It's time for the annual Friends of Scouting luncheon, and this year the event is larger with a special guest scheduled to attend.
The event, which is the major fundraiser for the local Boy Scout Council, will welcome Gov. Bill Haslam as the special guest speaker. Walton Trail District Executive Scott McRae said the scouts will also play host to state Rep. Mark Pody, who is the finance chairman for the Walton Trail Scouts, and Chris Crowell, who is the Friends of Scouting chairman for Lebanon.
The luncheon is planned for Tuesday from noon until 1 p.m. at Immanuel Baptist Church at 214 Castle Heights Ave. in Lebanon. McRae said the luncheon has usually been t Baird Chapel on the campus of Cumberland University but was moved this year to Immanuel Baptist Church so more people can attend.
"The Friends of Scouting lunch is our annual lunch and fundraiser for the Boy Scouts," McRae said. "In general it helps boys in need with the basics of scouting so they can get started and become self sufficient.
It also supports our camp locations for the boys to learn and grow during their Scouting experience."
McRae said the funds raised help children in the surrounding area with free or reduced cost uniforms, camp scholarships and helps cover dues for those who can not afford to be scouts.
"No child in this community can't be a Boy Scout due to costs," he said. "It opens the door pretty wide."
The luncheon also help defray costs for Scouts to attend Boxwell.
"The fundraiser also helps support the local camp – Boxwell, which is located right here off Highway 109," McRae added. "Boxwell has great amenities for scouts, including five forts - two pirate ships, a cowboy castle, a Indian castle and a renaissance castle. It also has a rappelling tower and rope course for the boys to challenge themselves physically and mentally, a number of gun ranges for both BB guns and .22 rifles, dining halls and a chapel."
While the event is invitation only, it's not too late to request an invitation, but even the larger venue has space limits. McRae said anyone who didn't receive one can call him at 615-364-4806, but he cautions the luncheon is a fundraiser, and guests should be prepared to make a donation at least large enough to cover the cost of their lunch. He is, of course, hoping attendees will donate as much as they can afford to make Boy Scouts affordable for every local boy who wants to join.
"This year we hope to help more and more kids during a time when many are in need," McRae said.