GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Boy Scouts in Grand Rapids are in for some big changes thanks to the generosity of donors and the efforts of some familiar local faces.
Outside of the DeVos Family Center for Scouting on Tuesday, board members with the local chapter of the Boy Scouts announced the launch of their Build Character Today, Lead Tomorrow initiative. They’ve already raised over $5 million, and say they’re only half way towards their ultimate goal.
The money raised will go directly back to scout troupes. Through renovations at the DeVos Scouting Center and the implementation of new programs, scouts will now have a more hands-on curriculum focused on STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
It’s an area fundraisers say is just begging for skilled employees, and their aim is to prepare these young men for future career paths down the line.
“It’s a challenge, but also a huge opportunity,” said Dick DeVos at the announcement ceremony, “and we want to be sure that young people are absolutely prepared for those jobs right here at home so they can grow up in Grand Rapids, stay in Grand Rapids, and mature and grow and contribute here.”
Mike Jandernoa, former president and CEO of Perrigo Company, agrees. He and DeVos were both scouts in their youth, and understand the importance scouting programs can play in shaping the lives of local youngsters.
“We have a huge need for skilled job employees across our community and west Michigan and in fact the entire state,” said Jandernoa, “and we need to provide an opportunity for these scouts to understand what STEM is about and what kind of career potential this provides them.”
Along with an emphasis on new technology, the money raised will also place focus on making sure inner city scouts have proximity to a real camping experience at the DeVos Family Scouting Center. DeVos and Jandernoa said it’s important to provide urban scouts with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and hands on experience they might not get at home.