Blake Baker stands with Good Samaritan Executive Director Linda Kinney to show the beautification efforts from Baker’s Eagle Scout project. With a defined border now around the sign, Baker hopes people won’t hit it with their vehicles anymore.

Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has dedicated itself to training youth to be responsible citizens, building character development and teaching self-reliance through participation in outdoor activities, educational programs and community involvement alive.

The organization’s efforts will be honored across the country on Feb. 8, National Boy Scout Day.

According to the organization’s website, Boy Scouts of America is one of the youth organizations in the United States with more than 2.4 million participants and nearly 1 million adult volunteers.

The lessons boys learn and the memories made in their scouting days can last a lifetime, according to former Boy Scouts.

 “Of all the things that I remember in my old age dreams, are scouting days with other lads and the discovery of nature’s realm,” said Tullahoma resident Mike Martin, reflecting on his days as a former Boy Scout. “Trekking, canoeing and handicrafts, Indian life and lore, and the love of the great outdoors.”

Boy Scouts learn many different skills through hands-on activities including, but not limited to, first aid and knot tying. Scouts also learn valuable survival skills while taking hiking expeditions or camping trips.

The Scout Law and Oath both encompass the values of a Boy Scout. The oath ensures that each Boy Scout will do his best and help others at all times. The law suggests that a Boy Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind and brave.

Martin specifically remembers the Scout Law and Oath, the patrol flags, merit badges, campaign hats, braided lanyards, colorful handkerchiefs and to always be prepared from his time as a scout.

The Boy Scouts of America’s website states that for its younger members, the Scout method is part of the program to instill typical scouting values such as trustworthiness, good citizenship and outdoor skills through a variety of activities such as camping, aquatics and hiking.

The organization has four high adventure bases located within North America to further scouting skills: Northern Tier located in Minnesota, Manitoba and Ontario; Philmont Scout Ranch located in New Mexico; Sea Base located in Florida and Summit Bechtel Reserve located in West Virginia.

“Summer camps, canvas tents with hanging lanterns, canvas cots with wool blankets, khaki shorts with knee-high socks, and the damp morning dew are all things that I remember well,” reflected Martin. “Great strides were obtained from Webelos to Eagle Scouts and from Den Chief to Scoutmaster. Local trips were taken along with national adventures. If we were fortunate enough, we were able to take a trip to the Philmont Scout Ranch along with other outdoor adventures as we grew and learned.”

Eagle Scout is the highest rank that a Boy Scout can obtain. The Good Samaritan Thrift Store on East Grundy Street in Tullahoma has recently received the service work of a local Boy Scout who is working earn his Eagle status.

By raising awareness for property damage at Good Samaritan, 18-year-old Blake Baker, a Franklin County High School student, recently dedicated many hours of labor and love to a service that benefits the community.

“The sidewalk is eroded around where the Good Samaritan sign is,” said Blake. “I’ve seen many people hit the sign with their car. I wanted to build something around the sign so that people would stop hitting it.”

Blake built an elevated   flowerbed filled with mulch and flowers to help define a border around the Good Samaritan sign to prevent people from hitting it with their cars.

“It means a lot to the Good Samaritan,” commented Linda Kinney, executive director of Good Samaritan. “This building is really old, but this flowerbed gives it a fresh, new start. It’s a beautification process, and it’s left a mark on Good Samaritan.”

Blake enlisted the help of local businesses to complete his flowerbed. Four Maple logs from a local business define the space used for the flowerbed. Blake stained the logs himself to help preserve the logs for many years to come. More than 12 hours of labor was put into the project as Blake strived to ensure that it was level and square.

Blake also volunteers his time at Good Samaritan. The nonprofit thrift store established in Tullahoma in 1985 and provides clothes, food and financial assistance for rent and utilities for families struggling to ends meet. 

Many steps are taken to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout. Boy Scouts must ascend in rank by earning merits and badges. There are also many divisions offered, like venturing and sea scouting, for scouts depending on their age. Beginning in 2018, girls had the opportunity to join Cub Scouts for the first time, and in 2019, programs will make it possible for older girls to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

“The quest still awaits for young boys and girls,” Martin added about Scouts. “The camaraderie still abides on woodland hikes and sparkling waters with bright painted canoes. The Scouts past and present are bonded in fraternal kin.”

For more information on Boy Scouts of America, visit www.scouting.org.

For more information on Good Samaritan, call 931-455-7353.

Faith Few can be reached by email at ffew@tullahomanews.com.