SIDNEY — Jeff Schiavone, the new scout executive of the Miami Valley Council of Boy Scouts of America, addressed the Sidney Rotary Club during the club’s Oct.23 meeting.
Schiavone has served with the Scouts for more than 15 years and began his new position Aug. 1 of this year.
“Our mission in the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make moral and ethical choices during their lifetime, by instilling in them the values of the Scout oath and law. In short, we prepare young people for life,” he told the Rotarians.
The aim is all about leadership development, Schiavone said. This is accomplished largely in the “classrooms in the woods,” where there are two regional locations.
“Woodland Trails is over 1,200 acres,” and as Schiavone described, is “incredible.” The second is Cricket Holler, which is just outside of Vandalia.
“All together, our council hosts about 1,500 acres of classroom in the woods,” Schiavone stated. “The Miami Valley Council is over 5,000 members strong and serves five counties,” including Shelby County.” The programs include the Cub Scout Program, which serves elementary school boys, another program that is being piloted to serve kindergarteners, the Boy Scout Program, which serves boys 11 to 18, and coed programs that are career-based.
“Here locally in Sidney, Sidney is very well represented. There are five Cub Scout packs, five Boy Scout troops, one Venture group, and I think on about the one-year anniversary of an Explorer post, which is a career-based post for boys and girls out at the Shelby County Sherriff’s Department,” Schiavone said.
“Only two percent of boys ever become Eagle Scouts, which has to be done before the boy turns 18. But no matter where you exit the trail, you always pick up good things. The average boy scout earns 16.3 hours of service hours each year, for an organization that is not scouting. More than 55,000 pounds were collected locally last year during our food drive. Across the Miami Valley Council, over 100,000 hours of community service hours were logged,” Schiavone said.
And as for local news headlines, Schiavone stated, “The Boy Scouts have been in the news a little bit for opening up our program to those at the Cub Scout age to girls and to serve young ladies. This is an opportunity that we are embracing and are excited about and will bring new challenges to us.”