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Local Scouts groups look to grow

Are you tougher than a Clark County Boy Scout?

Before you answer, you may want to check out the Clark County Scouting Expo on Sunday. For a second year, it’s being held at Snyder Park in Springfield.

Marty Richards, district executive for the Tecumseh Council’s Lagonda District, which serves Clark County, says they hold the event to increase public awareness of scouting. Children and adults will have the opportunity to try their hand at various activities involved in scouting, ranging from cooking to tomahawk throwing.

Richards says the traditional Boy Scouts value system remains the same, giving members the basic values they can take into adult life and take care of themselves. Scouting still stresses skills such as first aid, camping and cooking.

But there are also updated programs, especially in the Merit Badges, which now include more technical categories and graphic design. There are 130 opportunities related to future careers and hobbies. While completion doesn’t give scouts college-level skills, it does provide them with a good introduction, Richards said.

“The experiences and the ability to work as a team that our program develops is timeless and also helps them grow up,” he said.

Girls can join the boys in the Venturing Program, which starts at age 14.

According to Richards, humorist Will Rogers said, “the only problem with the Boy Scouts is there isn’t enough of them.” Locally, that’s also the case, and Richards points out “there is always room for more.”

He says membership in Clark County is on the upswing, he looks for more growth. They’re hoping to double membership to over 1,200 in the next 3 to 5 years. The Tecumseh Council regularly reaches out to give more young people the chance to become scouts by distributing information in the schools and the community. But Richards stresses, “Our best recruiters are our kids.”

And those Scouts consistently make significant contributions in the community in a variety of ways, from food drives to Eagle Scout projects.

Richards said in 2012, 900 youths and almost 500 adults each contributed an average of 5 hours of community service.

For two years running, the Lagonda District has achieved Gold Level status in the National Boy Scouts of America’s “Journey To Excellence” performance recognition program — the highest level. The National Council is constantly reviewing its local organizations and grades them on 17 measures and the district is one of the top-rated in the country.

Richards is an Eagle Scout and has served in five Boy Scout Councils in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and now in Ohio. He said his three sons also became Eagle Scouts — all in different councils. “(I’m) happy to be here and I really like the people I work with.”

He also told me the Lagonda District on May 2nd will present its first District Leadership Award, and it will go to Clark County Commissioner John Detrick.

“His model of citizenship is one of the best I’ve been around,” Richards said.

Contact this writer at or 328-0341.

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