Utah’s Old­est Scout Troop Main­tains His­toric Tra­di­tions

Serve Daily - - COMMUNITY - By Chris­tine Hogge

What does it feel like to be part of the old­est scouting com­mu­nity in Utah? Ac­cord­ing to Scout­mas­ter Kevin Keaton, it’s “phe­nom­e­nal.”

“No other pro­gram out there helps these young boys cross over to young men quite so well,” said Keaton.

Keaton, along with 48 young boys and other vol­un­teers make up Troop 51. First formed in 1916, this group has been run­ning strong for the last 102 years.

Re­cently the cor­po­rate of­fices of BSA an­nounced some changes that stirred the waters. Some of these in­clude a name change, in­creased gen­der di­ver­sity, and new ac­cep­tance of LGBTQ lead­ers.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Keaton, you won’t have to worry about the new changes af­fect­ing the group very much. While girls are now able to join the scouting pro­gram, they’re still keep­ing the troops seg­re­gated.

This means that for Troop 51 ac­tiv­i­ties will con­tinue on as nor­mal, with cam­pouts, flag cer­e­monies and fundrais­ers.

While the lead­ers are there to ad­vise and ob­serve, the young men are the ones that plan al­most ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing their most re­cent an­nual spaghetti fundraiser din­ner. The troop man­aged to sell over 1100 din­ners. The money from this fundraiser helps to fund the rest of the ac­tiv­i­ties of the year.

What is it that makes Troop 51 dif­fer­ent? It’s rich tra­di­tions and his­tory. In the last year, they hosted a grand cel­e­bra­tory birth­day with 25 years worth of scout lead­ers.

“You don’t get that kind of his­tory very of­ten,” said Keaton, “It has su­per strong tra­di­tions, it’s al­most more of a brother­hood.”

An­other fo­cus of the group is the qual­ity of men they are cre­at­ing. “Other troops are more con­cerned about check­ing off re­quire­ments and get­ting a badge. While we feel that our troop is more about a brother­hood of scouting and build­ing the lead­er­ship skills avail­able for these men.”

Mem­ber­ship trends sug­gest that the scouting pro­gram num­bers will de­crease dra­mat­i­cally over the next cou­ple of years. This could mean that groups such as Troop 51 will need to take on larger bound­aries than be­fore.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Keaton, the pro­gram’s not go­ing any­where. He believes that there are still many qual­ity com­mu­nity troops that will con­tinue on for a long time to come.

If you want to get in­volved with Troop 51, you can find them Thurs­days at 7 at the Provo Elks Lodge, 1000 S. Univer­sity Ave.

Scouts and lead­ers par­tic­i­pate in the Scout Oath.

Mem­bers of Troop 51 Salute.

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