By Mary Ellen Slone
Here in the Bluegrass, scouting is more than a rite of passage. Dan Koett, (CMO of the Blue Grass Counsel of the Boy Scouts of America) is one of the region’s most enthusiastic cheerleaders for this highly revered organization. He and his entire team know that the scouting experience changes lives and makes for better citizens—involvement makes you aware of the needs of your community, your country, even your world.
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
Koett commented, “At a time in their lives when boys and young men need to understand that kindness, patriotism, and commitment to making our world a better place are dependent on their generation and on those which follow, scouting is more relevant than ever before.”
He added, “The Boy Scouts of America rely on volunteers to provide leadership for Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, Venturing Crews and Explorer Posts. Our local volunteers are an amazing group, and we’re always open to enlisting more! When you give the gift of your time and talents to scouting, you’ll benefit in many ways; including building relationships that will last long beyond your active scouting years.”
The actual concept of Boy Scouting traces its origins to one of two Kentucky initiatives—one in Burnside, in south-central Kentucky, is often accredited as being the home of the first Boy Scout troop in the United States. In 1908, two years before the Boy Scouts of America was organized, a Mrs. Myra Greeno Bass organized a local troop of 15 boys, using official Boy Scout materials she acquired from a friend in England.
A short time later, the Boy Scouts of America Troop #1 in Frankfort, Kentucky was established by Stanley A. Harris. Claiming that name of Boy Scouts of America Troop l, the group in Frankfort is still in existence, and is sponsored by the First Christian Church in that city.
THE ROBERTS FAMILY—Exemplifying the essence of scouting
Here in Lexington, the male members of one remarkable family have been advocating for scouting and living by the Scout Oath and Scout Law for several generations. They are the Roberts family, where, according to Eagle Scout and UK junior John Roberts, loyalty to the scouting program is obviously in the male DNA. Currently, both brothers, Adam and Frank, are Eagles, along with John. These young men are perpetuating the legacies of their father James, their grandfathers, and even great grandfathers.
The Roberts boys are all graduates of the Lexington Christian Academy and either currently attend, or have graduated from, the University of Kentucky. Not coincidentally, all have been selected to participate in Kentucky’s prestigious Governor’s Scholars Program.
According to John, “It’s a privilege to give back to the scouting program and ‘to pay forward’ the experiences my brothers and I were afforded through scouting. There is so much more to this amazing program than wearing the uniform or walking in parades. Scouting is a way to equip young people to be prepared for so many things- particularly to be better stewards of the community, and future leaders of our nation in fields ranging from education to aerospace”.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF CHALLENGE—BRAVE THE BLUE III
Emblematic of what magic can occur when there’s a commitment to raise money for a not-for-profit organization, Lexington’s Blue Grass Council, Boy Scouts of America has recently successfully completed an incredibly fascinating ‘not for the faint of heart’ fund raiser: the dramatic ‘you’ve gotta be kidding!’ type of event which is BRAVE THE BLUE III.
The premise is by raising $1,000 for the Blue Grass Council Boy Scouts of America, you’ve earned the right to incrementally rappel down the side of downtown Lexington’s 31 story, “Big Blue Building” while affixed to several tightened ropes, looking toward the heavens, or every once-in-awhile, taking a ‘peek’ at the concrete plaza below where several folks are secretly praying you’ll make it down 1) safely and 2) while still conscious!
Participants’ tax-deductible entry fee donation goes to further the mission of the local scouting organization—and the photos that are taken of your descent should back up your claim that you did, indeed, make it back to earth safely!
What would inspire a person to want to try such a thing? According to CMO Koett, “There are varying reasons for sure. Now that we’ve safely completed year three of BTB, we’ve seen that the challenge resonates with several different types of folks; those that have always been afraid of heights who use the event as a vehicle to overcome it; those who aren’t yet ready to ski down a steep slope while not being tethered; and those who take on the challenge because ‘they think it’s in their DNA’. We’ve been incredibly blessed to work with the very best community leaders on this endeavor with the collective teams from The Webb Companies, Central Bank, WLEX18, TOPS in Lex, and Friends of Coal.”
Keith Yarber, TOP Marketing Group’s President, undertook the BTB challenge this year, and he said that he’d do it again! Keith’s rapelling partner was our very own Mallory Ervin. Mallory was Miss Kentucky 2009 and has been a 3-time contestant on The Amazing Race and television personality.
Also joining the Brave the Blue this year was Shawn Johnson. Shawn is a 2008 Olympic Gymnastics Gold and Silver medalist, 2007 World Champion, 2006, 2007, 2008 National Champion, Winner of Season 8 Dancing with the Stars, and New York Times Best Selling author.
INFO FROM THE LOCAL TEAM WHICH BROUGHT THE ”BRAVE THE BLUE “ CONCEPT TO LEXINGTON
Following a trip to Cincinnati to scope out that citiy’s very similar “Over the Edge” group, which annually puts on a building rappelling event at the downtown Hyatt, Dan Koett and his team embarked on a nearly year-long odyssey to take rappelling from tall buildings to a level never dreamed of, with the intent to bring this event to downtown Lexington. Koett remembers, “Being part of this local team of creative dynamos and boots on the ground leaders like Matt Roberts, James Howard, Ronda Webber, Derek Mallow, Andrew Fore, and Brian Clark, is an awesome experience. These folks are not only experts at marketing and operations, they’re uber conscious of mandating that every aspect of the event totally focuses on safety.”
From Woodford Webb, President of the Webb Companies and father of Ford Webb, who, at the age of 11, was the youngest person to Brave the Blue during its three years says, “We were happy to support the Blue Grass Council of the Boy Scouts of America to utilize the Fifth Third Bank tower for the Brave the Blue event. Congratulations to Dan Koett and his BTB team for implementing this literal ‘thinking outside of the box’ idea. The funds raised from this event will stay in our community to support local scouting programs: on behalf of our employees, we were happy to be of assistance in making the Brave the Blue fundraising efforts such a great success!”
All of which begs two questions:
1) What would it take for YOU to participate in the Brave the Blue experience next year?
2) And—is there a young man in your family whose formative years would be enhanced by becoming a Boy Scout, and perhaps even achieving Eagle Scout status?
If so, a representative of the Blue Grass Council would welcome an opportunity to meet with him and your family to explain the commitment, the excitement, and the lifelong learning which scouting provides. If someone you know would benefit from this awesome program contact [email protected]