Andy Klein set out to raise $100,000 for Boy Scouts in Harford County as this year’s Good Scout Award honoree.
He didn’t meet his goal, but Klein, president and CEO of Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland, helped raise more than $80,000. It ranks close to the top of funds raised in Harford County for area Boy Scouts.
Klein, whose family owns nine Klein’s ShopRite stores — seven in Harford, one in Baltimore County and one in Baltimore City — is a former Boy Scout with Troop 999 at Forest Hill Christ Episcopal Church, and was happy to receive the award.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the Scouting program,” said Klein, who was honored at a banquet May 16 at Maryland Golf and Country Clubs in Bel Air. “I firmly believe in what Scouting does for young men, and soon to be young women.”
Beginning in February 2019, the Boy Scout program name will change to “Scouts BSA” and will begin serving girls, as well as boys.
Recipients of the Good Scout Award are chosen for their outstanding community service as evidenced by the interest and leadership they have given to many worthwhile organizations, as well as the respect and esteem in which they are held by their colleagues.
Typically, between $40,000 to $60,000 is raised each year. Klein raised money through sponsorships as well as a shopping day at all nine Klein’s stores when 1 percent of all proceeds were donated to Boys Scouts, Klein said.
This award is presented to people who exemplify in their daily lives the ideals of the Boy Scouts of America as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law, according to the program.
Boy Scouts will do their best “to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight,” according to the Scout Oath and are “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent,” according to the Scout Law.
Honorees, chosen by a committee led by the previous year’s Good Scout, are challenged to raise money for Boy Scouts, specifically to be used in Harford County, Tyler Korpisz, district executive for Harford District Baltimore Area Council of Boy Scouts of America, said.
“It’s very important to recognize the people in Harford County that make Scouting possible,” Korpisz said. “This money as well as other money collected at other fundraisers allows us to continue to put on the program of Scouting.”
Funds raised will go to the operating budget of the Harford Boy Scouts — the professional budget, the campground, camping sessions and other things.
Klein said the Boy Scout’s Broad Creek reservation in Whiteford could benefit from the funds raised. Klein camped there as a Boy Scout.
“It’s not going to fix everything at Broad Creek, but it’s momentum to get it started,” he said. “It’s a natural resource we’re lucky to have in Harford County.”
In addition to cabin and mess hall restoration, Klein said he’d like to see the large lake at the camp cleared out “so it’s functional.”
Scouts teach a number of practical skills and life skills, Klein said.
“When I came in as a Tenderfoot, I didn’t know a lot about how to work as a team and how to survive,” he said. “In this world, Scouting teaches you that.”
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Scouts learn basic first aid, how to survive in adverse conditions, rope tying, building bridges, water purification, among other things, he said.
“They’re a lot of skills that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life,” Klein said.
The less hands-on but equally important skills include working with other people.
“You’re an individual, but yet you’re part of a team, which is really great. Teamwork is essential in the development of Scouting,” Klein said.
It also gets youngsters away from electronic devices, he said.
“Those instant communication devices like cell phones you really don’t need,” Klein said.
“It’s a great program. We need more of these programs in our country right now. It works as well in urban areas as it does in rural areas. You get a diversity of talent and people there. It teaches you how to live with other young people.”