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Boy Scouts congratulated during banquet

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By Kirsten Laskey

The worldwide Boy Scouts organization turned 100 this year, and the celebrations hit Los Alamos Jan. 26.To acknowledge the organization’s centennial birthday, Graves Hall at the United Church of Los Alamos was decorated with flags and souvenirs from different countries. Additionally, cuisine from around the world was served to Boy Scouts, troop leaders and others during the recognition banquet.Ken Thomas, district chairman, said the night was special because “it’s been 100 years of this world wide youth program.” He added the celebration will continue when the U.S. Boy Scouts turn 100 years old in 2010.The worldwide organization has come a long way in 100 years. There are currently 29 million Boy Scouts in the world and 4 million in the U.S. Locally there are about 700 scouts in Espaola, Los Alamos, Taos, El Rito and White Rock, said Christopher Pearson, district director. “This is just a huge scouting community.” It’s not just about quantity; the scouts also exhibit quality. The local scouts are some of the most excellent, devoted and well trained, Pearson said.The banquet, he said, is an opportunity to say, “ ‘You’re the best; thank you for what you do.’ “About 120 people attended the banquet to give recognition to the scouts.It takes a lot of work to do scouting, Doug O. DeVore, a boy scout volunteer, said. So, “once a year we get together and congratulate what we have done,” he said.During the banquet, several awards were distributed.Troop 22 Senior Patrol Leaders Awards were given to Stephen Reimus, Scott Carlsten, Jaren Herrera, Dacotah Hoger, Ryan Elson and Zak Kennison. Troop 22, the first boy scouts troop in the area, started in 1918. The troop was able to raise some money for a scholarship for the Northern New Mexico district. Recipients of the senior patrol leader awards are eligible to apply for this scholarship once they are Eagles and seniors in high school. Additionally, award-winners received a $100 bond and certificate.After the banquet, Herrera spoke with the Monitor and said he was surprised to receive the award. Herrera has been a part of the boy scouts for 11 years and said he enjoys “getting outside.”Boy Scouts who recently received the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the organization, were also honored. Last year, there were 11 scouts who achieved this rank. Norm Wilson of the Military Orders of World Wars presented the Eagle Scouts with a certificate of recognition. “Congratulations on your award,” he said.Eagle Scouts present at the banquet were Joseph Goodrich and Alex Archer. Archer told the Monitor, “I felt really good because I got a chance to do an Eagle project and help out the community.”Young people were not the only ones to be recognized during the banquet. Several adult volunteers received awards.For instance, Len Scheel, a unit commissioner for Pack 326 and Pack 20, received the Distinguish Unit Commissioner award. Unit Commissioners, Thomas said, work with individual units, offer assistance when needed and coaching.Distinguished Service awards were given to scout volunteers Robert Forsyth, Doug Staley, Thad Hahn, Diana West, Laura Graham and Nancy Holmes.Thomas explained the recipients’ unit nominated them for this award because of their work with the scouts.The District Awards of Merit, the highest award in the district, was given to volunteers Don Taylor and Jim Cobble.“I was a scout back in the 1950s and ‘60s (then I) went to college and didn’t think about it for awhile,” Cobble said to the Monitor. Things changed when his sons joined the organization. “I was having so much fun. I never stopped,” he said. “I’ve had great adult support. I’ve really enjoyed it (and) I’ll probably keep doing it till I physically can’t. It’s such a great group of people.”“It was pretty unexpected,” Taylor told the Monitor. Boy Scouts had a huge impact on him; Taylor said he still values what he learned as a Boy Scout.“I think that what scouting has offered are values that you carry with you throughout your life that you use on a daily basis,” he said. “I was excited (to get this award),” Taylor added. “I’ve been doing since 1994 ee I think it’s a great organization and program for young kids to be involved. They also emphasize leadership ee That’s where they learn all their leadership skills.”“It’s quite an honor,” he added, “and I’ve enjoyed every minute of scouting.”