Scouts celebrate organization’s 106th birthday

(Hartsville Messenger) Young boys in 5K through fifth grade affiliated with the Scoutreach program in Hartsville celebrated the 106th birthday of Boy Scouts of America with their families at a Blue and Gold Banquet at Jerusalem Baptist Church on Thursday night.

The youngsters enjoyed an evening of food, fellowship and recognition. Advancement awards were announced with belt loops and pins being awarded for accomplishments. A magic show was presented by Michael Barefoot for everyone’s enjoyment.

No birthday would be complete without cake. The group dined on fried chicken with all the trimmings, including cupcakes for dessert.

“The boys have been working really hard to complete their accomplishments,” said Marquita Gaither, program director for the Scoutreach program in Hartsville.

Attending the banquet were three Cub Scout packs – Tigers, first-graders; Wolfs, second-graders; Bears, third-graders and Webelos and fourth- and fifth-graders and “Learning for Life”, kindergarten.

“We serve four different schools,” Gaither said.

The schools represented are Thornwell School for the Arts, Washington Street Elementary and West Hartsville Elementary and Southside Early Childhood Center. Packs 542, 543 and 544 attended, along with Group 500. These represent about 88 boys.

“I really like Boy Scouts,” said Travis Kelley, a student at West Hartsville Elementary. “I like being recognize and being able to represent my school. Other program I’m in I don’t get noticed by the school.”

Joshua Wingate, a student at Washington Elementary, said “I have fun. I like earning belt loops and pins.” This is his second year in Scouting.

“I like the activities,” said Jarris Lambert, a student at West Hartsville. “I especially like the physical activities, playing games.”

The program is implemented by the Pee Dee Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the TEACH Foundation, which oversees the Comer School Development Program in Hartsville.

The Scoutreach program in Hartsville is funded by the TEACH Foundation in an effort to reach economically challenged and at-risk youth in the community.

A big difference between this outreach program and a traditional program is parent involvement. With the program beginning directly after school, parents aren’t as involved in the Scouting process.