News

Florida Scout Provides Survival Tools for the Homeless

January 4th, 2010

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Photo:  Victor Karstendiek shows a backpack and blankets as a sample of the kind of survival tools he is collecting for the homeless in Tampa, Fla.

TAMPA, Fla.––Victor Karstendiek, 13, is providing sleeping bags, blankets, health kits, rain ponchos and tote bags for the homeless in the Tampa area. He hopes this Boy Scout Eagle project will inspire other troops across the nation to also provide "urban survival kits" for the homeless in their communities.

The son of a military family, Victor was born in Ft. Belvoir, Va., and he has experience with Boy Scout troops in Vogelweh, Germany, Hurburt Field, Fla., and Gulf Breeze, Fla. He is currently a member of Troop 315, Gulf Ridge Council.

"I think his mother, Jeanne, inspired Victor to make his Eagle Project a way to help the homeless," said his father, Paul. "She has led multiple UMC youth mission projects and outreach was a way of life during his childhood."

Paul also credits Kevin Grills, youth pastor of Wesley UMC, for raising awareness of the homeless through a food fast and fund-raising projects for a feeding ministry. He also credits the God and Country program of PRAY (Programs of Religious Activities for Youth). Victor has earned his God and Me, God and Family, and God and Church religious awards, and he is currently working on his God and Life Award.

The County Homeless Coalition serves as sponsor of the project and Victor set September 30 as the day in which people would drag camping gear down from their attics to give to the homeless. He is also asking camping wholesalers to send their excess stock to help fill these urban survival kits,

When Victor is not gathering camping supplies he is participating in triathlons and soccer games. He is the third generation to earn the rank of Eagle.

"I'm blessed to have such a caring and responsible son," said Paul.