MANSFIELD ─ The Mansfield Scout Service Center is ready to serve its members ─ at a different location.
The office, located at 40 W. Fourth St. inside IdeaWorks, covers the Johnny Appleseed Trail District of Buckeye Council, Boy Scouts of America.
Amy Heller, senior district director, said the district serves more than 1,000 members annually in Richland and Ashland counties.
Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the service center on Tuesday afternoon. Heller thanked all the support from the volunteer leaders, including Mark Taylor and Scott King, who served respectively as the district chairman and vice chairman of fundraising.
“The volunteers are the backbone of our program,” Heller said.
The family program of the Boy Scouts of America helps youth develop into citizens and future leaders, the district director said. Young men and women from age 6 to 18 are both eligible to participate.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic arriving last year, the Buckeye Council created the HomeScouting program to continue the scouting adventures. Heller said the virtual program let members advance their skills and earn the merit badges even when gathering was not permitted.
The organization first launched the Spring Breakout that encourages members to camp in their backyards and learn the scout skills they gain at a camp. The program was followed by the Cyber Summer Camp featuring STEM-based adventure and webinars with NASA engineers, according to the website of HomeScouting.
Heller said the virtual program was so strong and creative that it also attracted many members from other scouting programs. It has served more than 15,000 youths and their families in the U.S. and five other countries across the world.
The Cyber Summer Camp will return in June with sessions about learning oceanic wildlife, practicing water conservation and webinars with marine biologists.
Richland County Commissioner Cliff Mears joined the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday along with other elected officials. He said it was great to hear the Buckeye Council was able to provide new opportunities for people during the pandemic.
The commissioner said scouting was a big part of his life when he was a child. He knows what kind of growth and great experiences that youth can get through the program.
The Johnny Appleseed Trail District is going to hold the Corporate Pinewood Derby race, a fundraising event, on May 27, Heller said. All the proceeds will be used for the services in the district.
For more information, contact Heller at Amy.Heller@scouting.org or 330-418-3282.