Boy Scout legacy lives on in Driver

Published 7:39 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Boy Scout of America Troop 16 in Driver recently marked its seventh decade of service in the area. The troop celebrated the 70th anniversary at their quarterly Court of Honor ceremony held Dec. 20.

“We’re proud to be a part of the history,” said Tony Stewart, Scout Master of Troop 16. “It’s really been the support of the community that volunteers that have kept the troop going.”

Troop 16 was chartered in 1939, 30 years after the inception of the Boy Scouts in America. Its original and current charter was by the Driver Ruritan Club, with a brief charter in between by the Bennett’s Creek Ruritan Club.

“It’s maintaining and passing down the several points of the scout’s law: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent,” Stewart said. “It’s timeless values like teaching the boys to give back to their community and putting others ahead of themselves.”

The timeless values Stewart espouses have ensured the preservation of the troop, which now has 60 scouts and 34 registered leaders.

“The things they learn here teach them about independence and how to depend one another, as a team,” Stewart said. “Some boys’ experience of the outdoors is Little League baseball before they join. Now, they’re canoeing down the James River.”

The troop does many outdoor and team building activities including camping, canoeing, hiking excursions, an annual 13- to 20-mile hike up the Appalachian Trail and the Klondike Derby.

“That’s part of the legacy of the troop. We’ve always done things based on the scouting principle for the love of the outdoors,” he said. “That keeps a lot of boys coming back.”

Another principle enforced in the boys of Troop 16 throughout the years has been the Boy Scout slogan: Do a good turn daily.

“When the tornado hit, we were supposed to go to a district wide campout the next weekend,” Stewart said. “Instead, we canceled the event and mobilized the boys to help the community clean up the neighborhood. Before we knew it, we had over 250 boys from surrounding troops, like Carrollton and Emporia, who came out to pitch in.”