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  • Kurt Fedewa

The Portland Boy Scouts

The Portland area Boy Scouts are alive and well. John Sheehan serves as scout master.

“The Portland boy scouts are chartered by the Grand River Conservation Club,” said Sheehan. “They sponsor our scouting organization and they provide us with what we need.”

Sheehan has been scout master for six years and is himself an Eagle scout. His son, Jack, is involved in the scouts as well.

“Jack is a Life scout and is presently working on being an Eagle.” said Sheehan. “I am very proud of him.”

Sheehan finds much value in scouting.

“It’s an organization that lets kids try things that they wouldn’t ordinarily do—like riding a four-wheeler,” he said. “We are also focused on teaching the boys generalized life skills, such as cooking, taking care of themselves, and in developing good communications skills.”

Sheehan says that the scouts are offered opportunities to expand their horizons.

“The boys are introduced to people from outside of their area, such as scouts from other states and scouts from other countries,” he said. “This contact broadens their experience of life and it helps make them well-rounded adults.”

Sheehan says that the boy scouts often work with younger cub scouts.

“The boy scouts teach the cubs good things, such as camping activities, crafts, and how to work as a team,” he said. “The boy scouts expect a great deal out of other scouts, including the cubs. They hold each other accountable for good behavior. This makes for better kids and for better adults when they grow older.”

Scouting has changed over the years.

“There’s more flexibility now,” said Sheehan. “When I was a scout, we needed a swimming merit badge in order to proceed to Eagle scout. Now we allow the boy to excel in some other physical activity. He need not be a good swimmer to be an Eagle.”

Sheehan says that the scouting officials have made other changes.

“There’s more emphasis on socialization now and on learning teamwork,” he said. “I encourage this so that we can get better adults for the community. We need adults who will participate in community projects and who will volunteer for the community. Scouting helps make this happen.”

After some decline during Covid-19, the scouts are making a comeback.

“We’re growing again,” said Sheehan. “And we’re offering the scouts more than in the past. It’s a good time to be a scout. I would encourage boys to sign up. They won’t regret this decision.”

People with an interest in scouting may call John Sheehan at 248-320-9250.

Photo courtesy of John Sheehan.


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