As young men get older, their time is often stretched thin with more responsibilities.
That is especially true for Boy Scouts, and troops constantly look for ways to keep its members interested and active past their 18th birthday. A local troop has found that.
Boy Scout Troop 451, which is chartered in Lewisville but has members in Flower Mound and Double Oak, is part of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, which is the honor camping society of Camp Geiger in St. Joseph, Missouri, and the Pony Express Council.
Mic-O-Say is a program for Boy Scouts ages 13 to 21 that provides enhanced opportunities for those who want to achieve more. Boys are usually involved with Scouts for at least three years before they advance to Mic-O-Say.
Mic-O-Say is based in Missouri, but several states have troops that are members, including Texas.
It was founded by H. Roe Bartle, who spent time with different tribes in the Upper Midwest in the early 20th Century. Mic-O-Say is influenced by various aspects of those tribes to tell the story of the Native American heritage.
While members of Troop 451 perform the typical scout duties during their weekly meetings – Scout skills, work on merit badges, etc. – they also practice dances that are a main component to Mic-O-Say.
Gary Lueking, an adult troop community member, said one of the advantages of belonging to Mic-O-Say is that it keeps Scouts active a few years longer.
“A lot of them might not be here if it weren’t for Mic-O-Say,” Lueking said. “A lot of times, at 16 or 17, they bail. The lure of Mic-O-Say allows them to advance all the way up to 21. It’s important because it keeps reinforcing the morals and provides opportunities for leadership.”
And with the extra time brings chances to improve one's self.
“There are more opportunities to meet people,” said scout Alex Adams, a student at Marcus High School. “It helps you become a better speaker, and it improves your leadership skills. I’m less shy because we perform in public.”
A key piece to Mic-O-Say is the various American Indian-themed ceremonies and dances its members perform in throughout the year.
During the performances, members dress in Native American costumes that they each design themselves with the assistance of the adult leadership team. The Scouts add more to their costume as they move up the ranks.
“This gives us the Native American experience that nobody else gets,” said Nick Harris, a student at Flower Mound High School.
Leaders say Mic-O-Say combines the ideals and objectives of Boy Scouts with the spirit of the American Indian, which they say is part of the appeal for young men. They say that appeal helps motivate them to advance in Scouting up through Eagle Scout.
The troop performs at various Scout events, community events, such as the Flower Mound Christmas Parade, and for different groups.
Members of Mic-O-Say travel to Missouri multiple times a year for various activities. One of those is summer camp. There, Scouts participate in ceremonies, customs and traditions that are loosely based on the American Indian folklore.
They also go to Camp Geiger for winter conclave, feast, which starts the camp season, and training.
Members say the effort is well worth it. In the 16 years the troop has been part of Mic-O-Say, there have been over 100 members.
“You get to experience the camaraderie with those who are also in Mic-O-Say,” said Stephen Lampe, who is also a student at FMHS. “And you learn about Native American history. If it weren’t for Mic-O-Say, I would have stopped Scouts one or two years ago.”