Randolph, Miss (WCBI) – Every June Boy Scouts from across Northeast Mississippi come to Camp Yocana. They spend a week at the 300 acre site, learning skills that help them earn merit badges.
“We learned a long time ago in scouting that no boy ever joined scouting to have their character developed. They join to have fun, fun with a purpose,” said Yocona Council Scout Executive Rick Chapman.
On this day, Chapman and other scout leaders organized a media day. Members of the local press were invited to see, and experience, first hand what goes on at Boy Scout summer camp. There were even a few friendly competitions, such as this first aid contest, where members of the media tested their skills against Scout leaders.
How do you think you did? “I’m not sure, I’m actually an Eagle Scout , so it’s been a few years since I’ve had to do that stuff, I hope I did well but I’m not too sure,” said Adam Ganucheau of the NE MS Daily Journal.
Scouts and their leaders also demonstrated fire building skills. Each activity not only teaches valuable skills, but also helps a scout earn merit badges.
“They pick what interests them , their hobbies and generally, the merit badge they take will be a profession they are interested in once they are an adult,” said Katina Patty, who teaches several merit badge classes.
A popular spot at Camp Yocana is the shooting range where scouts learn how to handle a rifle and shotgun. Organizers even allowed media to skeet shoot. We were also taken to the Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience, or COPE Course, where we zoomed down the zip line. Scouts say their time at Camp helps reinforce core values.
“It teaches you to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous , kind, pretty much the entire scout oath,” said Tim Cash, of Troop 85.
“Main thing I like is sense of leadership and order we have in our troops, I’m planning on going into the Air Force later and Boy Scouts is really helping me learn those kinds of disciplines and stuff like that,” said Zach Snow of Troop 146.
In all more than 500 scouts will come to Camp Yocana this month, then in July the big event, 40 scouts from the area and a few of their leaders will go to West Virginia for the National Jamboree where more than 40,000 Boy Scouts will take part in various competitions, demonstrate their skills and have fun with a purpose.