HELENA — Joining Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts offers kids an opportunity to help their community, and East Helena Troop 212 has dedicated their volunteer time to help in national parks, earning a badge for their hard work.
“You're forced to slow down and experience the park and what our Park Rangers do and how much work and responsibility it is to have a national park,” said Eric Sommer, the East Helena Troop 212 Committee Chair.
Sommer says the troop has done more than 240 hours of volunteer work in the last year, with the Scouts putting in some of that hard work while in Grand Teton National Park.
"We help them with putting oil on the bridge so be more resistant to touch and the sun, and we also helped with flopping the extra tree limbs that are in the trail and clean up. It was a pretty fun experience because we also saw some bears,” said James Irby, who has been in the Cubs and Boy Scout program for 6 years.
Not just bears—they saw other animals they have never seen in person before.
“We saw a moose and some black bear,” said Carter Sommer who has been involved in the troop for five years.
And there are even more benefits to being a Scout.
“You get to meet a lot of people and do a lot of service work for others,” said Caleb Madsen who has been a Scout for six years.
Sommer says for him, the most rewarding part is seeing the kids grow through the program…
“It’s great to see these kids grow from a Cub Scout to an Eagle Scout,” said Sommer.
The program teaches kids responsibility and how to be good citizens.
"It's just really a great program for kids and you know, we do a lot of good work,” said Sommer.
To find your local troop you can visit the BSA website here.