Details about the Boy Scout program in Monett were shared by Scoutmaster John Funk at last week's meeting of the Monett Kiwanis Club.
Funk said he joined Scouts at age 14 and has been a Scouting leader for 10 years. He has served as scoutmaster for Troop #38 for the past two years. He had worked toward his Eagle Scout badge but had to enter the workforce before he completed it. In the last 10 years, Troop #38 has had 10 Eagle Scouts, well above the national average of 24 percent.
Presently, the local troop has 16 youth participating and 12 adults teaching many of the specialty classes. Scouts usually range in age from 11 to 17. As scoutmaster, Funk said he tries to work with each boy to advance them in rank.
Scouts get to engage in a wide range of activities that teach major skills. Funk talked about the canoeing trip on the Buffalo River by Camp Orr near Harrison, Ark. For the past two years the Scouts have gone to St. Louis to ski on artificial snow on a golf course.
Every year the younger Webelos go on a camping trip with the older Scouts, who take the opportunity to pass along a number of skills they have acquired, Funk said. The troop tries to hold a camping trip in the area every month.
Other activities have included rock climbing, a "Klondike" camp in winter conditions and regular service projects. Annually, the Scouting for Food program collects canned goods to help stock the food pantry at Crosslines. Scouts also work with Hobbs-Anderson American Legion Post #91 in holding two flag retirement ceremonies at South Park.
Every two years the troop undertakes a "high adventure" experience, which has taken the group white water rafting in Wyoming and canoeing in Alaska. Scouts have made two trips to Seabase in Florida and also traveled to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. Plans are in the works to return to Seabase in 2012, Funk said.
Scouts have made many contributions to the Monett community, such as building eight picnic shelters at South Park, the flag retirement pit at South Park and the shirt shack building at Camp Barnabas.
Some of the biggest improvements have come through Eagle Scout projects. Funk listed improving the drainage at Central Park Elementary School, placing benches at a nursing home, construction of the gazebo by the rose garden at South Park and the drop-off box for retiring flags at the American Legion Home as several examples. Recent projects have included construction of a fire pit and path at the First United Methodist Church property and restoration of the Anderson family cemetery northeast of Monett.
Funk was introduced by program chairman Eric Kean. Kiwanis President Frank Washburn presided at the meeting.
The Monett Kiwanis Club meets at noon on Tuesday for a meal and a program, usually at Happy House restaurant.