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Blue Jackets receive community honor from Boy Scouts

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

One of the many things the Blue Jackets Foundation aims to do is support causes near and dear to its late founder, John H. McConnell.

The late Blue Jackets majority owner, chairman and founder was a life-long member of the Boy Scouts and often referred to the values, principles and leadership characteristics that he garnered from his participation in the program. One look at the organization's mission statement reinforces its core belief:

"The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation's largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.

For over a century, the BSA has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun. The Boy Scouts of America believes — and, through over a century of experience, knows — that helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society."

So when the Blue Jackets and the Blue Jackets Foundation saw an opportunity to get involved and help with the Boy Scouts of America's annual fall recruitment activities, it was a no-brainer for everyone involved.

And this week, the Blue Jackets were recognized as a 2013 honoree for the Community Leadership Award at the Simon Kenton Council's fifth annual leadership luncheon.

The "Skate Into Scouting" program, a joint effort between the Blue Jackets Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America Simon Kenton Council, was established five years ago to promote local involvement in scouting through its fall recruitment campaign and marries the game of hockey with the Boy Scouts' mission statement.

"It's an honor for us to be recognized for this work," said Jen Bowden, executive director of the Blue Jackets Foundation. "Our partnership with the Boy Scouts of America goes way back, beginning with the impact of scouting on Mr. McConnell's life and the lessons he learned through the program as a young man.

"We strongly believe that the characteristics scouting aims to instill in young people are what we as an organization work to embody."

As part of the program, participants receive a free skating pass from the OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks, are invited to watch a Blue Jackets preseason game and take part in "Scout Night" at Nationwide Arena during the regular season.

For the Blue Jackets, the program is a way for the organization to make physical activity and fitness a priority for new scouts while partnering with an organization that means a lot to the McConnell family. "Mr. Mac" attributed much of his success later in life to the principles he learned as a scout, including leadership and a sense of community - something that is a fabric of the Blue Jackets organization.

When the Blue Jackets Foundation awards its annual John H. McConnell scholarship, several applicants are Boy Scouts and active participants in the program, Bowden said.

"This is such a great program for the kids, and we think of it as a privilege to work with the Boy Scouts because it's an opportunity for us to introduce young people the sport of hockey," Bowden said. "And at the same time, we feel that our athletes represent a lot of the traits that this program stands for."

For more information on the Skate Into Scouting program, click here.

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