Troop 350 gearing up for anniversary bash
By Hugh Fisher
ROCKWELL ó A lot has changed in eastern Rowan County in half a century.
But since April 1959, Boy Scout Troop 350 of Rockwell has been training young men to be good outdoorsmen, good neighbors and good citizens.
And next month, current and former Scouts will gather to celebrate that legacy.
The troop is holding a reunion on Oct. 10 at Dan Nicholas Park.
An effort is underway now to locate as many former Scouts as possible and invite them to the event.
It’s not an easy task. In five decades, Troop 350 has had more than 400 members, including 41 Eagle Scouts.
That’s a lot of men to track down.
So Driver and his reunion committee have enlisted the help of the Internet, along with former Scouts and leaders who still live in the area, to find as many as possible.
“We mailed out 301 invitations.”
And the excitement is building, Driver said.
“I called one of my former Scouts who was a Scoutmaster for a lot of years. He was just ecstatic.”
Driver said Troop 350 ó sponsored for 50 years by the Rockwell Civitan Club ó has survived as membership in scouting programs nationwide has fallen.
“We’re holding our own,” he said. “I feel privileged that we’ve been able to keep a troop this long.”
The weekly meetings at St. James Lutheran Church in Rockwell vary in attendance, he said, depending on the time of year and which youth sports are in season.
And the former Scouts who return might be hard-pressed to recognize some of the skills that have joined camping, water safety and citizenship in the curriculum.
“Ten years ago, we didn’t have a computer merit badge,” Driver said.
Outdoor activities remain popular. Driver took a sizeable group to Camp Barnhardt for the annual summer camp.
“Summer is always great,” he said. “It gives the boys opportunities to earn their badges and have fun.”
“We’re looking forward to a whitewater rafting trip this fall.”
Recent troop and Eagle Scout service projects have included providing luminaries for Brookhill Memorial Gardens, donating food to Rowan Helping Ministries and cutting wood to help the disadvantaged heat their homes.
A challenge has been finding adults with time to help as leaders.
Some former Scouts have pitched in to help out, like Michael Lyerly.
“It makes me feel good, really,” Lyerly said of his work with the boys.
Not only does he enjoy teaching, he enjoys the outdoor activities the Scouts learn.
Next month’s reunion will feature a variety of classic Scout games, such as knot-tying competitions and the like. Driver also plans to have his boys set up a model campsite at Dan Nicholas Park.
The troop is also accepting donations to defray the cost of the event, which is being offered free to former Scouts.
The hardest task is trying to find all the members of the Troop 350 family who have ended up scattered across the state and the nation.
Driver has called former members who now live in several states, and is e-mailing others as he finds information.
“We’ve still got about 130 names without addresses,” he said.
If you are a former member of Scout Troop 350, or know one who would be interested in attending, and have not received an invitation to the reunion, e-mail Harold Driver at Troop350Rockwell @yahoo.com, or write to Troop 350, PO Box 1201, Rockwell, NC, 28138.