(Updated June 3, 2010)
In 1909, Chicago publisher William D. Boyce lost his way in a dense London fog. A boy came to his aid and, after guiding the man, refused a tip, explaining that as a scout he would not take a tip for doing a good turn. This gesture by the unknown scout inspired a meeting with Robert Baden-Powell, the British founder of the Boy Scouts. As a result, William Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910.
Our Troop is formed
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish was established in Oakland in June of 1960. Father Jack Konen contacted a number of parishioners seeking their help in organizing a Boy Scout troop. Jack Frank was selected as the Troop’s first scoutmaster, and on January 1, 1963, Troop 49 officially chartered with 32 boys and 13 adults.
In 1965, Troop 49 awarded its first two Eagle awards to Kevin Grace and Michael Houghton under the leadership of Scoutmaster Walter Roy. During Walt’s tenure as scoutmaster, the troop earned the nickname of “The Pathfinders” as we were involved in the early mapping of high adventure canoe trips in the Adirondacks, at the newly opened Floodwood Mountain Scout Reservation. In 1969, the Troop reached its record high enrollment of 95 registered scouts.
The 1970’s & 80’s
Through the 1970’s and 1980’s, the troop remained healthy, under Scoutmaster Ted Swenson. Our scouts became staff members at Floodwood Mountain Scout Reservation, held leadership positions in the Order of the Arrow (including Lodge Chief), and many more Eagle Scout ranks were earned. One of the troop’s Eagle Scouts, Brett Sorter, entered the USMA at West Point, NY. As a result, the troop was invited to attend their annual Camporee during each of Brett’s years in the Academy. The troop embarked on many high adventure trips, including Managamin Canoe Base in Maine and regular treks to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. The troop logged its first international trip, wilderness canoeing, at Algonquin Provincial Park, in Ontario, Canada under Scoutmaster Cliff West. Funnel cakes made their debut in the mid 1980’s under ASM Paul “PJ” Jenssen, and the troop started selling them at the town fireworks event each 4th of July.
By the early 1990’s, the Troop’s membership dwindled, until getting to the point that we existed only “on paper” for a number of years, with no active program or youth members. It was during this darkest hour in the troop’s history, that PJ, who by then took the role of Committee Chairman, worked very hard to keep The Pathfinders from folding completely. In 1996, the troop was approached by the leadership of Pack 49, who wished to consider Troop 49 for the graduating Webelos that year. With the help of Troop 49 alumni Dan Bower and Rob Dente, PJ was successful in getting the troop back up and running. Scoutmaster Rob Dente worked with the new scouts, and after three years, the troop grew to over thirty active scouts. The troop regained its stride and ramped up for the 21st Century.
The New Century
By the turn of the century, Troop 49 had returned to Floodwood, and Philmont. Scoutmasters Joe Mingalone and Martin Treich continued to grow the troop to healthy numbers through diverse programming and focus on advancement. The first Eagle Scout since reactivating, Stephen Miggels, was honored. The troop continued to participate in the scout camps, and once again went international in April of 2005, spending a week at Camp Guajataka in Puerto Rico, under ASM Mike Flon. The troop embarked on many trips to retired naval and Coast Guard ships, as well as places of historical interest. The troop participated in the USNA National Eagle Scout Association Camporee in Annapolis, MD. The troop also offered “long weekend” trips when schools were closed. These trips visited places such as Boston and Washington, DC. Each summer, the troop returned to Camp Turrell, under the leadership of ASM Jim Barry. Troop 49 scouts served on camp staff at Floodwood, Turrell, and Cub Day Camp at Yaw Paw. In 2007, the troop stayed at Camp Richard, located on Nantucket Island, MA, for the first time. This trip has become a favorite each summer with many members of the troop in the years since.
2010 and beyond
In 2009, the role of Scoutmaster was turned over to Paul Zakrzewski and ASM Jim Folkerts. These leaders are guiding the troop through the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, helping our scouts earn the limited edition 100th Anniversary merit badges, such as Pathfinding Merit Badge. In July of 2010, the troop is scheduled to be scouting in three different states at the same time. One group of our scouts will be attending the Centennial National Jamboree in Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, under the leadership of ASM Ed Rosfjord. We will have a second group of our scouts attending the National BSA Seabase in the Florida Keys, under the leadership of ASM Scott Mendolia. At the same time, a third group of our scouts will be attending Camp Turrell in Cuddybackville, New York, under the leadership of ASM Dan Fern.
The Troop 49 Pathfinders continue to explore, learn and grow with each new generation of scouts and leaders who become a part of our program.