A former north-central Wisconsin Boy Scout announced Tuesday that he is donating $3 million to his former group to help deserving kids experience Samoset Council Scouting.
Albert Hanna designated that the donation be used to help underserved kids in the area, according to a news release from the Samoset Council. Of the gift, $2.5 million will go to the Tesomas Alumni Camping Trust, which sends youths to summer camp. The remainder will supplement the Al and Chris Hanna Eagle Scout Scholarship Program to help Eagle Scouts pay for college.
“Al has been a supporter of ours for a very long time,” said Jeff Ottosen, executive director of the Samoset Council. “What he’s done for youth in Scouts in our area has just been phenomenal.”
Hanna, who joined the Scouts in 1942 when his family lived in Mosinee, is excited about serving kids, even those who are not always easy to reach, including minorities and children from low-income households, Ottosen said.
Hanna said that’s because he grew up during World War II and knows what it’s like to live without a lot of resources. He began working by age 12, he said, collecting metal scraps while others were off at war.
Ottosen said the gift, while appreciated, was not much of a surprise; the council and Hanna have been discussing it for months.
The 84-year-old Hanna, a prominent real-estate executive in Chicago, was quick to downplay the donation Tuesday when contacted by Daily Herald Media.
“It’s not a big thing,” Hanna said. “It’s a very small thing.”
Hanna grew up in Stevens Point and after joining the Scouts, he was both a camper and staffer at Camp Tesomas in Rhinelander.
The beaches along Camp Tesomas at 5403 Spider Lake Rd., Rhinelander, in a 2001 file photo. (Photo: Daily Herald Media file photo )
The Tesomas Alumni Camping Trust, established in 1997, has already distributed $224,000 in camp scholarships to 2,700 Scouts. The $2.5 million injection will supplement the trust and expand the group’s outreach efforts. Those dollars are intended to increase diversity, remove barriers that keep families from participating in Boy Scouts and cover the cost of books and uniforms for underserved youths.
The Eagle Scout scholarship program began in 2008 and has provided $46,000 in scholarships. Hanna’s gift adds $500,000 to that program.
“I have never forgotten the principles that I learned in Scouting nor have I forgotten the friendships I developed,” Hanna said in the council’s news release. “Those principles and people have inspired me to give back to my community when I see a need.”
The Samoset Council serves 320 youths in 13 counties in north central Wisconsin.
(By Nora G. Hertel, Daily Herald Media. The Boy Scouts of America Communications Department was not involved in the creation of this content.)