Scout troop documents, celebrates its seven decades in Leonardtown
Boy Scout Troop 420, sponsored by the First Saints Community Church, recently celebrated its 70th anniversary of serving the youth in the Leonardtown area.
Star Scout Zachary Cerenzia, the senior patrol leader, was the master of ceremonies, supported by Life Scout Jake Ersek, assistant senior patrol leader. The celebration started with the invocation given by 1st Class Scout Jack Guerre, followed by the presentation of the colors by the Wolverine Patrol.
A court of honor was conducted for the Scouts who were presented progress awards and merit badges they had recently earned. The introductory Scout Award was presented to Jaden Arnold, Austin Flagg, Benjamin Messer and Jack Meyer. The Tenderfoot Award was presented to Theodore Bates and the First-Class Award was presented to Will Cassetta. The Star Award was presented to Joshua Van Ryswick and the Life Award was presented to Christopher “Graham” Salter.
The history of Troop 420 was presented by Daniel Dickey, former Scoutmaster of the troop and one of its current assistant Scoutmasters. In the spirit of the occasion, Dickey created a Troop 420 history table where there were photo albums going back to the 1970s. Two of the albums contained the troop rosters and charters starting in 1947 through the current year. The history table also displayed vintage uniforms and troop memorabilia.
Dickey stated that the troop was formed on July 26, 1947, when the Leonardtown Lions Club recognized the need for a Boy Scout Troop in the Leonardtown area. The troop of 25 Scouts initially met at the Margaret Brent High School in Helen.
Dickey informed the crowd that a former Scout in that troop was 14-year-old John Hanson Briscoe, who eventually became speaker for the Maryland House of Delegates from 1973 to 1979, and served as a circuit court judge from 1986 to 2002. Thomas Webster Bell, another Scout from that initial troop, was also well known in Leonardtown as the former owner of the Bell Motor Co.
During the 70 years, Troop 420 was sponsored by six local organizations: Leonardtown Lions Club; Co. A 121st Engr Battalion Maryland National Guard; St. Mary’s American Legion Post 54; and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, which changed its name to First Saints Community Church, the troop’s sponsor. In commemoration of 38 years of Troop 420 sponsorship by the church, Dickey presented to the Rev. John Wunderlich a plaque thanking the organization for its guidance and support.
For 70 years the troop met weekly at nine different locations throughout the Leonardtown area, including Margaret Brent High School, Tudor Hall Library, Father Andrew White School, the basement of Frank Combs Insurance on Leonardtown Square, as well as the National Guard Armory, Knights of Columbus Hall, St. Paul’s UMC basement, and First Saints Community Church, the current meeting place.
There are currently 66 Scout members of the troop. Over the years the membership has fluctuated from a low of seven Scouts to as many as 77 in 2002, with an annual average of about 30 Scouts.
To date, the troop has had 20 different Scoutmasters, each dedicating time and energy to make the program successful. In support of the 70th anniversary, five former Scoutmasters attended the ceremony. Pat Coll is the current Scoutmaster of two years and counting.
The Scoutmaster works directly with the Scouts and provides the training and coaching that allows the members to develop, lead and execute their program. Behind the Scoutmaster is the Troop committee, which provides the administrative support, funding, guidance, parent backing and sponsor support to enable the program to succeed.
The Eagle Rank is the highest achievement attainable by a Boy Scout. During the past 70 years, Troop 420 has nurtured and produced 74 Scouts who have achieved the Eagle Rank. Eleven of these Eagle Scouts attended and participated in the anniversary ceremony, a welcome surprise to the younger Boy Scouts.
At the end of the ceremony, five former Eagle Scouts of Troop 420, spoke to the younger Scouts in attendance about why scouting was important to them in making life decisions and helping in career choices. These speakers spoke of their favorite merit badges and how that led to a larger interest and eventually to the job they are now doing.
Others spoke of how the leadership learned in scouting led to them being successful problem solvers at their jobs.
The troop received several commendations, including from Commissioner Todd Morgan (R), who was also an Eagle Scout, representing the St. Mary’s County Commissioners; Del. Deb Rey (R-St. Marys); and Sen. Steve Waugh (R -St. Mary’s, Calvert).
The troop extended thanks to all who attended the celebration, as well as Margie Cerenzia and the Scout parents who developed the refreshment bar, and to all who made donations.
Boy Scout Troop 420 meets at the First Saints Community Church, Leonardtown campus, every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. For more information about the troop, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about Boy Scouts in this region, visit www.ncacbsa.org/western-shore/.
Above, former Scouts who had earned the rank of Eagle Scout attend the Troop 420 70th anniversary, including Tom Wilson, left, Daniel Dickey III, Calvin Jordan, Brad Sullivan, Gary Williams, Neal Cooper, Claude Duval, Adam Cook, Mike Hankinson, Nicholas Nowotny, Jeff Gross and Todd Breslauer. Below, several Troop 420 former Scoutmasters attend the 70th anniversary celebration, including Daniel Dickey (11 years), Larry Cross (two years), Mark Duval (five years), Bill Cook (four years) and Mike Breslauer (seven years).
Boy Scout Will Cassetta, right, receives applause from others in Troop 420 after being awarded his First Class Award and joining his peer Scouts.
Star Scout Ryan Baldwin, who is the historian for Troop 420, aims his camera to document the troop’s 70th anniversary celebration.