegiance, the scout oath and then prayer," she said. "In the 100 years we have been around, our merit badges may have changed but our morals and values have stayed the same."
For more information or to become a BSA Ambassador, call Wilder at 812-232-9496.