Good time to become a Scout

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Scouts annual membership drive is underway.

Scout Executive/CEO for the Seneca Waterways Council, Boy Scouts of America Stephen Hoitt along with Wendy Bailey, a mom, and Cubmaster for Pack 156 in Churchville, discussed what programs are offered through Scouting and their benefits Friday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“About 2,600 kids will join scouting in the month of September, which is a huge month for us,” said Hoitt. “Overall for Scouting in the Seneca Waterways Council, we run four programs: Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts – or what used to be Boy Scouts, now Scouts BSA – Venturing, and Exploring. With that Cub Scouts is the biggest program. That’s available for kids for signups and that’s boys and girls grades K-5 or about age 11. Scouts BSA kicks in at age 11, fifth grade and it goes to about 18. It’s a co-ed experience. Both boys and girls can do it but it’s not a co-ed program. There’s boy troops and girl troops. And then Venturing and Exploring from 14 to 21 years of age. Venturing is an outdoor high adventure program. Exploring is a career development program.”

Nearly 11,000 youth in Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, and Yates participate annually.

“The thing I love about scouting – and I say this to anybody who I’m talking to, even just on the street – it’s an inclusive community,” said Bailey. “It’s a family. It has given my son a place to call home on top of being at home. It’s that sense that he always has people, he has this great moral standing that he can grow up with and it’s not just coming from me, it’s coming from his Den Leader and other leaders in our Pack. It’s just all about being together and learning together.”

All ranks and programs now include girls who have begun working towards Eagle already.

Bailey’s son is active across a number of activities – including sports and music, but she said Scouting is unique. “Scouts has given him an opportunity to go and do archery and learn how to be safe in that. Scouts has given him the opportunity to go camping, which truth be told he probably wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for scouts and it gives him that core group. So it’s generally not a soccer team or his music group that’s coming to his birthday party – which he has one coming up – he’s literally invited everybody in his Den.”

Hoitt said getting involved in Scouting is as easy as calling (585) 244-4210 or going online to SenecaWaterways.org/Welcome. “Once you go on the website, you can punch in your zip code and you can find out about scout units that are of interest to you, whether you want to do Cub Scouting or Scouts, Venturing or Exploring. And I share with families all the time that in, especially larger communities, you may find there’s a Cub Scout Pack that meets at your church, another that might meet at your school or a youth center that you belong to. It gives you some variety. As you can into the older programs scout units take on different personalities. Some do a lot more camping or outdoor high adventure. You get into Venturing, they’re very much themed, you know, scuba diving, canoeing, things like that. So, you know, find a group that’s a right match for your family and hopefully one that works for the good night of the week for you.”

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