Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Matt Markey

Scouts get a blast of support from corporations in region

When the Boy Scouts of America needed a creative fund-raiser, they opted to leave the sand wedge and the 3-wood at home.

The Scouts decided to stick with a theme that was consistent with their passion for all things outdoors, blend in some of the skills needed in hunting and fishing, make it a competition, and invite corporations in the area to field a squad.

That hatched "Blast & Cast."

What has followed for the past dozen years is a gathering of 20 to 25 five-person teams from companies in the Toledo area. They engage in the shooting sports and have their fly casting skills tested, and raise a lot of money for the Scouts.

This year's Blast & Cast takes place on Friday at the WR Hunt Club in Clyde, and once the field events are completed, there will be a hog roast banquet around lunchtime, followed by a raffle, and then more recreational shoots.

Andrew Curran, assistant Scout executive for the Erie Shores Council, which serves the Northwest Ohio counties of Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, and Sandusky, said the annual event can inject about $50,000 of much needed operational funds into local scouting.

"It's a full day devoted to the Boy Scout version of a golf outing," Curran said. "But it also provides a critical part of our funding for the year. This level of support from corporations in the community is essential."

The funds raised at Blast & Cast help with the operation of Camp Miakonda and the Pioneer Scout Reservation, Curran said.

Camp Miakonda is part of the DeVilbiss Scout Reservation, a 160-acre venue off West Sylvania Avenue, near Wildwood Metropark. It is the sixth oldest camp in the nation and features rustic cabins, tent sites, a dining hall, historical museum, frontier fort, and a marked historical trail.

The Pioneer Scout Reservation is a 1,100-acre site in the extreme northwest corner of the state, and home to Camp Frontier, the summer destination for more than 2,400 scouts, with most of them coming from the Ohio-Michigan-Indiana area. Pioneer offers group camping, hiking, fishing, climbing, rappelling, and canoeing, as well as winter activities. Both Erie Shores Council sites are available to scouts and nonscouts.

"We serve about 7,500 youth over the course of the year," Curran said, through Boy Scout, Cub Scout, and co-ed programs. "With that in mind, this event is huge. We wouldn't be able to maintain our camps or provide services for scouting to happen in our local community without it. This fund-raiser allows us to take care of some of the costs of maintenance and general operations."

Key Bank is a primary sponsor of Blast & Cast, and Key district president Jim Hoffman said corporate support of the scouts is essential for the long-term health of the community.

"They help shape and develop young men and fill a very important role in society, and we're proud to be a part of that," Hoffman said. "We've had a long relationship with the Boy Scouts, and this is an outstanding event, so we wanted to take a major role and make sure it was sustainable."

Curran said the local scouting group is thrilled with the support its Blast & Cast event has received over the years, and he encouraged other businesses to contact the Erie Shores Council and join in the fun.

"Blast N Cast allows us to raise a significant amount of funds in one day, plus it gives us the opportunity to tell our story and introduce these donors to our programs, and our kids," he said. "We fight a real uphill battle every year and this event has been very helpful. Fortunately, the quality of the event keeps them coming back. We appreciate the wonderful support, and I think they appreciate the first-class quality of the event."

CLEAN STREAMS: Partners for Clean Streams will be working at about 60 sites around the area on Saturday as part of the local participation in International Coastal Cleanup Day. Volunteers can sign up at the www.PartnersForCleanStreams.org website or by calling the local office at 419-874-0727.

The effort will commence at 8:30 a.m. with volunteers reporting to 10 kickoff locations: Olander Park Open Air Shelter House, University of Toledo Law School, Monroe St. United Methodist Church, Washington Township Hall, Teamsters Local 20 Hall, Lake Township Friendship Park Administrative Building, International Park Gazebo, Oregon Municipal Building, Carter Park Miller Shelter House-Bowling Green, Side Cut Metropark, Maumee, at the Maumee Rotary Shelter House.

The cleanup runs until about noon and is open to organizations and volunteers of all ages. Partners for Clean Streams is committed to sustaining "fishable and swimmable" rivers throughout the region. Last year's cleanup removed more than 15,000 pounds of trash and refuse from more than 50 river sites in the Northwest Ohio area, with the assistance of more than 700 volunteers.

Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com or 419-724-6068.

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