“The Little Red Wagon  – a symbol of childhood. It could be filled with a child’s hopes and dreams or with burdens. Millions of American children need our help to pull that wagon along. Let’s all pull together!” General Colin L. Powell, U.S. Army (Ret.)


   Thousands of volunteers, both men and women, are pulling together to offer programs for boys and girls that will help them become better citizens through Scouting. Scout programs in the United States date back to 1910 for Boy Scouts and to 1912 for Girl Scouts. During those years Scouting has provided many young people with a healthy start and ongoing relationships with caring adult leaders. Effective education through Scout programs may lead to marketable skills, lifelong interests and the opportunity  to give back to one’s community. Girl Scouts report a total membership of approximately 3.7 million. According to the Boy Scout website, during the past two years more than 3.4 million Scouts have provided 100,757,046 hours of service to their communities.


    It’s more than selling cookies and helping little old ladies across the street. Scouting is a way of life for millions of Scouts and their families throughout the United States. Here in Branford we have several active Scout troops from Daisies and Cubs to Cadettes and Eagle Scouts. Each level has its own goals and guidelines, and all are served by leaders who are volunteers. Most of the leaders are former Scouts themselves, wanting to perpetuate in their families the accomplishments and rewards of being a Scout. Parents are urged to volunteer in a program that becomes an extension of the family, reinforcing family values and strengthening the parent/child bond. Many leaders stay on after their own children have outgrown the program. According to Gerry Blanusa, a Stony Creek Scoutmaster, it is not unusual for Eagle Scouts to graduate and return to the program as assistant scoutmasters.


   Daisy Scouts, the youngest of the Girl Scouts, get off to a “fresh, bright start” by participating in adventures in nature, science and the arts. Brownies concentrate on teamwork, sharing friendship and fun. They begin to participate in community activities like singing to groups of senior citizens. Junior Girl Scouts gain in self-confidence as they explore the more than 200 opportunities for earning badges. Senior Girl Scouts and Cadettes immerse themselves in projects that may lead to lifelong interests and careers.


   Boys progress from a family-centered Tiger Scout group to age-appropriate Cub Scout or Webelo programs which emphasize citizenship. Boy Scouts range from ages 11 – 17, with an emphasis on peer-group leadership. Varsity and Venturing levels for boys over 14 years of age develop leadership skills, and one achieves the rank of Eagle Scout by planning and coordinating a community service project. 


    Did you notice a truck full of boys in red shirts at Branford’s annual River Clean-up Day? Some of the most enthusiastic participants are our Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. Other traditional community activities include placing American flags at the cemeteries on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day and helping with collections of non-perishable food for the Food Council.

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