PARIS—There’s something special about Boy Scout Troop 130, which held an open house Sunday Dec. 14
at The First Congregational Church in South Paris.
“We’re celebrating 80 years of being a chartered unit with the First Congregational Church in South Paris,” Assistant Scout Master Jim Hatch says, adding that it is troop is the second oldest troop in Maine.
“All the boys are family,” says Matthew Hatch, Jim’s son, a first year tenderfoot and one of several boys whose fathers were also members of the troop.
Many former members joined some of the 23 current Boy Scouts and 18 Cub Scouts on Sunday to reminisce, look over historical documents, pictures and displays and share memories of scouting. There were camping demonstrations and a venison stew was prepared over a cook stove.
Former member Ken West, Eagle Scout 1962, remembered the camaraderie when he was a Scout. He recalled all the learning experiences, in particular his first aid badge. West later served as a combat medic and went on to work as an EMT using the skills he first leaned in the Scouts.
Eagle Scout Zach Hebert finished his eighth year last June and is now in college. He said the troop was a strong unit because the same group of people were involved over the years.
“The church is just delighted with our long standing association and sponsorship of Boy Scout Troop 130,” Rev. Don Mayberry says. “We see the attributes and lessons of scouting as a perfect match with the hopes and teaching of the church. The troop has a wonderful group of volunteer leaders from both within and outside of the church and they work tirelessly to give the boys a good experience.”
Many troops are sponsored by churches, Eagles Lodges, or Legions, but often switch sponsors over the years. Hatch feels that the stable, 80-year relationship with the church has been good for the troop.
“There’s a Scout room, a place to meet for the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts at the church,” he says. “We do some maintenance like raking the leaves in the fall and other tasks for the church.”
Hatch also says the troop will participate, in uniform, in Scout Sunday at the church.
“The first week of February is recognized as Scout Sunday in the churches that sponsor troops,” says Mayberry. “We welcome the kids and leaders, recognize them, let them serve as readers, greeters, bring in the flag and whatnot.”
Community service projects are a big part of the troop’s mission.
“Tuesday we were caroling at the Norway convalescent home and the Cub Scouts last Monday were caroling at Maine Veterans’ Home,” he says, adding that community service projects are done, like individual service projects, for rank. Four boys are currently working on their Eagle Scout projects.
“I’m amazed at how many boys in this troop get the opportunity to work for their Eagle badge,” Hatch says. “It’s a difficult situation in this age to do that with sports and other activities often cutting in to their willingness and desire to focus on that.”
In spite of that competition for attention, 73 Scouts from Troop 130 have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout since 1935. Hatch said that several hundred boys have been members since the troop’s inception.
“It is also interesting to note that many of our adult members of our church were at one time participants in Troop 130 showing that good seeds sown often do take root for a life time,” Mayberry says. “We look forward to a continued long-term relationship with the troop.”