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Boy Scout Troop 14 to Celebrate its Centennial

Boy Scouting has been an integral part of the American scene, as well as here in Lycoming County, for more than 100 years. One local Scout Troop, Boy Scout Troop 14 of St. John’s-Newberry United Methodist Church, will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next week. Troop 14 is the oldest consecutively chartered troop in the Susquehanna Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which serves five counties here in northcentral Pennsylvania.

Troop 14, was chartered as “Troop 1, Newberry” on January 22, 1918, at St. John’s Evangelical Church (today’s St. John’s-Newberry United Methodist Church). When the Williamsport Council of the Boy Scouts of America was organized in November of 1919, the Troop was re-designated “Troop 14.”

Throughout its history, camping and outdoor craft and lore have been an important part of Troop 14’s activities. Troop members have camped at many locations throughout the years.

The troop was present at the dedication of Camp Kline, the venerable and historic camp used by area Scouts for many years. Troop 14 members attended Camp Kline every year, except for two, between 1920 and 1971. The camp was severely damaged during the 1972 flood and soon passed out of existence.
Hundreds of Troop 14 scouts and leaders have attended the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, which is Boy Scouting’s premier wilderness challenge experience. They have also attended the Sea Base in Florida, and the Northern Tier Adventure Base in Minnesota.

Starting in 1977, members of Troop 14 have attended summer camp at Camp Karoodinha in western Union County.

Bob Weaver Jr., one of the 126 Eagle Scouts produced by Troop 14 and a member of the troop’s anniversary committee, was asked what accounted for the longevity of the troop. He told Webb Weekly, “We have been very fortunate to have had some very dedicated and involved scoutmasters and volunteers who served the troop for many years. They helped to build a fine scouting tradition for our troop, men such as Mitch Younkin, Don Mader — who was my scoutmaster — Paul McBride, John Springman, and Don Cohick, just to name a few. The present scoutmaster is John Andreacci.” Weaver added that the scout committee of the troop made up of adult volunteers that advise and help with the affairs of the troop, averages about 20 years of service for each volunteer and that provides continuity and helps to promote the tradition of scouting and all the service that it entails.

My family also has its own involvement as part of the scouting tradition at Troop 14. My father (Lou Sr.) and his two brothers, John and Skip, were also scouts at Troop 14. Skip also served on the scout committee for more than 20 years. Skip’s son, “Butch” is one of Troop 14’s Eagle Scouts.

Troop 14 has two main annual fundraisers that help it monetarily, and that is the pancake supper and the apple dumpling sale. My uncle Skip was one of the stalwarts at helping with the supper for many years. Troop 14 honored him, along with Jim Fortney and the late Ernie Fisher, by presenting them with the “Golden Spatula Award,” in recognition for their longtime dedicated service to the pancake supper. It was one of my uncle’s most cherished possessions.

The continued enthusiastic support of the congregation at St. John’s-Newberry was also cited by Weaver as a source of real strength for the troop.

“I think the congregation is very proud of the troop and all it has accomplished over the years as part of its youth ministry,” Weaver said. “And we are proud that we are able to represent St. John’s-Newberry and all the fine people of this congregation.”

Weaver believes that Scouting has an appeal of its own by developing skills that can be used throughout life. Skills such as leadership, first aid, conservation and all things related to camping and the outdoors, as well as a commitment to community service, clean living, and consideration for others.

“We are proud to see boys become young men,” Weaver said. “It is gratifying to see them learn skills and develop the ethic that makes them productive and vital members of their community.”

When Weaver was a scout at St. John’s there were about 45 scouts in the troop. He said that now there are about 25 and the number has not dipped below that, which he believes is pretty good considering that many scout troops are struggling to maintain their memberships.

He believes the future of scouting and for Troop 14 is bright.

“Scouting is still viable and exciting to be involved with, and I think the recent decision at the national level to include girls will help scouting to be more family-friendly,” Weaver said. “Brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers will all be able to enjoy the benefits of scouting and gain some of the positive lessons from it.”

Troop 14 is having two major commemorative activities to mark its centennial milestone. On Scout Sunday, February 11 at the 10:45 a.m. worship service at St. John’s-Newberry, 2101 Newberry St., Williamsport, United Methodist Bishop Mark Webb, an Eagle Scout from Troop 14, will make some congratulatory remarks befitting the occasion and afterwards, at 12:15 p.m. in the church’s fellowship hall there will be a luncheon and program. No reservation is needed to attend the Scout Sunday.

Then on Saturday, May 12 at the Scottish Rite Auditorium, in downtown Williamsport, at 348 Market Street, there will be a special Anniversary Dinner that will feature as the main speaker, Congressman “G.T.” Glenn Thompson, of the neighboring 5th Congressional District, and an Eagle Scout. A social hour will begin at 5 p.m., followed by dinner and a program at 6 p.m. Reservations are required, and information for ordering tickets for the affair can be had at Troop 14’s website, Former Scoutmaster Don Cohick is chairman of the anniversary committee.