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Carmi Rotary learns about changes to Boy Scouts

The Carmi Rotary club had a very informative speaker at their Thursday meeting, as Jennifer Whitaker of the Boy Scouts of America was on hand to discuss some recent – very publicized changes to the scouts.

She started her talk by letting know the members that the news that the Boy Scouts would be changing their name is false, and that many of the other stories floating around are also wrong.

Before addressing the changes, Jennifer told the club some of the great things going on with the Boy Scouts. She stated that in White County there are around 130 scouts in the various age groups, and close to 40 adult volunteers are involved and helping out.

She told the Rotarians that a recent “Camparee” was held in Indiana, with many local boys in attendance. During this event, boys were focused on survival skills, and learned how to build a lean-to, to build a fire, and to fish, clean and cook their own meals.

Another recent event was the Merit Badge University, which was held on the campus of the University of Southern Indiana. During this event, many local people who were experts with particular skills joined the scouts as teachers and mentors. Scouts were able to earn merit badges in the old standards and newer skills, such as computer animation.

Another program scouts can take part in is the “Exploring” program, which helps older scouts see the inside of a job they might be thinking about pursuing. In this area, scouts can team up with mentors in fields such as aviation, engineering, law enforcement, veterinary medicine, and emergency medicine. This program has already paid off, with one local scout making the decision to pursue a medical career because of his exposure to the field through scouting.

Jennifer then went on to discuss the changes in the Boy Scouts. She told the club that for years, parents had been asking for their daughters to be allowed to attend meetings – officially. She stated that the girls were already there for the most part, attending with younger or older brothers. With so many single parent homes, or homes with both parents working, it was causing a hardship for parents to allow one child to attend a meeting without the other.

For this reason and others, the decision has been made to allow girls in to the scouting program. However, contrary to what is circling around the internet and other places, this will NOT be a co-ed program. The girls and boys in the younger grades will have separate meetings with separate leaders. And, at least one female adult will have to be on site with the girl packs.

In the older levels, the changes will take place in February of 2019. The older packs will also NOT be co-ed. Even with events such as camping, the boys and girls will be kept apart.

As Jennifer explained, this is simply a chance for girls to learn the same skills as the boys, and also to give girls a chance to earn the Eagle Scout award, which is highly respected by the business community.

The members also briefly discussed the upcoming fish fry, which will be held on Friday, May 18th at the American Legion in Carmi. Tickets are only ten dollars per person, and come with catfish, sides, dessert, and a drink. Tickets can be purchased from any Carmi Rotarian or at the door the night of the event. Doors will open at 5:00pm and the night will wrap up at 7:00pm.

The club had two other distinguished visitors on Thursday, as assistant district governor Janice Alka was on hand, along with her replacement, Bill Hackler. Janice and Bill are both from the Mt Carmel Rotary club.

Bill will be taking over for Janice in June, when she takes the step up to become the new District Governor for the southern Illinois region. Janice told the club that the “changeover dinner” will be held on June 16th at the Pheasant Hollow Winery, near Benton.

In club business, visitor Bill Hackler won the 50/50 drawing, and displayed some incredible beginner’s luck by also drawing the pink ball to claim the day’s cash prize.

Randy Adams was named the day’s phantom.

The Carmi Rotary club meets every Thursday at noon at the First United Methodist Church on Main Street in Carmi. Anyone wishing to learn more about this civic organization is welcome to attend a meeting or speak with any Carmi Rotarian.