The Boy Scouts of America turned 100 on Monday, and the Cherokee-Pickens District of the Atlanta Area Council will participate in events to mark the milestone.
The district this weekend participated in the first of three tree-plantings it has scheduled to commemorate the anniversary.
The tree was planted at Woodstock Community Center, said Doug Kirk, district chairman for Cherokee-Pickens.
Kirk said the troops will plant one tree in Canton and another in Pickens County near the city of Jasper.
Kirk said other local efforts to mark the occasion are being planned.
The Boy Scout movement was founded by British Lord Robert Baden-Powell. On Feb. 8, 1910, Chicago publisher William Dickson Boyce filed papers to incorporate the Boy Scouts of America.
The first Boy Scout troop in Atlanta was formed in 1911.
The Atlanta Area Council has four traditional scouting programs: Cub Scouts (reserved for boys between the age of 7 and 10), Boy Scouts (for boys 11 through 17), a co-ed Venturing program (girls and boys between the ages of 14 and 20) and Varsity Scouts, a program reserved for boys between the ages of 14 and 17 that provides sporting opportunities.
In the Cherokee-Pickens District, there are about 2,500 youth and 1,033 adults involved in scouting. In Cherokee alone, there are 2,327 youths and 948 adults participating in scouting, Kirk said.
Scouting first came to Cherokee between the 1920s and 1930s, said county Superior Court Chief Judge Frank C. Mills of Canton, a longtime Boy Scouts supporter and volunteer
Mills joined Troop 24 out of Cartersville when he was 6. His adult son, stationed in Iraq, was a member of Troop 241 based out Canton.
Mills said the first Boy Scout commissioner in the Cherokee-Pickens district was Jimmy Watt of Nelson. The first Eagle Scout in Cherokee was Bill McCanless, who also served as an assistant scout master in Canton - and was deaf and mute.
Perhaps the most notable and longest-serving Cherokee County Boy Scout is George Lingefelt, the third scoutmaster for Troop 465 in Hickory Flat.
Cherokee scouts have done various projects around the county. In 1976, Mills said the scouts dedicated three miles of trails along the Etowah River during the country's bicentennial celebration.
Scouts helped build bridges added to Barnett Park, completed "dozens" of projects at Cherokee County's Outdoor YMCA, built wheelchair ramps for people with limited mobility and outdoor amphitheatres for various churches.
One of the organization's signature programs, Scouting for Food, is a staple in the community.
Kirk said 530 scouts with the Cherokee-Pickens District recently collected 13,988 food items through the program to distribute to organizations such as MUST Cherokee.
Both Mills and Kirk said scouting remains strong in Cherokee.
Mills said the values the Boy Scouts tout are the same ones people in Cherokee County adhere to.
"People in Cherokee County cherish those values," he said. "It's what America is all about."
Kirk said he hopes the community continues to support the organization as it helps build character and develop leadership skills participants can use in adulthood.
"It's the best program for character development in the nation," he added.
For Scott Spears, those same values attracted him to join the Boy Scouts at age 7.
Scott, the 16-year-old son of Jeff and Bonny Spears of Holly Springs, is a member of Troop 125, based out of Holly Springs United Methodist Church.
Scott said he learned about the organization through friends who were joining.
"It seemed like a good opportunity to learn more about camping," he said.
Other than camping, Scott said he's learned skills such as how to properly cook outdoors and pitching tents.
Scott currently is working to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank Boy Scouts can achieve, which requires numerous steps including a major community service project.
He's considering two projects: working with the Upper Etowah River Alliance or building a sit-in area around the concession stand at his school, Cherokee High.
Scott said the Boy Scouts teaches young men and women the importance of having good morals and character and urged young children to look into the program.
"It also teaches you to work together as a team," he added.