The Block Island Times

BI Boy Scouts begin

By Eileen Miller | Mar 20, 2012
Photo by: Kari Curtis

Are you ready to become an expert hiker and camper, to explore the natural world, and to meet challenges with good judgment and skill? Are you eager to make the most of yourself and succeed in the best ways possible? Do you want to become a leader and do all you can for your family, your neighborhood, and America?

—Boy Scout Handbook

There’s a new troop of able-bodied boys in town. The B.I. Cub & Boy Scouts, Troop 30, has been busy learning skills that have characterized the Scouts’ 100-year-old tradition all across this country. Since September of this school year, this dedicated and energetic band of seven boys — three from sixth grade, two from the fifth grade, and two from the fourth grade — have begun to learn first aid, knot tying, leadership skills, conflict resolution, archery and fundraising.

Our Block Island Scouts hosted a pancake breakfast over the winter and sold Christmas items in town to fund their off-island trip to Tangy’s Archery Lanes in Warwick. At Tangy’s, they were introduced to the art and skill of archery with a compound bow. The majority of the boys agreed that they would like to pursue archery practice to earn their Archery Merit Badge with weekly on-island practices. Our own master archer (and former Boy Scout), John Fournier, is teaching the Scouts the correct form for shooting their bows. His expertise has helped the boys find the right equipment, understand safety rules, and develop focus and consistency for accuracy.

The boys were thrilled with the outdoor target practice with John under the huge elm trees and awed by the many antler racks lining the side of the house. It was wonderful to see these boys so engaged with this traditional skill and being mentored by a local teacher. It is not easy to earn a Merit Badge and the scouts will be pursuing their Archery Badge for several months before satisfying all the requirements, which include stringing a bow, making arrows, and displaying target shooting proficiency. Thank you, John, for your willingness to instruct our Scouts!

Both Cub and Boy Scouts are eager to earn the Merit Badges that will soon be displayed on their individual sashes that are worn over their khaki scout shirts. (Look for our uniformed Troop marching in the 4th of July Parade!) One Boy Scout recently completed his Theater Merit Badge at Trinity Rep during the February break. During the April break, the Scouts will have the opportunity to choose from mainland Merit Badge programs such as: Oceanography (on a boat in Newport), Soil & Water Conservation, Rock Climbing, Theater, Music and Dog Care. During this Friday’s Troop meeting, Lisa Sprague will begin instruction toward their First Aid Merit Badge.

It has been a pleasure getting our local Troop 30 going on Block Island. We have a Troop Leader, a Merit Badge Counselor, a couple of parent volunteers and several willing instructors. We’ve spoken with many former Island Boy Scouts (and one Eagle Scout) who all shared how important scouting was to them. Most of them have volunteered their time to help with the camping overnights that are planned for this spring and summer, and some will take the scouts fishing this summer. We are planning summer programs for Fishing, Swimming, and Reading Merit Badge achievement. There are so many programs to choose from and the kids can pursue their individual interests (Scuba! Business! Computers!) and have a hand in running their own meetings.

If your boy is interested in joining the Cub Scouts (ages 7 to 10) or Boy Scouts (ages 11 to 17), please come by our weekly meetings, Fridays 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Harbor Baptist Church basement, or call Bernadette McNerney at 486-1743 or Eileen Miller at 466-9725 for info. Thank you to all those that have cheerfully supported this troop with your time and donations at scout fundraisers. We welcome additional parents and volunteers to chaperone island camping overnights and mainland activities. Also, please let us know if you have any old scout equipment such as old bows, teepees and things for camping.

Join us for an April Fool Ice Cream Social, from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, at the Harbor Baptist Church to benefit BI Cub/Boy Scout Troop 30. There will be ice cream sundaes with all the toppings, a joke and magic trick table, volleyball, frisbee and more (weather permitting).

Our Scouts cultivate courage, loyalty, patriotism, brotherliness, self-control, courtesy, kindness to animals, usefulness, cheerfulness, cleanliness, thrift, purity and honor. No one can doubt that with such training added to his native gifts, the American boy will in the near future, as a man, be an efficient leader in the paths of civilization and peace.

—from the Preface to “Handbook for Boys,” 1911

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