Boy Scouts return to Austin

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“Do a good turn daily!”

That is the slogan that all Boy Scouts aspire to live up to. And now, young boys on Chicago’s West Side will have the opportunity to join in the Boy Scout tradition, a tradition that has been around since 1910.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) helped establish the newest troop — Illinois Troop 606, which has around 15 elementary school-aged boys already enrolled — in late September with Scout Leader Rev. Charles Brown.

“Our mission is to incorporate the mission of the Boy Scouts on the West Side,” Ford said. “They have a rich tradition (that we can model) to create better citizens and young people that will be able to move their country and our city in a better direction.

“It’s all about integrity. It’s all about citizenship. It’s all about making a better community. That’s what the Boy Scouts are all about, and that’s what we need on the West Side,” he said.

The troop meets twice a month on Saturdays from 10-11:30 a.m. at the old YMCA on Central near the Green line.

The boys have already had a taste of the Scout’s life. They went on a Scout retreat to Michigan Oct. 10-12, where troop members had a chance to meet other young Scouts from across the country and participate in a weekend of activities.

Scouts in the program are also given an opportunity to enhance their skills in the key areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Ford said. Many of the schools on the West Side are either lacking in these areas or have no programs to offer young boys, he added.

But the greatest contribution the Scouts can make to the area is in the way the program builds character, Brown said.

Brown, who’s been pastor at New Heaven Christian Church the past 15 years, said it’s crucial for young boys to get engaged in a positive way in the community, especially given the negative image of violence the area’s youth often are associated with.

For more information on joining the Boy Scouts or information on how to volunteer, contact Ford’s office at (773) 378-5902.

The sixth annual Whitney M. Young Service Award Dinner, hosted by the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, is planned for Oct. 25 from 6-9 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive.

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