Astronaut, Survival Reality Show Winner Part of Campaign to Keep Boys Out of Gangs

Local News

The oldest continually operating Boy Scout Camp in Texas is on track for an extensive upgrade.

An astronaut, a reality show winner and a student, who are all Rio Grande Valley natives, explained how this campaign can decrease the number of gangs in the valley. 

“The Boy Scouts absolutely shaped my life and probably saved my life,” said Michael Fossum, a veteran of three space flights; STS-121 in 2006, STS-124 in 2008 and Expedition 28/29 in 2011.

Fossum is among the men who have benefited from the Rio Grande Council Boy Scouts of America.

“When I grew up down here there was a lot of distractions, a lot of problems, a lot of gangs, and stuff like those still exist,” Fossum told News Center 23’s Marlane Rodriguez in an interview. 

“Boy Scouts was a positive outlet where I could grow and learn in a positive way that reinforced that sense of adventure through positive endeavors,” he said, adding that the Scouts helped him with his career.

His brother Terry Fossum, season one winner of survival reality show Kicking and Screaming and a Master Scouter, has similar sentiments.

“The Rio Grandy Valley needs scouting. Right now, the gangs have a higher recruiting rates then the Boy Scouts in the Rio Grandy Valley and that’s not right,” Terry told News Center 23’s Marlane Rodriguez in an interview.

“The future of our kids needs to be better than that. Scouting delivers something different, it delivers a sense of unity, it delivers leadership and it delivers ethics,” he said. 

September 7 was the kick off to the public phase of the fundraising effort for Camp Perry.

“We’re inviting everybody in the community, if they want to contribute one dollar, or a million dollars we need all that help we can get,” said Rudy Gonzalez, Scout Executive. 

16-year-old Luis Miranda, Eagle Scout in Brownsville, said the Boy Scouts changed his life.

“When I first joined in fourth grade, you could say I was pretty rebellious. I wouldn’t follow orders or anything but once I joined the Boy Scouts of America, it really helps you not only with going camping and learning all these skills but it also helps you leadership wise,” Miranda said.

“It helps you realize you can be greater than what you ever imagined,” he said. 

The mission of the revitalization of the camp, and Rio Grande Council Boy Scouts, is to give young men a better outlet so they do not have to turn to gangs. 

The Adelante Con Camp Perry Campaign hopes to raise six million dollars. 

 

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