Saturday, August 20, 2005

International Scouting Program Blossoming in North-Central Iraq Community

Story and Photo by the 116th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

Image hosted by Photobucket.comFORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, Iraq – A group of over 100 scouts and adult leaders met in Hasar, Iraq, August 4 to learn cooking, teamwork and other skills from the community’s growing co-ed International Scouting Program.

The fledgling program, known as Kashafa, began July 7 when soldiers of the 116th Brigade Combat Team’s Task Force 1-148 Field Artillery and leaders from the community of Hasar, Iraq, celebrated a ribbon cutting and inauguration of the program. By that time, leaders had been trained, uniforms distributed to participants and weekly meetings planned.

“Local educators coordinated with us to start a scouting program in order to provide the youth in their village with a more creative and engaging outlet,” said Capt. Lane Packwood, a TF 1-148 Field Artillery battery commander who helped train the adult scouting leaders. “Once the adult proctors had been trained on how to run a scout troop, the groups were formed.”

The Hasar Kashafa consists of three co-ed scouting groups—Tigers (8-11 yr olds), Lightning (12-14 yr olds) and Eagles (15-18 yr olds). The groups meet weekly and have 110-120 regular participants.

“This scouting group shows a good example of a community group working together to create an organization that gives back to the community,” said Packwood.

Working with local leaders to establish community-building programs in the province of Kirkuk is part of the 116th Brigade Combat Team’s mission while deployed in north central Iraq. The unit’s mission also includes assisting Iraq’s new government, supporting economic development, facilitating communications and improving security and stability in the region.