OGDEN — The oldest Boy Scout troop in the Ogden area is celebrating 100 years this month.
Boy Scouts of America Troop 4 is holding a banquet at 6 p.m. Saturday in Union Station. The troop’s name alone points to its long history, as it was the fourth troop created in the state.
“It shows perseverance and I feel like it’s a huge honor to be the senior patrol leader for a troop that has been around for this long,” said Camdon Lindsey, 14. “Most troops I’ve heard of don’t make it this far.”
Steve Ericson is the secretary treasurer for the committee which oversees the troop and his wife, Shellie, is the committee chair. They got involved when their son joined the group about 15 years ago.
“We mentor and advise them but the boys really decide the activities they want to do and where they want to go camping and things like that,” Ericson said. “They’re responsible for their own advancement through scouting.”
And advancement isn’t exactly easy, Lindsey said. In order to earn merit badges and move up through the ranks to become an Eagle Scout — the organization’s highest honor — scouts must not only learn new skills like first aid, personal management and emergency preparedness, but master them.
Troop 4 has had 134 members earn the Eagle Scout rank in its 100-year history, something Ericson said is “huge.”
Lindsey said personal management is one of the hardest badges to earn because scouts are required to keep a daily log of their personal finances for six months, among other things. The personal fitness badge also requires six months of work.
“It takes a lot of perseverance to get a merit badge,” he said.
The Trapper Trails Council oversees Troop 4 along with numerous other troops in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, with about 45,000 youth members and 21,000 registered adult volunteers. Trapper Trails Camping Director Jeremy Bell said Troop 4 has 14 youth members and 14 adult volunteers.
“The adults have so much fun in our troop, so it’s not uncommon to have as many or more adults as we do boys because we just have a grand time,” Ericson said.
Troop 4 is also known as Roosevelt 4, named after President Theodore Roosevelt who died the year the troop was founded. The group wears black neckerchiefs in his honor.
“Our troop decided to take on the ‘R’ for Roosevelt for a number of reasons, No. 1 being to honor the man and his passing but Theodore Roosevelt was also a huge proponent of outdoor activities,” Ericson said.
Scouting was started in England in the early 1900s and grew in the United States partially thanks to Roosevelt’s support. Roosevelt himself even served as committee chairman for a troop in Oyster Bay, New York, according to the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University.
Every troop is chartered by a local group or community organization and in Troop 4’s case, that’s the First Presbyterian Church. Ericson said the first scout master was a member back in 1918, a few months before the Boy Scouts of America officially recognized the troop Dec. 30, 1919.
Ericson said the banquet will include presentations from the offices of Gov. Gary Herbert and Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell proclaiming Dec. 30, 2019 as a day of honor for Troop 4.
Even though Troop 4 is chartered by a church, the group isn’t religion-based. Ericson said they’re a community troop, which means they don’t turn anyone away based on religious affiliation.
With The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ending their relationship with the Boy Scouts of America effective at the end of this year, it’s unclear what will happen to the troops which relied on their support.
“We’ve had as many as 50 scouts and as few as six,” Ericson said. “It just depends on how many boys are being fed to us by Cub Scout packs. It’s really going to be up to community troops to keep scouting going.”
Scouts, parents and alumni are all invited to attend the banquet. Tickets are available online in advance at Eventbrite.com
A video detailing the troop’s history will be shown and there will also be a presentation honoring longtime volunteers Robert and Joyce Hamilton.
“They go to every meeting, they’re never missing,” Lindsey said. “They push definitely the hardest and … they’re just great people. They’re the core of our troop.”