Archived Story

Building community

Published 11:47am Saturday, June 22, 2013

To the Editor:

It was my honor and pleasure to be associated with the recently celebrated 100th anniversary of Boy Scout Troop 17. During events held almost two weeks ago, we celebrated many of the things that make me so proud to be a small part of Scouting, and a resident of this community.

One of the cornerstones of the Scouting program is community service. It is my personal belief that service to others is very purposefully woven throughout Scouting’s rank advancement system. Boys are taught from a young age that helping other people creates the fundamental basis for a viable community. Many young men have spent time in Troop 17 through the years, and it is uncanny to me how many of the names that are found on the old, tattered troop rosters are recognizable to me because they are also the same men who have gone on to become key members of our local community. These former Scouts have become doctors, lawyers, City Council members and judges. They have continued to support and build our local community throughout their lives.

I believe the organizers of the Scouting movement in the early 1900’s recognized that emphasis needed to be placed on cheerful service performed within one’s local community. One of the long-standing merit badges required for the rank of Eagle is Citizenship in the Community. Troop 17 has been reinforcing this ideal of service to others with youngsters in our Franklin community for 100 years now, and enjoys a proud record of accomplishments by former Scouts. The Eagle Scout projects which have been completed in efforts to enhance our local area are simply too numerous to list here. Franklin Cooperative Ministry, local churches, the library, the YMCA, our schools, the Downtown Farmer’s Market, and The Village at Woods Edge are but a few examples of the many places where Troop 17 Scouts have logged hours “building” our community.

As Tom Jones mentioned in his recently printed letter in this newspaper, it was in 1946 that key leaders of our Franklin community found a way to provide Troop 17 with a meeting place on Fontaine Street. The troop flourished, and met at the old Scout Shack regularly until 2012. By then, the building was simply worn out, and too small for the troop’s needs. I cannot describe what a joy it has been for the adult leaders of Troop 17 to watch as, over the last couple of years, this community has come together again to provide us a wonderful, new Scout Shack that will serve the youth of this community for many years to come. The dream of a new Scout building which started with a handful of Boy Scout leaders sitting around a flickering campfire late one night was quickly seized upon by others in our community, many of whom had been Scouts in Troop 17 as youngsters. These former Scouts saw a need in their community, and acted decisively to address it. Sound familiar? Yes, it does because these community leaders were simply acting on the strong community values and leadership that they learned long ago during the time they spent as Scouts.

Troop 17 would like to thank The Camp Foundations, Franklin/Southampton Charities, Woodmen of the World, the American Legion, High Street United Methodist Church, local contractors, and numerous private individuals who contributed to the success we celebrated with the recent dedication of our new Scout Shack on Camp Parkway. It is fitting that the building was dedicated to Tom Jones, Scoutmaster of Troop 17 for many years. Many of his former Scouts and leaders came together once again to “build” community by providing this new facility for our leaders of tomorrow. Troop 17 is forever grateful for this tremendous outpouring of support. Thank you to all who have contributed in various ways to help us make this dream a reality for our local Scouts.

David Benton
Committee Chairman, Troop 17

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