The Boy Scout troop in Brodhead celebrated its 100th birthday in 2010. Excerpts of the following article were taken from the Independent-Register Sesquicentennial edition in 2006.
Boy Scout troop #108 has been active in Brodhead since 1911, only one year after the organization was formed nationally. The Scouts belong to the Blackhawk Area Council in the Arrowhead District and rely on the council’s main office for supplies and information.
About 1914, Rev. Lloyd Smith, the minister of the Congregational Church, formed a local scout troop. Most of the boys came from his Sunday School Class; Some of these boys were G.N. Swartz, Donald Collins, Bowen Stair, Nels Nipple, Ed and Ted Schempp, Vern Moore, Carl Islie, Art Christensen and Wayne Laube.
Mr. Ek; principal of the Brodhead school system, became their Scoutmaster. One of their activities was a hike to Lake Ripley and a week’s encampment there. They walked all that distance, and their equipment was carried in Bowen Stair’s pony cart, pulled by his pony. They stayed the first night in Evansville.
In 1937, a troop was officially organized by the new Lions Club. Arnold Ayres was the Scoutmaster and Truman Olin was his assistant. Some of the boys in this troop were Robert Springsted, J.B. Searles, Franklyn Condon, Philip Bush, Jack and Tom Muggler, Gordon Kilday, Robert Nipple, Joe Buerkle, Alan Beattie, John Klingbell, Mike Riemer and Arthur Hintzman.
Ayres and Olin continued to guide the troop until 1941 when the Lions Club became inactive.
After a short lapse of time, Pearl Lodge, Knights of Pythias, took over troop sponsorship, and continued it through 1951. In 1952. Swan-Gehr American Legion Post #197 took over responsibility for the Scouts and has continued the sponsorship right through to the present.
In 1950, Attorney John Deming, with his boundless energy and drive, organized and led an Explorer Post, which provided Scouting for older boys. Mr. Deming led the group until 1952, and under his tutelage six boys attained the Eagle Scout rank, four of them at one time!
Besides the troop leaders already mentioned, the following men have served as Scoutmasters: Father Paul Croak, Father Alois Klas, Tom Richards, R.B. Bliss, Jr., Donald Conway, Rodger Bernstein, Tallie Everson II, Keith Williams, James, Steuri, Herbert Ripp, Jim Church, and Mike McGoff. In 1979, Bob LaBarre became Scoutmaster. From 1984 to 1990, Gary Goecks was leader; Tom Matteson, Mike McGoff and Randy Fitzgerald also served as Scoutmasters. From 2000-2001 Jim Wahl arid Allen Ermey served as Scoutmasters, with Greg Gray serving from 2001 to 2008. Steve Flannery was Scoutmaster until 2011 when Mike Visger took over the duties.
Cub Scout Pack 108 was started in 1949 and is still active today. This is a Scouting program for boys under 11.
As a result of a very fine troop, we have many Eagle Scouts here. They are Werner Weisenfluh, William Hein, Jr., John Deming, Jr., Donald Conway, Robert Conway, Guy Pierce, Lee Stein, Glen Staffeld, Ray Pawlisch, Ray Staffeld, Rolf Kletzien, Robert LaBarre, Leonard Long, Todd Maveus, Eugene Stuessy, Leonard Speth, Jim Butts, Alan Timm, Tim Conway, Jeff Goecks, Chris Goecks Jamie Sulzer, Devin Wolters, Brent Sutherland, Andy Markham, Patrick McGoff, Joshua Gray, Jeff Crandall, Justin Saunders, Paul Lentz, Justin Monson, Ben Pawlisch, Brad Kaderly, Nick Wahl, Jared Policastro, Andy Strommen, Andrew Lentz, Justin Kamps, Dean Pawlisch, Justin Miller, Tony Wahl, Andrew Clark, Lucas Kraft, Peter Quello, Ben Conway and Eric Wahl.
Scouts have been helpful to the community by collecting paper, magazines and cardboard for recycling, assisting Air Raid Wardens during “black outs” during war time, planting many of the evergreen trees in the Decatur parks and headgates area and offering all boys friendship and brotherly love. The troop, with assistance from many area businesses, has completed construction of a pole barn building at the Decatur Lake Scout camping area. This building will be used for future camping activities. Continued on page 4
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In 1990 the VFW Post #6858 joined up with Swan-Gehr American Legion Post #197 as sponsorship of the troop to the present date.
The Boy Scouts have attended High Adventure trips. In July 1996 and 2003, scouts and leaders traveled to the Boundary Waters to canoe and camp for the week and completed their 50 miler awards.
In June, 1999, 15 scouts and leaders traveled to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico for a 12 day hiking expedition.
Every year the Boy Scouts attend a long-term camp for one week at Canyon Camp in Stockton, Illinois, where scouts earn their merit badges and learn and use their outdoors skills.