When Joey Morrison learned his internship through the Wildcat Community Connectors program would be at the Hardin County Museum, he wasn’t sure what to expect.
He had seen the big house on North Main Street in Kenton, but the Kenton High School senior knew little about what went on inside.
But under the direction of Sheena Striker and her staff, Morrison was given the freedom to create his own exhibit, which he hopes will combine his love of scouting with a renewed public interest in the Sullivan-Johnson Museum.
Morrison’s scouting exhibit opens to the public on March 16.
It features relics which follow the history of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the community.
“I feel that scouting has played a significant role in the development of young people and should be recognized for all the good it has done in the community,” said Morrison.
As a young man growing up in Greenup County, Kentucky, Morrison didn’t have the exposure to the world of scouting he found in Hardin County when he moved here with his mother five years ago.
His mom, who grew up in Hardin County, had moved with her son back to Ohio so he could enjoy the kind of childhood she experienced, said Morrison.
After finding a home in Kenton, Morrison was invited to attend a meeting of Troop 125 by then leader Rick Newland.
Morrison took quickly to scouting life and attended summer camp at Camp Berry, where he was further drawn into the organization under the encouragement of Carl Kissling.
Even though Troop 125 has disbanded, Morrison remains active in the Boy Scouts as a shooting sports instructor and counselor at Camp Berry. He hopes one day to establish his own troop.
As he sought input from former Boy Scouts and scout leaders, Morrison also brought in Shirley Green to assist him in adding the local history of Girl Scouts to the display.
The room which houses the exhibit is divided in half for each organization, noted Morrison.
In addition to Boy Scouts, Morrison also has a deep appreciation of history and hopes to become a journalist and an author.
“This is the first time we have had a student interested in exploring their passion for history,” said Wildcat Community Connectors Internship Program Coordinator Christina Cross.
“So, the museum seemed like a natural fit. This internship has been a great experience for Joey, he not only has demonstrated his past scouting skills, such as problem-solving, but he has developed new career skills, including journalism and general interpersonal skills.”
In addition to researching the history of scouting in Hardin County, Morrison was given encouragement to promote the opening of the display, which he did through social media and posters.
Morrison said as young people and adult visitors are brought in to see the scouting display, they will be exposed to the beauty of the museum itself.
“People will get an idea how cool this museum is,” he predicted.
“A lot of young people don’t give it a chance, but once they come through the doors, they will see it is so cool to see all the cap guns, the business room and other displays.”
“It has been nice to have some fresh ideas,” said Striker of Morrison’s internship.
“Joey has helped us think outside the box to appeal to the younger people of the community.”
Striker said as a member of the Kenton City Schools Board of Education, she has heard reports and information on the Wildcat Community Connectors program, but as director of the museum, she has better appreciated its social impact.
“The kids get real world experiences,” she said.
“They learn things don’t always go as planned and they get skills they need to have in real life.”
Striker said she has given Morrison basic directions on the display, but has then allowed him to do whatever he needed to make it work.
With more than a week to go before opening, she noted, everything is in place.
“Everything is done that needs to be done. That’s not always the case with a high school kid. Many wait until the last minute to do things, but not Joey,” Striker said.
“He has done a great job.”
“We are very proud of Joey for the effort he has put into making this display and his internship a success,” said Kenton High School Principal Chad Thrush.
“I feel scouting helps everyone,” said Morrison.
“If we teach people to become leaders in the community and follow the scout code and laws, everyone can be successful in life.”
When visitors attend the opening on March 16 from 1 to 4 p.m., there will be recruitment tables for the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts in attendance to sign up young people or answer questions, said Morrison.
The museum is also using the debut of the exhibit to mark the reopening of the museum for regular hours after being closed over the winter months.
The museum will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 1 to 4 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays of the month.
This story, authored by Dan Robinson, originally appeared in the Kenton Times.