Wednesday, March 31, 2010
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2nd annual Boy Scouts of America fundraiser breakfast

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[March 31, 2010]  Tuesday morning marked the second annual fundraiser breakfast for the Crossroads District of the W.D. Boyce Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

The breakfast was held at Lincoln Christian Church and hosted by Brian T. Miller, director of the Crossroads District.

The Crossroads District includes Logan, DeWitt, McLean, Livingston and the northern part of Ford County. Participation in the district includes approximately 3,500 youth and 1,500 adults in 120 Scouting groups.

At the beginning of the meeting, while the guests enjoyed a hearty meal, Miller welcomed Lincoln College as the newest "Charter Partner" in the Scouts. He then introduced Bernie Koch, CEO of River City Construction and also chair of the W.D. Boyce Council Community Friends of Scouting.

Koch took the podium, saying that he is an Eagle Scout from 1976 who has retained much of the knowledge he gained as a Scout.


He said that the Lincoln-Logan County fundraiser breakfast has proven to be a well-supported community event in the Crossroads District. He offered praise to Dolan Dalpoas of Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in leading the charge to raise funds for the district.

Koch said that with the 2010 pledges, each contributor should keep in mind the distance their dollar will go in shaping the lives of future community leaders.

When Koch was finished, Miller took the podium to discuss "Scouting in Action."

Miller said that the Crossroads District has for the past 10 years been a "Centennial Quality District," meaning that over those years the district has grown its membership, achieved financial stability and excelled in Scouting programs.

In 2009 and into 2010 in Logan County, 400 youth have participated in Scouts; 70 percent of the packs, troops and crews earned Quality Unit Awards; and six youth earned the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout, which among other things requires 800 hours of community service to qualify.

He added that in Logan County there are 150 Scouting volunteers who average 21 hours a month of service to the Scouts.

He said that the programs were continuing to grow and that was the point of the morning breakfast. To effectively run the programs relies on some help from the community via donations.

Miller said that to support a Scout requires $195 per year. He asked that each person in the room consider supporting at least one Scout, and if they could afford to do so, to even support two, three or more.

The first guest speaker of the morning, Dr. John Hutchinson, president of Lincoln College, was introduced by Ron Schilling.

When Hutchinson took the podium, he told the story of a young boy born in Haiti who lived a horrible life as a slave. Jean-Robert Cadet was severely abused and beaten by his owners, locked out of his home, and denied food and shelter.

When he was a teenager, his owners moved to America and brought the young man with them, but they soon abandoned him. He was taken in by a teacher at the school he attended.

Cadet's life then took a turn. He graduated from school, went on to be a U.S. Army Ranger, served in the first war of Iraq, got his college degree, became a teacher and finally returned to Haiti to work toward rescuing the hundreds of thousands of children in that country who are forced to live a horrible life similar to the way he grew up.

Hutchinson said that Cadet, now in his 50s, was being interviewed by a prominent news broadcaster who asked if it seemed like a hopeless cause to save one, two or three children when there are an estimated 300,000 enslaved and abused children in that country.

Cadet answered, "Someone made a big difference in my life, someone gave me a chance, someone believed in me, and so saving one is worth it to me."

"The key moral to the story," Hutchinson said, "is that most young people will respond positively if you show how much you believe in them, how much faith you have in them and how much their success means to you."

He went on to say that there are significant challenges that must be addressed, not only by the Scouts but by communities as a whole, in shaping the future of our young people.

He explained that the youth of today need to learn to develop human relationships, face-to-face interactions with each other, rather than time spent on Facebook, Twitter and texting. He said he was not opposed to these forums but thought there should be times when they are turned off and kids are taught to interact with each other on a personal level.

Along with that, he said that guidance needed to be given on civil discourse, being not so much concerned with differences of opinion as with the venom of the rhetoric. Hutchinson said that when discourse becomes uncivil, with name-calling and violent rhetoric, it destroys the kind of talk and deliberations that are needed in democracy.

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Thirdly, Hutchinson said that it was important to develop opportunities for leadership training. "A sense of service, a sense of stewardship is most important," he said. "We need to take the 'I' out of the equation and replace it with 'we.' And, that leadership can never be for personal gain, but for the betterment of the organization, the advancement of a cause or the empowerment of the people."

Civic engagement is the fourth challenge. Hutchinson said that the youth of today must be connected with the civic world in which they live.

Hutchinson noted that all four of these challenges can be met with the programs offered through the Boy Scouts of America.

He encouraged everyone in the room to do what they could to support the Boy Scouts.

The final speaker of the day, Mayor Keith Snyder, was introduced by Pastor Ron Otto.

When Snyder took the stage, he recalled with lighthearted humor his days as a Scout in Lincoln.


He recounted a day as a child when a tornado struck Lincoln while he was at a Scout meeting. He said that he remembered going to the basement of his den mother's home, and as they took shelter down there, the water started coming in. By the time the storm passed, he said the water was up to their ankles, but even so, he wasn't afraid; it was just another Scouting adventure.

Snyder also recalled going on the Scout Sweep with the troops last summer. As a newly seated mayor, he said he enjoyed the interaction with the kids and got a chuckle out of some of the questions they had for him.

He said: "They wanted to know where the mayor's mansion was. I wanted to know that too; I haven't found it yet. They wanted to know what kind of limo I rode around in, and I told them at the time it was a 1998 green Blazer with 150,000 miles on it."

On a serious note, though, the mayor said that he was very appreciative of the Scouts and the role they had played in his life.

He said as he recalled his days of Scouts, "I was drawn back to the Cub Scout promise: I promise to do my best, to do my duty to God and my country, to be square, and to obey the law of the pack."

He expressed appreciation for "those early days of reinforcing what I heard from my parents, my teachers and what I heard from my Sunday school teachers about my duty that I have to God, my country and my community; so I thank you, Scouts, for what you have poured into my life."

Snyder also thanked the Scouts for the hours and hours of community service by the Scouts in Lincoln and Logan County.

Snyder said there are six things that a young person needs today. There is a need for continual learning, the need for a moral compass, a need to serve others, the need for healthy living, the need for well-built character and finally the need for mentoring. He said that Scouts brought all these things together.

While the gathering may have been smaller than Miller had hoped for, with only about a dozen people attending, those who were there offered some very generous pledges.

Miller said that the goal overall for the Lincoln community is $15,000. The breakfast alone brought in $4,600 in pledges for the Crossroads District.

Miller said that the funds raised would go 100 percent to supporting Scouts, through payment of memberships, purchase of materials and seeing to the needs of Scouts whose parents may not be able to afford the expense involved in membership.

Miller said that some special events are being planned for this, the 100th anniversary year of Scouts, including a huge camping trip in October that is expected to bring in over 5,000 people for a three-day encampment celebration.

Anyone who wishes to support Boy Scouts financially may contact Miller at the Peoria District office by calling 309-673-6136.



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