Law Day Big Hit With Area Boy Scouts

Posted on October 30, 2017



Jack Cohoon

South Carolina Legal Services  (SCLS) recently sponsored Law Day for Scouts, an event to help boy scouts earn their law merit badge. Seventy five scouts of diverse backgrounds, from as far away as Camden, Summerville, and Florence, joined together for a full day to learn about the legal system. About one-third of the participating scouts were from troops in low income areas.  Thanks to contributions from attorneys and law firms, they were able to participate free of charge.

This effort was a unique partnership between SCLS, the Indian Waters Council of the Boy Scouts of America, a group of Eagle Scout alumni in the legal and law enforcement professions known as the Legal Eagles, and numerous volunteers. The scouts’ merit badge counselors included leaders in government, law enforcement, and the legal profession such as Governor Henry McMaster, U.S. District Judge Joe Anderson, Attorney General Alan Wilson, former SLED Chief Robert Stewart, State Senator Brad Hutto, Appleseed attorney Ashley Thomas, SCLS attorney Jennifer Rainville, and SCLS board member George Cauthen.


Governor Henry McMaster

The setting for the event was the brand new facility at the University of South Carolina School of Law. This was one of the very first community events held at the new building. It was the perfect venue and afforded opportunities for panel discussions, classroom instruction, and mock trials.

Highlights of the morning included Governor McMaster’s explanation of the history of law, Senator Hutto’s explanation of the role of jury trials, and Judge Anderson’s presentation on two significant cases, including the landmark Briggs v. Elliott school desegregation case. There was also a broad ranging panel discussion about the role of law enforcement in society.  It included members of the community with diverse perspectives on important hot-button issues such as body cameras and racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

During lunch, Senate Street adjacent to the law school was shut down so that the scouts could be treated to demonstrations and exhibits by eight different law enforcement agencies. These included bomb trucks, four-wheelers, bloodhounds, mobile SWAT command posts and armored transports.


In the afternoon, the scouts met in smaller groups to discuss aspects of the law and legal practice and to conduct their own mock trials before real judges. Finally, everyone reconvened so that the Legal Eagles and volunteers could present each scout with the law merit badge and participation patch.

“In today’s society, it is vital for our young people to better understand the importance of law and law enforcement,” said Doug Stone, Scout Executive of the Indian Waters Council, BSA, “it was remarkable to have done that with the top caliber of professionals we had represented from those fields.”

Law Day for Scouts has been featured in a national scouting blog, the Orangeburg Times and Democrat and the Columbia Star. The event has also been profiled by the National Eagle Scout Association.


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