Good Scout Award: Annual dinner honors Sheriff

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 10, 2018

Members of the Pearl River County Friends of Scouting recognized Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison at the Annual Good Scout award dinner Thursday evening.

Zach Ross, field director of the Pine Burr Area Council said the gala is held annually to raise funds for the scouting program and to honor a member of the community who is not only a supporter of Boy Scouts but has regularly worked make the community a better place.

The Pine Burr Area Council is chartered by the National Council of Boy Scouts of America to support programs in 17 counties in South Mississippi.

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The goal this year was to raise $457,000 in all 17 counties; the goal within Pearl River County was to raise $30,000, Ross said.

The last several years, the dinner was the group’s main fundraiser Pearl River County, contributing 45 percent to the annual budget.

Scout Executive Casey Norwood said children usually begin their journey in the program with Cub Scouts, a family-oriented program for boys in first through fifth grade. Sixth through 12th graders can enroll in Boy Scouts.

Venturing is another Scouts program offered to boys and girls aged 14 through 20, Norwood said.

According to a release from the Council, Boy Scouts also has a career education and job skills program called Exploring. It is available to boys and girls aged 14 through 20.

The STEM scouts program will help third through 12th grade girls and boys learn about science, technology, engineering and math through fun activities and field trips.

Ross said besides being fun, the programs help develop a young person’s leadership abilities, character and teach them the values of true citizenship.

Ross said fundraising efforts support local Boy Scouts programs and each year Friends organizes several events to raise funds that further develop the program.

He said besides the annual dinner, the program organizes annual golf tournaments in Gulfport and Hattiesburg, a clay target tournament and a popcorn fundraiser.

Ross said funds are used to help support youth whose families cannot afford enrollment expenses. He said the funds also subsidize the cost of handbooks and uniforms up to 100 percent and also reduce the cost of summer camps by about 50 percent.

Eagle Scout Collin Crosby shared his story about being a Boy Scout at the event. He said he started when he was 6-years-old, and continued until he received the highest honor of Eagle Scout.

Crosby said it was challenging and equally rewarding.

He said Scouts should strive to do at least one good thing every day.

Norwood said that starting this year girls will be allowed to join the Cub Scout program and beginning 2019 the plan is to start girl only troop.

“They are the future and our youth is the future and we will offer them the same value system we have been offering for 108 years,” Norwood said.

At the end of dinner, Pearl River County was able to raise $28,500, only $1,500 short of the goal.