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Scouting opportunities abound in PIckens



Above, Boy Scouting Troop 288

     Happen to be a parent of a middle school or high school aged youth with a hankering for the kind of adventures available through a Scouting program? What follows is a list of Scouting groups active in this county with some details of each group.
      Pickens County has three Girl Scout troops for girls middle school age or above. Four Boy Scout troops operate here, with young men, ages 11 through high school, participating. In addition, two coed Scouting groups are also at work here: Venturing Crew 288 out of Hill City and Explorer Post 800, a law enforcement post, sponsored by the Pickens County Sheriff's Office.
      Scouting opportunities begin as early as kindergarten for girls and at age 7 for boys.
      To learn about Scouting groups available to girls younger than middle school, contact Jennifer Clark (service unit director for Mountain City Girl Scouts of Pickens County) at 770-833-4754.
      To learn about Scouting opportunities available to boys younger than 11, contact Carlton Wilson (Boy Scouting's district commissioner for Cherokee and Pickens counties) at 770-402-9105.


Scouting Groups of Pickens County:

Girl Scout Troop 807
Troop Leader Patty Friedman
Age group: high school girls
Troop meets one Saturday each month at Friedman's home in Talking Rock.
The troop has four active Scouts.
Yearly dues and registration: $19
Uniform: "We don't require a uniform," Friedman said. "We do have a sash that runs about $6. Financial assistance is available for anyone who can't afford it."
Adventures: "Most of our girls are part of the Venturing Crew as well," Friedman said. "So, in addition to being Girl Scouts, they participate in Venturing Crew if they so choose." Friedman's troop also camps out twice a year.
"At this point, my girls tell me what they want to do," she said. "It's completely run by the girls. I'm just there to advise them on ways to do things differently  to make things safer."
Service: "We are working on our Gold Awards, which is the highest award in Girl Scouts," Friedman said. "If you ask any of the girls, they'll tell you it's harder than achieving Eagle Scout," she said. "Some Eagle Scouts have agreed that it is harder."
A Gold Award project of one of Friedman's Scouts is an addition to the band concession area at the high school. "She is working with an architect and an engineer in drawing up the plans," Friedman said. "Hopefully we will start on construction in the next two weeks. Our whole troop will be helping––band parents as well."
Contributions are presently sought to help buy building materials for the project, Friedman said.


Girl Scout Troop 8209
Troop Leader Amy Rice
Age group: middle school girls
Troop meets once monthly without a regular meeting time in an attempt to schedule around other activities of girls involved. Meetings are held at Jasper Middle School, at a member's home or the county pool.
The troop has five active Scouts.
Yearly dues: $15
For a uniform, books and start-up, the cost is about $50, Rice said.
Fundraisers pay for activity costs, Rice said. "Our girls typically try to raise their own money through cookie sales or bake sales and yard sales," she explained.
Adventures: The troop is just back from a trip to Savannah to participate in the centennial celebration of the founding of the Girl Scouts at the founder's home, the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace.
On the same outing, Scouts learned beach ecology from a scientist making a surf-side presentation. They went seafaring on a boat to see dolphins up close. And they toured Savannah locations where feature movie scenes have been filmed.
Service: Troop 8209 conducted a supply drive for Pickens Animal Rescue, gathering pet food and other needed items. The troop has worked with DFCS at Christmas, doing Secret Santa for children.
As a service project toward achieving the Girl Scout Bronze Award, these Scouts have put together care packages for children entering foster care. Kits include stuffed animals, shampoo, soap, journals and pens, Matchbox cars for little boys, hair brushes and hair accessories for little girls.
“A variety of things they might need, having to leave their homes quickly,” Rice explained.
The troop does not conduct camp outs on a regular basis. "The majority of overnight trips we have taken, these girls have chosen to stay in a hotel," Rice said. "They like to stay at the Holiday Inn Express." Her Scouts conduct their own fundraising to make these trips, she added.


Girl Scout Troop 23800
Troop Leader Julie Stell
Age group: middle school girls
Troop meets during the school year on the second and fourth Monday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Jasper Boy Scout hut on Pioneer Road and holds no regular meetings over the summer. Regular meetings begin again in August.
The troop has 14 active Scouts.
Combined yearly registration and dues: $16
Uniforms are bought every other year and cost about $45, Stell said.
Adventures: The troop conducts two to three camp-outs per year, Stell said. "But I've got some girls that just don't like it," she said. There is a camp-out in the planning stages for June, she said.
Service: Scouts are working on the Butterfly Project through the Holocaust Museum in Texas, Stell said. "They're collecting arts and crafts butterflies, trying to collect 1.5 million butterflies to represent the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust," she explained. Her Scouts have made butterflies to add to the total.
The troop also recently painted some barrels as trash receptacles for Keep Pickens Beautiful. "They picked those up last week," Stell said.


Boy Scout Troop 20
Scoutmaster David Peagler
Age group: boys, ages 11 through high school
Troop meets Mondays at 7 p.m. for an hour-long meeting within the Big Canoe Scout hut near the community's main gate.
The troop has 13 active Scouts. "It's open to everybody, so we try to get people from the surrounding counties, Dawson, Pickens and Cherokee," Peagler said.
Yearly dues: $60
Uniform cost: About $100
Camping or activity costs: "We try to get the boys to raise the money, so it's not hurting their parents' pocketbook too much," Peagler said.
Adventures: "We have one group going to summer camp next week," Peagler said. Another group is heading to Philmont Scout Reservation in Cimarron, New Mexico near the end of June, he said.
The troop camps out locally once a month. Where depends upon "what the boys decide," Peagler said. Usually camping destinations lie within one and a half hour's drive, he said, at a state park, a Scout camp or on the Appalachian Trail, he said.
Service: "We just completed doing a footbridge over a stream on one of the trails in Big Canoe," Peagler said. That was an Eagle project for one of the Scouts, and the whole troop helped. Scouts constructed a 20-foot bridge and fixed a trail approach and stairs leading up to the bridge.


Boy Scout Troop 288
Scoutmaster Charles Bufford
Age group: boys, ages 11 through high school
Troop meets Mondays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Hill City Scout Lodge on Hill City Road near the intersection of that road and State Highway 53.
The troop has 30 active Scouts.
Dues are collected twice yearly: $35 in the spring; $35 in the fall. Scholarships are available, based on need.
Uniform cost: About $100
Camping or activity costs: To help fund these costs, Scouts conduct four fundraisers yearly, Bufford said. Largest fundraiser is a merit badge clinic hosted twice yearly by the troop to help Scouts achieve merit badges.
Troop 288 Scouts also raise money by overseeing vehicle parking at Jasper Middle School for drivers who park to view Fourth of July fireworks near Jasper's Lee Newton Park.
Adventures: Summer camp this month at Camp Davy Crockett in Tennessee. Some Scouts are going to Philmont High Adventure Base in Cimarron, New Mexico. One Scout is going to NOAC (National Order of the Arrow Conference) this year at Michigan State University in Lancing, Michigan. This Scout performs Northern Traditional dancing in the style of the Native American Lakota Sioux, Bufford said.
Service: Recent support to the local American Legion post on Memorial Day with Scouts participating in a wreath laying ceremony at Sunrise Memorial Gardens in Jasper. Proper ceremonial disposal of worn American flags for the American Legion throughout the year.
Troop members conduct Eagle Scout projects through the year. Recent projects: a shed roof addition to a barn at 12-Stone Farm (a rescue ranch for neglected horses); construction of a storage shed for the Parent-Teacher Organization of Hill City Elementary; construction of an outdoor classroom for the same school.
Troop 288 Scouts also lend support during local festival type events. They recently supported Relay For Life at Jasper's Lee Newton Park by performing clean-up and go-for duties. A single Scout also recently assisted local Masons as they celebrated the anniversary of their lodge.
Being a large troop, 288 is often called on for help, Bufford said. "We're very supportive of the community," he said. "We support Pickens County any way we possibly can."


Boy Scout Troop 836
Scoutmaster David Carver
Age group: boys, ages 11 through high school
Troop meets Tuesdays at 7 p.m. inside the Boy Scout hut on Pioneer Road in Jasper. In summer, meetings last two hours, Carver said. During the school year, meetings run an hour and a half.
The troop has 8 Scouts on its roster. Two Scouts have achieved Eagle Scout this year, Carver said. A third is expected to accomplish that this August.
Yearly dues: $75
Uniform cost: $100
Camping or activity costs: $15 to $20 per Scout. Scout Summer Camp cost: $265 per Scout.
Adventures: "We had a camp-out about three weeks ago on a private farm in the north end of Pickens County," Carver said. And, as some Scouts are working on their fishing merit badge, a Georgia DNR ranger is scheduled to soon bring a fish simulator to a Scout meeting.
"It's like a computer program," Carver said. "It kind of acts like you're getting a nibble on a fishing rod. I'm anxious to see this thing. I've just heard about it."
Service: "We pick up trash along Pioneer Road," Carver said. The troop performs other tasks for local organizations as those request Scout help, he added. A local nursing home has phoned to ask for assistance this September, Carver said.
"On Veterans Day, we lead the parade and go up and do a flag ceremony in front of the courthouse," he said.
"We love to hear from the community and welcome the community in any time. It's alway good for the boys to see dignitaries. They get a kick out of it."


Boy Scout Troop 1883
Scoutmaster Kenneth Jones
Age group: boys, ages 11 through high school
Troop meets Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in Talking Rock Town Hall for a one and a half hour meeting.
The troop has five active Scouts. While the organization is for boys, moms are encouraged to volunteer to help with the troop, Jones said. Family involvement is encouraged.
Dues: A yearly fee of $15 goes to the Boy Scouts Atlanta Area Council. Local dues are $8 each month.
Uniform cost: A shirt with patches costs about $60, Jones said. "I usually tell parents to hold off and make sure your kid's gonna stick with it," he said.
Adventures: "We just took a tour through Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and they earned the nuclear science merit badge," Jones said. The troop will be camping four days at Cades Cove, Tennessee in mid-June.
"We try to get them out at least once a month to do something," Carver said. "We pretty much go out in any kind of weather. We've been out in six inches of snow." The troop once hiked in "a torrential downpour," Jones said, when a storm caught them on their return along the Jacks River Trail.
Service: Troop 1883 joins in the yearly spring clean up in the town of Talking Rock. And the troop covers the trash detail (on a Gator) during Talking Rock's annual Heritage Days festival each October.
A Troop 1883 Scout has an Eagle project working with Pickens Animal Rescue, while another Eagle candidate will soon be building wheelchair-accessible decked walkways inside Talking Rock's Town Park, Jones said.
Anyone who would like to come and visit during a Troop 1883 Scout meeting is welcome, Jones added.


Explorer Post 800
Advisor Corporal Chris Leake with the Pickens County Sheriff's Office
Age group: high school boys and girls.
Post meets every Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Pickens County Jail. Explorer posts focus on a single vocation. Many focus on law enforcement or firefighting. Post 800 is a law enforcement post. At meetings, participants receive training on different aspects of law enforcement: criminal law; defensive tactics; law enforcement procedure.
Post 800 has 20 active Explorer Scouts.
Yearly dues: $20
Uniform cost: The Pickens County Sheriff's Office provides most of the Explorer uniform, Leake said. Individuals are required to buy their own boots and BDU pants.
Activity fees: Post 800 travels to competitions where their law enforcement know-how is judged against that of other posts. Leake said fees for these trips run from $30 to $60.
Adventures: The post periodically competes with other law enforcement Explorer posts in practice law enforcement scenarios.
"They act as law enforcement officers and are judged on safety and knowledge of the law," Leake explained. About 70 posts from over the Southeast convene yearly at Gatlinburg, Tennessee for competition, he said. State competitions are held in Cobb County, he said, and posts convene for a yearly conference at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center at Forsyth, Georgia.
Service: "Any time there's a county festival, you'll see the Explorers out there helping with crowd control, traffic direction, handicap parking and all of that stuff," Leake said.


Venturing Crew 288
Advisor Christine McCormick
Age group: boys and girls, ages 14 through 20.
Crew 288 meets every first and third Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m., alternating between Hill City Elementary School and the Hill City Boy Scout Lodge as a meeting place.
"The main thing with this crew," said Advisor McCormick, "the kids are in high school band. All are very smart. We try to work group stuff around their other activities."
The crew has 10 active members, five boys and five girls. "They're also involved in other [Scout] troops, not just the Venturing Crew," McCormick said.
Dues: No monthly dues, but yearly Atlanta Area Council Scouting registration fees.
Uniform cost: $75 to $100
Camping or activity fees: Crew members plan crew activities, and for any activity costing more than $25 per person, they conduct a fundraiser. The crew usually camps out twice a year.
Adventures: "We have been whitewater rafting on the Ocoee, zip-lining at Banning Mills in Carroll County, snow skiing in North Carolina," McCormick said.
Crew 288 joined with another crew for a "Recoil Rally" at the Pickens County Sportsmans Club shooting range on Jones Mountain. Regular crew meetings usually involve team-building activities.
Service: Crew 288 assists with Cub Scout Pack 288, based at Hill City. The crew also does maintenance on the outdoor garden classroom at Hill City Elementary School in cooperation with teacher Diane Kinzer.
At the outdoor classroom, crew members have pressure-washed fences, resealed a wood deck, planted flowers and provided other flowers for students to plant during science classes, McCormick said.
Two Crew 288 members are Eagle Scouts, she said. Two female members have achieved their Girl Scout Silver Award. Two are working toward their Gold Award.
"They're a great group of kids," McCormick said.


+3 #1 Anonymous 2012-06-13 12:27
I have a hard time supporting the scouts at this point. My son was involved with the Tate Scout Troop. We paid our money for a spring trip to the zoo and were told the trip had to be canceled because the troop bank account had been compromised. So, my son did not get the trip and the money we paid ($70 for each child and adult) was not refunded. This was very disappointing for my son and for our family. We, like others, do not have a lot of extra money these days. [deleted] I think an apology and refund is deserved to the families in the troop.

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