History of Troop 20
by Jeremy Weagley, Matthew Weagley, and Spencer Fox
(Troop 20 Historians)
The year was 1933. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president, Adolf Hitler came into power, and the Boy Scout Troop 20 was started. However, the Troop had a rough start. Weekly meetings were held for only about a couple years, and then ceased altogether. Three years later, the Troop was up and running again, but it was not to last. Both of these lapses were probably caused by the Great Depression. Finally, in 1942, the economy was stable and nationalism was high due to World War II. Troop 20 started again on October 30, 1942. At this time, the Troop's future first Eagle Scout, Carroll Dyer, joined. He was already involved in a church group, the Willing Workers, and wanted to help his community more.
The Troop met in the basement of the Penningtonville Presbyterian Church in Atglen. Mr. Dyer has fond memories of many campouts and hikes. Bob Alexander served as Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, but he had to leave for college. So Mr. Dyer took over in 1950. There were two patrols, the Owl patrol and the Hawk patrol. Eventually, the Troop became so large that they had to send some of the scouts to meet in a schoolhouse, which is now an apartment building, across from the graveyard behind the church. The scouts also planned to build a headquarters near Fox's Meadow in 1951. However, it was not finished due to lack of time and funds. Mr. Dyer served as Scoutmaster at this time. Mr. Dick Brown and his friend, Scott Greenfield, were scouts in the Troop. Mr. Brown has fond memories of Camp Horseshoe, Camporees, and marching in parades. Both Mr. Brown and Mr. Greenfield achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.
Mr. Calvin Trice took over from Mr. Dyer in 1957. The troop grew larger. Scouts from Mr. Trice’s time fondly recall camping at Horseshoe, Indian dancing with the Order of the Arrow, trips to Philmont and to the Sommers Canoe Base in Minnesota. The troop program was strong. Ten scouts earned Eagle in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Mr. James Gawthorp, retired scoutmaster of Troop 53 in Kennett Square, fondly recalls the years his troop shared a summer camp site at Horseshoe with Troop 20 and Mr. Trice.
In 1978, Mr. Mitchell King was working for the Boy Scout Chester County Council as a District Executive, It was his job to make sure that Scouting programs got started in the area. Mr. King learned that Troop 20 was no longer meeting. So, Mr. Dick Brown and Reverend Bob Andrews, the minister of the Presbyterian Church, helped Mr. King restart Troop 20. Mr. King took over as Scoutmaster and on October 15, 1979, the first meeting of the new Troop was held in the basement of the Penningtonville Church in Atglen and has been meeting there ever since.
Many people feel that Troop 20 is one of the best Troops in this area. Mr. Ben Chappell, who served as the Committee Chairperson from 1993-1999 and still teaches many merit badges, likes how a large portion of the scouts in Troop 20 become Eagle Scouts as well as the variety of trips the Troop goes on.
The Troop has a different major activity or camp out each month, and include trips to Camp Horseshoe, indoor rock climbing, the USS Massachusetts and other World War II vessels, White water rafting, Biking trips, Zipline adventures, Skiing/tubing, beach camping, camping at Camp Rodney and many others. The Troop also goes on a High Adventure Trip every year. High Adventure is for boys of fourteen years of age or older and consists of trips to places such as Philmont, New Mexico; the Florida Sea Base; canoe trips in Algonquin ; hiking in Montana; and others.
The most important aspect of the troop is that it is a youth run program. the boys are responsible for the program and their patrol leaders run things, rather than the adults doing it. Mr. Carroll Dyer, who was Troop 20's first Eagle Scout and held many leadership positions within the Troop, thinks very highly of Boy Scouts because it teaches you many different skills and lessons.
In addition to trips, Mr. Chappell notes how he likes that each of the weekly meetings have a meaning to them The Troop teaches the Scouts something during each meeting helping the Scouts advance in their requirements for each rank. Mr. Chappell is proud of the Scouts in Troop 20. In 2012, the Troop’s regular meetings were highlighted by 4 Amazing Race competitions held in Atglen, Christiana, and Parkesburg.
All these Troop 20 trips and activities are made possible with the help of many adults who hold leadership positions within the Troop. Today, Mr. King remains a very dedicated Assistant Scoutmaster and Treasurer for Troop 20. Other Adult leaders continue to devote a great deal of personal time as volunteers for the Troop and are the reason the Troop remains a popular Troop. The adult leaders help to make sure the Scouts are having a good time.
During the past 30+ years, Troop 20 has continued to be one of the best Troops in the area. Many of the adult leaders love to see the Scouts achieve Eagle. Troop 20 had a rough start, yet is doing very well now with highly-committed leadership and good community support. With good leaders, involved parents, and enthusiastic boys, Troop 20 should continue to do well for a long time. The Troop celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Scouting at the 2010 National Jamboree in July 2010. The success the Troop has experienced over the last several years is a solid foundation from which to reach for greater goals in the future and continuing a strong Scouting tradition in the Octorara area.
Troop 20 Scoutmasters & Sponsors