Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Troop 35's History Goes Back to '21; Its Roster Was a Who's Who of the Southside

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Troop 35's History Goes Back to '21; Its Roster Was a Who's Who of the Southside

Article excerpt


Dawn Geer was helping clean out an old storage unit at Southside United Methodist Church when she spotted the plaques. Among the bounty was one for best patrol at summer camp and one for helping with a cleanup project.

That piqued her interest in Boy Scout Troop 35's history. She didn't want it to be lost to future generations. So she went to the North Florida Council headquarters and started digging through musty folders and tattered papers, some stuck together and yellowed with age.

She learned that the troop, founded in 1921 at Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, is among the oldest in the council. The troop will commemorate its 85th birthday at Scout Sunday at 11 a.m. Feb. 12 at Southside Methodist, where it has been meeting for 55 years.

Scout leaders, Eagle scouts and current and former members will be recognized with all branches participating in the service. Afterward, there will be a troop tradition -- a spaghetti fundraiser.

Geer said there were 12 boys who registered that first year, paying 25 cents to join. Now there are 40 boys, and the cost is $10.

In 1925, the troop moved to Swaim Memorial Methodist Church where it remained for 10 years. In that era, if any boys dropped out, the Scoutmaster had to list why they had done so, she said.

"Some of the reasons were really moving," said Geer, who is the troop's committee chairwoman. "One Scout left because he had to support his family."

Other reasons given in a 1930s list were nonpayment of dues, bad behavior, Army enlistment and moving out of the area.

Geer said the troop was active in the 1920s and '30s, marching in parades, helping with crowd control, church landscaping projects and trash cleanups.

"Even then, there was litter," said Geer, who has two sons, Hunter and Alex, in the troop.

In the mid-30s, the troop moved again, this time to Hendricks Methodist Church, before coming to Southside in 1951. In the 1940s, she said, there was a dip in membership followed by a resurgence after World War II.

"All these men came home and had kids."

In every decade, Geer said, there have been members who've earned the rank of Eagle. …

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