In case you thought the Boy Scouts was only for boys and men, let me introduce you to Dr. Vivian Hicks, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Committee Chair of Topsanah District, Pack 295 of the Longhorn Council in Flower Mound.
Dr. Hicks is 82 and has been a member of BSA since 1959, when her son Rick, at age 7, joined as a Cub Scout. Rick, now 62, is the Cub Master for Pack 295 and also on the committee for Troop 262 as well as Day Camp Director for Topsanah. Moreover, Rick has a 13 year-old son who is also a Scout. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, they moved to Texas in 1957 and now reside in Flower Mound. During a visit to our home they displayed the uniforms which identify their positions and the insignia (badges) that have been earned.
Among the many merit badges they’ve won is the Wood Badge, a necktie with little wooden beads, which is earned during a week-long outdoor training course involving leadership and planning, problem-solving, self awareness and camping skills. During many of those years, Vivian taught at the Fort Worth public schools and achieved her PhD in 1973. Then she began teaching at TSU for several years. Her doctorate is in Child Development, a combination of psychology, sociology and physiology.
The troops meet monthly at Old Settler’s Elementary in Flower Mound, where they receive awards, sing songs and perform skits. Every pack or troop must have a charter organization, which oversees the recruitment of adult leaders. Each adult, when submitting an application, has to put in three references and there are criminal and sexual predator background checks performed before anyone is considered. The charter organization for Pack 295 is Live Oak Church in Flower Mound. Brad Kinney, a detective with the Lewisville PD, who also is a pastor with the church, must approve and sign off on any adult who applies.
Part of Dr. Hicks’ job is to prepare agendas for the monthly meetings. In addition to preparing the minutes for each meeting, she plans the type of activities the Scouts will engage in during the month and follows up with phone calls and emails. Attendees gather at the school cafetorium where about 120 people are provided with info that directs them to camp sites, informs them of equipment and food needed for the campout and other essentials. Part of the summer camp lessons is that “meals don’t necessarily come in cellophane packages.”
Rick is the Cubmaster for the Pack and his job is to provide leadership skills and be an image for the young members to emulate. Each year, at Old Hickory Creek on the other side of the lake, they have two “family campouts” with about 250 people in attendance. Additionally, they hold a picnic each year for large family gatherings which include ice cream, hot dogs, sack races and bounce houses.
The Pack has one fundraiser a year, popcorn selling, which begins next month. By the way, if you haven’t tried their gourmet popcorn, you’re missing a delectable treat. There are awards for those Scouts that do a good job of selling the lip-smacking kernels of corn. “Any boy that sells over $600 of popcorn gets to put a big ol’ pie in my face,” said Rick. Last year, about six young boys had that pleasure and Rick, with a big smile, said he enjoyed every minute of it.
On a personal note, I must say that I have the utmost respect for people like Vivian and Rick, who volunteer their time and service to help build character and survival skills in the youth of America. Many former Scouts have reached some of the top levels of their professions, be it medical, legal, business or academia. A few months ago, I was the co-host of a breakfast for the Friends of Scouting, held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Lewisville.
Part of my job was to invite many of the well-known leaders in the county to attend the annual event. Once again I was reminded of how fortunate we are to have so many decent, civic-minded people in our orbit. Furthermore, I asked Texas State Rep. Tan Parker to be the Keynote Speaker. Not only did he happily accept, but he electrified the audience with his references to his days as a Boy Scout and the values he absorbed that has remained with him throughout his life.
It’s axiomatic that children should learn how to be good citizens and compassionate caregivers for those in need. Traditional families have always been known for providing their children with those values. Nevertheless, we’re blessed to have so many other selfless people willing to help achieve that goal.
History of the BSA
The BSA is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with 2.7 million youth members and over 1 million adult volunteers. Since its founding in 1910 as part of the International Scout Movement, more than 110 million Americans have been members of the BSA. Their goal is to train young people in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations.
Instruction includes inculcating values such as trustworthiness, respect for others and survival training through a variety of skills such as camping, aquatics and hiking. I guess it’s fair to say that such training isn’t part of the standard education received by children in our schools. Scouting concentrates less on academics and more on the pragmatic science of stamina and endurance; skills needed in emergency situations.
“On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” – Oath of the Boy Scouts of America.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.