April 6, 2017. Don Sachs who is the Development Director for the Minsi Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Minsi Trails ranks in the top 15 out of 270 Councils in the United States, in part because of the dedication of nearly 5,000 volunteers. The Boy Scouts have a long history of partnerships with Rotary dating back to 1918. Paul Harris and legendary Scout leader James E. West combined to help start new Scout Councils.
This local Scout organization serves 10,300 youth distributed over 6 counties. The Scouts have four basic programs: Cub Scouts (youth ages 6 – 10); Boy Scouts (ages 11 – 17); Venturing (a coed group exploring high adventure interests); Exploring (a coed group pursuing vocational interests. The traditional images associated with Scouts are uniforms, merit badges, pins, and camping. These images are accurate but they are only the means to the end which is to teach life skills that will lead the Scouts to independence, responsibility, and caring. Studies show that Scouts tend to be more successful in academics and athletics. They tend to have high volunteer rates, attend church more often, are more likely to vote, and more likely to help others. Scouts are taught to think for themselves and empathize with others.
The local Council added 213 Eagle Scouts last year. These Scouts accounted for 43,400 hours of community service. Overall, Scouts accounted for 82,000 hours of community service. The annual Scouting for Food drive produces 160,000 to 200,000 pounds of food for local food banks and soup kitchens. The Boy Scouts reach out to high poverty inner-city and poor rural areas by offering cost-free scouting. The current goal is to grow membership. Last year’s positive growth marked the end of a ten year slide.