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BSA Scouts and Cub Scouts #147

Both Cub Scouts (Kindergarten to 5th grade) and BSA Scouts (6th to 12th grade) are Chartered by our church.

Scout Troop 147 consists of boys age 11 to 18. The troop meets weekly at 7:30 pm on Tuesday nights (when Council Rock schools are in session) at Northampton Presbyterian Church.

Never have we experienced a year like 2020, and hopefully there won’t be another like it any time soon! All areas of our daily lives have been impacted, by the COVID-19 pandemic and Scouting was no exception. While we lost much of the 2019- 20 Scouting year to COVID-19, we did our best to put together a safe and fun – albeit limited - campaign for 2020-21.

 

Our Troop experienced a transition in adult leadership this past year as Scoutmaster Dan DiDomenico, who held the role since September 2016, transitioned to Duane Boyes for the beginning of the 2020-21 Scouting year. We owe Dan a debt of gratitude for his many contributions to the Troop. Fortunately, he will continue to play a role for Troop 147 as part of our committee. The Troop Committee is made up of a team of volunteers - parents of both current and past Troop members - headed by Craig Stoltz, who has been the Committee Chairperson since September 2017. Chartered Organization Representative Kathie Pisciella is part of the Committee and she plays the important role of liaison between Northampton Presbyterian Church (NPC) and the Scouting unit.

 

Troop 147 currently has 23 registered Scouts. In addition to the Scoutmaster, seven Assistant Scoutmasters work directly with the boys to bring Scouting to life on a weekly and monthly basis. The work of the Troop Committee members is also vitally important to ensure the resources and logistics are in place to enable a successful program. The Troop is currently in the midst of its 2020-21 activity/fiscal year, which runs from September to August. Through sound fiscal management and some modest fundraising, the Troop remains in good financial standing. We recently rechartered the Troop with the BSA for another year and continue to provide a robust outdoor program and opportunities for youth leadership and development.

 

Despite the pandemic, Troop 147 offered five opportunities for its Scouts to go camping in 2020, which were all part of weekend camping trips. Unfortunately, our planned week-long summer camp and a high adventure experience to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico were canceled. However, we are planning for both of those experiences to resume in 2021. Our trips this past year included skiing in the Poconos and a fun-filled weekend of movies and a scavenger hunt in January and February. With strict safety protocols in place, we resumed camping in September. These guidelines included pre-trip health questionnaires, mandatory masks at all times, one Scout to a tent, no patrol cooking, daily temperature checks - and lots of hand sanitizer. We were able to safely plan and enjoy trips to French Creek State Park as a return to camping, biking 26 miles on the Lehigh Gorge Trail, and a weekend of hiking and shooting on the rifle range at Hawk Mountain.

 

Troop 147 had a notable year in 2020 related to advancement. We must give a shout out to our Scouts for their resilience and initiative working on requirements during the downtime as members of the troop earned 71 merit badges. The Troop supported and celebrated one of our Scouts as they completed their trail to Eagle, the highest achievement and rank attainable in Scouting. In total, there were 16 rank advancements in the Troop, which included three Scouts advancing two ranks each. We now have 10 Scouts who are one step away from Eagle at the Life rank and who are in various stages of completing Eagle requirements or actively planning their service projects.

 

In an ordinary year, Troop 147 meets weekly at 7:30 pm on Tuesday nights (when Council Rock schools are in session) at NPC, with the Scouts planning and running the meetings. This is in keeping with, and allows the Troop to realize, the important goal of boy led troop leadership. Troop meetings on Tuesday nights continued in the Spring via Zoom following the pandemic lockdown and resumed in the Fall as in-person, outdoor, physically-distanced gatherings with similar safety protocols taken to those described previously for camping trips. Unfortunately, in-person meetings were put on hiatus and replaced with biweekly Zoom sessions once the days grew colder and evenings darker, which made outdoor meetings less manageable. We look forward to the day when the Troop will once again be able to resume a regular, in-person meeting schedule. Even with the unusual schedule and means of connecting, Troop meetings have been focused on a series of themes and topics throughout the year, including development of scouting skills, life skills, preparation for upcoming camping trips or other outdoor adventures, and, in some cases, just having fun. The Troop also conducted two Courts of Honor throughout the year – one in-person pre-COVID and one virtual - to recognize and celebrate the Scouts’ rank advancement and other achievements.

 

The Scout motto is “do a good turn daily.” We often discuss how Scouts can do their best to help other people every day, and group service projects or events are a bigger way to help our community. In 2020, Troop 147 members took part in eight different service projects, providing more than 220 hours of service by the Scouts and another 180 hours by adults. In September, Troop 147 Scouts participated in a clean-up of the Washington Crossing National Park to help clear the grounds that had been overwhelmed by increased use from people looking to get outside during the pandemic. As is its tradition, the Troop conducted a leaf and stick cleanup on the grounds of NPC, which in total resulted in the collection of approximately 80 bags of yard waste, to help ensure that the grounds around the building are clear of leaves and debris.

 

The Scouts and adult volunteers of Troop 147 truly appreciate the strong support we receive from NPC. We look forward to what will hopefully be a more normal year in 2021 that allows us to return to our usual action-packed schedule full of the adventures and life lessons that build character, citizenship and enable personal development in each of the boys. On behalf of the Troop and its leadership, we wish NPC and all its congregants a safe, healthy and happy 2021.