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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Not for Profit: Boy Scouts of America

June 3, 2007 – The V.I. Council of the Boy Scouts of America is aimed at setting the foundation for more than 700 local youths’ character and self-esteem.
The program challenges young males and females between the ages of seven and 17 through a series of merit activities, both physical and mental.
“We have a well-established strong scouting program here in the Virgin Islands,” Senior District Executive Nathan J. Clark said.
A boy scout himself, Clark came to the Virgin Islands on March 1 from Ohio to assume the St. Thomas-St. John district position.
Just a few of the places on their list of credits is a hiking trip in Philmont, N.M., and Camp Guajataka in Puerto Rico, where the scouts study nature, shoot rifles, learn to become lifeguards and master low-impact camping, Clark said.
“You always have new challenges, like learning how to tie knots and put up a tent,” young Boy Scout Dekwani Norford said.
“It is exciting because you get to do a lot of interesting stuff, like hiking and camping,” scout Fitz St. Rose added.
The organization is based out of 25 local churches and schools, where the scouts meet on a weekly basis to engage in both indoor and outdoor activities. Each program is overseen by the local council, which “facilitates their needs in educating the youths,” Clark said.
Since 1979, a self-motivated Eleanor Hodge has work diligently with the Boy Scouts program. When she realized that her son needed something to channel his extra energy, a teacher recommended the Boy Scouts.
It didn’t take much for the scout master to become a little more involved than other parents in the program. Because the program is family-oriented, it’s not surprising to see both mothers and fathers assisting meetings and outdoor activities.
Hodge began attending all the weekend meetings and trips with her son. One year later, she went to training and became the first female scout leader in the Virgin Islands.
Hodge added, “I entered into a male-dominated world, and they did not want me. But I was determined.”
Seventeen years later, Hodge has helped hundreds of young boys advance from Cub Scouting, which is the first-year Boy Scouts program on to their final year in the program at age 17.
“It is very rewarding for me. I have seen kids who have no self-esteem. They are doing so much better than when they get here,” she said.
Presently, Hodge works with a unit of special-needs children. “I don’t care what disabilities they have. They are all God’s children. I work with the parent and I work with the child by using what they have and trying to maximize it,” she said.
The goals of the National Boys Scouts of America are to enhance character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness, which every council adheres to. Scouts must follow the Boy Scouts’ oath, and laws and must be committed to conserving and respecting their environment, as stated on their website.
Each scout must complete certain requirements to advance between ranks, ranging from indoor written projects to outdoor activities to test their skills.
Recently deceased community figure Samuel B. King is credited with inaugurating the local council here in the Virgin Islands.
Not only did King organize over two hundred local Boy Scouts units, he also worked tirelessly in the renovation of the still-standing structures that house the Boys Scouts offices on St. Thomas and St. Croix. Local Boy Scouts campgrounds are also credited to his efforts.
The Scouts are encouraged to pay weekly dues and organize fund-raisers to fund traveling costs, according to Clark. In the Virgin Islands, the Boy Scouts is sponsored by the United Way, Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament and other independent organizations.
For more information visit www.scouting.org or call Nathan Clark at 774-2752.
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