ELIZABETHTOWN — The Cape Fear Council of Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 2017 Investment in Character Campaign on Tuesday with a leadership luncheon and fundraiser at the Cape Fear Vineyard & Winery.
The event brought together about 40 local scouting enthusiasts, as well as two distinguished guest speakers — Eagle Scout Elliott Madden and FCA Chaplain for N.C. State football Al Byrd.
But first Renee Horton, who served as the luncheon chairman, talked about her experience as an Eagle Scout mom and scouting leader.
“We are lucky in this geographic area to have so many assets for scouts, and there are also a lot of generous current and former scouts among us,” she said. “When you make an investment in scouting, you are investing in future success.”
Madden, a member of Boy Scout Troop 600 in Elizabethtown, told the crowd that his scouting experience has been a source of inspiration for him.
“I’ve learned a lot about leadership, confidence and many other skills along the way,” he said. “I’ve spent countless hours outdoors on camping trips and nature hikes; I’ve learned safety and survival skills.
“All of my scouting experiences, I believe, will help me to be successful in life,” he added.
Madden said he plans to attend a military academy and eventually become a JAG attorney with the U.S. Army.
Mac Campbell, a 1959 Eagle Scout himself and vice-chairman of the leadership luncheon, introduced the keynote speaker.
“I could tell you how scouting has been an integral part of my life and how those experiences helped shape my successes,” he said, “but I think my friend Al Byrd can do a far better job.”
Byrd, who grew up in Smithfield, was never a Boy Scout — but he emphasized just how proud he was to have been a member of Cub Scout Pack 444.
“I remember when my mother bought me that blue Cub Scout shirt and a yellow scarf and that metal thing that kept the scarf up,” he said. “When I had on that uniform, I was looking GOOD. I was a Cub Scout.”
Byrd, who joined the Wolfpack football team as its life coach in 2014, said his membership in Cub Scouts — even at such a young age — instilled in him a sense of honor.
“I wanted to do things right,” he said. “That’s what scouting does, teaches character and the things needed to be a man — like learning the rules, leadership qualities, doing the right thing even when nobody is looking.”
Byrd added that much of what scouting brought to his life would never have been possible otherwise.
“We got to take trips outside of Smithfield,” he said. “I mean … OUTSIDE of Smithfield. That was a big deal. Scouting took me out of my neighborhood and into the world.
“Without scouting, I might never have gone to college or had the success I’ve had,” Byrd added. “I was never a Boy Scout, but … I WAS A CUB SCOUT … and scouting is a part of who I am.”
Horton wrapped up the gathering by telling those in attendance that, to date, the fundraising campaign had raise $22,550. Anyone who is interested in contributing to the local Boy Scouts Council can do so my sending a tax deductible check made out to Cape Fear Council BSA (with Bladen County Investment in the memo line) to: P.O. Box 7156, Washington, N.C. 28406.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.