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A Family Affair

New ‘Campership’ Will Make Scouting Experiences More Accessible

For 32 years, Gordon Wilcox dedicated his time helping young people through Boy Scouts of America, from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts to district level leadership and serving as camp and shooting director for Camp Seph Mack, his daughter, Sara Wilcox, said. When her son was old enough to begin in the program, Sara knew she wanted him to be involved in an organization that mattered so much to his grandpa. Finding her neighborhood program to be run poorly, she switched her son, Andrew, to be part of a unit that was a better fit: Sara could serve as a leader and her father returned to the Pack level to become the Cub Master. This environment supported her desire for Andrew to learn the respect and honor that scouting represents. Sara served as a leader for 17 years at the Pack, Troop, and District levels. Eventually, all three of her sons participated, and Andrew earned his Eagle Scout rank.

Unfortunately, Gordon passed away in 2005. “I’ve been wanting to do something to honor my dad’s service in scouting,” Sara said. “Outside family, scouting was his whole life.”

Andrew stunned his leaders and peers with an Eagle Scout project to rebuild a wetlands conservation deck and create an elaborately designed outdoor classroom. When it came time for Andrew to be awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, he chose to give his mentor pin—a pin a scout can award to any non-parent who was instrumental in helping them earning their Eagle rank—in honor of his late grandfather. In July of 2020, Andrew passed away after his battle with cancer. Sara has already launched a scholarship fund to honor his spirit of giving and dedication to everything he set his mind to, in addition to his drive to learn. You can find more information about that fund by CLICKING HERE.

The new fund, the Gordon and Andrew Wilcox Scout Campership Fund, will provide financial support to help scouts in the Keystone District of the Laurel Highlands Council Boy Scouts of America attend camp or leadership training.

“My dad is the reason Andrew and I got into Scouts,” Sara said. “It’s been important to our whole family growing up. All of the children would do things together, and my mom was a scout leader or volunteering with a committee for about 20 years, too. This fund is a great way to help young people in their memory. It’s a way to tie the two of them together with something that they love.”

While most camp opportunities cost $500 or less for scouts, some are more expensive, up to $2,000, and having multiple children in scouts can quickly make participating in special events cost-prohibitive. Through the fund, families in need can apply for up to the full cost needed, with a max award amount of $1,000. Access the online application by CLICKING HERE.

“There have been things I couldn’t afford for my boys to participate in, and that saddens me because they enjoyed those camping trips and adventures,” Sara said. “The parents make the boys a priority and make sure they get to do as much as possible, but despite best intentions, not every parent can make that happen. If there is a scout who is enthusiastic for that type of an adventure, I want them to be able to go.”

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