The Value of Scouting

 
 
 

Everyday heroes, extraordinary character

"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out and meet it."
Thucydides,
ancient Greek historian

 

A Scout Is Brave

"It still seems like a bad dream."

Fourteen-year-old Star Scout Ashton Pruitt's real-life nightmare began the morning after Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in our nation's history, struck. He and his family weathered the storm through the night only to face a cold reality the next day. Rapidly rising waters poured into Ashton's family's home, forcing them to seek higher ground. Ashton quickly took control of the situation, using water rescue techniques that he learned a week earlier while on a camping trip to Mississippi with his Scout troop. He instructed his family, including his mother, his uncle, his 72-year-old grandmother, and his brother, who is legally blind and afraid of water, to fashion flotation devices using pants. Ashton guided his family through deep waters to a neighboring rooftop and to safety. They were rescued 19 hours later. Ashton received the Honor Medal With Crossed Palms "for unusual heroism and extraordinary skill or resourcefulness in saving or attempting to save life at extreme risk to self."

Do a Good Turn Daily

What started as a camping trip to earn the Cooking merit badge earned two Omaha Scouts a family's gratitude and the admiration of fellow Scouts and people across the country.

Christian Nanson and John Fitzgerald were wading in the Platte River near Omaha with their troop when they noticed something that looked like a doll floating downstream about 10 feet away. Christian yelled for John to "check things out." John touched the "doll" only to discover that it was a real baby. He alerted his dad, the assistant Scoutmaster. His father pulled the baby from the river and nearby campers administered first aid. The family of the revived 18-month-old was located and the baby was taken to the hospital. After the rescue, the boys appeared on the Rachael Ray TV show, but they both agree that their 15 minutes of fame doesn't compare to the lifetime they gave to a drowning child.

A Scout Soars Like an Eagle to Help Homeless

Boy Scout Greg Sweeney's idea to start a Cub Scout pack for homeless boys came to him when he was 12 and helping with his brother's Eagle Scout service project. Greg's initial task was reading to youngsters with no permanent address, but a social worker's comments helped him decide to do even more.

"A social worker complimented us on being good role models for these boys, and I thought how neat it would be to set up a Cub Scout pack for them," Greg recalls. He did just that, and Cub Scout Pack 506 in Wilmington, Delaware, has since served scores of boys living in shelters, condemned buildings, and even cars. The pack maintains an active membership of 15. Now an Eagle Scout and a college student, Greg still helps out at the shelters when time permits.

Changing Lives in Seattle

Boy Scout packs and troops are usually chartered to churches or civic groups—not prisons. However, that's not the case for Pack 60 and Troop 60, both of which are chartered to the Purdy Correctional Facility in Purdy, Washington.

The pack and troop are composed of sons of incarcerated mothers and are part of the Chief Seattle Council's Scoutreach program, which founded and provides staffing for both units. The Scouts' mothers are serving sentences for offenses ranging from forgery to manslaughter. The 15 pack and troop members are transported by van monthly to meet with their mothers, who actively plan meetings and programs.

"Scouting is changing lives in Seattle," says Jimmy James, coordinator of the Boy Scouts of America's Chief Seattle Council's Children of Incarcerated Parents Program. "These boys really need an organization like the Boy Scouts of America to make a difference in their lives. I applaud the prison for having the foresight to see a program like the BSA as the organization that can make a difference in these boys' lives."