“Do a good turn daily!” is the slogan that all Boy Scouts aspire to live up to.

And now, young boys on Chicago’s West Side will have the opportunity to join in that tradition — one that’s been around since 1910.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford (8th) helped establish Illinois Troop 606, with just over a dozen elementary school-aged boys already enrolled, in September with Scout Leader Rev. Charles Brown.

“Our mission is to incorporate the mission of the Boy Scouts on the West Side,” Ford said. “They have a rich tradition — that we can model — to create better citizens and young people that will be able to move their country and our city in a better direction.

“It’s all about integrity. It’s all about citizenship. It’s all about making a better community,” Ford added. “That’s what the Boy Scouts are all about, and that’s what we need on the West Side.”

But the greatest contribution the Scouts can make to the area, Rev. Brown added, is in the way the program builds character.

Brown, who’s been pastor at New Heaven Christian Church the past 15 years, said it’s crucial for young boys to get engaged in a positive way in the community, especially given the negative image of violence the area’s youth often are associated with.

The West Side troop meets twice a month on Saturday mornings at the former Austin YMCA, 501 N. Central. The boys have already had a taste of the Scout’s life. They went on a Scout retreat to Michigan on Oct. 10-12. Troop members had a chance to meet other young Scouts from across the country and participate in a weekend of activities.

Scouts in the program are also given an opportunity to enhance their skills in the key areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Ford said. Many of the schools on the West Side are either lacking in these areas or have no programs to offer young boys, Ford said.


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