I would like to share an observation from recently watching two groups of boys display their knowledge, camaraderie, support of each other, caring, respect for others and hard work helping a variety of people.  

Both groups are Boy Scouts — Cub Pack 3079 and Troop 77.

The first contact I had this month was attending their Blue and Gold Banquet at the Ottawa Municipal Auditorium. The troops traditionally have a dinner and then give out advancement awards. They also have a cake auction with the proceeds going to finance a two-day camp for Pack 3079. The cakes are very decorative with a heavy emphasis on Scout activities. Many of the awards come from activities they participated in at the camp. The Scouts also do a service project for the city.

While I watched the boys, they were actively supporting every boy’s contribution and cheering them on. Most of the cleanup and serving also was done by the boys. I never heard anyone being reminded to do their job. I happened to be using a cane that night and was having difficulty going up the stairs. One younger Scout came hurrying down the steps, noticed my struggle and stopped suddenly and said, “Hey, are you OK? Can I help?”

It was a very impressive moment to me. This was his big night for the Scout, yet he took time out for this lady to make sure she was OK. Education? I think so.

The second time I observed these boys was on Scout Sunday, Feb. 10, at the Ottawa’s First United Methodist Church. It was an extra special time since Troop 77 used to meet at the church for many years, but had been defunct for about three years. The boys delighted everyone with their strong, manly handshakes and the fact that they had been taught how to escort the ladies to their pews. The boys’ faces told it all. The church members seemed to be as pleased as the Scouts. Many shared with me that they had missed the Scouts so much and were glad to see they were a part of the church again. Is this traditional classroom education? No, but it’s still worthwhile education, and I am so glad the boys had this opportunity.

A third observation was at the March 2 Pinewood Derby at Ottawa’s First Baptist Church. The older Scouts who just moved up were greeters again and were expected to introduce themselves and give a friendly handshake and greeting. Some had to do “repeats,” but soon they had been educated how to meet and greet everyone. While the derby trials were being run, I watched the older Scouts cheering for each other and being especially supportive to the Scouts whose cars didn’t make it to the finish line or for those who came in last. Very few of the Scouts knew whose cars or trucks won because they were too busy supporting all of the kids.

They basically didn’t care who won, but were having a great time participating and encouraging everyone. All of the entries were great, but the one that touched my heart the most was one that was researched, designed and built by Noah Stevens. He is such a “doughnut” lover he decided to build a derby truck that featured Daylight Donuts. He had a load of doughnuts (Cheerios) and had various decals he had gotten from Mike Daniels, owner of Daylight Donuts. The ingenuity was great, but what made it extra special was that Daniels was a former student of mine. I believe the truck now has a special parking place at Daylight Donuts. Education and respect? You can count on it.

The last thing I would like to share with you is from last week. Some of the Methodist church members wanted to do some cleaning out and were trying to get the Scouts a safe meeting place. A call went out mid-week and, by Sunday afternoon, all but one of the Scouts was able to come and help carry and clean and make ready for their new room. They worked very hard, as did many adults, to achieve their goal.  

I’d like to thank the city for helping the Scouts during their day camp. Thank you to the Ottawa Municipal Auditorium for allowing the Scouts a place for their banquet. Thank you to First Baptist Church for furnishing a place for the Pinewood Derby.  Thank you to Eugene Field Elementary School for giving Pack 3079 a place to meet weekly. Thank you to the First United Methodist Church for welcoming Troop 77 back home again. Thank you all of the leaders and everyone behind the scenes for helping further the education of these special young men.

Marge Stevens is an Ottawa school board member.