HUDSON — Central Illinois Boy Scouts is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the WD Boyce Council by kicking off an 18-month celebration filled with events, activities and trips for kids to enjoy the outdoors.

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“We know that the traditional skills and values, character, citizenship and physical fitness that Scouting truly promotes and encourages through all of its programs are perfect for all children,” said Ben Blumenberg, 44, director of the WD Boyce council scouting. “If we can help instill those values ​​now in children, that’s probably more important than it ever has been.

Over 100 kids attended Crossroads District Cub Scout Day Camp at Comlara Park, 13001 Recreation Area Dr., Hudson, for a week filled with archery, cooking, fishing, skill-based learning, and more. STEM and other skill-based activities that will help them later in life.

Over the next 18 months, the WD Boyce Council will host a plethora of events including campsites, hikes, community service opportunities, a Klondike Derby during the winter and more while encouraging Scouts to do each a service in quantity of 50, Blumenberg said.

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“These traditional values ​​are important and the parents are really the ones who want to pass them on to the kids, but really there’s so much fun to be had,” said long-time volunteer and Scout Eric Hoadley, 61. “That’s what we try to bring to all levels of the Scouting program and they start here at age 5 until they’re about to turn 18.”

Hoadley, who has three children who have all been Scouts, said over the past 50 years they have provided more than 1.7 million hours of service to various communities and served more than 200,000 Scouts. About 6,300 of these Scouts also became Eagle Scouts, which is the highest attainable rank in Scouting for a youth member.

The celebration will take place by fall 2023.

The WD Boyce Council was started in 1973. It is named after William D. Boyce, who lived in Ottawa, Illinois, and founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. The council serves nearly 5,000 young members and covers much of central Illinois from Lincoln to Ottawa and Peoria to Bloomington.

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“I really liked archery. It made me feel like I was learning something new and I enjoyed swimming in the lake. It was really fun and exciting and I was a little scared, but it was a good time at the end,” said Ryker Nolan, 9, of Scout Pack #3955, based at Corpus Christi Catholic School, in Bloomington.

Cooper Hill, 10, from the same Boy Scout group, said he was excited to practice swimming in the lake ahead of his family trip to visit his grandparents in the Ozarks.

Noah Cyphers, 9, said he enjoys making new friends and seeing old ones he hasn’t spoken to in almost a year because it gives him time to catch up and learn from them more about them.

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“At first I thought it would be a regular pool, but there was actually a beach and we got to play and build sand castles,” said 10-year-old Matthew Stanko, whose father Mike is the manager of pack.

“I love seeing them improve every day in areas like archery,” said Mike Stanko. “They have improved so much and just watching how they improve really makes me smile. It’s awesome.

Program director Amy Rich, 40, said she has two sons in Scouts and has loved seeing how the program has helped them grow as individuals who care about those around them and eventually become leaders helping young Scouts.

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“My eldest can step in front of a group of 8, 9, and 10 year olds and teach them something new while having them follow directions,” Rich said. “I also really like the fact that it’s not competitive. You don’t have to throw a certain way or run at a certain speed, anyone can be a scout.

Anyone interested in joining the scouts can find out more and register at BeAScout.org.

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