BY KEN LITTLE
Greene County's Scouting program remains strong, but continued support is needed to keep it that way.
That was the message speakers conveyed Tuesday at the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Nolachuckey District annual Friends of Scouting Breakfast, held at the Fellowship Hall of Asbury United Methodist Church.
"We continue to grow, and we continue to do well," said speaker Thomas J. Burleson, a Johnson City businessman and Distinguished Eagle Scout.
"We've got a lot of distractions with young people today and a lot of activities, and that's why we have to keep the program strong," said Burleson, president of Burleson Construction Company in Johnson City.
About 50 community leaders attended the breakfast, many with a long history of support to Scouting.
"Without your financial support and without your personal leadership we could not do it," said Burleson, a retired colonel with 30 years of active and reserve time in the U.S. Army Reserves, who served in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He recounted a meeting of three officers while on duty overseas during Operation Desert Storm.
They did not know one another, he said, but when the men found out they were all Eagle Scouts, confidence in one another's abilities was immediate.
"It prepares you for leadership roles. It prepares you for the future," Burleson said.
RECENT EAGLE SCOUT
Chris Fox, who recently attained the rank of Eagle Scout, shared highlights of his Scouting experiences and how they have positively shaped his life.
Fox, a junior at Chuckey-Doak High School and a member of Troop 94 in Greeneville, called Scouting "the best thing that ever happened to me in my life."
Fox, who aspires to be a forest ranger, said he has had many unique life experiences thanks to Scouting.
"It looked like a bunch of fun, and I was right," he said.
Monthly maintenance that his troop does on a stretch of the Appalachian Trail, along with numerous other Scouting activities during the year, played a central role in Fox's career aspirations.
"The reason I want to be a forest ranger is, I've been out there so much. I'm not staying home and playing video games," he said. "To be able to do that and work on your life's goal is awesome."
Fox said his Scouting experience has helped him develop in many ways.
"It helps with college, it helps with jobs. It shows you are dedicated to get what you want," he said. "If I wasn't in Scouting, I don't know where I would be today."
ACTIVE IN GREENE COUNTY
The Nolichucky District includes Greene, Hawkins and Hancock counties.
There are 42 active units in the district, including about 25 in Greene County, said District Executive Wesley Miller.
"We're very strong in Greene County," Miller said.
In 2012, a total of 1,139 district youths participated in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturing, including 800 in Greene County. More then 330 registered adult volunteer leaders worked with the Scouting program.
Local Scouts gave more than 3,500 hours of volunteer community service in 2012, Miller said.
Tuesday's breakfast was held "to increase awareness of the Scouting program and secure adequate funding," Miller said.
For more information assisting local Boy Scout programs, contact Miller at (423) 914-1510, or by email at (firstname.lastname@example.org)