Local Cub Scout Pack Sends Scouting Across the World
In 2012, Jeff Shepard of Kingston Springs visited a youth camp for orphanages and abused children called Jeremiah’s Hope in the Ukraine. Serving children throughout the Ivankiv region, part of the camps mission is to function as a rescue shelter for youth who have been severely abused and abandoned by their parents.
The founder of the camp, Andrew Kelly, had a background in Cub Scouts and knew Jeff was serving as a Cubmaster in Kingston Springs. Andrew suggested a great service project for the pack would be to supply Pinewood Derby cars for his campers. He recognized that the skills and morale building that comes as part of doing a Pinewood Derby car would really benefit the kids he serves at Jeremiah’s Hope. Pack 598 in Kingston Springs took up the challenge and sent 30 kits for the campers to build. “This opportunity gave our Scouts a chance to see how they’re part of a big world, but even in a faraway place like Ukraine there are kids just like them who enjoy the same things they do. It’s a great thing to help others,” Shepard said.
Shepard and his family are leaving for Bulgaria on August 12th to work with young people at the Renaissance Church of Christ in Sofia, and both he and his wife Lisa will teach at the American English Academy. The Shepard’s have a son Avery and daughter Elise who will also make the trip. Their connection to Bulgaria is because of their adoption of daughter Elise from country three years ago.
Although the family will have to leave the Scouting program in the U.S., they plan to start a Boy Scout troop with local American youth so don’t miss out on the program simply because their parents live in Bulgaria. “More broadly than just Americans, we all wear World Scout Emblem (the purple patch). Bulgaria has its own Scouting organization, part of the World Organization of Scouting, and I know that we have a lot we can teach them – and a lot we can learn from them! Developing a relationship with the Bulgarian Scout organization is one of the things I’m most excited about, because it will give our American scouts opportunities for growth that few scouts ever have,” Shepard said.