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Boy Scouts camp aims to teach life skills

Reported by: Tyler Hill
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Updated: 6/18/2013 6:34 pm
RANDOLPH, Miss. (WTVA) - It's a week to remember for the Boy Scouts of the Yocona Area Council.

Camp Yocona, located in Randolph, held its first camp in 1947 and has operated every summer since. 

Although, it has changed a little since the 1940s.

Cabins filled with bunk beds now replace tents, and instead of classic rope swings, the Scouts now enjoy zipping through the woods on zip lines.

One aspect has stayed the same, however.

Leaders continue teaching young boys life lessons and life skills to become better men, where along the way they will hopefully reach the highest rank in the Boy Scouting program, an Eagle Scout.

"We help these boys become better citizens for our communities, our nation and for the world," said Ronny Buse, Scoutmaster for Troop 2627 at St. James Catholic Church in Tupelo.

 He said the camp serves as a great opportunity for the Scouts to earn merit badges, which are ways to learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, among many other skills.

"They don't have a merit badge for Xbox," Buse said. "But they have a badge for knot tying and a merit badge for canoing."

In fact, there are over 130 different merit badges the Scouts can earn.

The council operates three camps during the summer, each holding about 15 troops with over 200 Scouts, meaning a lot of food.

For summer program director Julie Chambers, it's a week to teach the Scouts valuable skills, like understanding first aid, building fires and learning to properly shoot guns.

"We help them advance," Chambers said. "We help them become good citizens. We help keep them physically fit, and we do that in a fun method."

She says every camp brings something exciting and new to the table.

"I love working with scouts," she said. "The kids are wonderful and amazing. I'm always proud and always surprised and I'm proud of them. It's just a wonderful summer."

The Yocona Area Council serves 12 counties in Northeast Mississippi, including Alcorn, Benton, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Marshall, Prentiss, Pontotoc, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union and Yalobusha, with the council headquarters being located in Tupelo.

They host three camps at Camp Yocona during the summer, each lasting one week.
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