Utah’s Oldest Scout Troop Maintains Historic Traditions
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.