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Boy Scouts celebrate 100 years of staying true to principles

September 26, 2010|By TIFFANY ARNOLD
  • BSA Troop 10 First Class Scout Anthony Guyton, left, receives his C&O Canal hiking badge from Life Scout Raeven Cogan, right, during their recent Court of Honor Ceremony at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer,

For Daved Paddack, being a Boy Scout means getting to deep sea dive off the Florida Keys, maneuvering through a maze of mangroves and shark fishing at midnight.

"It gives me opportunities in life that I'd never be able to do," said Daved, 16. He chatted before a dinner and awards ceremony at a recent meeting of Troop 10, one of the oldest Scout troops in the Mason-Dixon Council, according to Washington County Senior District Executive Scott Paddack, who's also Daved's dad.

Daved is a third-generation Scout. His dad was a Scout. His dad's dad, Varner L. Paddack, was a Scout. The storyline was repeated several times after speaking with others at the jam-packed Monday night meeting.

"My father was a Scout when I was a kid, I was active in Scouts, and all my kids did Scouts," said Hunt Hardinge, Troop 10 Scoutmaster.

And as the Boy Scouts of America celebrates its 100-year anniversary this year, it's the sort of storyline the local councils would like to see repeated for generations to come, said Mark Barbernitz, Scout executive of the Mason-Dixon Council.

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Boy Scouts of America was formed Feb. 8, 1910, by William D. Boyce. A century and more than 117 million merit badges later, the Boy Scouts are trying to promote its founding principles - character and personal development - while staying in tune with a new generation of boys. Barbernitz and other local Scout leaders said the challenge local Scouts face is convincing young boys that Scouting isn't just about tying knots and building campfires, especially with team sports competing for the same pool of would-be Scouts.

"If I went and told kids that we're going to teach you about your country, serving your community and saying the Pledge of Allegiance, they'd probably say I don't want to do that, that doesn't sound fun," Scott Paddack said.

Anthony Holmes faces the challenge each Wednesday night. Holmes is the Cubmaster for Pack 75, for the Cub Scout pack at the Memorial Recreation Center, on West North Avenue.

"Is your kid signed up for Cub Scouts?" Holmes asked a woman, there to pick up children from an afterschool program at the community center, just before his Cub Scout pack's weekly meeting.

"I used to live in Bethel Gardens," said Holmes, who still lives in Hagerstown. "Most of these kids, I've seen their parents grow up."

Holmes said 12 are signed up for Memorial Rec pack, which has been active since November 2009. He's been struggling to get more kids involved.

"I want to see these boys achieve positive things in life," said Holmes. "I want them to better themselves."

Holmes' son Daniel Holmes, 10, a fifth-grader at Salem Avenue Elementary School, and his stepson, Darrius Marcum, 8, a third- grader at Greenbrier Elementary School, enthusiastically explained the patches that covered their uniforms and how boys can move up in the ranks.

"I'm going to be a Boy Scout next year," said Daniel, smiling.

Darrius said he liked the social aspect of being a Cub Scout. Both said they hope to one day be Eagle Scouts, the highest-rank of the Boy Scout program.

New recruit, Taevon Hamby, 6, had been coming to the meetings before he was eligible to be a Scout. This will be is his first year as an official Cub Scout.

"I don't turn anyone away," Holmes said. "I'd rather see them in Scouts than in the streets."

A few blocks away from Memorial Rec, is the Troop 10 of the Boy Scouts meeting spot at Trinity Lutheran Church off Randolph Street. The Monday-night meeting was packed, with around 50 Scouts, moms and dads in attendance.

Varner L. Paddack, 75, was there in support of his grandson. He said when he was in Scouts, resources were limited. He grew up in North Dakota, in a town that had fewer than 300 people, he said.

"I did it because of the camping," said Varner Paddack, who is a former Hagerstown mayor.

But he said that on the whole, the Scouting of grandson Daved Paddack's generation isn't so different from what it was like when he was a Scout.

Daved Paddack is a junior at North Hagerstown High School. He's been in Scouts since he was 6 and is a few badges away from earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

"It's kind of a family tradition," Daved Paddack said.




Find a local scouting unit



Mason-Dixon Council, Mason-Dixon-BSA.org

Hagerstown is part of the Mason-Dixon Council, which is comprised of three districts: Washington County in Maryland, and Tuscarora and Great Cove in Pennsylvania.

If you are interested in Scouts, contact Scott Paddack, senior district executive of the Washington County District, atspaddack@bsamail.org .




Boy Scouts by the numbers



2,912,039

The total number of youth members involved with Boy Scouts of America as of Dec. 31, 2009.

40,977

The total number of Boy Scout troops as of Dec. 31, 2009.

More than 8,000

The number of accounts that follow @boyscouts on Twitter.

1910

The year Boy Scouts of America was incorporated.

11

How old you have to be in order to be a Boy Scout.

5

The percentage of Scouts who earn the rank of Eagle Scout. In 2009, 52,470 boys earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

- Source: Boy Scouts Of America, Scouting.org.

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