By Mannix Porterfield
Never did Jay Rockefeller don the tan and green uniform of the Boy Scouts of America, but the senior West Virginia senator has an affinity for the group founded 103 years ago.
Come Friday, in Beckley, the senator plans to huddle with some Scouts and troop leaders from across the state to salute their volunteer efforts in communities.
What’s more, the Scouts will be called on to share such accounts as part of an archival project he started to mark the state’s 150th birthday.
Scouts pouring in from coast-to-coast this weekend will be engaged in a variety of community projects in southern West Virginia, down to McDowell County.
Rockefeller noted that tens of thousands of them will fan out across nine counties in what is billed as the Summit Community Service Initiative, with the state Citizens Conservation Corps acting as coordinator.
“Leave it to West Virginia to embrace, with open arms and hearts, the Boy Scouts’ call to community service,” he said.
“Public service is in our bloodstream, and something that we come to naturally in West Virginia. Our deep sense of ‘neighbor helping neighbor’ is a perfect match for the Boy Scouts’ mission and legacy as a public service organization.”
The senator’s meeting will begin at noon inside the Tamarack Conference Center.
Rockefeller said the gathering is part of his “summer of service” tour of the state to demonstrate the “neighbor to neighbor” ideal that is part of West Virginia’s makeup and has been proven by the response to the Scout-inspired concept.
His first such event involved a roundtable discussion in Morgantown on student loans in which he called on youth to seek careers in public service.
In his meeting with the Scouts, the senator will call on them to share memories of their service projects.
The Boy Scouts of America was officially incorporated in 1910, inspired by a good deed that left an indelible impression left on Chicago publisher W.D. Boyce in a London visit.
Trapped in heavy fog, he was led out by a British scout who then passed up a tip, telling Boyce he was merely performing his good deed for the day. Back in America, the grateful publisher incorporated the BSA on Feb. 8, 1910. Since then, more than 110 million Americans have worn the Scouting uniform.
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