In 1907, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, a distinguished British Army general, led the first Boy Scout camp on the British island of Brownsea. There, he tested his ideas about what he thought it meant to be a young man. Among those ideas were patriotism, loyalty, kindness, and self-reliance. He wrote his ideas in a book called Scouting for Boys and within weeks after the publication of this book, Scouting spread throughout England.
An American businessman, William D. Boyce, first became acquainted with the British Scouting concept on a trip to England in 1909. When he returned, Mr. Boyce joined with other businessmen and formed the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. Coinciding with the formation of the BSA was the release of the first Official Boy Scout Handbook, an Americanized version of Scouting for Boys.
Troop 1 Stow was formed in 1912, organized by the Reverend Claude Calkins of the Union Evangelical Church. Eleven boys signed up to participate in the Scouting program in Stow under the first official troop sponsor, the Stow Civic Club.
On June 15, 1916, the Boy Scouts of America was chartered as a national organization by the US Congress. Just 8 days later, on June 23, Troop 1 Stow received its official charter from Congress, signed by President Woodrow Wilson, and former presidents William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. The original charter is stored in the town vault as a valuable town document.
While the Boy Scouts of America celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, Troop 1 looks forward to celebrating our own centennial in 2012. We’ve had 55 Eagle Scouts, camped in Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticute, Rhode Island, and elsewhere. The Troop has seen three Red Sox World Series championships since our charter was granted, and our current scoutmasters have served with the troop for more than 20 years.
Things have changed since 1912. The troop now has a fund set aside for annual high-adventure trips. This money is used annually to take the troop on a canoe trip, backpacking trip (such as to Montana,Santa Fe, and Wyoming), or other excursions. The fund was set up as a tribute to Kevin Lewis, one of our most admired Scoutmasters. Another fund helps defray the cost of one boy going to summer camp. The David Lewis Campership pays the way to camp for that Scout who has most exemplified the Scout Oath and Law.
And most recently a group of former Troop 1 Stow Scouts formed Troop One Stow Alumni, Incorporated–a non profit organization created to provide resources, experience, leadership, and support to Troop 1 Scouts.
Here’s hoping our next 100 years is as successful as our last. Because you know JP and Gary will still be around…