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School board celebrates Boy Scouts centennial

BRADENTON — Dressed in his khaki and green Boy Scout uniform adorned with dozens of merit badges, Southeast High School senior and Eagle Scout Edison Dohms stood before the Manatee County school board Monday night and explained how being a Boy Scout helped him become a man.

Since becoming member of local Troop 68 in 2009, the 18-year-old has built character, excelled in school and been accepted to the Air Force Academy in Colorado.

Dohms was among dozens of scouts who attended the meeting during which the board proclaimed its appreciation for the Boy Scouts of America as the national organization celebrates its 100th year of scouting this month.

“The Air Force looks for candidates who know how to conduct themselves spiritually, academically, physically and mentally, and I’m now prepared,” said Dohms. “Boy Scouts has been a great journey.”

After he spoke, the board designated 2010 as the Centennial Anniversary of Boy Scouts in Manatee County.

“Scout units in Manatee County and their fellow scouts across America will be participating in the centennial celebration and begin their 101st year of growing boys into men,” Circuit Judge Gilbert Smith read from a proclamation.

Locally, Manatee is one of four districts in the Southwest Florida Council Boy Scouts of America, headquartered in Fort Myers.

There are about 2,000 youth members and 400 adult volunteers in the Manatee district, said Mac Aldrich, the Manatee District SFC Boy Scouts of America vice chair.

“It’s our 100th anniversary of leading boys into becoming young men and learning about leadership and the skills to be successful in life,” said Aldrich, who is also an instructional technology specialist for the school district.

Judge Smith, who became an Eagle Scout in Manatee in 1969, is the Manatee District chairman.

“Scouts teaches principles that make responsible citizens and individuals who have a lot of integrity,” said Smith, who handles felony cases for the local circuit court. “With the business I’m in everyday I’m reminded how important it is for young people to have guidance and be taught how they should conduct themselves in life, to others and themselves.”

School board member Barbara Harvey thanked the scouts for their commitment as the audience applauded.

“You do so much for our county as well as all U.S. citizens,” Harvey said.

Greg Graham, SFC scout executive, did not attend the meeting, but in a letter to the board thanked the district for its continued support of the organization.

“Together,” he wrote, “the Manatee County School System and Boy Scouts of America can continue to positively impact the development of youth in becoming better students, individuals of strong character and participating citizens in our community.”

Southeast High senior Mark Nanney, an Eagle Scout with local Troop 10, said leadership instilled from the organization is something to be respected.

“Many think it’s not cool to be a part of the scouts, but it’s really something to be proud of,” said Nanney, 18.

In other business Monday, the board:

n Hired Scott Martin, 38, as the new Manatee County School District attorney. He replaces Rob Shapiro, who resigned from the position for health reasons. For the past eight years, Martin worked as general counsel at Data Partners, a Fort Myers database marketing firm.

n Presented district technology director George Vensel with a Making It Happen Award for his leadership efforts in updating technology in the district.

n Announced Read Across Manatee begins on March 2.