By KELSEY MATZEN
CASA GRANDE HIGH SCHOOL
They are easily identifiable with their sharply tied neckerchiefs, their badge-laden sashes, and their trademark insignia: They are the Boy Scouts.
Scouts long have held a reputation for responsibility, hard work and enjoyment of the wilderness. One imagines an average day for a Scout to be spent trekking through the woods, using his knowledge acquired over the years to forage for food and start fires, while identifying the wildlife roaming around the trees. Truthfully, though, Scouts are not entirely focused on camping and nature.
A main part of their aim is to aid the community through volunteer work and activities. For a Boy Scout to advance through his ranks to become an Eagle Scout, he must complete an individual philanthropic project totaling 100 hours. The work done is described as simply manual labor, with activities including building benches, repairing schools, making the schools more eco-friendly, and renovating gardens.
Casa Grande High School sophomore Max Granger has been involved in Boy Scouts since first grade.
“Roughly estimating, a Boy Scout averages about 40 hours of volunteer work a year,” he said. “I like that the Boy Scouts do community service.”
This means that over the years, up until a boy becomes an Eagle Scout, he performs a monumental number of service hours.
“I plan to continue until I get my Eagle, which, since I’m one rank below and one merit badge away, should probably mean I’ll do my project in the spring or summer of 2011,” said sophomore Eric Singer, also a Boy Scout since he was young.
Not only do Scouts directly offer help to the community, they also gain extensive knowledge that will aid the community later in life.
“We get to do things called merit badges where we basically learn new skills and do new things. There’s a lifesaving merit badge where you have to swim over a mile in order to get the badge, along with learning how to save lives on the water, basically pre-lifeguard,” Singer said.
Boy Scouts is really more than just a volunteer opportunity; it’s a lifelong dedication to improve the community. The services its members provide are temporarily helpful; however, the men that Boy Scouts become will live on to maintain the structure of the community, keeping it afloat and healthy. They become role models.
“I work better with people now,” Singer said. “It’s also improved my leadership skills incredibly and taught me about humility and respect. Half the time, people think I’m a jerk when I’m joking around. Quite frankly, I’m a nice guy below the surface.”