Walk by the Fellowship Hall on a Tuesday evening, and you might hear a busy group of boys reciting these words: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” It’s the Scouts of Troop 282, reminding themselves to live by the principles of the Scout Law.
Scouting has enjoyed a long history at West Side. Troop 282 was organized in 1949, nearly 70 years ago. Hundreds of boys have worked their way through the program, learning outdoor skills and rising through the ranks to Eagle. In fact, the first Scout to achieve Eagle rank in Troop 282 was West Side’s own Ron Rice, and many West Side youth have followed in his footsteps.
The program at West Side has an excellent reputation, and the number of Scouts in the Troop has been increasing every year. Currently, more than 70 Scouts ages 11–17 are active in the Troop, and another 90 younger Scouts are active in the Cub Scout Pack.
Scouts attend weekly meetings, where they learn and teach skills, such as first aid and camping skills, and plan for their outings. Twice a month, Scouts go on day hikes or overnight trips where they practice what they learned. On one popular trip, they build and sleep in snow caves, which is a wilderness survival skill. Through it all, the emphasis is on building the Scouts’ leadership skills.
Experienced adult leaders help make Troop 282 successful, and in January, the Troop honored two longtime leaders with a well-deserved retirement dinner in Howell Auditorium. Mr. Paul Brzoska and Mr. Peter Hogan led mountaineering trips each summer for the past twenty years, guiding Scouts through a ten-week training that culminated most years in an ascent of Mount Rainier.
So, how do the Scouts live out the Scout Law? Here are a few examples:
A Scout is helpful. Every March the Scouts participate in Scouting for Food, a door-to-door food drive for the local food bank. This year, they collected 431 pounds of food.
A Scout is friendly, courteous, and kind. On February 11, Scouts and Cub Scouts served as greeters, ushers, and readers during the worship service. They provided the offertory music and served coffee at the fellowship hour. Serving on Scout Sunday is a way to say thank you to West Side for its enduring support of the Troop.
A Scout is cheerful. Troop 282 gets Scouts outdoors—hiking, snowshoeing, canoeing, and camping. Sometimes it’s great fun and sometimes it’s “type 2” fun—miserable at the time, but exciting in retrospect. Through these experiences, Scouts learn to be of good cheer in challenging circumstances.
A Scout is brave. Last August, eight Scouts on the Troop’s annual five-day Skills Hike in the Alpine Lakes region spotted smoke and discovered a fire near Lake Tuscohatchie. The Scouts and their leaders formed a bucket brigade with water bottles and camping pots and spent two hours passing containers of water along the line. They managed to put down the flames, preventing a much bigger wildfire. And the story made the evening news!
A Scout is reverent. Every age and every level in Scouting emphasizes religious faith and duty to God. Scouts who want to deepen their understanding of God can earn religious emblems. Last year, several Cub Scouts earned the God and Me award by completing the curriculum with Pastor Shari Monson, exploring more about what God means to them and their family.
If you would like to learn more about the Scouting program, contact Paul Gjording, West Side’s Chartered Organization Representative for Troop 282.
~ Nancy Gjording