“We do the best job of any youth-led program in teaching character, values and leadership,” he says. “Boys lead their peers. When they make mistakes, they learn and go on because we allow them to do so.”
Since it was founded in 1910, Boy Scouts has had thousands of male and female members. Amazingly, the annual fee to join Boy Scouts has not risen with the cost of inflation. It is $15, plus the cost of a uniform.
“Scouting is an affordable way to teach values to kids,” says Fenoglio.
Fenoglio has been involved with the Boy Scout program for 22 years, first as a Cub Scout in Clinton, west of Indianapolis, and then as a Boy Scout. He later earned his Eagle Scout badge.
Today, he and his staff of 20 oversee 8,000 Scouts organized into 307 troops in 11 counties in northeast Indiana. The troops are managed by 2,800 volunteers.
“I couldn't do it without the volunteers,” says Fenoglio.
In July, 72 Scouts from northeast Indiana and eight volunteers will travel to Washington, D.C., to celebrate the International Boy Scout Jamboree at the organization's permanent site in West Virginia. More than 40,000 Scouts from all over the world are expected to attend this year's jamboree.
Locally, Boy Scouts plans to provide the opportunity for past and present Scouts, volunteers and the general public to participate in the national celebration by renting a large screen to broadcast the webcast of the D.C. event. Details will be posted at www.awac.org. Area troops will also conduct projects throughout the summer to commemorate the history of Scouting.
Although participation in Boy Scouts ends when a boy turns 18, other types of Scouting troops are available for older youth, including young women. Explorer posts are co-ed and provide education about careers in aviation for youth ages 14-20. Sea Scouts, an Albion-based troop focused on learning about sailing, is also co-ed for the same age group.
While moral values are emphasized, Boy Scouts are also given the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities such as rappelling, climbing, sailing, shooting shotguns, caving, whitewater rafting and hiking.
“Scouting is fun with a purpose,” says Fenoglio. “It opens doors for some kids to do things they have never experienced. The fun things they'll do and the friends they'll make will last forever.”
Scouts' thoughtsFormer and current Boy Scouts had this to say about their experiences in the organization:
♦Jim Huffman of Fort Wayne
A former Eagle Scout, 20-year Boy Scout volunteer and current Troop 43 committee member at Brookside Church in the Anthony Wayne Area Council.
“As a youth, I learned many lifetime skills and leadership practices that carry forward today. Many adults contributed their time and effort to positively shape my life. Now it is my turn to be the ‘rock in the stream' and give back to the youth. I have a strong passion to help today's youth become independent servant leaders and contribute to their community. I want to make a difference.”
“Scouting is a ‘learning for life' program. I have seen the difference the Scouting program has made, not only to the youth but their family as well.
“My wife, Julie, serves as a trained Venture Scout leader. Our daughter, Willow, plans to be involved in the Boy Scouts Venture program (another name for Explorer programs) when she is of age.
“The ultimate payback as an adult volunteer is when a kid comes back as an adult and lets you know how Scouting positively impacted his or her life. If you have a youth of Scouting age, I strongly recommend getting him or her involved.”
♦Cole Huffman, Jim's son, age 18
Eagle Scout of Boy Scout Troop 43 at Brookside Church; assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 43 at Brookside Church; various other jobs, including assistant senior patrol leader, troop guide, senior patrol leader and chaplains aid.
“I became involved with the Boy Scouts as a Cub Scout when I was in the third grade. I wanted to wear the uniform, give the Scout salute, partake in fun activities and learn how to use a pocketknife.
“I was encouraged to be active in the Boy Scouts by the adult leaders, my family and some of the older Scouts in my troop. Over the years, I learned how as a leader to deal with people I did not know. I utilized the gifts and talents of strangers and members of my troop.
“Today, I attempt to give back to my troop by helping the younger boys learn how to become future leaders and citizens of the United States. I believe it is a chance to pay back those leaders and older Scouts who were there for me … along the Scouting Trail.
“Being a Scout has taught me to be a leader, voice my opinions and love my country. Although the BSA is not a military organization, it is a patriotic one. Whenever the United States has needed help, there were the Boy Scouts. I hope to make my place in history as a man of good moral character.”
♦Grant Huffman, Jim's son, age 14
Current senior patrol leader, Troop 43, Brookside Church; 10-year Scouting member; hopes to achieve Eagle rank in 2010.
“I become involved with Cub Scouts after my brother joined. I found Scouting to be really cool and, since then, I've been involved in a lot of flag ceremonies, service projects and leadership building.
“Scouting is one of my favorite activities, and I met some of my best friends in Scouts. I have been able to attend both national and international Scouting events. When I look back since I was in Boy Scouts, it has played an important part in my life and has impacted me greatly.”
♦Jeff Leman of Bluffton
A former Boy Scout, 20-year volunteer leader for Boy Scouts and currently Scoutmaster of Troop 140 in Bluffton. His youngest son is working on his Eagle Scout badge; his three oldest sons already have achieved theirs.
“When boys come into Boy Scouts, they are nervous and unskilled … By the time they leave as 18-year-olds, they are men prepared for college, the military or some other profession. The best part of being a Scout leader is watching that transformation and knowing you had a part.”