United Way reaches 15 percent of its goal

LEWISTOWN – The United Way of Mifflin-Juniata has reached 15 percent, or $89,897 of its $600,000 goal during the campaign that began on Sept. 18 and runs until March 15, 2014.

The Juniata Valley Council Boy Scouts is one of the agencies that benefits from working with the United Way. The ‘be prepared’ motto may conjure images of building campfires and tying square knots, but today’s Boy Scouts are learning much more.

For nearly 80 years, the Juniata Valley Council Boy Scouts of America has stood as an essential member of the local community. The United Way of Mifflin-Juniata helps to fund the Scouts’ Comprehensive Youth Development, a dynamic program that reaches area adolescents.

The local Juniata Valley Council boasts 462 active youth members which are spread over three key programs – Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturing. While the first two groups are familiar to most, the newest addition is a groundbreaking project. Venturing is a co-ed group that invites young adults, 14 to 24 years of age, to explore common interests together.

Brooke Millisock, of Milroy, says she has personally excelled during her time in Venturing. She describes Crew 152 as “one big outdoorsy team” that bonds over hiking, camping and white water rafting. For her, Boy Scouts is an inviting atmosphere.

“I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be myself,” Millisock said, discussing her service as a staff member at Seven Mountains Boy Scout Camp in the spring.

She said her love for ecology and biology is greatly utilized as she teaches campers to appreciate the outside world. She observes that “The kids learn to truly enjoy nature.” With a passion for the outdoors and an excitement to teach others, Brooke is a perfect representative for all that the Scouts stand for.

Dave Blehi, senior district executive of the Shawnee District, said he has personally witnessed the lifelong benefits of being a Boy Scout.

“When you teach your scout a skill, they might find themselves using it 10 years from now,” Blehi explained.

The Juniata Valley Council’s mission for reaching local youth is an important component in United Way’s 2014 campaign. For participants like Brooke Millisock, that lifelong learning has just begun.