By BRANDON KATHMAN
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America’s regional Greater Tampa Bay Area Council will honor local sheriff’s offices with Participating Citizenship Awards in a series of virtual events from October 26 through October 28.
The Badge of Honor Virtual Event “recognizes the selfless service of local heroes” in the nine departments serving the Council’s territory, including deputies of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Council’s director of field service, Dwayne Jones. Local premieres of each county’s honoree tribute will feature guest appearances by Senator Rick Scott, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers standout, Ronde Barber.
“The community wouldn’t be what it is without law enforcement keeping our families safe,” Holly Swenson, a parent with Troop 433 in Spring Hill, said.
Hernando County’s ceremony is stated to be streamed on October 27 at 6:30 p.m. The Council will also recognize the sheriff’s offices of Citrus, Sumter, Pasco, Hillsborough, Polk, and Highlands Counties during separate streamed ceremonies throughout the week.
“Through all of this, we are excited to know that many of the tenants of Scouting such as helping our neighbors, checking in on those in need, and putting others before ourselves has strengthened our sense of community and civic duty,” Jones said. “Participating citizenship is at the foundation of the lessons learned in the Scouting programs.”
The Boy Scouts of America partners with numerous agencies across the country to offer the Law Enforcement Exploring Program to young men and women ages 14 to 21. Locally, the program gives youth in Hernando County an experiential education of the criminal justice system through training and competition. Hernando County’s Post 409 regularly places in competitions with other posts across Florida and enjoys a friendly but spirited rivalry with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Post 916.
The Greater Tampa Bay Area Council also hosts the deputies of the sheriff’s office and state troopers during their regular training sessions at Sand Hill Scout Reservation’s outdoor shooting ranges. Even police canines train on the property on occasion.
“Because of our relationship with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, our shooting sports facilities are active and well maintained,” Director of Camping Jason Borton said.
The event will also provide an opportunity for viewers to donate to support local programs like Exploring and traditional Scouting. According to the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council, this will help Scouting’s districts and properties weather what has been a challenging year for all nonprofit organizations.
To watch any of the award streams, go to tampabayscouting.org and select “Badge of Honor,” to view the schedule and links, or call 352-459-9375 for details.