Last Modified: Saturday, November 09, 2013 6:34 PM
For the first time in more than a decade, the Foreman-Reynaud Community Center played host to a Boy Scouts of America meeting Saturday.
Inside the community center, tables were covered with books about the Boy Scouts, the different age groups and the meanings of different merit badges. Parents could be seen walking their children into the center, browsing the information on the tables and getting to know the group’s scout master, Melvin Franklin Sr.
Franklin, a retired serviceman, talked with the parents, explaining what their boys could get out of being in the Boy Scouts, and he discussed payment methods if the parents were concerned about financing the endeavor.
“No, no, that’s too much. I owe you change. Stay right there, OK,” Franklin said to one child who came up to hand him $20 as part of the dues to join. “I’m only taking 10 today. Sign this paper here, and I’ll get your change for you.”
Franklin said it was time to bring a Boy Scout group to the community. The Boy Scouts isn’t just a hobby for Franklin. In 1997, he was presented with the Silver Beaver award in the form of a card with President Bill Clinton’s signature near the bottom. The Silver Beaver is given to registered adult leaders in the Boy Scouts who have made an impact on the lives of the youth through their service with the organization. Franklin keeps the card in his wallet. He said he hopes having the Boy Scouts in the community will help mold the lives of the boys planning to join.
“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.”
While Franklin was checking the list of sign-ups, one of the parents stopped to say he and his son were about to leave the meeting. The parent told Franklin he had to go to work. Franklin told him to leave his son and he would handle getting him home.
“Just write the address down. I’ll get him there. Don’t worry about it,” Franklin said. The parent thanked Franklin as his son sprinted to go back to playing with his new friends.
“The Scouts are about education too. For me especially. It helps me learn how to deal with kids and parents from different backgrounds,” Franklin said. “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.”
Mintreall Guillory brought her 7-year-old son to the meeting. She said she heard about it through her son’s school and considering how Franklin was going to be leading the group, she said she knew she had to bring her son.
“I’m a single mom, so trying to cover all of the boy things he wants to do is hard for me. I know he’s only 7, but I want to make sure he can stand up and he learns over time how to take care of himself,” Guillory said. “When I met Mr. Franklin, we connected and I knew he could be a strong male figure for my son to be around. I think this can be good for all of the kids.”
The group will hold meetings twice a month. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 23. For more information, call the community center at 436-2500.