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Courtesy photo. John Copeland.

Courtesy photo. John Copeland.

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Jane Parikh for the photo and information in this story.)

John Copeland said the up-close view he had of a career exploration program offered through a local Boy Scout Council motivated him to get involved with Scouting on a much deeper level.

Copeland, who works to raise funds for a University of Michigan Health System cancer program, is the recipient of a Silver Beaver Award for his involvement with Scouting. The award is the council-level distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America. Recipients of this award are registered adult leaders who have made an impact on the lives of youth through service given to the council.

“I see this award as a real honor,” Copeland said in a press release. “To be recognized within the Scouting community means a great deal to me.”

His involvement with Southern Shores began when he saw the value that young people were getting out of an Explorer Post at a company he was working for. The Explorer program is a co-ed opportunity for high school-age youth to learn more about particular career fields that they may be interested. Explorer Posts are set up at sponsoring organizations such as police departments or manufacturing facilities and these sponsors provide a place for the Explorers to meet and to get a better idea of what is done there.

“I thought it was great to see youth getting exposure to the trades and other types of vocations,” Copeland said.

So, he was very supportive of his son’s decision to join the Cub Scouts. Now a junior at the U of M, Copeland’s son earned his Eagle Scout Award in 2011 while with Troop 476 and helped to re-launch a Venture Crew, focused on sports shooting, from the Huron Trails District of Southern Shores. The Venture program is another co-ed opportunity offered through the Boy Scouts of America at the Council level which is more of an outdoor adventure experience. It is open to youth in high school through age 21 and the Venture Crew members decide what they would like to explore as a group.

Copeland and his son spent a lot of time together in Cub Scouts and into Webelos. Once his son became a Boy Scout, Copeland decided to take a behind-the scenes role to support his son’s troop and Huron Trails. He is currently the Friends of Scouting chairman for Southern Shores and former District Chairman for Huron Trails.

“Scouting is not as visible in communities now as it has been in the past,” Copeland said. “The world continues to evolve and change and people have less time for outside activities like service clubs. Their focus is more on career or family obligations.

“With young people technology is both and opportunity and a downfall. Scouting gets young people out of doors and gives them the ability to explore real life situations.”

Matthew Adams, scout executive with the Southern Shores Field Service Council, said Copeland is a true ambassador for Scouting.

“John’s willingness to go out and share our story is key to our continued success in our Huron Trails District, in addition to Southern Shores,” Adams said. “He never passes up an opportunity to meet with different groups and organizations to secure support so that more boys can have a Scouting experience that they will only get through Boy Scouts.”

Through watching his son’s Scouting journey, Copeland said he saw the leadership and life skills his son learned that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

“There is no other organization that helps shape young people’s positive leadership skills and engagement in society like the Boy Scouts,” Copeland said. “When you share with people the impact Scouting had had on a family and the opportunities for parents to see the growth and development of their own child, people get it.”

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