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Fire Departments Should Not Be Supporting the Boy Scouts of America a Discriminatory Organization

Phillips brings back Boy Scouts Troop 911 chartered by local fire department

By Gretchen Fowler

PHILLIPS, NE -- When the Phillips Volunteer Fire Department was approached about chartering the town's first Boy Scout troop since 1983, Fire Chief Steve Stauffer said there was nothing to discuss.

"It was a slam dunk," Stauffer said of the decision to charter Troop 911.

Recognizing the firefighters for their contributions, Scoutmaster Dave Sims said, "These guys were unanimous in their support."

The troop of nine boys, ages 11-14, was officially established in July. And in honor of the firefighters who helped them get started, it was appropriately named Troop 911.

"This has really become a partnership for us," Sims said, noting that the fire department hosted a first aid and emergency preparedness workshop for the Scouts on Sept. 11.

Prior to having their own troop, the boys' parents had to drive them to Aurora. Now the young Scouts can walk or ride their bikes to their meetings, they have a sense of identity, and Cheryl Sims said, they're excited about doing things for their community.

"They are so enthused about having this Scout troop in this town," Jodi Stauffer said. "They can claim it. This is theirs. They know they're starting something that's going to build."

Stauffer said the Girl Scouts program was resurrected in Phillips five years ago and has grown to include Daisies, Brownies, Juniors and Cadettes. She said the group has done well, and she feels the Boy Scouts
have just as much, if not more, potential.

Six of the nine boys in Troop 911 live in Phillips, one comes from Aurora, and two come from Marquette.

The community was introduced to the troop during last weekend's annual festival. The boys made a float for the parade, sold ice cream and helped with games.

"It was just amazing the community support that came to us," Sims said.

Sims said people approached the Scouts throughout the festival and told them how happy they were to see a local troop in action once again. Having a troop in Phillips gives a sense of identity back to the community as well as something for the kids to be excited about.

As he stood with his fellow Scouts outside the Phillips Fire Hall, Ben Sohl said, "Our goal is to do as much as we can for this town, and help each other."

The other Scouts agreed and said they can't wait to become Eagle Scouts down the road.

Sims said people in town have already expressed interest in expanding to Cub Scouts and other levels of the Boy Scouts locally. And while that's a possibility, the focus now is on the nine Scouts who've already constructed an award-winning catapult and who are looking forward to an October Camporee at Camp Augustine at Grand Island.

"I think this can do a lot to re-establish pride in the community," Jodi Stauffer said. "It's a good, solid peer group to be a part of."

The last active Boy Scout troop in Phillips was Troop 183, which was in existence from 1961 to 1983.

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