The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 6, 2010

100 years and counting

Local Boy Scout group studies its roots, as a nation celebrates century of moral, ethical lessons mixed with a lot of fun

By Violet Hassler, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Cimarron Council, Boy Scouts of America, takes tools young men need to make moral and ethical choices and presents them with a question:

“Do you want to go outside and have some fun?”




That’s how Doug Berg-man, field director for the local Boy Scouts council, pre-sents Scouting in a nutshell.

For 100 years, Scout leaders nationwide have been doing just that — providing a program in which boys can learn to become admirable men while gaining skills of benefit throughout their lives.

Much of that is attained at an early age through activities such as camping, water sports and survival tasks.

“The outdoors ... that’s the laboratory of Scouting,” Bergman said.

As Scouts grow in age and rank, tasks turn toward community service. Scouting be-gins with Tiger Cubs and ad-vances along ranks of Cub, Webelos, Tenderfoot, First Class and, the highest rank earned in Scouting, Eagle.

Bergman gained the rank of Eagle as a youngster in Phoenix, and his two sons, Daniel and Matthew, followed in his Scouting footsteps to earn the rank in Enid.

“Basically, it’s just a rec-ognition of their involvement in the process,” he said.

For the Bergmans, it continues to be a family affair.

Even his daughter, Adelle, says she earned two Eagle ranks because she helped both brothers in their community service projects.

Not only is achieving the Eagle rank good for a resume — “you look at an Eagle Scout as someone able to finish the job” — it is a goal most hope to achieve during Scouting careers, he said.

“Being an Eagle Scout is always an Eagle Scout.”

When Bergman speaks with those who’ve been in-volved in Scouting, “the first thing they tell me (is) they didn’t make Eagle Scout.”

That omission is what many Scouts remember if they did not climb all the way through the ranks by age 18, when they max out as Scouts.

But the lessons learned, even for those involved in Boy Scouts for a short time, usually are not forgotten. As a nation, Boy Scouts of Ameri-ca serves 4.1 million youths, and nearly 6,500 of them are reached through the assistance and mentorship of thousands of Cimarron Council adult volunteer leaders.

“This area has a long history in Scouts,” Bergman said.

Boy Scouts in the Enid area began in 1920 with Great Salt Plains Council. The group celebrated its 80th anniversary by merging with Will Rogers Council to form Cimarron Council. The move, Bergman said, better secured the future of both councils.

The goal, he said, is one Cub Scout pack associated with each elementary school and to develop from there.

For those involved, the experience is worthwhile.

“Few things in life are as special as making a difference in the life of a young person,” local Scouting officials maintain in a letter to supporters, “unless it’s seeing the difference that same young person can make in the community and in the lives of others.”