United Way presents Not leaving a scout behind

Published 5:15 am Saturday, February 5, 2022

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By Dawn Burleigh

(Editor’s Note: This is part 19 of a 22-part series on the partners of United Way of Orange County.)

Boy Scouts of America Three Rivers Council celebrated 100 years in 2019. The Beaumont-based non-profit serves both boys and girls and has been the premiere youth organization in Southeast Texas since the early 1900s.

“Boy Scouts of America was founded in the Southeast Texas area in 1916,” Jeanna Gonzales of Three Rivers Council said.

Troop 1, of Orange, was originally chartered in 1914 by Lutcher Stark, the charter was dropped in 1919.

One of the greatest strengths of the local council is the unique and long-standing collaborative partnerships it has formed with business, industry, community, education, labor, and religious

organizations. These organizations support the Three Rivers Council mission – to build future leaders by combining educational activities and lifelong values with outdoor fun.

Scouting provides programs for young people that build character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship and develops personal fitness. These programs

change lives and build them into productive citizens and strong leaders.

The mission of Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

“Boy Scouts of America was one of the first founding members of United Way,” Gonzales said. “I am not sure if it was one of the first ones locally with United Way of Orange County. We have partnered with the agency for a long time.”

Three Rivers Council has a motto of No Scout Left Behind.

“Sometimes financials can stop a person from being a part of Boy Scouts,” Gonzales said. “United Way helps with the financials so every child can be a part of scouting.”

Funding through the United Way grant also helps pay for a staff member to service the Orange County area with membership, recruitment and scouts related training.

Last year, the organization served 575 scouts from Orange County.

Without the funding from United Way, Three Rivers Council would have to eliminate the financial assistance.

“We want to be able to serve all youths,” Gonzales said. “Eagle Scouts is very important. It is amazing to see the projects of our Eagle Scouts and how it is bettering Orange County.”

Statistics show that Scouting not only positively affects the individual involved in the program but the entire community. Research conducted by Louis Harris & Associates shows that Scouts take better care of the environment (89%); get along with others (88%); always give your best effort (87%); have confidence in yourself (87%); set goals for yourself (87%); care for other people (86%) and treat other people with respect (86%). In addition, Scouts are more likely to assume leadership roles in clubs and school organizations; put the needs of others before themselves; make the most ethical, not necessarily easiest, decisions and value education and the environment.

“It is quite an accomplishment to become an Eagle Scout,” Gonzales said. “Projects they work on are bringing services back and offering improvement throughout the community.”

Boy Scouts of America starts with a Cub Scout program for grades Kindergarten thru 5th Grade.

“It introduces the child to camping and all the cool things scouts do,” Gonzales said. “They learn the values of Scouting.”

At age 11, from 6th Grade thru 8th Grade, Scouts work on ‘ranking up’.

“We have over 120 merit badges,” Gonzales said. “This is where they learn about trades such as welding, cooking, communications and they also learn about citizenship.”

She shared a story of a young man who discovered a passion for cooking because of the skills he learned while working towards his cooking merit badge.

“He is now attending cooking school to be a chef,” Gonzales said. “Merit badges is where the learn things they become passionate about that become their jobs.”

To make a donation to United Way of Orange County, visit https://tinyurl.com/mvb46fy7