Doing the “Heart” Work

A man standing behind an archery target and surrounded by six children, all smiling.

Johnny O. Scott, Pike County 4-H volunteer (center), surrounded by (from left) Scott’s grandson James Partman, nephew Rufus Brumfield (kneeling), ShiNiece Bell, grandson Johnny Partman, nephew Ryan Brumfield, and granddaughter Jordan Partman.

Anchor Point

Passion for archery and service draws volunteer to 4-H

Story by Susan Collins-Smith • Photos by Kevin Hudson

When Johnny O. Scott was approached 5 years ago about volunteering to lead a group of young people interested in practicing archery, he jumped at the chance.

Don Smith, agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Pike County, spoke to Scott’s church youth group about the opportunities available to them through 4-H.

“One of my fellow church members came to me afterward and told me my grandchildren were interested in the 4-H archery program,” Scott explains. “She knows I’m an archer and thought I would be a natural fit to lead the team.”

Having a heart for service and a passion for archery, Scott says it was an easy decision to get involved. He now leads a team of 11 children, which includes three of his grandchildren and two nephews.

“About 20 years ago, I got into bow hunting,” he says. “I’ve never shot in competitions, but I enjoy hunting and target practice. I hope by doing this I can help these kids grow to love it like I do.”

It’s also a way to give the team members an opportunity to participate in a sport that is not traditionally available to many children.

“Basketball, football, and baseball are readily available in school and summer recreation programs,” Scott points out. “While two of the schools here do have archery teams, the sport is not traditionally available to kids, especially minorities.

“I’d like to see them pursue more competition in the future and possibly be able to get scholarships to college.”

Scott’s commitment to service is something he learned from his parents and has practiced his entire life.

“When I was growing up, my parents were active in their community, and they made sure we understood the importance of service and helping our neighbors. So it was easy to volunteer,” shares Scott, who retired from the Pike County sheriff’s office as chief deputy after 35 years of service.

Although Scott works part time, he spends much of his time volunteering in his community, including serving on church, community, and law enforcement-based advisory boards.

Smith says volunteers like Scott make 4-H a success.

“Volunteers are the reason we can provide positive 4-H youth development opportunities to countless more youth in our community,” Smith says. “Although Mr. Johnny is our 4-H archery coach, he helps at numerous 4-H events. He is always there, ready to give a helping hand. Our 4-H’ers love him. His smile and personality assure each 4-H’er that they are special and can do great things.”

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