Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

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March 19, 2010

Boy Scouts learn valuable life skills

Since the Boy Scouts of America began in 1910, many young men have recited the Scout Oath and followed its law to make good decisions throughout their lives.

Scouting is still going strong a century later and continues to teach important values that are sometimes lacking in today’s society.

Bill Hertel, Troop 634 scoutmaster, has been associated with the organization since 1998 when one of his boys became a member. Since then, four of his five sons have been or are now in the troop. It currently has about 30 members.

“What we try to teach them is how to make ethical decisions .... (and) model the Scout law and oath, which we repeat at every meeting .... They are constantly quizzed on points of the law.”

These “timeless values” are the reasons why he believes the Boy Scouts have been around for so long. “They’ll help you live a good and happy life.”

When dealing with disciplinary measures, Hertel refers back to the Scout Law. “I have the boys write something up with what law they broke .... It’s a great way to reflect on what they did and why it was wrong .... They respond to that.”

This group is one of the longest-lived troops in the state, celebrating a 75th anniversary in 2005.

Meetings are held each Monday during the school year from 7-8:30 p.m. at Camp Mesty, which is adjacent to St. John’s United Church of Christ, the troop’s sponsor.

There is also the outdoor part where “boys learn a lot of scouting through the camping program .... They learn skills and put all that into practice. Once a month, we try to have a campout.” Members also learn how to work as a team, the leader notes.

“We’re putting together plans for Earth Day. The boys have embraced that.” Over the past four years, several members have earned the prestigious Eagle Scout rank by completing various projects, including working on the park behind Harmeyer’s Supermarket, placing park benches around the Liberty Park Reservoir and putting fences up at Brum Woods.

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Director John Leo Muething (left) reviews notes with the cast of "Cain" by Lord Byron during one of the last run-throughs before June 26-28 performances.

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