Birdsboro BSA Troop 595 celebrated its 65th Anniversary in 2020. Like many aspects of the past year, Scouting has had to adapt to quarantines, social distancing and masks.
The Troop had planned for a big celebration in 2020, but had to postpone those plans due to COVID-19.
Despite the challenges, the Scouts of Birdsboro Troop 595 were able to adapt, overcome and thrive.
Beginning in March of 2020, when the pandemic started, the Troop went virtual on Zoom. They welcomed four new crossovers from Pack 595 shortly after. The Troop held weekly meetings where the Scouts could teach each other skills, plan the Scout year for when conditions allowed for activities, worked on advancements and merit badges and most importantly stayed connected as patrols and a Troop.
In June, when conditions improved, the Troop held in-person meetings at Rustic Park in Birdsboro where they were able to maintain social distancing.
With traditional Summer Camp canceled, Scoutmaster Kurt Freer and Committee Chair Scott Fryer started thinking of an alternative. The Troop planned and implemented their own Summer Camp at Elk Neck State Park on the Chesapeake Bay. Camping in a group site alone, and having individual tents, the Troop was able to provide merit badge such as Nature, Forestry, Fishing, Kayaking and Motor Boating to the Scouts. Being on the Bay allowed for swimming, fishing and the daily spotting of a Bald Eagle as it dove into the water to catch fish.
The adult leaders cooked all the meals which were served in disposable containers to decrease exposure. The highlight of the week was a Thanksgiving Dinner, complete with turkey, stuffing, coleslaw, rolls and pumpkin pie for dessert, made by Rene Berkhammer in the newly acquired propane oven thanks to a Cabela's Outdoor Fund grant. It allowed the Troop to show its thanks for health, friendship and Scouting.
Through the summer, fall and winter, the Troop held many activities in addition to weekly meetings: A pool party and Court of Honor, camping at Treasure Island, one of the first Scout camps in America, weekend camping at French Creek and Hawk Mountain, and also participating in Scoutings Winter Fest.
The Troop provided service by assisting with American Legion Post 626 Flag retirement ceremony and trash pick up, landscaping the War Memorial in Gibraltar, participating in Scouting for Food, visiting the SEPA Veterans Center and helping staff a Cub Scout Adventure Day. While some families are struggling to get their teens active, our Scouting family was serving others and having fun doing it.
Also during the pandemic, the Troop was proud to celebrate two new Eagle Scouts. All of this occurred without any activity-related COVID infections in large part due to the diligence of the Scouts and leaders.
This Spring the Troop welcomed five new Scouts from Pack 595 and has remined active with several activities and camping trips, most recently participating in the Mid Atlantic Scout Orienteering Competition at French Creek, where one team from our Troop placed first in their division.
The Troop has many adventures planned in the coming months and is planning its return to Hawk Mountain Scout Reservation in July as traditional summer camp returns. As Scouting gets back to the "new normal" the Troop is actively looking for young men aged 11-17 years to join us on our adventures.
BSA Troop 595 is sponsored by St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Birdsboro. We meet Monday's from 7 to 8:30 p.m. As the weather permits, the Troop will meet at Rustic Park in Birdsboro. For more information about Scouting and Troop 595 contact Kurt Freer, Scoutmaster at 610-428-7085 or firstname.lastname@example.org.