Scouts can now go up a creek with Keeler Grant


Boy Scouts of America activities are designed to reinforce the motto, “Be Prepared.” To meet this goal, leaders try to see that kids have opportunities to do things they wouldn’t have a chance to experience if they were not part of the organization.

Members of the Diboll troop are now better able to do this thanks to a Keeler grant for new canoes.

The donation of $10,890 provided for the purchase of 10 three-person aluminum canoes. These canoes will be used by the troop in a variety of water activities and in developing life-saving skills. They will also be useful as the Scouts work toward earning certain merit badges in the program.

Sam Hankla, the troop committee chairman, explained why the new canoes were needed.

“Our old canoes were some that were owned by the families of our kids,” he said. “Honestly, some of them were not in very good shape, and we simply needed some that the Scouts could call their own.”

He said that the members can now take pride in ownership and can experience the responsibilities and rewards that come with caring for property.

“Scouting teaches leadership skills,” said Hankla. “The kids have assigned tasks and leadership positions which are designed to help them develop into more productive citizens. At the same time, many of the activities expose them to things they might use for a career.”

According to Hankla, this broadening of experience is one of the key facets of scouting. For example, some of the kids have never even been camping, much less gone canoeing, before joining scouts. Their participation allows them to do many new things.

Grants from the Thomas T. Keeler Grant Program go to organizations which seek to enhance the educational, social, and physical qualities of life within the community in the areas of education, health, community and social services, cultural arts, and the humanities. They are made in honor of Thomas T. Keeler and his wife Cora and in memory of his grandfather T.L.L. Temple and his mother Marquerite Temple Payne.

The Diboll Boy Scout troop, under the direction of Scoutmaster Raymond Sims, is one of the most active ones in the area. In addition to their activities within the group, they also perform a great deal of community service. They help transport canned goods for the Christian Information and Service Center, they perform flag ceremonies and march in parades, and they participate in National Forest and city-wide trash-off events.

“We want our scouts to be a positive presence in the community,” Hankla said.