Buffalo Trail Council provides leadership, support to community

Roger Cline
Staff Writer

Serving more than 2,100 children and youth across West Texas, the Buffalo Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America works hard to provide citizenship training, character development, and physical and mental activity for their members, and United Way funding plays a big part in that equation.
“From an administrative standpoint, the purpose of the Boy Scouts is basically threefold: citizenship training, character development, and physical and mental health,” said Buffalo Trail Council Chief Operating Officer Mark Richardson. “From the standpoint of the youth, because they couldn’t care less about those three things, they’re all about getting to go camping, fishing, shooting BB guns, shooting bows and arrows ,and having fun outdoors. That is our primary purpose: to make sure the young men and women get outdoors.”
The fun activities provide perfect platforms for learning, Richardson said, and the United Way helps make it possible.
“The United Way is critical to us,” he said. “One thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that the Boy Scouts of America gets no federal funding or state funding of any kind. That’s kind of what allows us to operate the way we see fit. So then comes down to, ‘How do we raise the money?’ We have a ‘Friends of Scouting’ campaign every year, but basically the Friends of Scouting campaign makes up what we don’t raise in other ways. Obviously we depend greatly on grants and foundations; wills and bequests are a very small part of our budget but they’re a significant part; and activity fees are a big one. Then we have the United Ways. and without the United Ways’ support, we do not make budget. We’re very fortunate, and we have a lot of United Ways that we work with. We work with Scurry County, we work with Midland, we work with Odessa, and then we work with Howard County. As far as relationships go, our relationship with the Howard County United Way is probably the strongest relationship that we have.”