Janesville75.3°

Dinner proceeds to benefit Scout programs for local economically disadvantaged youth

Print Print
ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
October 18, 2008
— Andrew Olsen will never forget Scott Lentz’ enthusiasm for Boy Scout camp.

The Glacier’s Edge Council district executive also vividly remembers Scott’s blond hair, wire-rimmed glasses and the Ninja Turtle backpack he wore and carried when he headed off to camp.


But what he recalls most about the teen, whose life was taken when he was killed in January of 2007 along with his mother, Danyetta, and sister, Nicole, in their Janesville mobile home, was his excitement during daily camp roll call.


“When I called off his name, he’d yell ‘here!’” Olsen said.


The names of the boys who were registered to attend day camp, at the council’s Camp Indian Trails, were checked off by Olsen and volunteers as they boarded a bus at Jackson Elementary School.


His mother signed him up for camp, said Scott’s grandfather Russ Lucht.


“They just liked camping,’’ Lucht said of his daughter and grandchildren.


“They’d camp in their front yard,’’ he said.


Scott was able to attend camp three consecutive years through the council’s special fund that supports Scout programs for economically disadvantaged youth, Olsen said.


To help other boys like Scott, Olsen and others are organizing a spaghetti dinner in Scott’s honor to raise money for the fund.


“I wanted to do something,” Olsen said.


So did others, such as Kerry Knute and Bill Goepfert.


“There is a population of kids who, if you don’t give them the opportunity to belong, they’ll find a place to belong and not in a productive environment,’’ Olsen said.


Olsen said he would not be surprised if Scott’s camp participation was the major event of his summer.


“I just remember a good kid who wanted to go (to camp). You remember the good ones and the ones who give you a run for your money,” Olsen said.


Scott was not a member of any Boy Scout troop.


“There’s been no parent to volunteer to lead Scouts at Jackson (Elementary) School for 12 to 13 years,’’ Olsen said.


But Scott and his mother learned of camp through fliers Olsen mailed to boys who attended the local elementary school.


Olsen isn’t sure how many boys get to attend camp on camperships each year, but he said as many as 28 a year attend just from one Janesville elementary school.


When Olsen learned of Scott’s death, he was saddened.


“How unfortunate,’’ he said.


“He was so excited. The kids who show up (to camp) almost always come back,” Olsen said.


Camp participants are provided transportation, snacks and a T-shirt. They learn and get steered to a healthy peer group in a secure area, he said.


“They get a chance to learn new skills—socialization, leadership and good sportsmanship—and how to properly behave.’’



Print Print