FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Matthew Henderson's bag is packed.
"I'm excited and nervous," said the Dan McCarty Middle School student.
Tuesday, Henderson and six other scouts from Troop 772 in Fort Pierce are heading to Washington.
"To learn better experiences," said the eighth grader.
Henderson and his friend Jocelyn Jocirin were among those chosen for the all-expenses paid trip based on their school and scout meeting attendance, grades, and behavior.
"You know giving me the opportunity to do certain stuff in life," said Jocirin as they sat on Henderson's porch.
Troop 772 was created late last year to give some middle school age boys the chance to steer clear of neighborhood violence.
In Washington, the boys are expected to meet Georgia Congressman John Lewis, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King.
"To learn what he did and what he saw to help the black community," said Henderson.
It's been a very positive summer for Troop 772. Not only did a number of local business step forward to get them in the air to go to Washington, but when they're back in Florida, the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, and the Council On Aging donated a van so they can get around.
Scoutmaster Rusty Hines grew up on the same streets and has been amazed at how far the troop has come in a short time.
"They see the buy in. They see that, 'oh I can have or do some different things,' but I can also help at the same time," said Hines.
Matthew Henderson's mom says she's noticed a change in her son.
"I'm very excited. I'm proud of him and I'm glad I raised a fine young man," beamed Arlisha Patterson.
Patterson hopes once the boys see leaders of the nation at work, they'll become leaders in their own community.