In 2013, America's oldest Boy Scout council is turning 100 years old, a milestone that many organizations never reach.
The council, in which more than a thousand scouts still serve their communities, touts one of the highest percentages of trained adult leaders and one of the highest advancement rates in the country. Local residents may be surprised to find out that council happens to be the Chief Cornplanter Council, headquartered in Warren.
With the centennial of Boy Scouting in the area approaching, local scouts and scouters have been busy preparing a year-long celebration of the event.
"We're doing great," says Scout Executive Kevin Bonner. "With our council celebrating 100 years next year, we've planned an event every month to correspond with the 12 points of the Scout Oath."
Still riding the high of the 100th anniversary of scouting in America in 2010, the Chief Cornplanter Council intends on carrying all of the excitement associated with it right into the next year of celebrations.
Heidi Powley, chair of the 100th Anniversary Committee, and her team have created events like "Scout Sunday" in which the area scouts will celebrate their reverent side with a church service they are hoping will feature 100 buglers playing "Church Call."
In addition to traditional events such as the Klondike Derby, in which scouts test their skills and leadership over a challenging winter course, several other gatherings will honor the area's achievement.
Despite a slight flatline in scouting throughout the nation, the local scouts continue to excel, most recently working their way to great success with their Fall Popcorn Sale. The 24 Eagle Scouts, the highest rank achievable, in the past two years is another indication that scouting in the area is as popular as ever.
With planning for the 100th Anniversary near completion, focus now shifts to the upcoming 2013 Boy Scout Jamboree in which 60 scouts from the area will be attending - an all-time high in part to the recent inclusion of Venture Scouts at the event.