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September 6, 2010

Browsing Around: Troop 11 honors their ‘Eagles’

OTTUMWA — Troop 11 of the Boy Scouts of America now has a beautiful gift to honor its Eagle Scouts and the Boy Scouts’ 100th anniversary as an organization.

Scoutmaster Randy Lien of Troop 11 stopped by last Wednesday to show me the gift — a 2-foot by 4-foot walnut board bearing the names of the troop’s Eagle Scouts since Day One. He invited me to stop by later when he presented it to the troop.

Jeff Thomson, an Eagle Scout, was also at the kickoff meeting in First United Methodist Church, corner of Fourth and Market streets.

Lien told me the walnut board came from a tree harvested locally. Jim Bukowski “planed down the roughs on the walnut boards, cut them and glued them together.”

“He’s an outstanding carpenter,” Lien said. “He made it happen.”

The Bike & Trophy Shop put the names and plates on the board and worked with Lien in deciding what looked best.

“They also did a fantastic job,” Lien said. “I had no access to those materials.”

Lien also spoke of the beginning of Boy Scouts of America and hoped I’d include some details.

“Inspired by the kindness of an unknown English Scout,” W.D. Boyce brought Scouting to the United States in 1910, “making it possible for millions of young Americans to benefit from its values-based educational programs,” according to The Extra Mile website (www.extramile.us/honorees).

William D. Boyce used his childhood experiences and his success as an international publisher and businessman to create the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

And where did the English Scout who helped Boyce come from?

In 1907, General Robert Stephenson Baden-Powell was inspecting 7,000 members of the Boy's Brigade at Glasgow, according to the Baden-Powell Scouts’ Association website (www.traditionalscouting.co.uk).

“Sir William Smith, the founder of The Boy’s Brigade, asked Baden-Powell if he had ever considered rewriting his training manual for soldiers, ‘Aids To Scouting for N.C.O.s and Men’ to make it appeal to boys,” the site noted.

As a result of this conversation with Smith, Baden-Powell ran an experimental camp for 20 boys at Brownsea Island to test theories on providing activities for boys. Although there was no Scout association at that time, the Brownsea Camp is considered to mark the official start of the Scout Movement.

The rest is history and legacy.

Yet today, Scouts study how to find food and shelter to survive in the wilderness, how to build things, how to handle emergencies with first aid, and so much more.

I hope Troop 11 finds the names of all their Eagles Scouts and that all Scouts in southeast Iowa are honoring the 100th anniversary of Scouting. Everybody loves a good Scout and we’ll always need them.

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