Local scouts mark group’s 109th birthday

Courtesy photo Pete Dzanbozoff, Troop 466 Gladstone, and Mark Bergstrom, Troop 411 Escanaba, serve soup and hot dogs at a Klondike Derby. The Boy Scouts of America celebrates its anniversary today, and look forward to the 70th Annual Klondike Derby Sled Race Saturday in Rapid River. Other events on Saturday will test the skills of the Scouts with shelter building, transporting an injured victim, traversing a dangerous crossing, first-aid with possible radio communications, providing safe water, and fire building. Lunch will be provided at the Order of the Axe Headquarters.

ESCANABA — The Boy Scouts of America is celebrating its 109th anniversary today across the nation. Scouts in the area are celebrating Scout Week with a wide variety of events.

Every year at this time Mark Rose, Hiawatha District commissioner, encourages scouts to attend church wearing their uniform, and take an active role in the church activities.

“During Scout Sunday it’s a good time for people in the community to get to know their scouts,” said Rose. “Scout Sunday is Feb. 10 this year.”

The Hiawatha District is part of the Bay-Lakes Council and consists of three quarters of the Upper Peninsula. Rose is the commissioner of the Red Buck Sub-District, Troop 411, which currently has 22 registered Scouts. He has been a troop leader for 32 years, since his two sons started.

“I was never a scout. I went to one meeting as a kid, with my friend Billy, but the leaders dropped the ball,” said Rose. “The whole meeting they talked about distributing pamphlets door to door, and that didn’t sound like fun to me.”

109 years ago, the Boy Scouts of America were incorporated on Feb. 8, after a Chicago publisher was inspired by a boy who turned down a tip offered to him after helping the publisher get to his destination while in a London fog. The young man said a Boy Scout would not accept a tip for doing a good deed. The publisher, William Boyce, created a youth organization when he returned to the States, and on Feb. 8, 1910, the Boy Scouts of America became incorporated.

Recently the Boy Scouts of America changed its name to Scouts B.S.A., to reflect a rule change allowing girls to join the organization.

“Our troop doesn’t have any girls in it,” said Rose. “No girls have asked to join. Though, the Cub Scouts of Troop 411 does have girls registered.”

Each badge a Scout receives has been earned by the scout. There is a lot of preparation done by the scout before doing an outing.

“First the scout learns how to be safe, then the scout does the book work, reads the information,” said Rose. “Finally the scout does a hands-on outing to get the badge.”

Besides badges and learning the scouting way, there are many opportunities to be adventurous. In June, Troop-411 will once again serve at Fort Mackinac as the Governor’s Honor Guard. Feb. 16 and 17, Troop 411 will fish during the free fishing weekend and Saturday, Feb. 9, the annual Klondike Derby will be held at the Head of the Grand Island Trail, just north of Rapid River. Originally the derby was scheduled Jan. 26, but it was -postponed because of sub-zero temperatures and dangerous wind chills.