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Votes

Mount Vernon: From a Boy Scout’s Perspective

— I was reading your newspaper online, and noticed your request for people to write about their experiences and interests in the community. I thought it would be interesting to write to you from the perspective of Boy Scouts in the Mount Vernon area. Boy Scouts in America started in 1910 and has thrived ever since. In the Mount Vernon area I know of at least five active Boy Scout troops. Mine is Troop 888, which meets at Plymouth Haven Baptist Church. Boy Scouts gives boys opportunities to succeed and teaches them responsibility, integrity and leadership. My involvement has helped me to better understand my community, become involved and contribute through volunteerism.

Joining the Boy Scouts has raised my awareness of the community in several ways. In Boy Scouts we often hike in the area and visit nearby historic landmarks. In pursuit of our American Heritage Merit Badge, my troop visited one of these landmarks, Mount Vernon, which plays an important role in the history of our community and our nation. Growing up in this area, I’ve visited Mount Vernon many times. When I was a wee tot, we used to have picnics there, run in the fields and visit the animals. As I’ve grown older, my family and I have taken out of town visitors to tour the mansion and grounds. Now as a Boy Scout, I toured the estate, learned more about our first President’s contributions to the United States, and the role he played in the history of our community. George Washington once owned the land that my house is built on. We even had a historian from Mount Vernon come talk to the troop.

Other Merit Badges such as Photography and Architecture, have helped me to look at my community with a critical eye. Wandering the streets of Old Town, I’ve identified at least 15 different architectural styles. I’ve learned to notice details that I had ignored before and can more greatly appreciate the beauty and diversity of my community.

Boy Scouts encourages volunteerism. I have assisted with a number of Eagle Scout Projects which have helped me to get to know my community and its needs better. Our troops scouts have helped install a patio at Saint Luke’s Church, marked a trail in the Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, built wooden bridges at Fort Belvoir and Mount Vernon High School, built picnic tables at Plymouth Haven Church and participated in many more projects of this nature. I’ve also had the opportunity to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, helping the poorer members of our community and reminding me that not everyone here is as fortunate as my friends and I.

I would encourage new members to our community to join in and get involved. Whether it’s scouts or another community organization, chances are, your efforts will be rewarded.