Scouts Centennial

For 18-year-old matt Shanahan, the boys scouts are more than just learning how to tie knots or race pinewood cars.

“The activities are a lot of fun but mostly it’s the scouts that keep coming back,” said Shanahan. “They’re a lot like my brothers.”

Now in his 12th year as a scout, Shanahan’s an assistant scout master. He says he loves being a role model for others.

“Its all about kids following kids. It’s taking charge among your peers and learning from your peers,” Shanahan explained. “And every scout in a sense is supposed to be a leader.”

It’s the Centennial for the scouts. The Boy Scouts of America was founded by Chicagoan William Boyce on February 8, 1910. Since then, thousands of scout troops from around the country have been volunteering in their communities and building lifelong bonds…including the more than 50 troops here in Naperville.

Local community leaders recently gathered together to honor these young men who are becoming leaders themselves. Among the group was Mayor George Pradel. He dabbled in Cub Scouts as a young boy and says he wishes he had gone on to be a Boy Scout.

And the mayors from Lisle, Woodridge and Bolingbrook also joined pradel in the celebration.

“When you have a scout who is actively involved, there is potential to lead this country to the next level of success,” Bolingbrook Mayor Leroy Brown said during his address.

Lisle’s mayor agreed. “We are helping to build leaders for the future and no matter what anybody says, we can’t take that away from what scouting provides,” said Mayor Joseph Broda.

Shanahan says that even though he’ll soon be going to college, he’ll always remain a proud scout.

“I see kids taking leadership positions, who are becoming like brothers to each other. I have nothing but hope for the bright future of scouting,” said Shanahan, closing his keynote speech.

Today there are more than 1,000 adult volunteers serving 2,500 scouts in Naperville and surrounding areas.

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