Scouts making final prep for weekend reunion

David Broyles Staff Report

October 30, 2013

Final details are in place for this weekend’s reunion of Boy Scouts of America Troop 538 Mount Airy First Baptist Church.

Assistant Scoutmaster and Advancement Chairman Casey Culler said he has been pleased with the response to requests for alumni from the troop, which is in it’s 83rd year.

“We’ve gotten a few more responses to earlier hard copy invitations we sent out as well as other via email,” said Culler. “We’re known for our quality cooking so one important component is getting the final plans set for the meals we will cook. We’re crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s.”

He said up to this point in the process, he and Church Liaison and Charter Representative Josh Martin followed the direction of the group and did much of the planning to streamline the process. He said now the rest of the troop is excited about moving on their “orders” and getting ready for the weekend.

Culler said the reunion is set for Saturday and Sunday with registration beginning at 9 a.m. at the Raven Knob Scout Reservation Dining Hall. Culler said the agenda is loosely structured to allow ample opportunities for fellowship, stories and sharing memories. Members of the troop will work the camp’s exhibits and provide support for the participants.

The scouting museum at the camp will be open for participants Saturday and feature exhibits on the troop’s history. A special display of patches and memorabilia will also be on display in the dining hall courtesy of local collector Homer Dearmin.

The effort directly draws on scouting’s “Be Prepared For Life” motto and a tradition of training boys and young adults to be strong, resourceful and trained in citizenship’s responsibilities. Scouting itself was incorporated in 1910 and chartered by Congress in 1916. Troop 538 has been chartered since 1927.

The centerpiece of the reunion will be a large camp fire set for 7 p.m. on Saturday night. The event will conclude Sunday morning with breakfast followed by a church service at the camp chapel. A hike to the top of the camp’s mountain is also planned. Culler said the campfire is “where it all comes together 25 years later with songs and memories and special presentations.” He said he especially likes the Sunday morning service with the chapel situated at a scenic area of the camp’s lake.

He said the campfire program will include songs from scout handbooks, skits and some brief speeches about the troop’s past and where it hopes to be in the future.

“We will offer primitive camping as well as our Adirondack (three sided) buildings and a heated building with beds as well,” Culler said. “We can provide access to power hookups if anyone needs them and an EMT will be on premises. We have about 260 years of leadership experience if you add up the records of our leaders, which is unprecedented.”

“We are hoping after the campfire everyone will go back to their camps and continue to catch up and fellowship. In many ways the campfires are the centerpiece of this,” Culler said. “We also will have special guests Saturday such as Council Executive Steve Wilburn and Camp Director Keith Bobbitt. We will have folks with digital recorders and video to capture the oral history of the troop that will be shared between the scouts and scoutmasters. This is our legacy and the schedule is flexible to allow participants to do what they want.”

Culler said the cost for participating is $20 which includes three meals, housing and a limited edition commemorative patch. (Only 200 of these patches were made.) Items to be featured on the fare include BBQ pork, new potatoes, green beans, coleslaw and rolls.

Participants may contact Culler at 336-769-6627 or email the troop at troop538OHC@gmail.

“We’re are going to look at our past but also on where we want to be,” said Culler.”We have 26 youth scouts so 15 years from now we’ll be looking at our 100th anniversary and counting on them to carry the tradition on.”

Reach David Broyles at dbroyles@civitas or 336-325-0188.