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  • Nedim Abdullahi

Scouting for Faith and Excellence: Troop 220's Journey of Growth and Values

The Boy Scout Association (BSA) is a globally renowned youth organization known by many around the world for its prestigious programs centered around building physical, mental, and character strength in its participants. Founded in 1910, its mission statement is to “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” The founder of scouting, Robert Baden-Powell, formed the organization in hopes of serving his community and country. Now, the current troop leader of Scout Troop 220, Walid Awad, hopes to carry this mission to PVS and teach the next generation of Muslims how to be physically strong while maintaining a robust Islamic identity.

Troop 220 was established in October of 2006 and started off with only a handful of kids, who joined after their parents learned about the group through the masjid or close community members. At its start, the group was mainly focused on recreational activities such as hiking and camping, with a purpose of training members to be comfortable in the wilderness and providing an active outdoor experience in Allah's creation. As the years progressed, the members became older. In this stage, the members started earning badges for various tasks, such as earning badges for various tasks, such as learning how to tie specific knots, start a fire, and acquire other life skills.

Troop 220 picked up a few more members in the years following, but it was still a smaller troop of around 30 members or so. The focus of the troop shifted to helping members establish a strong Islamic identity. Trips were held nearly every week, and members failed to leave without learning at least one or two new things each time. Badge earning was at an all-time high, as the troop now had incorporated visiting the Scout University at Holy Family Catholic Church in Brentwood, where members would take courses teaching life skills like cutting and stitching pouches from leather, managing finances, and taxes. Meetings, which were now held on a weekly basis, were used to either catch up on badges or to plan the upcoming trip. During these meetings, Brother Walid would usually encourage members to plan the details of financing the food and supplies to instill leadership, budgeting, and wise spending skills in the youth.

On these camping trips, the troop would hold a short speech on various Islamic topics after every prayer, centered on Islamic values on how to better themselves. On these trips, members learned about Civil War history or visited national parks. Members also participated in activities like fishing, swimming, hiking, digging for rare earth minerals, kayaking, wall climbing, archery, treasure hunting, etc. The troop also worked on various community work and volunteering, often partnering with various Masajid, food banks, and hospitals.

Troop 220 held its first meeting at PVS on September 1st earlier this year, where its members have more than doubled in size, with current membership at approximately 50 members. The troop is accepting Muslim applicants from many schools in the area, as well as people who heard of the troop from the masjid. Looking forward, Brother Walid plans on fostering a strong Islamic identity in the new group of scouts, as well as preparing them to be the next leaders not only for the ummah but for the world.


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