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Building leaders: Troop leaders helps Scouts find new home, learn life skills

by Erin DeBlanc | September 3, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.
Brandi Robinson, leader of Caddo Area Council Cub Scout Pack 19, assembles an Arrow of Light on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, for the Scouts graduating to a troop. The Arrow of Light is a rite of passage for young Scouts who have earned everything required of them during their five years in the pack. (Staff photo by Erin DeBlanc)

TEXARKANA, Ark.-- Brandi Robinson became a Scout leader with Caddo Area Council Cub Scout Pack 19 in 2017.

Things were going well until COVID-19 took its toll and Troop 19 had to relocate from Fairview United Methodist Church to 401 Wood St. downtown. Having to search for a new home provided a perfect opportunity for the community to step up and help.

"In December 2021, Wes Crenshaw and KFLI Radio blessed us with our new location and helped us get everyone registered. We are just blessed to have found a new home," Robinson said.

Pack 19 gained a new sponsor during this time too -- Hypecon.

"Hypecon is all about supporting the youth and supporting Troop Pack 19 -- a group that teaches kids so many skills in giving back to society," Hypecon founder Jesse Darby-Tillis said. "I just wanted to help them succeed even further."

Now that the Scouts are settled in their new location, recruitment is scheduled for Sept. 15 at Fairview Elementary School. Robinson hopes to grown her pack of six Scouts and encourages girls to join.

This year, Robinson has planned a full schedule, including trunk-or-treat, popcorn sales, Scouting for Food, a campout for Halloween and a book drive.

"The Scouts do it all," she said.

They also participate in the annual chili contest in downtown Texarkana, Arkansas, with proceeds going to feed the homeless. Since they are now located downtown, the pack hopes to continue to be involved in building up downtown, particularly with Main Street Texarkana.

Each Scout is in the pack for approximately five years before moving into a troop. Scouts who meet all of the pack requirements earn the Arrow of Light to symbolize passage into a troop.

This year, Robinson gets to make an Arrow of Light for one of her sons. All of her sons, with the exception of one who is too young, have been or are involved with Scouting. As a mom of four boys, it seemed volunteering with Cub Scouts was natural.

"I was volun-told to join," she said.

Robinson said her mentor Arlene Kyles came forward and asked her to fill out an application for adults. She then did her Youth Protection Training and slowly became committed to Scouting.

Robinson continually stepped into leadership roles with Troop 19 and is now a Grand Master.

In addition to running Pack 19, Robinson recently completed a master's degree in art and education after completing a bachelor's in history at Texas A&M University-Texarkana.

"The best thing about Scouts is you don't have to be the smartest; you don't have to be the most athletic," she said. "Scouts is a different kind of community."

Scouts learn skills such as knot tying, tent assembling and campfire building.

"It is not about how popular you are, it is about really making a respectful, young citizen," Robinson said.

Scouting is focused on building the whole individual and creating future leaders.

"One thing that they see with our leaders is that they don't know everything, but bring what you are best at to the table and when you get people together, you will succeed."

This year, Pack 19 attended Scout-o-Rama and won first place. Each den did its part to contribute to an obstacle course, and Robinson's pack won.

Robinson said parents and volunteers have been indispensable in helping shape Scouts into well-rounded, capable individuals.

"We have several leaders that come for workshops. They bring their trailer, and they show kids how to use hand tools and build things with wood. That can build a community with the whole group, not just the den," Robinson said.

For Robinson, being a good leader means being flexible, open-minded, objective and demonstrating good values.

"Being able to let them go and grow is important," she said. " If you don't try to learn something new every day, then where will you be for your community? It is all about learning and I hope they see that from me."

Print Headline: Building leaders: Troop leaders helps Scouts find new home, learn life skills

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