News Column

Filmmaker brings inspirational tale to McCarty Middle School, Fort Pierce Boy Scout Troop 772

May 30, 2014

By Elliott Jones, Treasure Coast Newspapers, Stuart, Fla.

May 30--Can't see the video? Watch it on YouTube here.

FORT PIERCE -- Leaders of the 6-month-old Boy Scout Troop 772 are bringing in a Virginia filmmaker and his movie to help sway more of Dan McCarty Middle School's male students to join scouting, especially during the summer.

About 18 to 20 youths attend meetings held every Wednesday afternoon at the school.

On Monday, Richmond, Va. filmmaker Patrick Ricks, 29, will be there showing his film about how the intervention of parents and scouting can aim students in better directions.

The film is fictional, but based on Ricks' own real-life experiences growing up on the fringes of Richmond's violence-prone neighborhoods similar to those in northwest Fort Pierce.

"The street code (among youths) is do whatever you want whenever you want, by any means necessary," Ricks said. "There is no respect of authority."

The film, entitled "Troop 491: The Adventures of the Muddy Lions," follows a boy who is running around with friends who steal things and they attend a school with strong peer pressure.

The boy's mother coaxes him to get involved with a Scout troop similar to the one to which Ricks belonged -- a well-organized long-established group based at a church. Ricks' brother became an Eagle Scout.

Ricks went on to earn a master's degree in filmmaking from Florida State University.

In 2010, at the urging of a friend, he began creating the script for his film. Thousands of people in Richmond have seen it since its debut a year ago. It's been shown in London, Arizona and Texas.

Now, said Ricks, the national scouting organization is interested in using the film to attract inner city youths to scouting.

Fort Pierce's Troop 772 was founded to help steer middle-school-age students having behavioral or academic problems in school.

There are plans to bring Ricks back to Fort Pierce during August to show the film to students at other Fort Pierce schools with similar students: Samuel Gaines Academy and Forest Grove Middle School.

Troop 772's executive scoutmaster, Scott Van Duzer, would like to see Scout troops formed at either of those schools.

His troop will continue meeting during the summer to keep youths involved while schools aren't in session.

"The biggest thing is helping these kids handle real life situations, to not get into confrontations," Van Duzer said.


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Source: Treasure Coast Newspapers (Stuart, FL)

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