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MOUNT VERNON — Scouting is still strong in the traditions of the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Vernon.
Boy Scout Troop 339 received its troop charter from the church Sept. 30, 1938, and celebrated 80 years to the day with a service Sunday.
“Faith has always been an important part of scouting,” Bill Shriver, Troop 339 Scoutmaster, said.
It showed Sunday; the entire worship service was conducted by Scouts, Scoutmasters and the troop’s Venture Crew. The service closed with the Scout vespers song and the Boy Scouts of America Scoutmaster’s Benediction.
Troop 339 currently has 32 scouts, and the 339 Cub Scout troop has 40 members. The co-ed Venture Crew’s members are exploring local businesses and the careers they provide.
What the 80 years have meant for its members was touched on by Shriver and past and present scouts.
Scott Curfman, who received Eagle rank in 1967, said he wanted to say thanks to the troop and church for all the little things.
“The thank you comes from the everyday stuff,” Curfman said. “The everyday stuff that scouting represents, that’s what stays with you, and that’s the big deal.”
Curfman was part of the troop when it purchased a bus in 1965, decorated it with the troop number and hometown, and drove it to several BSA High Adventure Bases around the country. Coming home from one such trip, Curfman was asked by his mother what his favorite part had been of all those long hours on the road. He told her, excitedly, “We had a shaving cream fight!”
2018 Eagle Scout Max Chandler said the common thread of his experiences is that of being taken out of his comfort zone to gain new experiences. The first time was when he looked down the side of a climbing tower he was about to rappel and felt scared, Chandler said. He did it anyway, and since then, “I have been pushed time and time again by scouting.”
Morgan Giles earned his Eagle rank in 2000. Since then, Giles said he’s always been known by friends as the guy “to start the fire and have what we needed to get through the weekend.” Giles recited the scouting law’s tenets, and said “if you live by the Scout law, you can’t lose.”
1993 Eagle Scout Steve Farmer said that scouting has stayed with him, and recounted how a recent trip back to the Scout camp of his youth was like going home.
The troop was presented with a proclamation from Mount Vernon City Council by Mayor Richard Mavis. The proclamation reads, among other things, that Troop 339’s 80 years have contributed “to making our city and community a better place.”
The troop further unveiled two plaques containing the names of the 97 Eagle scouts throughout the troop’s history. The plaques will be displayed in the church.
Shriver presented a history of the troop in a handout given to attendees of the service. He said that he feels the history is incomplete, and encourages anyone with more information to e-mail him at email@example.com