A new Boy Scout troop is starting up on post.
Registration for members and volunteers of the new Troop 60 will take place during a round-up event from 7 to 8 p.m. Sept. 26 at Fort Riley Middle School.
“There used to be a Boy Scout troop at Fort Riley, but at some point in the last few years, and with the war on terror, the leadership just sort of dried up and dissolved,” said Glen Hawkins, district executive, Boy Scouts of America.
Boys interested in scouting at Fort Riley previously had to join troops in Junction City or Manhattan.
“This last year, we decided it was time to sort of reinvigorate scouting at Fort Riley,” Hawkins said.
Steven Elek, who will be the scoutmaster of the new troop, came forward at the time to volunteer his services.
Boy Scouts is a non-denomination, value-based organization with an emphasis on teaching values to boys.
“It’s values-oriented, so when the boys come in, we teach them to be better men, better citizens and better Family members,” Hawkins said.
The organization also is focused on instilling patriotic dedication to the nation with values of personal integrity, honor and becoming a good citizen, he said.
“It fits very well with the military community,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins has been with the Boy Scouts since his own son joined a troop years ago.
“In my case, when my son was 11 years old, they needed a leader for his level of activity…And I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it,’ sort of reluctantly. Well, I got in, and I just really loved it, and it was so neat to have that activity with my son,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins had the opportunity to take his son from his youngest years of scouting to becoming an Eagle Scout, which is the highest rank obtainable in Boy Scouts.
“He went into the Army with (the) ‘Striker’ Brigade at Fort Lewis, Wash. He came back to me and said there are many lessons that he learned on his path to becoming an Eagle Scout that set him in good stead for his work life later on as an adult,” Hawkins said.
Boys learn to tackle challenges and overcome adversity in the organization, he added.
“Scouting sets these boys in an easier position when they reach adulthood. In the work world, they have an advantage (with) all the training and lessons they get from Boy Scouts,” Hawkins said.
Parents are strongly encouraged to register along with their sons because scouting is a volunteer-led organization.
Volunteering, however, does not mean parents have to be involved in a labor-intensive position. There are varied levels of activities parents can assist in scouting, Hawkins said.
Parents who register with their sons do have to take the requisite training required to interact with the troop.
“We have a youth protection program, where any adult that is going to have interaction with any boy other than their own son has to be a registered adult and has to have youth protection training,” Hawkins said.
The organization’s primary mission is to help build boys of character, but the primary concern is for the boys’ safety, Hawkins said.
Hawkins strongly encourages parents to participate because it also provides great opportunities to build a strong parent-child relationship that will last for years to come.
“(My son and I) have such great memories together…we’ve got more war stories from backpack trips and canoe trips, and we’ll get together, and we’ll just talk about all these great times we had together, Hawkins said. “In scouting, it’s an experience you can talk about, but you can’t really understand it until you’ve really gone through it with your boy.”
Even if parents think they cannot afford scouting for their son, Hawkins said contact the program anyway.
“We believe so strongly in scouting and what it does for the boys that we have programs where assistance can be provided for Families in need, he said. “It’s not real expensive, but no one should say no to scouting simply because they can’t afford it.”
The annual registration fee is $15 for boys and $15 for adult volunteers.
For more information, call 785-587-1818.
By Calun Reece
1st Inf. Div. Post