Lt. Col. Oliver North said scouting makes communities better and gave advice for being a leader and a servant in today's society at the Evangeline Area Council, Boy Scouts of America's Salute to Service Leadership Luncheon on Wednesday.

North was the keynote speaker at the annual event, which raises money for scouting in the Acadiana region. He said the values taught through scouting were not only similar to those taught in the Marine Corps, but were also essential to taking children and helping them grow into strong adults and leaders.

"Scouting works. Scouting makes communities better. Scouting takes young guys and gives them something positive to do. It gives them goals and incentives to complete those goals and communities with successful scouting programs see that crime rates are lower, dropout rates are lower and grades are better and all of those things are great for a community," North said.

The event, which was at the Cajundome Convention Center, was also intended to honor and thank the area's military, veterans, first responders and community servants. 

The Evangeline Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, serves the eight traditional Acadiana parishes, according to Art Hawkins, executive director of the Evangeline Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. The council serves more than 1,700 cub scouts and over 600 Boy Scouts in Acadia, Evaneline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion Parishes. It has also recently started accepting girls for their own girls scout troops that participate in all the same activities and programs as the boys' troops.

Lt. Col. Oliver North was famous for being a member of National Security Council under President Ronald Reagan and his testimony on his involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair, his conviction and the reversal of all charges against him on appeal. He was also the host of "War Stories with Oliver North" on Fox News and he recently resigned on April 27 as president of the National Rifle Association.

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