Scouting celebrates 106th anniversary

On February 8, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) celebrate its 106-year anniversary. After incorporation by Chicago businessman and publisher, William D. Boyce, a group of public-spirited citizens worked to set up the organization we know today. The BSA is one of the largest youth organizations with more than 2.4 million youth members and nearly one million adult volunteers.

Hartsville schools have more than 115 boys involved in the BSA Scoutreach program locally. Scoutreach provides special emphasis to urban and rural scouting programs and is implemented as an on-site after-school program. Funding for Scoutreach is underwritten by Sonoco Products Company. The program is administered by the Pee Dee Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the TEACH Foundation, which oversees the Comer School Development Program (SDP) in four Hartsville elementary schools where the packs reside.

The purpose of the Scoutreach program in Hartsville is to support the Comer SDP precepts of child development which align with the BSA goals to build character in young boys and young adults, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.

Since the program was implemented in 2011, a total of 358 young boys at Washington Street, West Hartsville, Southside Early Childhood Center and Thornwell School for the Arts have enjoyed educational activities and been taught lifelong values combined with fun.

In the 2015-16 school year, the program boasts 115 young boys comprising BSA troops 500, 542, 543 and 544. Each school focuses on a difference grade level. There are Tiger Cubs from the first grade and Wolves from the second grade at Washington Street. The third grade Bear Cubs are at Thornwell and the fourth grade Webelos are at West Hartsville. Although Southside students are too young to be Tiger Cubs, they participate in BSA Learning for Life which promotes the came BSA values. Read more about Scoutreach.

Scoutreach is one of the many ways Partners For Unparalleled Local Scholastic Excellence (PULSE) is preparing our children for the future.  

Mentors and mentees celebrate a successful year

May 2015

Mentors, mentees and family members joined together to celebrate the end of a successful year for the PULSE mentor program. The event was held at the Hartsville skating rink at the end of May. Darlington County School District PULSE facilitator, Justin Dunham, began the evening by recognizing mentors for their dedication and commitment to the students. He told a short story about each mentor noting that many including Jada Gore, James Hudson, Natalie Zeigler and Blair Bryan had been involved with the program since its inception in 2012. Mentor school coordinators, Raven Legette, Thornwell School for the Arts; Anita Brown, Southside Early Childhood Center; Jarriel Jacobs, Washington Street; and Pierre Brown, West Hartsville presented each volunteer with a PULSE mentor t-shirt and gift bag.

Dunham thanked parents for allowing their children to participate in this special program, and shared a personal account of what mentoring has meant to him. He introduced one of his own mentees and showed how the two of them share a secret handshake. “This is something just between us. We do this handshake every time we get together,” he explained.

Mentors stood proudly beside their mentees as Dunham called each student by name and presented them with completion certificates. In addition, students got to select a gift from a table of puzzles, games and books chosen to encourage summer learning.

Following the awards ceremony and a quick meal, the students hit the rink and enjoyed skating for the remainder of the evening.

Scouts recognized for achievements

2014-15 year-end Scoutreach banquet draws crowd

Family and friends celebrated the 3rd annual Scoutreach year-end banquet on Thursday, May 7, at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Hartsville. A total of 31 scouts representing Southside Early Childhood Center (Pack 500), Washington Street Elementary (Pack 542), Thornwell School for the Arts (Pack 543), and West Hartsville Elementary (Pack 544) were recognized for their achievements during the 2014-15 school year.

Scoutreach is a program of the Boy Scouts of America, which is based on values, learning by doing and interacting with fun and positive role models. All scouts received a certificate of accomplishment for completing the year. Southside 4K and 5K students participate in the Scoutreach Learning for Life Program, which teaches the same values as the Cub Scout program for older boys. Den leaders, Jarwon Lucas and Chyrstal Taylor presented the Student of the Year award to Brayden Little. Maleek McCall received the Most Achieved award.

The Washington Street Cub Scout program presented the Scout of the Year award to Zechariah Brown. Dereon Rufus and Jeremiah James tied for the Most Achieved award.

Thornwell School for the Arts recognized Toney Cotton as the Scout of the Year. Logan Dilley and Sam Johnson tied for Most Achieved.

Showing school pride, West Hartsville had the most scouts in attendance. Den leader, Jaron Sanders proudly recognized each member of Pack 544. Fourth grader Timothy Webb was recognized for completing all the Webelos handbook pin requirements. Fifth grader Ken Dix was awarded the Past Scout of the Month award because he always remembered to wear his uniform on scout day.

“Scout Nathan Tolson is highly respectful and always represents scouts well. He also befriends everyone, he isn’t afraid to mingle and have fun,” says Sanders.

The banquet also served as a graduation for older scouts. “Scouts Johnny Flores-Perez and Reginald Cabbagestalk are leaving West Hartsville to go on to Hartsville Middle School, but have truly left a lasting impression and example for the all the rising fourth grade scouts. Clifton Davis and Robert Scott are also heading on to the middle school. They are truly the kind of scout every leader needs. They follow directions, always use their manners and are highly family oriented. They also encourage other scouts to do their best and not be afraid to try,” says Sanders.

After the ceremony the scouts played games and enjoyed the bounce house.

Scoutreach packs go horseback riding

Boys earn belt loop for endeavors

October was an exciting month for Scoutreach pack members. The four packs from the Comer schools each spent a day at Tally Ho Equestrian Center in Timmonsville, SC. They included:

  • Pack 542- Washington Street Elementary
  • Pack 543- Thornwell School for the Arts
  • Pack 544- West Hartsville Elementary
  • Learning for Life Group 500- Southside Early Childhood Center

The children learned many new skills that align with the Comer developmental pathways. They used the physical and cognitive pathways when receiving instructions how to ride. They used the ethical pathway as they learned several ways to care for a horse before, during and after riding. They exercised the social pathway, sharing an adventure with their friends, adult leaders and riding instructors. They also used the language and cognitive pathways, learning safety rules and hand signals to communicate with the horses. Some scouts were brave enough to ride without a lead.

Scouts that participated earned belt loops for horseback riding, presented at the November Scoutreach banquet.


Scoutreach banquet draws families

Capacity crowd celebrates scouting milestones

More than 200 scouts, their families and den leaders attended a banquet at St. Luke Methodist Church on Nov. 20. Four Scoutreach packs from the Comer schools in Hartsville celebrated recent successes and gave the children progress belt loops.

Belt loops are awarded to scouts after completion of the three belt loop requirements in an academic subject or sport. Academic belt loops are gold, and sports belt loops are silver, except for the archery and BB-gun shooting belt loops, which are brass colored. Belt loops are worn on the Cub Scout belt. 

At the banquet, the scouts earned Reading and Writing belt loops after a recent trip to the library. To see the list of all requirements need to earn this achievement, use this link.

Scouts who attended the horseback adventure also earned the Horseback Riding belt loop. To see the list of requirements for this achievement, use this link.

In attendance were scouts from Pack 544 at West Hartsville, Pack 542 from Washington Street and Pack 543 from Thornwell. Southside students belong to Learning for Life Group 500.

There was a catered dinner, a slide show showing the activities since the beginning of the school year, a short program and then recognition of the scouts. Family members enjoyed good conversation and lots of laughs.

Full employment in kindergarten classroom

Southside teachers embrace development model

Full employment promotes classroom community and student development

By Cynthia R. Savo and Catherine Romaine Henderson

(Editor's note: One of the challenges of implementing the Comer School Development Process (SDP) is learning how to apply the principles of child development to school and classroom practices and parenting.

The Comer SDP faculty provides professional development that teaches educators and parents how to integrate child development knowledge and principles into classroom practice and parenting. Rather than prescribing how educators and parents successfully integrate development and learning, the Comer SDP encourages participants to work together using creativity to identify possible solutions that make sense in a local context.

This article appears in the Feb. 2014 issued of The Hartsville Comer Connection, and highlights best practices of applied pathway knowledge and developmentally supportive practices in Hartsville's Comer classrooms.)


The idea for full employment in the classroom was an outcome of Comer 102 professional development. That training included a session called, A Day in the Life of a Developmentally Supportive Classroom. Core teams from each of the schools looked at every activity that takes place inside and outside a classroom during a typical school day—taking attendance, passing in homework, working in centers, greeting visitors, recess, lunch in the cafeteria, assemblies, using the restroom and more. (Download the chart outlining daily activities listed starting with a child entering a classroom, their departure at the end of the school day and everything in between.) One question guided the discussions: How could each activity support children’s development along the six pathways?

Nancy Williamson and Lana Faile’s 5K classroom at Southside

At Southside Early Childhood Center, kindergarten teacher Nancy Williamson and assistant Lana Faile developed a list of 24 jobs based on the previous workshop's discussion about classroom activities. With one for each child, the jobs included energy conservationist, concierge, domestic engineers, computer tech, a meteorologist, meal time coordinator, equipment handler, guest relations assistant, and others. Each child would have a job with specific duties for a week. Then they would rotate so by the end of the year, each child would have performed every job on the list. Part of the responsibility includes wearing a colorful laminated badge with the job title.

The excitement about the jobs is palpable in the classroom. Visitors are treated to presentations, where the children identify their jobs and duties. For example, the meteorologist explains that his job is to look out the window every morning and give a weather report to the class. The computer tech is responsible for turning on classroom computers each morning and turning them off at the end of the day. The meal time coordinator counts how many lunches are needed and reports the total to the cafeteria manager.

Mrs. Williamson says the children take their jobs seriously. “They wear their badges proudly around school,” she says. In the rare case when someone is fired for not performing job duties appropriately, they try to do better next time.

“The most coveted job is the kindergarten cop,” says Mrs. Williamson. Other favorites include domestic engineers who keep the tables clean, and the energy conservationist, who turns the lights on and off.

Classroom jobs support children’s development

The brilliance of the classroom job strategy is apparent. Children are developing along the social and ethical pathways, learning how to get along in a community, and understanding that every job supports the classroom in some way. The language pathway is also a focus, as children are learning words like meteorology, conservation, and concierge. They are also learning about self-esteem, worth and confidence, characteristics of the psychological pathway.

In January, during a visit to Hartsville, Dr. James P. Comer spent time in Mrs. Williamson and Mrs. Faile’s 5K classroom. The children were visibly excited to meet Dr. Comer and eager to explain their jobs and responsibilities to him. He confirmed that a job for every child provides a concrete way to contribute to classroom community, and creates a feeling of belonging and cohesion. It also supports brain development.

“Executive functioning must be developed, and you begin to develop it in early childhood,” Dr. Comer explains. “Providing children with jobs helps them gain executive functioning capacity. Kids from mainstream families get it because their parents have jobs and requirements that lead to and promote executive functioning. For kids whose families are not part of the economic mainstream, it's even more important.

“Executive functioning—the ability to plan, organize, and carry out tasks—may be as important, and perhaps more important, than academic achievement,” Dr. Comer says. “That’s what our children need to be successful in school, at work, and in life.”

Southside Mother/Son dance

January 2014

Smiling faces and happy families celebrated family at Southside's Mother/Son dance in January. Dr. James P. Comer was in Hartsville for the event and stopped by, sharing his thoughts on the importance of families and relationships with the school and community.