United Way benefits Boy Scouts
United Way of Jefferson County began its 2006-07 campaign Oct. 23, with mailings encouraging local residents and businesses to donate.
The local United Way has set a goal of raising $23,000 this year to help 13 different agencies and groups in Jefferson County, which provide vital services not provided elsewhere in the community.
This year's agencies include American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Central Oregon Council On Aging, Central Oregon Battering and Rape Alliance, Children's Learning Center, Early Intervention and Building Blocks Preschool, Mountain View Hospice, Jefferson County Food Bank, Jefferson County Meals on Wheels, Jefferson County Ministerial Association, Western Rivers Girl Scout Council, Pregnancy Resource Center, and Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Since the United Way campaign is a volunteer effort, 93 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to the designated agencies.
Donation checks can be mailed to United Way of Jefferson County, P.O. Box 142, Madras, OR 97741. For more information, call Floyd Courtain at 475-2783.
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the local groups receiving funds from United Way.
Boy Scout Troop 58, sponsored by the Madras Elks Lodge, meets Tuesday evenings at the lodge from 7 to 8 p.m. Geared toward boys ages 11 to 18, the local group currently has 10 scouts and five to six adult helpers.
The scouting program trains youth in good citizenship, character, fitness, and leadership development. It also teaches moral values, and principals of American social, economical and governmental systems.
Scout master Rick Gerhardt said troop members do a lot of camping and outdoor activities, including attending a one-week summer camp, two or more all-district campouts, and other Boy Scout camps in the Northwest.
Snow camp is another option, Gerhardt noted. "We do a `Freezeree' campout in January in the Three Creeks area out of Sisters, and do a hike or campout with just our troop every other month," he said.
Merit badges and advancements in rank are earned by scouts who study about and develop skills in chosen areas. To earn the top rank of Eagle Scout, members must design and complete a large-scale project which benefits the community.
Sophomore Nathan Gerhardt is working on an eagle project to improve the trail and install interpretive signs at the Pelton Park overlook.
Boy Scout district representative Rick Krause, of Madras, said Troop 58 is in the process of trying to get a Cub Scout program going again.
Cub Scouts is for boys in first to fifth grade, who meet once a week to do activities with their den leader.
"They learn about the environment, how to build things," Krause said, mentioning the annual Pinewood Derby in which a boy builds a model car with the help of a parent and races it against cars built by other Cub Scouts.
They also explore the community around them by taking field trips to a museum, the airport, and other places of interest. While Cub Scouts don't go on overnight campouts, there is a day-camp for them in the summer.
Krause said scouting encourages parent involvement, "It's a great way to spend an hour with your kid where there are activities to do."