VOL. 125 | NO. 208 | Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Boy Scout Bash
MICHAEL WADDELL | Special to The Daily News
Thomas Putnam, 8, of Pack 4041 in Indianola, Miss., crosses a monkey bridge at ScoutBase 2010 in Tunica on Saturday. Nearly 8,000 participants attended the three-day scouting event at the Paul J. Battle Arena and Tunica Exposition Center. (Photos: Lance Murphey)
Thousands of Boy Scouts, parents, leaders and guests from the tri-state area descended on the Paul Battle Jr. Arena and the Tunica Exposition Center in Tunica over the weekend to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouting.
ScoutBase 2010 was a three-day extravaganza organized by the Chickasaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America, a group that includes many local business leaders as its members. A total of 8,000 attended the event, including more than 750 volunteers.
Jason Hood, Chickasaw Council president and executive vice president and chief legal officer at Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., sees Scouting as an integral part of building a more conscientious, responsible and productive community.
“The great thing about Scouting is that people who are involved say it has a lifetime impact on their values,” said Hood, 45, who is also an Eagle Scout and Cubmaster. “ScoutBase provides practical leadership experiences for kids at all age levels.”
ScoutBase chairman and Chickasaw Council vice president Andy Wilson, 53, has been involved with the Scouts since age 7. He said the purpose of Scouting is to prepare boys for important leadership roles in their communities.
Xavier Lingham, 7, of Pack 367 in Germantown scales a rock climbing wall at ScoutBase. Scouts ranging from ages 6 to 21 participated in more than 280 activities during the event.
“The leaders of today are mentoring the leaders of tomorrow,” said Wilson, who works for Wilson & Turner Investigative Consultants. “We each had mentors that helped teach us responsible values, and we are now paying those lessons forward to hundreds and hundreds of young people.”
The Chickasaw Council of the BSA, which was chartered in 1916, is the largest youth service organization in the 17-county tri-state area with an estimated 15,000 youth members.
America’s first Scout camp was started in 1910 in Silver Bay, N.Y. The Boy Scouting program was developed by Robert Baden-Powell based on ideas from Ernest Thompson Seton’s Woodcraft Indians manual.
The goal of the Boy Scouts is to teach youngsters how to become responsible citizens, assist in character development and acquire self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities and educational programs.
ScoutBase is held every two years, and this year marks its third consecutive time in Tunica. The event is the second largest of its kind behind the Boy Scouts National Jamboree, which was held in July in Fort A.P. Hill, Va.
This year’s ScoutBase featured a historical exhibit showing attendees what the first Scout camp looked like and what items Scouts of 100 years ago carried with them on outdoor treks.
The festivities kicked off Friday afternoon and continued through noon on Sunday. Scouts of all ages were able to camp outside the arena for the duration of the weekend.
More than 280 activities were spread out over 328 acres surrounding the arena and expo center.
Boy Scout Matthew Hammond, 11, was one of the thousands of Scouts that thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.
“I love this place. It is so much fun,” said Hammond, who is a member of Troop 457. “I’ve had a great time working on earning my merit badges and hanging out with friends.”
Boy scouts hang out at their campsite at ScoutBase.
Hammond hopes to work his way into being a leader of his troop in the next few years on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout.
Inside the arena, kids were able to try out a rock climbing wall and build rope bridges, and they got the chance to take in stage shows highlighting the 100-year history of the Scouts.
Merit Badge Midway proved to be one of the busier areas, as scouts had the chance to select from as many as 50 different merit badges ranging from First Aid, Environmental Science, Railroading, Golf, Aviation, Electronics and more. Scouts earned an estimated 805 badges during the weekend.
Participants could sample an eclectic variety of activities including mountain biking, archery, bouldering, skeet and BB shooting, tomahawk throwing, swimming, arts and crafts, and even an Iron Chef style cook off.
Two small bodies of water near the arena gave Scouts the opportunity to sharpen their fly-fishing, kayaking and canoeing skills. Unfortunately, high winds kept three hot air balloons grounded for the weekend.
On Saturday, more than 400 riders with The Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club of Memphis led a salute to fallen military veterans. An aerial flyover capped the salute.
Across the street from the arena, the Tunica Museum opened its doors to showcase an assortment of artifacts spanning the 100 years of Boy Scouting.
Offsite activities included tours of various airplanes at the nearby Tunica Airport as well as excursions through the wildlife and flora of the Tunica River Park near the Mississippi River.