Scouts celebrate as organization turns 100

Published 9:57 am Saturday, February 13, 2010

FRANKLIN—Since 1910, generations of young men have participated in the Boy Scouts of America, learning valuable life lessons along the way.

This year, the Boy Scouts of America is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Despite the organization’s age, it is still valuable and relevant, according to Steve Ramey, who serves on the board of the Colonial Virginia Council of Boy Scouts of America and is the chairman of the scouts’ Siouan Rivers District, which includes Franklin, Southampton County and Carrsville.

“Probably the biggest benefit of it, in my opinion, is that the kids learn a lot of leadership skills,” he said. “All of the kids go through some type of leadership role.”

Boy Scouts also encourages community service, helps build self-esteem and teaches practical outdoor skills, Ramey said.

“It’s a very good program for any kid, no matter how long they stay in it,” he said. “It’s a good program if a kid can develop character, can develop leadership skills and make friends.”

According to its Web site, the Boy Scouts of America’s purpose is to provide an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.

While Ramey was unaware of any big 100th anniversary celebrations locally, he said individual troops and packs were free to plan their own celebrations. Last October, the Colonial Virginia Council put on a Scout Show in Suffolk and there was a gathering of Eagle Scouts in November. Eagle Scout is the highest attainable rank in the Boy Scouting program.

Churches or civic organizations usually sponsor Boy Scout troops. Every February, troops sponsored by churches participate in “Scout Sunday.”

“On Scout Sunday, the kids — to return the honor to the churches — attend those churches in their full uniform,” Ramey said.

This summer, local scouts and others from across the nation and other countries, will travel to Fort A.P. Hill for the National Scout Jamboree. The Jamboree is held every four years, and this year organizers are planning a huge celebration to mark the Boy Scouts’ 100th anniversary.

Ramey said he wasn’t a Boy Scout growing up, but has been involved in the organization with his own children for 12 years. As the scouts celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary, Ramey said it still draws young people.

“I think scouting is still as popular as it’s ever been — especially in rural areas,” he said.