By Lee Smathers
In 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was established as a way to encourage young men working in factories during the Industrial Revolution to get out and enjoy nature. They were given the opportunity to explore the woods, scavenge the fields and learn outdoor survival skills they could put to use for the rest of their lives.
In Cherokee County, the Boy Scouts of America still is going strong and is a great place for young men to continue to explore, scavenge and learn. But, today, scouting offers much more than that. Beginning at the first grade level, Cub Scouts is the family’s first exposure to scouting. The program promotes family participation and encourages everyone to take part in developing an exciting environment, with lots of great activities.
The annual Cub Scout Pinewood Derby will be held at Carriage Kia on Olde Rope Mill Park Road at 8:30 a.m., Feb. 10. Cub Adventure Quest, held Aug. 25 this year, is a day filled with shooting BB guns, bow and arrows, and more. This year’s theme is Let the Games Begin and will feature tons of Olympic-inspired games and activities.
The Boy Scouts also are stepping things up a notch. In January, Troop 8880 from Canton went to Escalade Climbing for a climbing merit badge lock-in. On Feb. 24, Troop 241 in Canton is encouraging other troops to join them in taking the Polar Bear Plunge — walking into the lake in full uniform posting the American flag. Other troops in the area are busy with preparation hikes for attending multiple high-adventure camps across the country this year. In March, there will be a spring Camporee for all the troops from the Appalachian Trail District to join in celebration of scouting.
Venturing is yet another scouting opportunity offered in this area, and is available to coed participants, ages 14-20. Venturing is based on a unique and dynamic relationship between youths, adult leaders and organizations in their communities. Local community organizations establish a venturing crew by matching their people and program resources to the interests of young people in the community. The result is a program of exciting and meaningful activities that helps youths pursue their special interests, grow and develop leadership skills, and become good citizens. Venturing crews can specialize in a variety of vocation or hobby interests.
Sea Scouts, a specialized segment of the venturing program, was organized to address members’ boating skills and promote knowledge of our maritime heritage.
Sea Scout units, called “ships,” focus on sailing and cruising either sailboats or power vessels. Most ships hold formal meetings conducted in either full dress or work uniforms. Swimming, lifesaving, first aid, Coast Guard Auxiliary Sailing and Seamanship, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation courses are taught by the ship’s own officers. For more information about the Sea Scouts, including how to join or start a Sea Scout ship in your area, please visit SeaScoutsAtlanta.org.
The Appalachian Trail District encompasses Cherokee and Pickens counties. There are 64 units in the district, including packs, troops, crews and ships, with more than 2,200 youths.
To learn where a unit meets in your area, go to www.atlantabsa.org and select the JOIN SCOUTING drop down tab. There, you can select the type of unit you’re interested in. You also can call 770-988-8820.