Flash forward to present day, where Boy Scout Troop 1 will celebrate its 100th anniversary serving the Ballston Spa community with the support of the Ballston Spa United Methodist Church. The troop has planned a 100th Year Celebration Re-Chartering and Court of Honor at the Milton Community Center for March 16.
For the event, Troop 1 committeeman Glenn Harrison is seeking past members of the troop in hopes of bringing them together to mark the occasion.
“We would like to find 100 former members for our 100th year,” said Harrison. “They’re scattered all over. We have one guy all the way out in California. They’re all over the immediate area and we think we know who the oldest scout is, but we’d like to find more.”
Harrison has been involved with the troop since 1963 and along with his father and his two brothers, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. The committeeman feels the longevity of Troop 1 can be traced back to the strong leadership from the adults who’ve helped make scouting a possibility.
“I think a lot has to do with the adult leadership with the troop and the adults that were committed to keeping it going. Chester Carson was the troop’s committee chair for 35 years or so. My father, Guy Harrison, was troop treasurer for 40 years,” said Harrison.
No troop is any stronger than its sponsoring organization, which Harrison also credits as one of the reasons Saratoga County’s oldest scout troop is still going.
“I think most of the troops when they first started were mostly associated with a church,” Harrison said. “There were some based out of VFW Halls and schools, but I don’t think you have the same connection that you’d have if it was a church. A church is much more involved and most of the time other organizations are simply just providing the space for the troop to meet.”
United Methodist’s involvement with the troop goes all the way back to 1913. In fact, at the very beginning, the Scoutmaster duties were fulfilled by a reverend at the church, beginning with Rev. Luther A. Brown.
“The first 12 years of the troop, there were pastors from the church who acted as Scoutmasters,” Harrison recalled. “I’d imagine most pastors nowadays wouldn’t say they had the time to devote to scouting.”
Troop 1 keeps an online record of their past Scoutmasters and Eagle Scouts. There have been 35 different Scoutmasters to lead Troop 1 and their current Scoutmaster, Tim Brogan, has been serving since 2005.
“The average amount of time a Scoutmaster usually stays with us is about 2.9 years. Tim’s been with us about eight and has certainly increased the average stint. He had two boys in the troop who made it all the way to Eagle Scout and after that he decided to stick around until the 100th year celebration,” said Harrison.
Since 1913, the Troop has had 58 officially confirmed Eagle Scouts, with six scouts only a Board of Review away from achieving the designation.
With the Re-Chartering Celebration a little over a month away, Harrison is hopeful they’ll be able to reach more of their past members to make the occasion special.
“We’re going to have some speakers; we’re going to acknowledge some of the past Scoutmasters who are still in the area. We’ll have a number of dignitaries there that we invite every year, but I think this year for our 100th, they’ll definitely be there,” said Harrison. “We’re still looking for someone to speak to the boys who can relate to them about how scouting has impacted their life.”