By Kathy L. Collins
John and Kay Sullivan, founders of the community of Winthrop, hosted a Good Turn Reception at their home in June. The event raised money and celebrated the good works of the Boy Scouts of Greater Tampa Bay Area Council.
This council is a combination of the Gulf Ridge and the West Central Florida councils which merged one year ago. The combined councils had over 100 years of history. The new council serves thousands of boys in nine counties.
Bill Davis, Scout Executive with the Greater Tampa Bay Council said, “Last year we served more young people as a new council than the two councils did separately the previous year. We experienced a nine percent growth in Cub Scouting. The synergy created by combining our resources is creating new opportunities for young people.”
Scouting is important to both John and Kay Sullivan. John has served as treasurer for both councils. John said. “We support a limited number of organizations, and they have to meet a lot of criteria. That includes good stewardship of money that is donated to them.” John added, “In this house, we respect the Scouts.”
Kay’s father, renowned St. Petersburg civil rights attorney, Gardner Beckett, was a Scout. Kay said, “My father never attained the rank of Eagle Scout. I recently found a recommendation letter for him that read ‘Garner did not obtain the rank because he was so busy teaching other boys because his troop did not have a Scout Master.'” It is this type of history that inspires the Sullivans to support the Scouts.
Scouting has many traditions and one of them is the Good Turn. Davis explained, “We have a tradition in Scouting where a boy starts out the day with a Good Turn coin in one pocket and moves it to the other pocket when he completes a good turn (deed).” Good Turn coins were presented to both John and Kay.
The event raised $12,000. The Sullivans did not want to receive a customary gift for hosting the event. Instead, a Scout who could not afford to go to camp, will be able to attend.
For information on the Boy Scouts, visit www.tampabayscouting.org.