Editor's Note: This is the next in a series of articles on the member agencies of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
PARKERSBURG Funding from the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley provides youths in Boy Scouts in the Mid-Ohio Valley with the chance to learn important life skills.
Dale Musgrave, executive director of the Boy Scouts of America's local Allohak Council, said the partnership permits boys and girls of all ages different options for summer camps, and also funds training of local Boy Scout leaders.
Local Cub Scouts learn the basics of archery during a day camp program, funded primarily by the United Way. This funding is such an essential part of the Boy Scouts programs that most would not be possible without the United Way’s support.
In 2013, the Allohak Council received funding for two distinct parts of the program, said Musgrave.
The first, a $25,000 fund, provided educational and recreational experiences to Scouts from the Mid-Ohio Valley. The second, a $25,000 fund, provided leader training and comprehensive youth development free of charge for the Scout leader volunteers in the area.
Both programs combine to provide the overall Scouting experience to young men and women of the Mid-Ohio Valley in a way that would be otherwise unaffordable, said Musgrave.
The funding from the United Way stays in the Mid-Ohio Valley, serving primarily Scouts who live in the counties of Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Wirt and Wood, said Musgrave. The Mid-Ohio Valley is but a small portion of the Allohak Council territory, which covers two counties in Ohio and 15 counties in West Virginia, stretching across the northern half of the state and over toward the eastern panhandle, he said.
The Allohak Council serves more than 35,000 young men in its entire area, said Musgrave. It anticipates it will have 100 Eagle Scouts within its borders by the end of 2013, he said.
While the Allohak Council receives funding from five United Way programs, the Mid-Ohio Valley is the largest geographic area within the council borders to be covered by a single United Way fund, said Musgrave.
The funding provides for the Scouts of the Mid-Ohio Valley Allohak Council in such an essential way that most boys do not realize they have been assisted by the fund at all, said Musgrave. The boys see summer camps and positive role models in their leaders, not realizing that the United Way fund is responsible for their experiences, he said.
The Boy Scouts of America provides three Scouting options to youths in the Mid-Ohio Valley, said Musgrave. For boys attending first through fifth grades, Cub Scouts provides a good introduction to the Scouts and the leadership activities that it focuses on, said Musgrave.
For young men ages 11-17, Boy Scouts focuses on honing leadership skills and providing unique opportunities for personal growth and skill building. For young men and women ages 14-20, the Venturing program offers a co-ed preparation for the adult world, focusing on personal responsibilities, said Musgrave.
The two $25,000 funds from the United Way are used in the background to provide the basic services that the three Scouting programs depend on, said Musgrave. All of the funding in the Mid-Ohio Valley is used directly on program-related items, program delivery, and youth development, he said.
One example of the United Way funding use can be found at Camp Kootaga in Wirt County. This week-long camp for boys aged 11-17 provides full service dining facilities, rifle range, rock climbing tower, swimming pool, live guarding classes, canoeing, rowing, hiking trails and natural rock faces to climb, all for $215 per boy, said Musgrave.
"The actual cost of this camping opportunity is much higher than the $215 we charge," said Musgrave. "United Way funds cover the majority of the cost, allowing us to keep prices low for area families, and to offer camping scholarships to families of low-income Scouts," said Musgrave.
The United Way fund for comprehensive youth development covers recruiting expenses helps pay for the training of every Scout leader in the Mid-Ohio Valley, said Musgrave. These volunteer leaders are provided their training, program supplies and rank advancement opportunities by this fund, said Musgrave.
"Boy Scouts provides young men with the opportunity to have a positive role model in their lives," said Musgrave. "For those who don't have this opportunity, this positive role model can be invaluable. For those who do have a positive role model in their lives, Scouts provides a reinforcement to their positive home life," he said.
The United Way funding provided to the Boy Scouts makes these positive role models possible, he said.