It’s not news that every Boy Scout unit has a charter organization, but to be with the same charter for 100 years, now that is a totally different story.
Boy Scout Troop 33 of Walden is celebrating 100 years with Walden’s First Reformed Church, located at 70 Scofield Street. Established in May 1923, the Boy Scouts have been operating out of the church’s basement for just about a century. Because the church is their charter, the church provides them with a place to meet as well as everything they pretty much need. Throughout their own fundraising, they also raise money on behalf of the church as well.
The troop currently has around 12 active members from ages 11 to 17 and meets every Monday at 7 p.m. In the past they’ve averaged 15-20 members, but after COVID, it dropped a bit. They are, however, getting more members recently.
Of course, as with any long standing organization, they have a rich history.
The troop was chartered by the First Reformed Church of Walden through the efforts of Reverend Theodore F. Bayles, and later the church formed a troop committee headed by Floyd Wooster, a prominent businessman. Many know a local park named after him.
The committee also consisted of another businessman, Marcus Millspaugh Sr., who became the first scoutmaster. He served as scoutmaster for 25 years.
The Troop has had 89 scouts earn the highest rank called Eagle. To become Eagle, scouts go through the Eagle Project, which is a leadership project that the boy scout organizes, plans, finances and creates himself. It’s typically for a community organization, like churches, schools or nonprofits.
Some of the Eagle projects Troop 33 has done are a new sign and planter for the Walden Volunteer Ambulance Corps, a resurfaced parking lot and new planted shrubbery at the Holy Name of Mary Church in Montgomery, a brand new outdoor classroom and nature trail at Berea Elementary School, a refurbished interior of food storage areas for the Montgomery Food Pantry and more.
Committee Chair for Troop 33 Michael Davis explained how leadership works within the troop, although the scouts mostly run meetings.
“You have the scoutmaster that leads the assistant scout masters, and then you have a committee chair which is what I am that leads the committee members. However, we all have to work together, so for the most part, we show up to every weekly meeting,” said Davis.
At their meeting on May 1, scout members were planning their meals for a camping trip that weekend at Ten Mile River.
Committee member Greg Crisci mentioned some of their values as a group. “We start with the pledge. We start with an oath, the law. They demonstrate, they guide and then they enable, and that’s the way they’re taught when they go to junior leadership training. The older kids instruct the younger boys, we just oversee,” said Crisci.
They also always travel in pairs.
15-year-old Joseph Davis is an assistant solo patrol leader, and speaks on behalf of all the boys about their upcoming event. “It’s an honor to be in this troop during this time and it being 100 years old is great,” Joseph Davis said.
Michael Davis has been working on this with others since December 2022. He explained that they’ve put a lot of work into recognizing their organization.
The celebration will kickstart on May 18, when the troop travels to Albany to be recognized by different assemblymen and senators. “The whole entire troop is going up there on May 18 and it’s gonna be nice for the kids to be able to experience going into the Capitol Building of Albany and getting to sit and/or stand on the chamber floor,” said Michael Davis.
The event, which will take place June 3 at the Anita L. Vandermark Community Center, will include an opening flag ceremony, remarks from many government officials both local and within the state, include a plaque of appreciation for the church, speeches from scoutmasters and more, posting and retiring the colors, photos, a band, refreshments and more.
Michael Davis recognized what doing an event like this means to him and other troop members.
“It really tells me and all the leaders that this troop has been doing something right. One thing that I can tell you that led me to prepare this or put it together is that I’ve seen some other troops that just literally had the mayor come in and present an award. Then I’ve seen other troops that have gone way above and beyond, even more than what we’re gonna do,” said Michael Davis, who also mentioned Mayor John Ramos having a big role in making the event happen.
Church official Jerry Hanen doesn’t regularly attend the scout meetings but made an exception last week to emphasize just how happy the church is about the monumental moment.
“As far as the church is concerned, we couldn’t be happier to have a troop like this that is so supportive of the church and that they will help us with things. We’ve got projects with them, and we know that they’ll do them and they’ll do them right,” said Hanen.
Both the church and troop are excited to celebrate such a huge milestone together. The reason it’s so substantial is because many troops move to different charters.
“Most Boy Scout organizations have moved to different chartering organizations for many different reasons, but that’s why this is a fairly significant event because to have a Boy Scout troop be chartered by the same organization for the entire 100 years, is fairly few and far between,” Michael Davis mentioned.
They are also hoping a few old members will join in the Memorial Day parade this month.
In connection with this event, the troop is inviting any troop alumni to march in the annual Memorial Day parade with them. “It’s kind of a way to generate some excitement for the event since they are so close together,” said Alumn Leonard Shustack.
Everyone is invited to the hundredth anniversary of Troop 33, which will take place Saturday, June 3 from noon to 4 p.m. at James Olley Park (Anita L. Vandermark Community Center). RSVP to Michael Davis by May 13 at 914-805-0106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.