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Boy Scouts to celebrate 100 years of nurturing boys

The Boy Scouts will celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2010.

The Boy Scouts will celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2010, which raises the question: How can an organization exist that long and still serve a need?

Yes, Scouting has been around a long time but the organization has not changed its philosophy of giving boys a program and activities designed to develop character, citizenship and fitness.

Are Scouting programs relevant in today's society? There is a battle of significant consequence taking place in the lives of boys in America today. In simple terms, it's the struggle between doing right or wrong.

The picture shows a dad and son fishing at a Cub Scout event. Dads have been taking their sons fishing for as long as Scouts have been in existence and will continue to do so for years to come.

But there is a need for an organization that focuses on family-centered activities, outdoor programs and values that fit into today's fast-paced lifestyle, and Scouting is it.

The number of boys and girls currently registered in the Lakes District Scouting programs shows that Scouting is alive and doing very well. The Lakes District includes Douglas, Pope, Stevens, Swift and part of Grant and Traverse counties.

Given the declining number of available youth in the district, we have continued to increase our presence. By the end of this year we will have more than 1,000 youth participating in a Scouting program.

There are three programs offered by the Scouts.

The Cub Scout program is a year-round program designed to meet the needs of young boys, grades 1-5, and their parents. We call it having fun with a purpose. Service projects, ceremonies, games and other activities guide boys through Scouts' core values and give them a sense of personal achievement.

Positive peer group interaction and parental involvement help boys learn honesty, bravery and respect. Boys can join any time, as all program material is age appropriate for each grade level.

The Boy Scout program serves boys ages 11-18. This is the program most people associate with the outdoors.

The boys take responsibility for planning meetings and organizing troop activities. They learn to work as a team and have ample opportunity to lead. Through the support of parents, religious and neighborhood organizations, Scouts develop an awareness and appreciation of their role in the community.

Venturing is a program for men and women ages 14-21. It is the fastest growing program in the Boy Scouts.

The purpose of Venturing is to provide experiences that help young people mature and become responsible, caring adults. They learn leadership skills and participate in challenging outdoor activities.

Scouting is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago. As parents, we want to see our children grow into confident, self-reliant adults. Through Scouting programs we build on the core values of trust, honesty and loyalty. Early in their Scouting experience, boys learn the value of serving others.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Scouting promotes activities that lead to personal responsibility and high self-esteem. As a result, when hard decisions have been made, a boy can look at himself and be proud of the person he is.

To learn more about Scouting or to volunteer your time, contact Jim Stratton at (320) 808-5096 or