Archive | February, 2011

Award-Winning American Band Performs with Algerian Boy Scouts


Award-Winning American Band Performs with Algerian Boy Scouts

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Press Release

Drummers from Louisiana’s Southern University Marching Band entertained residents in the Algerian cities of Algiers, Bentalha, Sidi Fredj and Tiaret from January 31 to February 5.

For band member Alexander Riggins, a trip to a Muslim Boy Scout camp in Sidi Fredj made him feel at home.

“They were taking pictures with us, hugging us, greeting us,” Riggins said. “It was like we were one big family.” Some scouts are keeping in touch with him on Facebook.

Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and supported by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in cooperation with the Algerian Ministry of Youth and Sport, the band’s visit to Algeria was the second leg of a North African tour. Before arriving in Algeria, the band experienced the Maghreb’s hospitality when they performed in Morocco.

Riggins said musical tours like this build bridges of understanding among diverse cultures.

“I think it is beneficial because, first, you get to learn a new culture,” Riggins said. “Do something that you have never done before, experienced a different society, a different way of life.”

The 14 drummers are members of one of America’s top collegiate marching bands. With 225 members, the band is a leading innovator of performance styles and plays at America’s most storied venues including the Super Bowl, the American football championship.

Throughout the North African tour, band members engaged with audiences and performed with other musicians. In Morocco, they were joined on stage by deaf drummers, and in Sidi Fredj, Boy Scout musicians joined them in an impromptu performance.

In Bentalha, the group performed to a standing-room-only audience at FOREM, a nongovernmental organization. FOREM provides vocational training for women widowed during an era of terrorist attacks and promotes psychological health for their children and families.

Following the show, the group made a three-hour journey to Tiaret, where they played to a packed house of 600 at a local theater.

The band held its final performances during two half-times at basketball games in Algiers. More than 1,200 spectators watched as the percussionists played complex rhythms with perfect precision.

Lawrence Jackson, director of bands for the university, said the trip to Algeria was a memorable experience.

“I hope that someday we get to go back,” Jackson said. “The young people were so welcoming and happy to see us.”

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Boy Scouts of LA Honor Ming Hsieh to Kick-Off 2nd Hundred Years

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Boy Scouts of LA Honor Ming Hsieh to Kick-Off 2nd Hundred Years

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Press Release

The Los Angeles Area Council, Boy Scouts of America raised $350,000 by honoring Ming Hsieh, Founder and CEO of 3M Cogent Systems. Born and raised in China, Ming Hsieh is the son of an electrical engineer, and was educated in secret at home during the Cultural Revolution. At the age of 24, he came to the U.S. where he attended the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Ming and a classmate co-founded Cogent, Inc. in 1990, a company that designs AFIS systems for law enforcement, governments, civil agencies and commercial businesses around the world.

The Second Century: The Next 100 Years Award luncheon was held Thursday, February 10, 2011 at the California Club. Funds raised from this event will support the Scouting programs throughout Los Angeles, including programs in high-risk communities. Mr. Hsieh’s generosity has significantly benefited the UCS Engineering School, Keck School of Medicine, and a wide variety of vital youth-oriented programs. According to BSA Immediate Past Board president, Rita Illig, “He is a brilliant engineer, visionary entrepreneur, inspired leader, and selfless philanthropist who epitomizes a life of purpose, character, dedication, perseverance, achievement and service in making a positive difference in our community and for mankind.”

Such an award from the Boy Scouts of America is rare indeed, exclusively reserved for people who have had a major impact on our community and Mr. Hsieh now joins such notables as Dr. Steven B. Sample, John Wayne and Bob Hope, who are among the very few. The achievements and gifts from Ming Hsieh have changed the shape of Los Angeles. He has a rich history of service and philanthropy that made him the ideal candidate to honor with The Second Century: The Next 100 Years Award.

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Mount Vernon Cub Scout Earns National Honor for Heroism

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Mount Vernon Cub Scout Earns National Honor for Heroism

Posted on 17 February 2011 by Press Release

Ian Whitaker, an 8 year old Cub Scout from Mt. Vernon Ohio has been awarded the Boy Scouts of America Heroism Medal for his quick and decisive actions in administering first aid to his injured Grandfather.  The Heroism medal is one of the highest honors a Scout can receive.  While there are over 2.8 million boys in Scouts, less than 100 will receive a Heroism medal this year.  

When Ian learned about first aid, and how to stay cool in a crisis as part of his Wolf Pack training, he had no way of knowing that these lessons would enable him to be there for his Grandfather when help was needed most.  On a visit with his grandparents in January 2010, Ian and his Grandfather were watching television together.  Moments after his Grandpa had gone to the kitchen to get a snack, Ian heard a loud thud.  He discovered his Grandfather had passed out, fallen, and suffered a head injury that was bleeding profusely.  Ian applied pressure to the wound to stop bleeding, called 911 to get medical assistance, and provided constant care to his Grandfather while waiting for help to arrive.  

Ian’s quick action prevented a very serious situation from becoming life threatening and is the reason his Grandpa, retired Morrow County School Superintendent Douglas Whitaker calls Ian “his hero.”

Muskingum Valley Council President Steve Buck commented, “We’re very proud of Ian. He represents the very best of what we hope our Scout programs accomplish – lessons that strengthen character and the chance to use that learning in our everyday lives – in a spirit of service to help others.”

Ian was recognized by the Mount Vernon Fire Department as well as the Ohio State Senate for his heroic action and exceptional presence of mind.  Ian will be awarded his Heroism medal at the Muskingum Valley Council Awards celebration this Saturday, February 19 in Zanesville, Ohio.

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