Letter: Boy Scout Troop Choices

For those of you looking for a good Boy Scout troop, there are several good choices. If your child has not experienced Cub Scouts, then it is still a good time to check out a Boy Scout troop, because there is no prerequisite to join the Boy Scouts. If you and your child have experienced Cub Scouts, then you know they enjoy camping, craft projects and advancing from one level to another. Boy Scouts are similar; however, one salient difference is that a Boy Scout troop is a scout-led organization where adults simply oversee the progress of the scouts and keep them on track for advancement. The adults are basically the designated drivers and occasionally slip in ideas for the scouts to consider.

Although there are more than two in the area, Troop 125 is a large group and has been located at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church for years. If you are looking for a large group with a variety of transportation vehicles and other benefits, they are a very good choice. On the other hand, if you would like a more intimate group, then you may want to consider Troop 160 located at Wellington Landings Middle School, where Binks Forest Drive meets Greenview Shores Blvd. I am more familiar with Troop 160 because that is the troop my son chose when considering the Boy Scouts. In my humble opinion, it is important for the prospective scout to go to a meeting to meet the other scouts and determine if it is the right fit for them. If they are comfortable, they will more likely have an excellent experience in scouting. Troop 160 meets in the cafeteria from 7 p.m. until roughly 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, and anyone is welcome to come unannounced. However, they do take a break for summer.

Troop 160 began its charter in September 1997 and the first Eagle earned his designation in 1999. Since that time, there have been 20 Eagle Scouts and there is at least one scout close to Eagle at this time. The peak number of scouts in the troop hit roughly 35 at one point and may come in around 25 or fewer right now. The intimate atmosphere is very conducive to scouts progressing along the continuum to their Eagle goal.

If you are uncertain as to the benefits of a scout-led organization, consider that scouting is a leadership organization that teaches values such as loyalty, trustworthiness, obedience and the like. What I realized when my son joined the scouts is that it was reinforcement for those values we were teaching him. It works wonders. The transformation that a scout takes on once they become an Eagle Scout is like moving from childhood to manhood. It is a wonderful transformation to witness. The leadership qualities come from the requirements for each scout as they work through their ranks. They must take on leadership roles and other scouts help them along. It is a very nurturing environment. In addition to all the obvious benefits, the Eagle designation is appreciated by colleges and universities, and many CEOs are Eagle Scouts. You will not regret their time in the scouts. You will rejoice in it.

Steve McGowan, Wellington