Sure, scouting offers many activities for youths including camping, hiking, swimming and more — but along with the fun, leadership and other skills are developed which translate to the real world and make it a better place.
“I do think scouting offers so many things that are transferable,” local businessman Chad Tidd said Wednesday afternoon during a kickoff luncheon at Cross Creek Country Club in Mount Airy for an annual Friends of Scouting fundraising campaign locally.
Whether sleeping under the stars or shooting the rapids in a kayak, scouting provides adventures that teach valuable life lessons such as teamwork and perseverance, added Tidd, owner/manager of Chick-fil-A in Mount Airy, one of two special speakers Wednesday.
To him, scouting is more about a sense of adventure than anything else — specifically, leaving one’s comfort zone and engaging in activities that are challenging while also helping a person grow.
“Real-life applications” abound with scouting, said the other speaker on Wednesday’s program, Dr. Travis Reeves. While he is best known as the superintendent of Surry County Schools, Reeves also is an avid outdoorsman and a member of a scouting family, including both he and wife Leslie long serving as leaders in the program.
Too many youths raise themselves, Reeves said of how some immerse themselves in pastimes such as video games.
Scouting is a way to bridge that gap by having “kids being kids” while getting outside, he explained.
Measurable growth results along the way, including through leadership activities that later pay dividends in the business world and other realms, according to Reeves, who cited his son Ridge, 13, as an example.
Ridge is a Boy Scout who applied skills learned through scouting—such as respecting the environment and working with others—to a public service gesture.
“I have organized a community cleanup in our neighborhood,” said his dad, which required planning, developing a safety checklist along with road assignments/maps and relaying instructions to participants in achieving cooperation.
“It looked like he grew three inches,” Reeves said of the impression he had while watching Ridge lead the proceedings en route to a successful campaign in which 54 bags of roadside trash were collected in 2.5 hours.
Tidd said the same applications of scouting skills also have occurred at Chick-fil-A.
“I have employed lots and lots of scouts over the years,” said the owner/manager, who explained that the key traits he looks for in a worker include being hungry, humble and smart. These tend to go hand in hand with values stressed by scouting such as being self-aware, resilient, courteous and trustworthy.
Tidd mentioned Eagle Scout Jeremiah Campbell as one he has employed who embodied such qualities, whom the Chick-fil-A official said possessed a quiet determination along with being personable and self-aware.
“Not only of oneself, but also their surroundings,” he said of such individuals. “Putting others first.”
Though Tidd said he is engaged in a “glorified fast-food” endeavor with Chick-fil-A, such characteristics can be beneficial regardless of one’s chosen field.
The chief goal of Wednesday’s kickoff event involved drawing attention to the need for funding to support programs offered by the local scouting district to ensure a continuation of its work with young people in Surry County. It has weathered a number of financial and other effects during the pandemic.
“When we are investing in the youth in our area, we are investing in our future,” Ann Vaughn, a veteran scout supporter who is chairing the annual fundraising campaign, told those assembled Wednesday afternoon.
“This organization means so much to so many,” said Daron Atkins, chairman of the newly created Seven Rivers District that includes Surry and neighboring counties. It operates under the umbrella of the Old Hickory Council of the BSA (formerly Boy Scouts of America), based in Winston-Salem.
This year’s fundraising goal for the district is $24,500.
“It costs the Old Hickory Council $200 to fund one scout one year,” Vaughn said.
The donation process can include supporting a scout, several of them and maybe a patrol of eight. “Or if the spirit moves you, an entire pack or troop,” Vaughn said of the Cub Scout and Boy Scout groups in the area.
Surry facility praised
Along with opportunities within individual troops or packs, a traditional beneficiary of fundraising efforts is Camp Raven Knob, a 3,200-acre facility in the Lowgap area which at last report provided summer jobs for about 120 staff members,
“We are so fortunate to have it in Surry County,” Atkins said of the camp that offers such activities as swimming, hiking, rappelling, archery, boating/kayaking, nature study, marksmanship and more.
“It is a paradise for scouts,” Dr. Reeves said during his time at the podium. “Leslie and I feel at peace when we’re at Camp Raven Knob and we believe our scouts do, too.”
“The magic of Raven Knob is the people,” said Chris Lawson, another scout leader who spoke Wednesday.
Local citizens and businesses can aid the scouting mission by sending checks payable to the Old Hickory Council, BSA, 6600 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC, 27106.
Atkins said local donations should be designated for programs in Surry County.
Vaughn and Atkins also can be contacted, respectively, via email@example.com (336-374-9990) or firstname.lastname@example.org (336-401-3708).
“The money stays local,” Atkins said.
“It goes to help the youth.”