Archived Story

United Way helps to fund Boy Scout programs

Published 11:57am Thursday, August 30, 2012

Michael Collins, district executive for the Boy Scouts of America, said the Tukabatchee Area Council’s Scout troops in Coosa and Tallapoosa counties “couldn’t survive” without the help of the Lake Martin Area United Way each year.

“It wouldn’t happen without them,” Collins said. “It’s hard to fund a private organization, especially with the way the economy is.”

Collins said Tallapoosa and Coosa counties have 14 different units that are traditional scouting units.

“That covers Cub Scouts from first grade to fifth grade and Boy Scouts from sixth grade to age 18,” Collins said.

Collins said the area also has two Venturing Crews, which are co-ed groups age 14 to 21 that helps “young people mature and (prepares) them to become responsible and caring adults,” according to the Boy Scouts of America website.

Collins said the area also has several Exploring posts as part of the Boy Scouts’ Learning for Life initiative, in which boys and girls from 14 to 20 years old learn about different vocations.

“In total, we had about 1,000 boys and girls registered for our programs (in the Tukabatchee Area Council) in 2011,” Collins said. “We should have above that this year.”

Collins said the Boy Scouts of America’s programs give back a great deal to the community.

“We have Eagle Scout service projects when scouts are ready to earn their Eagle badge. They have to put together a project for the community – it’s usually 200-300 man hours for homeless shelters or beautification projects for schools or churches,” Collins said. “The biggest one is Scouting for Food when our scouts go door to door and stand in front of Winn Dixie or Walmart to collect canned goods.”

Last year, the Tukabatchee Area Council collected around 10,000 pounds of food during the project, which was given to area food banks.

Collins said continuing the Boy Scouts of America program is extremely important.

“Our job in the scouts is to mold the leaders of tomorrow,” Collins said. “We start at a young age and try to instill a sense of community and citizenship. We teach them the right way to do things and hope when they get older they’ll remember those lessons.”

Collins thanked the United Way for its continued funding.

“It takes a heavy burden off our back,” Collins said.

To learn more about the Boy Scouts of America, call 800-977-2688. To donate or to learn more about the United Way, call 256-329-3600.