ADA — Local Scouts and Scouters will join over 3 million youth and 1 million adult volunteers in celebrating 96 years of service during Scouting Anniversary Week, Feb. 5-11. Locally, and across the nation, scouts will participate in special ceremonies and award presentations designed to highlight the service Scouts and Scouting volunteers provide in their communities.

"I've been associated with the Boy Scouts for 51 years and scoutmaster for 39. I think it's a wonderful organization," said Angus McFarlane, Ada.

Local scouts are a part of the Arbuckle Area Council with the council headquarters located in Ardmore. In 2005 over 2,600 youth were served by the Council. The rank of Eagle Scout was attained by 31 young men and Scouts earned over 1,100 merit badges and rank advancements. Last year over 400 Cub Scouts and family members attended family camp at Camp Simpson and almost 350 Boy Scouts and leaders enjoyed long term camping experiences.

"It's the most worthwhile organization that I've ever participated in," said Jim Cawthon, Ada.

In 2005 Scouts from the Arbuckle Area Council camped not only at Camp Simpson, located 8 miles off of highway 99 between Tishomingo and Ada in Johnston County, but also all over the nation. Local scouts spent 10 days camping and hiking at Philmont Scout Ranch in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico. Others canoed and camped in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area from the Scouts canoe base located in Ely, Minnesota. Local scouts also learned scuba diving at the Florida Sea Base a few miles from Key West, Florida. Still others participated in the 2005 National Jamboree held at Fort. A.P. Hill just outside of Washington, D.C.

This past year the three districts held Cub Scout Day Camps, according to Arbuckle Area Council Scout Executive Bill Nichols. He also said Camp Simpson received the highest rating possible for a Boy Scout Camp and more than 1,400 youth members participated in the Learning for Life Character Education Program

The local council was established in 1945 with the merger of the Chickasaw Council out of Ardmore and the Pontotoc Council out of Ada. Scouting dates back to 1918 in the Ardmore area, 1920 in the Ada area and 1922 in the Paul’s Valley Area. Today the Arbuckle Area Council includes all or parts of 11 south central Oklahoma counties. The Chickasaw District is made up of Carter, Johnston, Love and Marshall Counties and the town of Ringling in Jefferson County. The Harry Miller District is made up of Pontotoc, Coal and Atoka Counties. The Washita District is made up of Garvin and Murray Counties.

“The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is the same today as it was 96 years ago,” said Chief Scout Executive Roy Williams from the BSA National Office just outside of Dallas.

“So many things have changed in our world, but Scouting has remained constant and true to its mission of serving youth and helping them learn to make better decisions throughout their lives,” said Williams.

The Boy Scouts was formed in Great Britain in 1907 by British military hero Lord Robert Baden-Powell. Two years later, William D. Boyce, a Chicago publisher traveling in London, became lost in a fog. A young boy helped him find his way. When Boyce thanked the boy for his aid and offered him a tip, the boy explained that it was his duty as a Scout to help others, and he declined the tip.

Impressed with the boy’s actions, Boyce met with Baden-Powell and laid the groundwork to bring Scouting to the United States. With the help of Scouting legends Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard, and James E. West, the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated on February 8, 1910. Today the mission of the Boy Scouts is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

Nichols invites those who would like to learn more about local scouting to call him at (580) 223-0831 or visit the Arbuckle Area Council Website at www.arbucklebsa.org. For more information about scouting nationally visit the BSA website at www.scouting.org.

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