Build a campfire. Pitch a tent. Sail across a lake. That’s the Boy Scouts of America, which is affiliated with 16 troops in our neighborhood.

“It’s about having fun and building leadership skills,” says Lakewood resident Rick Franco, scoutmaster of Troop 64. “This may be the only time a city kid, especially an inner-city kid, has an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.”

In addition to participating in outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, swimming and fishing, Boy Scouts become involved in community service projects such as “Scouting For Food” and various other philanthropies.

“At this time in a young man’s life, he is coming of age,” Franco says. “He needs as much positive male influence as possible. It means a lot to a young boy to know that he has someone who not only cares about him, but participates in activities with him as well.”

Boy Scouts traditionally fall within the ages of 11-18, with the ultimate goal of earning the rank of Eagle Scout, a prestigious achievement culminating a career of hard work, fun and personal growth, Franco says.

“Scouting teaches teamwork,” says White Buffalo District Chairman Richard Aguire. “It’s different than organized sports. In sports, you’re tagged with a position (for as long as you play), but in Scouts, you’ve got a lot of different positions.

“At one time you’re a leader, and at another time, you’re a helper. You learn to appreciate what being a grunt is.”

Troops hold weekly meetings throughout the school year and offer a variety of activities during the summer, including a week-long summer camp. At summer camp, the boys participate in a wide range of outdoor games and adventures while earning merit badges.

“Exposure to merit badges is one way a young man might be able to figure out what he wants to do for a living,” White Buffalo District administrator Joe Mehan says. “There are 120 merit badges out there.”

A certain number of merit badges are required in order to advance from one rank to the next. Merit badges are offered in a variety of areas ranging from first aid to Indian lore.

“It (Scouting) is a huge learning experience,” says 14-year-old Eagle Scout Dylan Charbeneau, a member of Troop 64. “You learn a lot even though you don’t notice sometimes.”

“It’s really beneficial, and it can apply to everything in life.”

For more information about joining Boy Scouts as a Scout or an adult leader, call Richard Aguire at 214-324-8014.


Dallas Children’s Theater: The Dallas Children’s Theater presents Pecos Bill at El Centro College Theater. Performances are April 4, 11 and 18, at 7:30 p.m., April 5, 12 and 19, at 1:30 p.m. and April 6, 13 and 20, at 1:30 and 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $11 for adults and $9 for children. Special discounts for groups of 10 or more. Call 214-978-0110 for reservations and information.

East Dallas YMCA: The East Dallas YMCA, 6220 Worth, will offer a Parents Night Out/Kids Night In for children ages infant-12 years old on April 18, from 6:30-10:30 p.m. Dinner will be served. Space is limited. Cost is $10 per child, $25 for a family of three children and $35 for a family of four children for YMCA members. Program members pay $12 per child, $35 for a family of three and $45 for a family of four. Reservations and payments must be made by Wednesday, April 16. Call 214-824-8139 for membership information.

The Enchanted Forest: The Enchanted Forest Books for Children, 6333 E. Mockingbird, welcomes Peter Rabbit on April 5 for free shows at 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and noon. Alexandra Day, author/illustrator of “Good Dog, Carl” books will drop by April 8, from 10-11:00 a.m. Day will give a short presentation followed by a book signing. Author/illustrator David McPhail visits April 12, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. McPhail will read from his new book “Edward and the Pirates.” For information, call 214-827-2234.

Library Activities: The Lakewood Branch of the Dallas Public Library, 6121 Worth, and the Skillman/Southwestern Branch, 5707 Skillman, will feature programs for children and teenagers during National Library Week, April 14-19. Call 214-670-1376 (Lakewood) or 214-670-6108 (Skillman).

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