Westfield Boy Scout Troop 73 Celebrates 75th Anniversary on Nov 25, 2011

Boy Scout Troop 73 celebrated its Diamond Anniversary in 2011.  The Troop celebrated with a dinner at the Westwood in Garwood on Friday, November 25, 2011.  Troop 73 was established in 1936 to meet the needs of local boys and provide them with the experiences of scouting – fellowship, service, and outdoor adventures.  The Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity has been chartered to the troop since its inception and has always been a strong supporter of scouting.  Over the years, troop membership has ranged from 20 to more than 100 scouts; the current troop roster has 74 scouts.  An article in the Westfield Leader in September 1952 mentioned that Troop 73 had 42 scouts, an average membership through the 1950’s-1990’s.  A boy can be a Boy Scout from age 11-18 years.  As the scout gains skills and experience in basic camping, service and leadership, they advance through ranks from Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle Scout.  The troop has focused on training the boys as the leaders of the troop with trained adult leadership as guides; this helps the boys gain confidence and develop skills that can be used in all aspects of life even when they graduate from the troop at age 18.  Current scouts prepare scrapbooks of troop activities to help keep historical records.  The troop also has an extensive collection of photographs of camping, canoeing and other activities, which will be shared during the anniversary dinner.

Since 1936, Troop 73 has had 97 Eagle Scouts, the highest rank that can be earned in scouting.  The troop’s first Eagle Scout was James Harrington in 1948, followed by Peter Scheuermann in 1950.  Only 2-4% of all scouts complete the trail to Eagle, which demonstrates a several year commitment to leadership, service, and outdoor activities.  The final step to attain the Eagle Scout rank is to prepare and complete a special service project for the local community, church or school.  In 1996, the troop graduated 8 Eagle scouts at a single ceremony.  This represented a group of boys who joined Cub Scouts as young friends and stayed together through the entire Boy Scout experience to earn the Eagle Scout rank.  The troop still refers to this rare event as the “Flock of Eagles” ceremony.  More than 25 scoutmasters have led the troop during its 75 years.  The troop prides itself on dedicated, trained and experienced adult leaders who stay active with the troop for years after their sons graduate from scouting.  Ongoing new leadership keeps the troop fresh with new ideas and is a basic strength of Troop 73 throughout its 75 years.

In the early years, scouts camped locally in Westfield and New Jersey and local newspapers published a Scout Report section in each edition to summarize the local troop activities, meetings, and advancements.  Troop 73 always has offered a strong high adventure program, including backpacking trips to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmarron, New Mexico, considered the pinnacle of scouting.  In addition, the troop has traveled to Canada, Maine and the Adirondacks for high adventure canoe treks often canoeing and portaging more than 100 miles in a 10 day wilderness experience.  A highlight of troop history was when a two week canoe trek down the upper Delaware River was featured in the August 2002 issue of Boys Life magazine.  The troop sponsors an annual canoe race on the Delaware River in honor of Ed Jeuther, one of the troop’s beloved scoutmasters who served from 1943-1949.  The winner of the multitroop competition is awarded the “Jeuther Cup” which it keeps for a year as a sign of its canoeing prowess.  Troop 73 also has traveled to Ireland on several occasions to camp at a local scout camp and to visit and share scouting experiences with local scout troops.  The closing campfire brings all troop members from both countries together to share their customs, songs and stories.  Neckerchiefs and patches are exchanged during the visit.  These are memorable trips for the scouts as they realize the international reach of boy scouting.

Troop 73 is an active community service group and supports Scouting for Food each year at the Holy Trinity Food pantry.  The troop volunteers at the Fanwood Recycling Center and uses the proceeds to support families in need during the Christmas holidays.  Scouts also help support other charitable causes by volunteering for events in the community throughout the year.

In celebration of 75 years of scouting as Troop 73, former scouts, scoutmasters and other leaders and friends of Troop 73 participated and shared memories and stories of their Troop 73 days on November 25, 2011.  They reconnected with past leaders and scouts and celebrate the accomplishments of the past 75 years. The troop looks forward to another 75 years of scouting fun.