FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — (Feb. 27, 2023) Organizations from across the installation came together to create a memorable experience for a scout group who stayed here for their annual weekend campout Feb. 17-19 at Happy Hollow.

The experience, coordinated by Sgt. 1st Class Sabrina Heckel, a small group leader with the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence NCO Academy’s Military Police Senior Leader Course, provided a unique military experience to more than 30 Scouts and Troop Leaders with Scout BSA — the gender integrated youth level of Boy Scouts of America — Troop 11 and their sister troop, Troop 3011 from Jefferson City, Missouri. Events during the weekend included meals at a dining facility, physical training activities, a presentation and scavenger hunt at the museum complex and a movie at Abrams Theater.

“We like coming here because it’s close to home and it’s good to see what our military is doing for our country,” Troop 3011 Assistant Scoutmaster Jenn Sovanski said. “It’s also a good way to experience things we may not have experienced before.”

In 2017, Boy Scouts of America began allowing females in at the Cub Scout level, and coming to Fort Leonard Wood is a great way for female Scouts to witness female leadership in action, Sovanski said.

“It’s a good experience for our female Scouts to see other females in roles where they’re leading others,” she said. “The girls want to experience the same things that the boys do.”

For Heckel, who said she always wanted to be involved with the Scouts but didn’t have the option growing up, it was important to ensure the Scouts had a good experience with the Army during their visit.

“My mission was to make sure that they had the best military experience that I could provide them and meet all their expectations,” Heckel said.

The trips also demonstrate to the Scouts how the skills they learn when Scouting could transfer to a military career, according to Sovanski.

“We have books and laws and different things that we do in Scouting that can then translate into military life if they decide to go into the military,” she said.

Troop 11 Scoutmaster Bill Hoxworth, who retired from the Army with 25 years of service, agreed.

“I feel like it’s a very good thing for the Scouts to see this stuff and talk to the military personnel and learn about the things (Soldiers) train on,” Hoxworth said. “(It gives them) a good knowledge of the military and what the military does for us and allows them to consider if they may be inclined to maybe join the military someday.”

One of the greatest skills the Scouts witnessed was leadership, he said.

“The NCOs transfer their leadership skills to the Scouts through how they act and how they talk,” he said. “The ability to adapt, go with the flow and then also lead allows the Scouts to see exactly what being a Soldier means.”

Heckel took great care in planning the events by ensuring she understood what the Scouts were wanting to experience, Hoxworth said.

“She’s been great, and I think this has all been put on well,” he said.

During an event at the Fort Leonard Wood Training Support Center, the Scouts were assisted by nearly a dozen special agents with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, who also conducted a short question-and-answer session detailing their career path and experiences.

It was those types of interactions that made the trip stand out for Scout Keldon Boillot, with Troop 11, who has been to Fort Leonard Wood seven times.

“We’ve interacted with the Soldiers before, but we haven’t really talked with them as much as we have this weekend about their personal experiences or the specific career fields they’ve gone into,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve had a chance to sit down and ask them all those detailed questions, so that was nice.”

This was Scout William Harlan’s third trip to Fort Leonard Wood, and the visit stood out for him, too.

“The most intriguing thing I find here is basic training and seeing all the recruits and what they do,” he said. It’s very interesting.”

As for Heckel, she said she hopes the Scouts were left with a positive view of the Army and hopes that seeing what Fort Leonard Wood has to offer helped them understand the Army’s mission.

“I’ve loved every bit of it,” she said.

Scout Lorelei Weeks from Troop 3011 works to complete a scavenger hunt during a visit Feb. 19 to the John B. Mahaffey Museum Complex. The museum visit was part of a full day of activities coordinated for the Scouts by the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence NCO Academy. (Photo by Amanda Sullivan, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office)














About Fort Leonard Wood

Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post more than 80 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains nearly 80,000 military and civilians each year.

Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.

Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.

More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: