WESTPORT – A new scouting group has been leading the way for community service and positive examples for children in the area since the beginning of the year.
The group, originally called the Cougar Boys, is run by volunteers at the Westport Christian Church. Since January, the scouts have met every Monday. They have also gone on several field trips, including a week-long campout.
Scott Henderson and Amy, Brad and Sami Stephens are the group’s leaders. They started the group to provide some structure and guidance for boys who would benefit from extra attention and additional people caring about their futures. The Cougar Boys, soon to be the Cougar Crew, is an independent scouting group and is not affiliated with either the Girl or Boy Scouts of America.
“We want to help the children understand community values and morals while learning about the Lord,” Brad Stephens said. “You don’t just have to sit inside; you can get out and have fun.”
Thanks to donations from the church, the community and the leaders themselves, all scouts are able to take part in activities free of cost, which may have prevented some of them from participating. The Cougar Boys have been very popular and will expand to include girls in June, prompting the name change to the Cougar Crew.
“It’s amazing the amount of community support we’ve gotten and how many girls are interested in joining,” Amy Stephens said.
Brad Stephens said they frequently have people coming to the church to ask what they’re doing. Many community members have contacted the Cougar Crew’s leaders to say that they’ve seen kids who would’ve run the streets causing trouble three or four months ago are now out picking up trash and actively helping others.
Henderson added that the group is not shy about taking the hard cases. In fact, the group leaders told the Daily News that several of the kids have ADHD, bipolar disorder and various other issues that could make it difficult for them to participate in group activities. A special education teacher from Jennings County also attends many of the meetings, providing support and helping leaders understand how to deal with the behaviors that come along with many of the disorders.