Steering young people from violence

Protecting young people from violence – especially gun violence – is a tough job in many communities.

Statistics provided by the Children’s Defense Fund in its 2014 “State of America’s Children” report paint a troubling picture of gun violence in our country:

  • 2,694 children and teens were killed by guns in the U.S. in 2010.
  • 15,576 children and teens were injured by guns during that same period.
  • That means one child or teen was killed or injured every 30 minutes, 50 every day, and 351 every week.
Children's Defense Fund

Photo courtesy of the Children’s Defense Fund

We take our role of protecting young people from harm very seriously in Scouting, so when I saw how one troop leader is taking the problem of gun violence head-on, I wanted to share his story.

Troop 772 in Fort Pierce, Florida was set up by Scoutmaster Scott Van Duzer to help steer middle school students away from violence. Read more »

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High Praise for our High Adventure Leadership

We often hear stories from our councils and others about extraordinary and heroic acts performed by Scouts to help or save others. The following story is from a Scoutmaster who, with members of his troop, experienced a powerful “Be Prepared” moment that spoke volumes about how Scouting changes lives. Scoutmaster Howard Hudson of Troop 990 in West Chester, Ohio was in the midst of enjoying a canoe and portage trip with his Scouts at our Northern Tier High Adventure Camp when they suddenly found themselves in a battle for survival. I’ll let Scoutmaster Hudson pick up the story from here – please read on.

Dear Mr. Brock,

I wanted to take a few moments to convey my admiration and appreciation for your staff at the Northern Tier High Adventure Camp. My name is Howard Hudson. I am the Scoutmaster for Troop #990 from West Chester, Ohio. We are the troop that got caught in bad weather and whose canoe trip across Basswood Lake would evolve into a ten hour survival situation.

First let me say how impressed I was from the beginning with the Northern Tier experience. The careful planning and preparation was evident at once. The equipment was top-notch and in great condition. (I would be very grateful for the quality of my Personal Flotation Device a few days later!) Kevin Dowling and his entire staff were friendly and courteous at all times and always very helpful to the leaders and the boys. The orientation was very thorough and provided information that would later lead to our rescue. 

From day to day as we canoed for miles, portaged for what seemed like miles, and set up and broke camp, my boys pushed themselves. They were tired. They were sore. But they did not quit. Our Interpreter was a remarkable young man named Cody Loucks. Cody was an Eagle Scout, a Scout Professional for seven years and an Interpreter at Northern Tier for the past three years. Cody did an outstanding job pushing the boys when they needed to be pushed, keeping them focused and task oriented when there was work to be done, yet at the same time he always kept things upbeat and fun. Read more »

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Scout Champions the Environment One Drop at a Time

I am always fascinated by the mechanisms by which our Scouts serve their communities. We often see Scouts who have a love for the outdoors, enjoy helping the elderly, or are driven to gather food for the needy.

But it’s not often that you find a Scout serving his community with barrels.

Scout Alex Sivak of Clarendon Hills, Illinois, is using rain barrels to take a unique approach to water conservation.

Alex Sivak Rain Barrel Project

Alex Sivak, member of Boy Scout Troop 51, stands with one of his rain barrels at Sloan Triangle in Downtown Clarendon Hills // Photo courtesy of Chuck Fieldman/Sun-Times Media

For his Eagle Scout project, Alex launched a convincing campaign to help businesses understand why rain barrels are so important to the environment. (For instance, did you know that a quarter inch of rain falling on an average roof yields more than 200 gallons of water?) Thanks to his efforts, business owners bought recycled barrels and set them out on their premises to capture rain water. Read more »

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