This history is the attempt of a novice writer to try and record some of the memories and highlights of Troop 160 after 85 years of scouting. Eighty-Five years is not a printing error, for you will see that our roots go back to 1920 when Troop 2 was chartered as the second Boy Scout Troop in Clarks Summit. It wasn’t until approximately 1950 that the troop was forced to adopt the number 160. Although the troop charter lapsed several times, Troop 2, which is now Troop 160, has successfully re-chartered every year since 1928. If you research the statistics regarding the average age of a scouting unit, you will see that 75 consecutive years is a remarkable achievement.
I must admit early on that this booklet is really not a history since history is defined as ” a continuous or methodical recording of important or public events.” What you will read here is a compilation of memories, anecdotes passed down over the years, and quotes from previously printed materials. Unfortunately, it would appear that we were having so much fun through the years that no one bothered to keep notes. The writer would challenge the current leadership to begin a policy of keeping an annual journal with some jottings regarding troop events and some photographs so an accurate history can be compiled for the future.
The pages that are titled “History of Boy Scout Troop 160” are factual. They are based on actual interviews as well as notes and diaries kept by some of the former leaders involved with the 75th Anniversary Committee (2005). The rest of the booklet is an attempt to share as much information as possible regarding the Troop’s activities since 1955. We admit that a list of campfire songs or fundraising projects may seem mundane but for anyone who has been involved with the troop, one of these items may bring back a fond memory. You will also find some brief references to scouting on the local and national level to remind us that Troop 160 is part of a very large family of Scouts and Scouters.
The number of organizations and volunteers that work to make our world a better place is astounding. With admitted prejudice I would say that the Scouting movement ranks high on the list. Through our website, and questionnaires that were mailed to former scouts, we received poignant tributes and memories of times gone by. We dropped an envelope in the mail and pictured a young scout, and received a reply from a grown man who credited his scouting experience with the leadership skills and success he enjoys today. As you read this booklet we hope you enjoy the stories and share a sense of pride in what we have accomplished together.
Written by Rick Williams (former Scoutmaster), March 30, 2005
(missing the beginning of this, but appears to reference an article in Scouting magazine, Jan/Feb 1985 by Sanford N. McDonnell, President of Boy Scouts of America. The article can be found here).
he titled the “Flames of Scouting”. In the article he paraphrased a story he had heard about Sir Robert Baden Powell the founder of the Boy Scout movement. Mr. McDonnell wrote, “Baden Powell knew what all good unit leaders sooner or later discover, that the flame of scouting will not die if someone continues to fan the sparks.”
Those who fanned the sparks.
In February of 1978, Troop 160 was preparing to celebrate its’50th Anniversary. The Abington Journal agreed to publish a series of articles covering various aspects of the Troop’s history and in their February 16th issue they published the third article, which they titled “Dedication was key to Troop 160’s success. Numerous people were interviewed for the story, but the comments of two men stand out. Reid Miller was a charter member of Troop 2 joining in 1928, staying active through his college days as an Assistant Scoutmaster. Dan Swallow was Scoutmaster in the late thirties and early forties. Although interviewed separately, each man when asked how a Boy Scout Troop could continue for 50 years answered emphatically ”that the dedication of the leaders and committeemen was the key to the ongoing success of the program. The same article observes that 16 men served as Scoutmasters during the 50-year period. In this booklet you will find the names of 25 men who have led the Troop as Scoutmasters.
While the Troop has maintained a steady membership by offering well-planned and exciting programs, none of it could have happened without the unselfish and committed leadership of hundreds of adults over the years. Scoutmasters, Assistants, Committeemen and Women have given their time to insure that Troop 160 would not lapse again. We cannot end the written history without devoting a paragraph to each of three organizations without whom Troop 160 could not have achieved longevity or success.
Our Sponsor for over 85 years
It has been a requirement since the Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910, that a Troop could not be formed without the sponsorship of a dependable civic group. The purpose of the sponsor is to guarantee that responsible adults are supporting and watching over a unit so that the good name of the national organization would not be compromised.
Our original sponsor, the Abington Men’s Club which would eventually become the Abington Rotary Club, has been an institution in the Abingtons for many years. The Abington Rotary Club was actually chartered by Rotary International in 1929. Their record of service to our community is unparalleled. Each Christmas season they raise more money for the Salvation Army than any other local organization, sponsor numerous incoming and outgoing exchange students at Abington Heights High School, and have organized one of the largest and best attended fireworks displays in Northeastern Pennsylvania, each 4th of July since of 1989. Their list of contributions to our community is long and distinguished and we would like to think that their sponsorship of Troop 160 is one of the best things they have ever done for the youth of the Abingtons . We are proud of our sponsor and know they are proud of their Scout Troop. We cannot adequately express our appreciation for their support throughout the years, and we look forward to partnering with them for many more.
Our Home Base
After meeting briefly at one of the schools on East Grove Street, the Troop moved their meetings to the Clarks Summit Methodist Church. The original church was located on Center Street where portions of the building remain today. The church offered a large central meeting room as well as smaller rooms where patrols could gather and scout skills could be taught. When the congregation outgrew the church, they built a new church on the Morgan Highway. Before construction was completed in 1968 the troop was invited to move to the new location. Troop 160 has had the privilege of using the Fellowship Hall and the various Sunday school rooms since 1968. A number of Ministers have come and gone since 1968, and all have been supportive of the troop’s program. Although Boy Scout Troops are non-sectarian, naturally many boys from the church congregation have been members of the Troop over the years, and many of their parents have been active as leaders or members of the adult committee.
Each February the troop participates in a nationwide observance of Scout Sunday by attending and participating in the morning worship service. Our participation serves to remind the congregation that they support a very worthy organization in addition to their mission as a church. Our heartfelt thanks to the members of the church, both past and present, who have given us a home for so many years.
Our Support Group
Not to be overlooked is another very important part of the Scouting program. Cub Pack 160 was chartered in 1953 and is sponsored by the Clarks Summit United Methodist Church. Richard (Dick) Hurst, a member of the congregation served as the first Cubmaster. Like the troop, Pack 160 has a long and successful history of providing meaningful programs for the youth of our community. They have always been extremely active and at times have been known as the largest Cub Pack in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council with over 100 boys registered.
Many well-known Troop 160 leaders including Edgar Davis, John Archibald and Carl Urban began their scouting careers as a Cubmaster of Pack 160. For unknown reasons the two units existed side by side with a minimal amount of interaction. In recent years however a strong bond has developed and Pack 160 has become the main source of new recruits and leadership for Troop 160. Each Spring a new class of Webelos Scouts graduate and move into the Troop. We are thankful for the leadership that so many adults give to the Cub Scout program, which allows our Troop to maintain a stable membership.