Skills for a Lifetime
It’s a pledge many have heard before, whether a Boy Scout or not. “On my honor I will do my best; to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” Though it’s memorized by many, it encapsulates the starting point for raising young men up into future leaders, locally and across the country.
Here in Central Florida, Boy Scouts of America Central Florida Council was formed in 1922 and was chartered by the National Council to implement a quality scouting program in the area. Today, the organization has nearly 45 full-time staff, including field staff, support staff and camp rangers, and serves nearly 25,000 youth in Seminole, Orange, Lake, Osceola, Volusia, Flagler and Brevard counties through its Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Venturing programs.
Range of Programming
Scouting is a values-based program with its own code of conduct, and the Scout Oath and Law help instill the values of responsible behavior, respect for others, and honesty. Scouts learn skills that will last a lifetime, including basic outdoor skills, first aid, citizenship skills, leadership skills, and how to get along with others.
The Cub Scout program begins when a boy is in first grade and continues into the fifth grade, at which time they become Boy Scouts up until the age of 18 years old, and the Venturing program includes male and females ages 14 to 21. Whether a youth is in the first grade or is 17 years old, all are able to join in with the appropriate program at any time. In every program, citizenship, character development and fitness are the ultimate goals of the program, in hopes that all youth are able to be better men, students, sons, brothers, citizens and future leaders.
Vital to the success of the Scouting programs is Camp La-No-Che – a year-round outdoor classroom on the North shore of Lake Norris in Paisley, Fla., which hosts over 5,000 youth every summer, and thousands of youth during the weekends during the school year.
“Scouting is a game with purpose, and we utilize our camp to teach leadership skills, teamwork, and character development all while allowing the youth to go rock climbing, sailing, rifle, shotgun and black powder shooting, swimming, learning about our Native American Program and much more,” said Randy Steil, development director. “Scouts are able to experience life skills that they are not able to learn in the classroom and have a great time doing so! Camp La-No-Che hosts more youth than almost any other Scout Camp in the Southeast.”
Being one of the largest serving councils in the U.S., Boy Scouts of America Central Florida Council is unique in its size and the areas it serves while being in a very diverse market. Also unique is the community support, with many corporate sponsors who help the organization reach and enrich more youth through its programming like Camp La-No-Che.
Throughout the year, various fundraising events are put in place to help provide the funds for all youth in the community to be able to participate and get the full scouting experience. These events include Golden Eagle Dinners in the spring, a Travel, Sports, and Entertainment Auction in August, a Golf Tournament and Sporting Clays Shoot in October, and Lightfest at the end of each year.
“We do not want any youth to be turned away for financial reasons, and our supporters have enabled us to do just that,” said Steil. “Scouting teaches values and morals that cannot be found in many organizations, and values that our youth desperately need as they are becoming our future leaders.”