Scouting Your History

Do you know the history of your organizations? Their story – where they came from, how they developed, and the people who worked to help get to where they are today? Maybe it’s time to find some volunteers to do some digging, and capture this information before it is lost!

One wonderful example of doing this is the history of Hopewell Boy Scout Troop 71, compiled by scout Darin Howell in 2012, the 100th anniversary of the troop. This 108 page scrapbook contains a chronological collection of documents and pictures from troop records back to 1912, along with articles from research in local newspapers.

The scrapbook also is a great example of how the history of one organization can intertwine with local and national events, as shown in articles and clippings on the sample pages below.

== View the full Hopewell Troop 71 100th Anniversary Scrapbook (1912 – 2012) (PDF) ==

Founding (1912)

The scrapbook includes reports on the founding of the troop, including the news that that first Boy Scout in New Jersey was from Hopewell – J. Robert Fetter was the first registered scout in 1912.

The troop was originally No. 1, but the number has changed several times.

World War I (1918)

The scrapbook shows scout activities during World War I.

A 1918 article reports that the scouts supported the war effort through a “house-to-house canvass of the borough for the sale of [Liberty] bonds,” working to raise the town’s quota of $75,000 to support “our boys.”

Camping (1960)

The scrapbook illustrates the efforts of the troop in 1960 (the 50th anniversary of the Boy Scouts) to send several boys from the Hopewell Troop to the National Scout Jamboree in Colorado.

Also included is the mimeographed itinerary for the trip, and clippings on camping out and sleeping in a “comfortable ground bed.”

Recycling (1980s)

Several articles from the early 1980s discuss the involvement of the troop in recycling by holding monthly paper drives for scouts to pick up “securely tied bundles of newspapers” at curbside around town.

This addressed the state mandate for the Borough to start a recycling program, and also raised funds for the troop.

Parades and Competitions (1990s)

For the 1990s, the scrapbook shows scouts on parade, and as contestants in the Klondike Derby held at Jack Frost Mountain in the Poconos.

The derby was an all-day event, trekking through the woods and performing camping activities at ten stations, followed by a sled race.

Rafting (c2008)

In the 2000s, the scrapbook also shows the scouts having fun, river rafting in inflatable boats.

The scrapbook also includes photos and lists of Troop 71 members over the years, as well as lists of the troop’s 34 Scout Masters and 40 Eagle Scouts.

Thanks to Jeremy Dayner, Scoutmaster of Hopewell BSA Troop 71, for creating this digital copy of the scrapbook and sharing it with the History Project, and for donating the original scrapbook to the Hopewell Museum.

== View the full Hopewell Troop 71 100th Anniversary Scrapbook (1912 – 2012) (PDF) ==

So please think about scouting your own histories – collecting and preserving the stories of organizations that you are involved in. We welcome other similar histories of local organizations that we can share.

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