MASSENA Boys in grades one through eight have a chance to earn badges and help out in the community as part of a new program beginning next week at The Salvation Army in Massena.
The Boys Adventure Corps, which begins Sept. 4 from 6 to 7 p.m., is a troop-based character-building program with a biblical focus and trained leaders.
All boys are welcome, and they can earn badges in such areas as aviation and physical fitness.
Lt. Cynthia Crowsen said the program, as well as the Sunbeams and Girls Guard program that will be offered to girls, is an offshoot of the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts.
Sunbeams are for girls in grades one through five, while the Girls Guard program is for those in grades six through 12.
The Salvation Army started out with the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America a long time ago. They were working together, Lt. Crowsen said.
But when the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts stopped having biblical messages behind each badge their members could earn, The Salvation Army continued with its Bible-based version of the programs, she said.
We do a devotion with each badge. ... Anything from arts to world studies. Boys learn about airplanes and space study; they learn about trees and how to take care of animals, she said.
Theres also archery and basic camping skills for girls, as well as other activities to get the members involved in the community, such as visiting nursing homes or making gifts for nursing home residents.
Theres always a community aspect to remind them that they are a part of our community, she said.
Lt. Crowsen and her husband, Russell, were involved with the Sunbeam and Boys Adventure Corps programs during their last assignment in North Adams, Mass., and she said theyve been working all summer to make Massenas program just as successful.
Its open to anyone, she said. You dont have to go to church anywhere.
Both the boys and girls will meet once a week, from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. Lt. Crowsen said that makes it easier for parents who have both boys and girls attending the program.
All sashes and badges for the programs are paid for by The Salvation Army, according to the lieutenant, but they do require dues of 5 cents a week from their members, which makes it affordable for all families.
We know some families where money is a hindrance, she said. It helps us know theyre committed to the program. Were just hoping that 5 cents shows theyre committed to doing it.
Transportation is available if needed to attend the program by calling 769-5154.
It opens up the doors to anyone. We will be able to pick up anyone who needs a ride to the program. We have to get permission from parents to pick them up. Just give the office a call, Lt. Crowsen said.