FORT LEE, Va. (Aug. 8, 2013) -- A Fort Lee employee and retired Coast Guard member recently volunteered at the Boy Scouts of America National Scout Jamboree July 15-24 in Mount Hope, W.Va.
Retired Senior Chief Petty Officer Charles T. Phillips, who works as a personnel security specialist with the 59th Ordnance Brigade, has been involved with the Scouts for more than 50 years, first as a Cub Scout and continuing today to guide his son Michael through his scouting career.
Both Phillips and his son achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, a feat only five percent of the organization’s members, said Phillips. Currently, he serves as the troop committee member to determine the qualifications and readiness of the Boy Scouts for advancement within the ranks of Troop 528 out of Sandston. He’s been involved with that troop for 23 years.
Phillips said he has participated in the last two jamborees as an Eagle Scout and U.S. Coast Guardsman. The events are held every four years, and this was the first year for the event to be held in West Virginia.
“The National Boy Scout Jamboree draws tens of thousands of Scouts, Venture Scouts, volunteers and staff from all over the country and several international delegations, to celebrate Scouting, its diversity and its important influence on young people’s growth, development and involvement as citizens, both as individuals and as a group,” said Phillips. “The 10-day event helps prepare our nation’s youth to face and overcome challenges, while providing them with the opportunity to camp out, meet new friends, try adventure activities they wouldn’t necessarily have the chance to try anywhere else, learn new skills, work on merit badges and enjoy the outdoors.”
This year, Phillips was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard National Jamboree Task Force.
“I volunteered to provide information, activities coordination and education experiences to show the Boy Scouts more about the Coast Guard,” said Phillips, who led an exhibit showing how the Coast Guard prevents vessels from sinking. “There was lots of water involved, and the boys had a great time trying not to ‘sink the boat.’”
It’s an honor to help individuals advance in the Boy Scouts, said Phillips.
“It’s a great feeling and personally very rewarding to be able to teach and share life lessons with tomorrow’s leaders,” he said. “The BSA has the motto of ‘Be Prepared,’ and the Coast Guard has the motto of ‘Semper Paratus,’ which means ‘Always Ready.’ They’re basically the same and the way I have chosen to live my life and share my experiences with my son, Michael, and hundreds of Scouts over the years.”
Phillips says he plans to continue volunteering with the Boy Scouts and encourages others to try it.
“I would encourage everyone to take the time to reach out, mentor, teach, guide and listen to a young person and participate in the world of Scouting to help prepare our youth for what’s ahead of them,” he said.
“If we don’t provide our young people with the ‘tools’ to work with and the guidance of experience, then how can we expect them to build a better tomorrow?”