Scout troop doc­u­ments, cel­e­brates its seven decades in Leonard­town

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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 troop420re­union@gmail.com. For more about Boy Scouts in this re­gion, visit www.ncacbsa.org/west­ern-shore/.

PHOTOS DI­RECTLY ABOVE AND BE­LOW BY SCOUT RYAN BALD­WIN

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).

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Boy Scout Will Cas­setta, right, re­ceives ap­plause from oth­ers in Troop 420 af­ter be­ing awarded his First Class Award and join­ing his peer Scouts.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Star Scout Ryan Bald­win, who is the his­to­rian for Troop 420, aims his cam­era to doc­u­ment the troop’s 70th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion.

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