Thursday, May 15, 2008
Scouting recognizes Beckley
By SUE WATSON
The Yocona Area Council of Chicksa District of the Boy Scouts honored Dr. David Beckley, president of Rust College, this week for his long-standing and uninterrupted contributions to scouting.
The Chicksa District, which serves the scouts from Marshall, Benton, Lafayette and Yalobusha counties, held its Friends of Scouting kick-off luncheon Monday at the Beckley Center. Rust College has served as host for the annual meeting to launch its annual fund-raising drive for 30 to 40 years, Beckley said.
Beckley received the James E. West Award for his contributions to the scouting endowment fund of North Mississippi and additional recognition for his annual gifts to Yocona Camp maintenance fund, presented by John Alexander, chairman of the Chicksa District.
Beckley and his wife Dr. Gemma Beckley were both recognized for their financial contributions to scouting as well as their leadership with the council.
Alexander noted that Marshall County “has a rich history in this county, with eight chartered units and 250 scouting members and their families.”
“Our goal is to put a unit in reach of every boy in the county who wants to join a pack,” Alexander said.
Beckley, in accepting the recognition, said he and his wife have been scout supporters for a long time and they believe Camp Yocona is important to the youth and deserves to be maintained well.
“It’s not really necessary, but it is always nice to get the awards,” he added. “But there are ongoing maintenance problems we have to deal with on a regular basis.”
Beckley was introduced to scouting by his aunt Mrs. L.B. Johnson, who started Beckley out in Cub Scouts at Pine Grove Baptist Church in Shannon, where she served as den leader.
“We didn’t do a whole lot then (in the 1950s), but we had fun.”
Beckley said he tried as a young scout to take the motto to heart and to learn the laws of scouting - to be honest, trustworthy and try to make a difference in someone’s life.
He’s made life-long friends through scouting.
“Whatever I am today, the Boy Scouts helped mold my philosophy of living and to work on behalf of a better community.”
He called scouting “a melting pot of ideas.”
Since leaving Shannon, Beckley has been a scout volunteer and while at Rust College helped Asbury United Methodist Church build a scouting unit, he said.
He served on the East Texas Council while president of Wiley College.
“We do not give to Boy Scouts except we believe in the program and that it will make the world a better place,” he concluded.
Steve Gresham made some points about scouting before the meeting adjourned.
“Scouting builds leadership skills, positive family values, academic skills, self confidence, and citizenship,” he said. “Scouting helps youth today, with all the problems youth face. Scouting can help instill values to keep them out of some of the trouble.”
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