Boy Scout Troop 538 celebrated its 85th year on Sunday.
Scouts organized in their “hut” in the Mount Airy First Baptist Church building and formed a uniformed processional of Scouts and Cub Scouts into the church as well as participating in the service.
First Baptist Pastor Dr. Roger Gilbert wove lessons from the story of Christ’s reception in his home town with nearsightedness to illustrate the point the world cannot sometimes see what is plainly before its eyes. He told the congregation God could work through the lives of the children gathered for the sermon and through the Scouts’ lives to some day benefit many.
Scout Unit Charter Representative with the church, Josh Martin, told the congregation the troop is organizing an effort to contact past members and leaders to get together so the history of Troop 538 can be shared.
Troop Advancement Historian Casey Culler said First Baptist Church member Preston William Green, who earlier had been a scout for several years, applied for a charter for the group in 1927. Culler said this makes the troop at least the oldest in the county and the second oldest in the Old Hickory District.
“It’s amazing when you consider our charter has never lapsed,” said Culler. He said the organization has changed somewhat since its start but the core of scouting remains with its code of honesty, morality and its laws including courtesy, kindness and thoughtfulness is the same.
“Our famous merit badges have been adjusted to meet the times,” added Culler. “We have more than 80 badges now even though we have phased out badges for tracking and signalling with flags. Badges have evolved to include computers and rocketry. The mission of scouting hasn’t strayed from its common core. We’re adjusting our methods of getting things across. We still are out in the cold and wet and we still get dirty and we are the better for it.”
Culler said Troop 538 is planning a fall reunion and anniversary for all current and former scout leaders and scouts in the troop.
“I have only a few months to plan this celebration of our troop, scouting and fellowship,” said Culler. “We would like to get in touch with as many old members as we can for the event which will be held at Raven’s Knob.”
As a historian himself, Culler is also hoping to not only pass along oral history from old to new scouts with the proposed overnight reunion, he also is interested in gathering memorabilia for an exhibit on the troop. He said he is looking for old patches and photos to use with the reunion.
“We are excited about the chance for older scouts to pass their oral history around to youth to ensure we are going to continue to be who we are,” said Culler. He said more announcements about the overnight event are expected in the next few weeks.
He said transportation to Raven’s Knob will be provided to participants. Culler said the biggest obstacle to overcome at this stage is getting the word out and making contact with those who will share photos or knowledge of the troop. Persons interesting in participating may contact Culler at email@example.com or 336-769-6569 or Josh Martin at 336-401-1224.
“We have had a lot of interest already in the project. I believe this will be good for the troop, the church and the community,” said Culler.
Scout Andrew Moore’s comments about being a member of Troop 538 are shared by many others in the group.
“I got interested in scouting because of my dad (Randy) who was in scouting,” recalled Moore. “I thought it would be cool if I was in it. I started in the sixth grade. I saw people in scouts who were older that I knew from school and I thought I’d fit in well with them. Teamwork is what I’ve learned from scouting.”
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.