A park ranger at Martins Fork Lake recently spent a week camping, leading, mentoring and educating Boy Scouts in the great outdoors at Kia Kima Scout Reservation, which is nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains at Hardy, Ark.
Scoutmaster Dave Robinson volunteered his time coaching, training, counseling, celebrating successes and providing meaningful feedback at summer camp June 26 to July 2, 2016 with Boy Scout Troop 149, which is chartered to the First Presbyterian Church of Harlan, Ky.
June 26, 2016 - Boy Scouts Troop 149 leaders and scouts on a camping trip at Kia Kima Scout Reservation in Hardy, Ark. In addition to the scouts enjoying camping activities, they were mentored by a park ranger at Martins Fork Lake, who educated the Boy Scouts about the great outdoors. (U.S. Army courtesy photo)
Six scouts, including his son, six adults, including his father, made the trip where the boys earned 11 merit badges and made great strides to their next ranks.
Robinson said scout leaders shared their knowledge with scouts earning merit badges in subjects such as environmental science, Indian lore, space exploration, chemistry, swimming, camping, pottery, and basketry. One scout completed Kia Kima's Trailblazer program for new scouts. Several others completed the Challenging Outdoor personal Experience Course, Boy Scout ATV Safety program, and Mountain Man Experience on Mount Masera.
“I train and guide boy leaders,” Robinson said. “Seeing the scouts working together, growing closer as a team, taking responsibility for their actions and decisions, overcoming the challenges they face – that's what makes being a scoutmaster rewarding to me.”
As a Corps of Engineers park ranger, Robinson cares for the natural resources at Martins Fork Lake located in mountainous terrain at river mile 15.6 on the Martins Fork of the Cumberland River in Smith, Ky. The lake provides flood risk reduction benefits and recreational opportunities for the public.
Although he spends a lot of time outside in his daily duties, he attributes much of what he knows about the outdoors to the Boy Scouts of America. Robinson joined the organization in 1979 and achieved the Eagle Scout rank in 1983. He also worked at Kia Kima Scout Reservation each summer from 1984 to 1989.
“I owe much of my way of doing things to the experiences, mentors, and friends from my scouting life. I feel it is my duty and responsibility to pass along my skills to my son and our scout troop,” Robinson said. “It was a blessing to me to be able to take our troop to the place that had a big influence on me as a teenager and young adult.”
Richard L. Fisher, Boy Scouts of America Chickasaw Council scout executive and chief executive officer, lauded Robinson's willingness to teach leadership skills and for reinforcing positive character traits that are part of what scout leaders do best.
“All of his work is done in less than ideal conditions,” Fisher said. “Limited Wi-Fi reception, occasional air conditioning, hiking several miles per day and sleeping under BSA canvas with really large and abundant mosquitoes, chiggers and ticks would have made a lesser person reconsider their volunteer opportunity.”
Kia Kima Scout Reservation is celebrating its 100th anniversary of serving scouts this year. Robinson said while on the trip his scouts and other scout leaders spent the night at St. John's Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tenn., ate supper at the nationally renowned Bar-B-Q Shop, and spent an evening at the Bass Pro Shop in the Pyramid.
This was the first time many of the scouts had seen the Mississippi River as well as seeing rice, soybeans, and cotton growing in the fields. On the return trip to Harlan, the group went through Missouri, crossed the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers at Cairo, Ill., and crossed back into Kentucky.
Robinson said he is responsible for ensuring the scouts have a strong program, learn scouting methods and skills, provide qualified leadership following the guidelines and policies of the Boy Scouts of America and chartering organization.
He said he sees a lot of merit in putting scouts in a great outdoor setting where scout leaders could educate and develop them, and the scouts could work as a team, participate in the many activities, develop leadership skills and have fun participating in the activities.
Michael Lapina, Nashville District's Eastern Kentucky operations manager, said Robinson has a passion for working with young people, including scouts, and his passion goes beyond just leadership and character building.
“Both on and off the job, he gives special attention to promote water safety to people of all ages,” Lapina said. “The scouts are lucky to have Dave Robinson as a dedicated volunteer and the Corps' Easter Kentucky Area is proud to have him serve on our team.”
By Leon Roberts, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Provided through DVIDS
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