On April 7th of this year, Boy Scout Troop 46 of Lake Forest celebrated its 90th Birthday and Scout Sunday at First Presbyterian Church in west Lake Forest. As a member of Troop 46 myself, I can’t help but add that this is a huge milestone for a Boy Scout Troop. The fact that the troop is at this point in its history speaks to the quality of the leadership it produces, and the commitment of generations of adult leaders to steward young men towards the virtues of scouting.
The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910, by W.D. Boyce, a publisher in Chicago. Shortly after creating the organization, he approached Lake Forest to establish a troop in the new organization. Troop 46 was made official in 1927, when the first Troop Master, Reverend George Roberts signed the original troop charter with the BSA. 90 years later, on April Seventh, the stronger than ever Troop 46 looked back on its chartering during the Scout Sunday service.
Since its chartering, thousands of boys have taken the Scout Oath and learned to live by the Scout Law in Troop 46.
Seven years ago, I was a nervous fifth grader at my first Boy Scout meeting. My uniform hanging over my slight frame, I entered the warmly lit, expansive Fellowship hall in the Church’s basement. I remember being called forward, as all new scouts are, in front of a large semi circle of scouts; I was asked my name, school, and favorite super hero-themed cereal. That last one was telling of the next seven years to come. Troop 46 is a truly special and unique Boy Scout troop–one where fun and camaraderie are natural byproducts of a high productivity environment in all things scouting. In those next seven years, I learned more than I can write about leadership and a myriad of character traits through camping in the woods of Wisconsin, hiking the mountains of New Mexico, and paddling the waters of Canada.
But even more than the amazing places Troop 46 took me, the culture of Troop 46 is what makes me wish I could go back to those cold winter nights or rainy days of my childhood. It was the hard-charging, but lighthearted and cheerful work ethic of 46’ers on campouts, and the boy-led structure of the troop that has held it together for 90 years. For a kid going through the rigors of Lake Forest or Lake Bluff schools, to have role models to look up to is a huge advantage of the 46 experience. I had friends who I shared a closeness with that couldn’t be found anywhere else given the conventional age differences of school. Coming to the high school freshman year, I had older friends that I knew better than most kids in my class thanks to the experiences I gained in scouting.
Troop 46 has fostered boys into men for 90 years, and produced 222 Eagle Scouts, a rank only 4% of all Scouts earn. Eagle Scouts from Troop 46 have given over 8,000 hours of service to the surrounding community. Boy Scouts is, in my opinion, the best extracurricular kids can be apart of from 5th Grade to Senior Year. Having had this privilege to go from a nervous fifth grader to an adult awaiting an Eagle Board of review, I am positive that the Boy Scouts of Troop 46 will continue to do good work for 90 years to come.