Members of Boy Scout Troop 411 recounted their experiences being in the Scouts this week, sharing stories of triumph and personal development.
Jami Parker, Eagle Scout advancement coordinator and former Troop 411 parent, recounted how the troop, as a member of the Mawat District of Scouts, is a very active one. She explained that in addition to the fishing, camping and boating, the troop has traveled to the Pentagon, presented flag ceremonies and completed countless service projects.
“I’m choosing to stay involved because I want to see the other young men reach their Eagle Scout,” Parker said. “It teaches them to be independent. It teaches them about maturity.”
Joshua Perry, 16, recently became an Eagle Scout, the highest rank within the Boy Scouts of America. For his required service project where he built a 30-foot walk bridge in Chapel Hill.
“There’s a lot of stuff you have to be responsible for as a project leader,” he said.
Explaing the “Boy Scout Law,” Joshua said, “It’s a law to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent,” he said. “Most kids here live by the Boy Scout Law every day.”
Joseph Perry, 14, looks up to older brother Joshua as he follows in his footsteps.
“It’s helping us become men,” he said.
Anthony Perry, assistant scoutmaster of Troop 411, says that his sons have benefited tremendously from being the group and describes what Joshua has done for the group and what the group has done for the community.
“A lot of boys think about quitting because of things going on on the outside, but Joshua has stepped in and encouraged them and reminded them to stay focused,” he said.
Since its inception just eight years ago, Troop 411 has gained recognition from the 18 other troops in the Mawat district.
“Other smaller troops want to get bigger and see how we are progressing,” said Montgomery Hemsley, 15-year-old senior patrol leader of Troop 411. “We have at least one scout in all of the Durham public schools.
“The mayor and governor know our names.”
Each troop is linked to a church, Hemsley said, and Troop 411’s is Union Baptist Church, though weekly meetings are held at the Global Scholars Academy across the street.
Jeffry Ellis, assistant scoutmaster of Troop 411 and parent, recounted his experience of growing up in the Scouts and now praises what it is doing for his son and the community as a whole.
“We’re providing an outlet for guys who, without it – who knows what they’d be doing,” he said. “We try to expose our kids to a lot of other things.”
Mawat District Executive Desmond Miller says the Scouts are just what this community needs.
“When you’re talking about character development, they’re not teaching it in school,” he said. “Schools are not teaching our kids to be volunteers. Schools are not teaching our kids to be leaders. So many black males need this as a tool in the community. It’s a way of life.”