12/06/09 — Tuscarora Scouts hold reunin, centennial kickoff

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Tuscarora Scouts hold reunin, centennial kickoff

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on December 6, 2009 1:50 AM

Tuscarora Council Boy Scouts of all ages converged on Wayne Community College Saturday to hold a reunion -- and to get a head start on celebrating the Scouts' national centennial, which will be observed next year.

More than 300 Scouts and former Scouts, some from as far away as Texas, returned to their roots. For former Scouts and Scout leaders, it was a chance to revisit what many called the best days of their youth. For current Scouts, many of whom were Cub Scouts, it was a chance to learn something about the history of the council, which is in its 86th year of existence.

As old photos of Scouts in various activities from decades ago rolled behind him on a big screen in Moffatt Auditorium, Army Brig. Gen. Al Aycock, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command in Arlington, Va., described how Scouting affected his life.

Aycock, a Goldsboro native and an Eagle Scout, said being involved in Scouting was a "life changing experience" for him.

"I could have gone in any direction," Aycock told the audience that included gray-haired former Scouts and newly-minted Tenderfoots, "but Scouting led me in this direction."

He praised the men who served as his Scoutmasters, calling them role models who helped shape his life. And he urged the Scouts in the audience to pay attention to the men who are leading them now, to learn from them and to carry the Scouting banner into its second century.

"You will be the next generation of American leadership," Aycock said.

He said he was 11 years old when he took part in the council's historic 100-mile hike to Bath.

From that experience, he said, he learned to persevere.

"You keep putting one foot in front of the other," he recalled his leaders telling him. "They taught me that lesson. That I can do it."

Conway Rose, who earned his Eagle Scout Badge in 1940, recalled his days as a Boy Scout as "the happiest days of my life."

"It has always affected my life," Rose said. "Always."

Council President Tom Yarboro reminded Scouts and their leaders to preserve the history of their units. The photos, badges, and written records of their activities will be priceless one day, he said.

"The values of Scouting are timeless," he said. "We are celebrating the past today and we are preparing for the future.

"If America has ever needed Scouting, it needs it today," Yarboro said. "When you support these Scouts and these Scout leaders, you are truly impacting all the residents of these four counties."