By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 100th birthday and Tupelo was invited.
The organization rolled out its Adventure Base 100 at The Mall at Barnes Crossing Saturday morning, giving participants the ultimate Scouting experience. The 10,000-square-foot mobile campus provided the public with all the information and hands-on fun they’d be involved with in the organization.
Mitch Johnson, district director for Boy Scouts of America, said even though Tupelo was one of the smaller cities on the 40-city tour, the turnout Saturday was great.
“It’s only noon and we’ve already had 700 people to come by,” said Johnson. “This is just a way for us to show people across the country what Scouting is about and it’s a great recruiting tool. We want people to see for themselves what the Scouts are about so they’ll want to join and reap the lifelong benefits.”
Johnson said the mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to teach young people to make ethical decisions throughout their lives.
One of the biggest attractions of the Adventure Base 100 was the IMAX-like video in the Go Scouting! Dome. The Dome is a multi-sensory experience that offered visitors the sights, smells and sounds of Scouting.
Justin Towns, 13, of Tupelo is not involved in Boy Scouts, but after exiting the Go Scouting! Dome, Towns said he wanted to join.
“You could hear the campfire and smell the wood and it all seems very fun,” he said. “I thought the Boy Scouts was hard work, but now I see it can be a fun experience.”
Other attractions like the National Scouting Museum and the rope course also drew interest. Children played on the rope course as parents gathered more information on the organization.
Johnson said he believed Tupelo was a good location for the event, despite its small population compared to other stops the tour has made like New Orleans and San Diego, Calif. Brian Steger, Scout executive for the Yocona Area Council in Tupelo, also was pleased to see Tupelo as one of the stops.
“Our goal is to engage those interested in the Boy Scouts of America in a new and exciting way,” said Steger. “We are thrilled to bring this experience to Tupelo to celebrate our rich 100-year heritage, spark fond memories in former Scouts and alumni, and intrigue those who may be interested in learning more about our organization.”
The Adventure Base 100 will be open today from noon until 6 p.m. in the parking lot of the mall between Dick’s Sporting Goods and Sears. It leaves for Houston, Texas, later today. The final stop will be in New York City in November.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.