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Boy Scouts get ready to party

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By Special to the Monitor

The Northern New Mexico District of the Boy Scouts will dedicate its annual banquet this year to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts. British army officer, Major General Robert Baden-Powell, who realized the need for boys joining the army to have more exposure to outdoor life, founded scouting in 1907. His strong feeling that boys should be physically and mentally better trained and prepared prompted him to test his ideas with an outdoor camp for about 20 boys of mixed social backgrounds on Browsea Island off Dorset, England.His organizational method, now known as the Patrol System, allowed the boys to organize themselves into small groups with an elected patrol leader. The next year, Baden-Powell, a national hero from the Second Boer War, wrote the principles of scouting in “Scouting for Boys,” which is commonly considered the first version of the “Boy Scout Handbook.” Although based on his earlier military books, Baden-Powell presented military techniques that had developed independence (mainly survival) in non-military form and incorporated innovative educational principles for a personal mental education (the Scout method).Scouting’s main thrust is to teach young boys to be good citizens and leaders. Duty is the byword for its members – duty to God, one’s country and fellow citizens.In fact, it was one such gesture that led to the movement being taken from England to the United States. An American businessman, William D. Boyce was lost in a London fog and was helped by a Boy Scout. After learning about the movement and experiencing for himself how the values were instilled in the boys, Boyce imported Scouting to America in 1910. Founder of the Seton Village and Seton Institute in Santa Fe County Ernest Thompson Seton’s background in outdoor skills and interest in youth made him a logical choice for the position of first Chief Scout of the Boy Scouts of America. Seton’s many volumes of scout craft became an integral part of Scouting as he turned an idea into reality.The movement employs the Scout method, a program of informal education with an emphasis on practical outdoor activities including camping, woodcraft, aquatics, hiking, backpacking and sports. Another widely recognized characteristic is use of a Scout uniform and neckerchief that by intent make for equality.The simple Scout’s Oath – “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight” – is supplemented by the Scout Law – “A Scout is trustworthy, obedient, loyal, cheerful, helpful, thrifty, friendly, brave, courteous, clean, kind, reverent.” Each Scouting unit is sponsored by an adult organization such as a civic club or church group that chooses adult leaders.Today, the worldwide Scouting movement numbers in the tens of millions and the Scout Slogan – “Do a Good Turn Daily” – helps make the world a better place. Will Rogers probably had it right when he said, “The only problem with the Boy Scouts is there aren’t enough of them.”The Banquet of the Northern New Mexico District, which encompasses Los Alamos, White Rock, Espaola and Taos, will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Graves Hall in the United Church of Los Alamos. All those currently or formerly interested in Scouting are invited to come and enjoy the international menu, view the displays, meet the area’s new professional scouter, applaud the awards, honor 2007’s Eagle Scouts and join in a convivial Scouting atmosphere. Please reserve tickets at $10 from Ken Thomas by calling 672-3354, or e-mail: kksbthomas@earthlink.net or call Sandy Jennings at 662-3291) as soon as possible.