Two area Boy Scout Councils plan to merge into one

Since the 1920's, two area councils have been guiding the activities of most of the troops in Northeast Mississippi

COLUMBUS, Miss (WCBI)- There have been Boy Scout troops in North Mississippi since the beginning of the scouting program in America. George Maynard organized the first troop in Tupelo in 1911. Since the 1920’s, two area councils have been guiding the activities of most of the troops in Northeast Mississippi.

Spring 2022; that all could change. Officials are in the process of merging those two councils. The Tupelo-based Yocona Area Council covers 13 counties, and the Pushmataha Area Council, headquartered in Columbus oversees troops in 10 counties.

“Both councils have seen some reduction in participants, adults, scout volunteers and scouts in general; however, we have seen some growth as of late,” said Pushmataha council president Trip Hairston.

Hairston and Yocona scouting executive Owen McCulloch agreed that scouting has a rich history in North Mississippi. They think the merger of the two councils will continue that success into the future.

“Together really comprise the 22 counties of Northeast Mississippi and really what we’re looking to do is scouting which has been alive and strong for almost 100 years in this part of the state and we’re looking for ways to make sure we’re there for the next 100,” said McCulloch.

The new council will initially be known as the Yocona-Pushmataha Area Council, and will be headquartered in Tupelo. A name change may come later, but there is still some paperwork before the merger can be finalized.

“The merger document that we’re looking at now those committees will come together. Vet that document then recommend to each individual board to merge then we’ll have an overall counseling meeting at the Yocona council and Pushmataha council and then they’ll be merged,” said Hairston.

There are no plans to close facilities or troops.

“Camp Seminole will be valuable. It’s a place we can do campfires when people have a week of summer camp, so it’s location is easy for the people in Stakville, Columbus, and portions of the ten counties surrounding,” said Hairston.

Local scouting programs are also embracing new opportunities for girls to get involved.

“We’ve had girls in scouting really since 1969 in our older teenage programs.. girls in scouting really gives more kids an opportunity to benefit from what the BSA programs have delivered for over 100 years,” said McCulloch.

Leaders in both councils are eager to get the process started and they are encouraging families to look into what scouting has to offer for their kids.

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