For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been enriching the lives of the nation's young men. And this year, the Girl Scouts celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Just how do organizations such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, along with others, enrich children's lives?
The scouting organizations, as well as others such as 4-H clubs, little leagues and YMCA programs, play a major role in developing the lives of young people by providing programs that help shape their character, physical and mental well being.
Photo by Art Limann
Moundsville Cub Scout Bear Den Leader Melody Wyatt works with her son Austin, 8, on his Pinewood Derby car. The Pinewood Derby is just one annual event that requires young boys to do craft work, to make their car, and promotes sportsmanship.
These organizations provide structure, training and adult role models. They assist school teachers by providing instruction in a large variety of subject matter, much of which is not addressed in the normal classroom setting - outdoor education, for example. In addition, they teach sportsmanship, morality, leadership skills, and patriotism.
According to Melissa Reinbold, district executive for the Mountaineer District of the local Ohio River Council of Boy Scouts, Boy Scouts is one of the nation's largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains boys in the responsibilities of citizenship, and develops personal fitness.
Boy Scouts has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun. She stressed the Boy Scouts of America believes that helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society.
Q: How do organizations such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts enrich children's lives?
A: By teaching them to respect themselves and others, along with the environment. These organizations provide structure, training and adult role models to children - some of whom might not otherwise be exposed to such things.
The highest rank a scout can earn is Eagle Scout. It takes years of dedication and hard work to attain the rank, and many who have earned the honor have gone on to successful careers.
The mission of Girl Scouts is to "build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place."
"In Girl Scouts, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Through a myriad of enriching experiences, such as extraordinary field trips, sports skill-building clinics, community service projects, cultural exchanges, and environmental stewardships, girls grow courageous and strong.
"Girl Scouting helps girls develop their full individual potential; relate to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect; develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision-making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills, and cooperation with others."
Morgan Robinson, spokesperson for the local Black Diamond Council of Girl Scouts, said, "The Girl Scouts really tries to stick to its mission. We do it through all our activities like the cookie sales, camping and individual badge earning. We set goals for girls that help them work as a team and as individuals, to help prepare them to be successful leaders and adults in their communities."
4-H is the nation's largest youth development organization with more than 6 million youth involved.
4-H youth come from urban neighborhoods, suburban schoolyards and rural farming communities and they "stand out among their peers: building revolutionary opportunities and implementing community-wide change at an early age."
In addition, "the 4-H movement supports young people from elementary school through high school with programs designed to shape future leaders and innovators. Fueled by research-driven programming, 4-H'ers engage in hands-on learning activities in the areas of science, citizenship and healthy living."
Marshall County 4-H Extension Agent Alice Dolu said the four H's stand for "Head, Heart, Hands and Health." The organization has a program called Clover Buds for children 5 through 8 years old and the regular 4-H program for young people 9 to 21.
"In the area of head, 4-H teaches skills and knowledge, how to think for yourself, and solve problems," Dolu said. "In the area of heart, 4-H teaches self-esteem and principles of character. Hands deals with fostering youth development in areas of citizenship and service to others. Health is an area we are really stressing now, to live a healthy lifestyle."