“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
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.