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Sunday, December 21, 2014
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Editorial: United Way, Boy Scouts valued assets in our area

Last Modified: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 5:00 PM

After haggling for several months over the United Way of Southwest Louisiana’s funding of the Boy Scouts of America-Calcasieu Area Council, the Scout’s Executive Board voted unanimously in July to cut its ties with the organization.

At issue for both agencies was determining how much funding the Boy Scouts Council would be allocated.

The split was public and heated, but the episode hasn’t damaged the reputation or impact of either agency.

Last week, the United Way unveiled a web-based platform called “Get Connected,” which simplifies the process of matching volunteer to nonprofit.

“We wanted to shift to emphasize the importance of volunteering,” said Melissa Hill, United Way marketing and event coordinator. “Knowing the trends of social media, we needed to find a way to make it easier for people to find a way to volunteer.”

“Get Connected” is free for the agencies that use it. Not only can agencies create pages to tell their stories and reach the members of the community passionate about certain issues, companies can also encourage corporate volunteerism and communicate with their employees who volunteer through private forums.

“This is really going to help the local nonprofits. Now, they’re going to have another tool to use,” Hill said. “Some of the nonprofits have been working for a long time. This is just going to be something that will help them. It’s also great because it’s free for them, and that’s really important for a nonprofit.”

The area Boy Scouts Council is also thriving.

On Saturday, for the first time in more than a decade, the Foreman-Reynaud Community Center hosted a Boy Scouts of America meeting.

Scout master Melvin Franklin Sr. said it was time to bring a Boy Scout group to the community.

“All I want is to try to save the youth of Lake Charles — the youth of anywhere really,” Franklin said. “Scouting brings out leadership in kids. When they aren’t leaders, they’re followers. That’s the main thing; we want this community to have more leaders.”

The group will hold meetings twice a month. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 23.

“Children need to be active with other kids. We’ve gotten away from that as a culture. With the Scouts, I’m hoping we can bring community back in this area,” Franklin said.

Franklin is preparing young people to make a positive impact in their communities. That’s a plan worth supporting.

Both the United Way of Southwest Louisiana and the Boy Scouts Council are valued assets in our area, making huge impacts on thousands of residents. Four months after their summer disagreement, both have proven they will continue to provide vital services that improve the quality of life for Southwest Louisiana residents.

  • • •

This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Mike Jones, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.

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