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  • Kim Piekos

Boy Scouts Raise Anticipation of Blooming Gardens with Annual Flower Sale

By Kim Piekos

In anticipation of spring, Lake Forest’s Boy Scout Troop 46 is focused on helping residents create beautiful gardens when it launches its annual flower sale on March 11.

The troop will be selling annuals, perennials, trees and mulch, supplied by Johnson Plants in Wisconsin and DK Organics in Lake Bluff. The sale runs through April 30; orders will be delivered to homes by Scouts on May 18.

“This is an incredibly important fundraising event for the Scouts as it helps to subsidize all the Scouting activities for the year,” says Flower Sale Parent Chair Chris Sorensen. “The Lake Forest and Lake Bluff communities have been immensely supportive of our Scouts over the years, and we are grateful for that.”

Gus Matkov will be happy to deliver flowers bought during the annual Boy Scout Troop 46 sale.

Money raised subsidizes membership dues and helps to offset expenses for campouts and other activities. It also helps support adventurous trips that allow Scouts to exercise skills they have learned through Merit Badge training and rank advancement. These trips range from wilderness backpacking at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico to Scuba Diving Certification at Sea Base in the Florida Keys.

“We are trying to make the benefits and thrill of Scouting accessible and affordable for all families,” Sorensen explains.

This year, Troop 46 is encouraging Lake Forest and Lake Bluff residents to order from their wide variety of flowers online via www.Troopflowers.com. Scouts will still do the traditional door-to-door canvassing.

“When a youth from Troop 46 approaches me for a sale, I always know the product is good quality and that the youth is learning important life lessons,” says Allison Waggoner, parent of two Eagle Scouts and vice president of communications for the Northeast Illinois Council, Boy Scouts of America. “Through these sales, the Scouts gain self-confidence and people, money management and salesmanship skills as well as an understanding of business ethics that help prepare them for life. The fact that they deliver to my house is an added bonus.”

Troop 46, which is chartered by the Lake Forest First Presbyterian Church and is comprised of 30 youths ages 8-18, will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2026. It prides itself on the 250 Eagle Scouts it has produced over its decades in town.  To attain the highest rank in Scouting, Eagle Scout, Scouts must complete a community service project. Eagle projects currently underway include refurbishing American flags posted by the American Legion for July 4, Lake Forest Day and Veterans Day and a wildlife conservation project in conjunction with Great Lakes Naval Station, among other impactful projects.

“Very few boys and girls achieve the Eagle Scout rank because it’s a substantial challenge to meet,” Sorensen says. “As they complete a project that benefits the community, they have to plan the project and lead other Scouts effectively in getting the work done. It’s a testament to their vision, leadership and execution.”

Sorensen credits Troop 46 with teaching him valuable life skills.  

“I was a member of this Troop when I was a kid and I’m a Troop dad now,” he explains. “Not only did I learn technical skills like camping and first aid, and fun skills such as cross-country skiing and rock climbing, I also learned leadership skills that I’ve adapted into my career and family life.”

The leaders of Troop 46 encourage independence in the Scouts.

“We try to have the Scouts do as much as possible on their own in order to build their skills, confidence and leadership abilities,” says Sorensen. “On campouts, they bring their own food and cooking supplies, set up their own tents and manage their own campsite. We encourage them to adapt and overcome and, if they forget their frying pan, for instance, they have to figure it out.” A recent Tufts University multi-year study to determine “Does Scouting Work?” underscores the value of Scouting in the lives of those who participate. The survey of 1,800 Cub Scouts and 400 children not involved found that youth in Scouting became significantly more cheerful, helpful, kind, obedient, trustworthy and hopeful about their future than non-Scouts.

Sorensen believes Scouting engenders invaluable traits and knowledge that are not taught in school.

“It’s about helping the Scouts be competent and confident,” says Sorensen. “I believe that we learn best by stepping outside our comfort zone -- but not into the danger zone.  Scouting gives kids the ability to safely expand their horizons and learn skills needed to make the most of life. “

 

 

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