Servicemembers have made it their mission to mentor children that live around Victory Base Complex. These servicemembers are using the guidance and knowledge they gained in the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to enrich the lives of Iraqi children.

This group of volunteers with the Victory Base Council are working to start and support scouting in the areas around VBC.

"Starting Camp Victory's scout troop has involved a whole host of things," said Lt. Cmdr. Eric Fretz, chief of future operations, C-6, Multi-National Corps-Iraq. "We have worked hard to get volunteers, arrange dinner meetings and meetings with the Green Zone Council."

The Victory Base Council is following the model that its counterpart in the International Zone have started. The Green Zone Council was established by volunteers in 2004.

"It's too hard for us to travel to the Green Zone to participate in their program, so we decided to duplicate what they have already done here," Fretz said.

The troop has held two official meetings. Each time they gather, the objective is for the children to have fun by doing team building activities, tying knots, building fires and at the same time,
move toward organizing them into an actual scout troop.

"We are building up this program with the Iraqis so that they can build the program for themselves," Fretz said. "We picked one of the children to be the troop leader, and eventually we will further organize them into smaller groups."

During the initial meeting with Iraqi officials the council didn't expect to have any girls in the troop. After seeing the female mentors, slowly girls showed up.

"I didn't expect to have any girls show up," said Warrant Officer Denise Gilbert, information systems technician, C-2, MNC-I.

The council may have initially got together to teach the children, but it is also helping the volunteers.

"Working with the children makes it a little easier to be away from my daughter." Gilbert said. "It makes my time here go by faster."

For more information about the VBC's scouting organization visit www.victorybasecouncil.