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‘New’ Scout leader draws on long-standing values

News Editor

Dwight Toney is new to Scouting, but is already convinced it will be his life’s work.

Toney serves as the district executive for the Creek District of the Boy Scouts of America. His job includes working through chartered organizations and community groups to organize and support successful Boy Scout units by assisting the volunteer leaders.

"Without the volunteers, scouting would not exist," said Toney.

Toney said the best thing he has discovered since taking his new job as district exective is lack of barriers involving socio-economic status in scouting. "There’s no discrimination based on race, religion or anything else for that matter," he said.

The Boy Scouts of America was founded on Feb. 8, 1910. Today, more than 300 local councils are divided into four regions across the United States alone.

Because "values go a long way in shaping individual lives," the Scouts continue the mission of helping prepare young people for life.

Toney was born in North Carolina and saw a lot of the world thanks to his father, Willie Toney, who spent a number of years in the military. The younger Toney

also served in the United States Army Reserve. In 1999, he graduated from Troy State University with a degree in social science and history education.

As district executive for the Creek District, Toney, who lives in Troy, oversees scouting organizations in Pike and Dale counties and helps with budgetary concerns. He said even though about 20 percent of the Boy Scouts’ funding is provided by the United Way, the rest has to be raised by the Scouts.

Toney said the goal this year is to raise $16,000 in the Pike County area through sales, events and fundraising events coordinated with the help of the Friends of Scouting. He said the Friends’ campaign begins in January each year and runs through June.

Toney stressed the strong values scouting teaches youngsters, beginning at first grade level and continuing on into adulthood. Boys can start out in first grade as Tiger Cubs then graduate in second and third grade to become Wolves and Bears. The next age group are the Webelos. Toney said that age group serves as sort of a transition from the lower age groups to becoming a Boy Scout. At 11 years old, boys become Boy Scouts and begin to work toward earning their Eagle Scout status.

One new program, is the venturing crew, which is the only coed program offered by the organization. "There are very strict requirements to be a part of that particular program because it is coed," he said.

In venturing crew, for ages 14 to 20, Scouts get to do a lot of canoeing, camping and other outdoor-type activities.

"Today, the Boy Scouts of America is 92 years old," said Toney. "There are more than 110 million alumni and current members of Scouting and less than a third of these members are volunteers. If it were not for the very first Boy Scouts of America volunteers’ vision and dedication, the Alabama-Florida Council and Creek District Executive would not be able to express our great appreciation for volunteerism."