At the Key Peninsula Civic Center last month, Boy Scouts of Troop 220 were practicing formations on the lawn. Their scoutmasters clouded the air with aromas of hamburgers and hotdogs while scouts prepared dutch oven desserts.
Inside KPCC rows upon rows of tables were filling up with hungry scouts and families.
The occasion: Troop 220’s Court of Honor.
“Once every four months we celebrate achievements of troop 220’s scouts,” said Spencer Wiklund, Cub Pack 222 scoutmaster. “Tonight over 100 scouts, families, and friends watched as 30 boys received merit badges, rank advancement, and awards.”
Troop 220 and Pack 222 are sponsored by the KP Lions Club.
Assistant Senior Patrol Leader Nicholas Wiklund, Spencer’s son, is second in command of Troop 220. “It’s an elected position,” he explained, adding, “my rank is Star, two away from Eagle. To make it here, I had to get many merit badges, learn a lot of stuff, and do some community service.”
In the last four months Troop 220 scouts have attended a new scout boot camp, gone to the Ape Caves, National Youth Leadership Training, Summer Camp on Hood Canal, and kayaked around Key Peninsula. They also did merit badge classes both within the troop and on their own.
“Add to that, service work and Eagle projects and these boys have had a busy summer,” said Spencer.
As everyone enjoyed the hamburgers, hotdogs, and pot luck dinner, scouts acted out some funny skits for audience entertainment before the evening’s main event.
During the Court of Honor, Scoutmaster Matthew Mills equated the journey of a scout to that of climbing Mt. Rainier. “Ten boys started that adventure tonight by joining those already on their way,” he said. “They ‘got in the car,’ and became New Scouts. Eight started heading up the mountain by earning Tenderfoot rank. Only one, on his way to Paradise, earning his 2nd Class Rank, then joined five others at Paradise by becoming 1st class.
“Two more scouts reach Camp Muir and are true Star rank scouts. Finally, only one scout, still a couple thousand feet from the top where Eagles soar achieves Life rank. Other Life rankers welcome him and two Eagles beckoned him on.”
“Once again,” said Spencer, “I look back and wonder why I never made it past Life. Maybe it was the lack of the brotherhood you see in every boy’s face here tonight.”
Said Life scout and senior patrol leader Jon Crane, “I signed off on rank advancements. I had to be a scout for at least one year, earn at least 10 Eagle grade badges of the 20 I earned, and had to do 20 hours of community service to make Life.”
“I’m earning my mammal study merit badge and the wood carving merit badge,” said Tenderfoot scout Ian Downen. “The mammal study badge is not hard,” he said. “I just wrote a few reports about mammals. But the wood carving badge is harder because making a wood carving is not easy.”
During Court of Honor proceedings, groups of scouts in ascending ranks came before scoutmaster Matthew Mills to receive their awards.
Assistant Scoutmaster Tim Calhoun explained that, “the first group of scouts to receive rank awards were nine scouts who moved up to Troop 220 from Pack 222 this past May. Each earned the New Scout rank, required before advancing to Tenderfoot.”
I recall that when our kids were scouts, there was no “New Scout” rank.
The second group was eight of those same nine scouts, each of whom was awarded Tenderfoot rank. The third group was one, A.J. Hollaway, awarded Second Class rank. The fourth group also included A.J. Hollaway, who had earned a “double” rank; he, along with the other scouts, was awarded First Class. Star rank was achieved by one scout, Max Goins. Life rank was also achieved by one scout, Ryan Barry.
Barry, in making it to Life scout, had to complete work on, “Citizenship World, Family Life, Metalwork, Cooking, Orienteering, Community Service , and others, which I completed just tonight,” he said.
“I am earning the rank of Tenderfoot,” said Luke Fritsch, “by going to activities and meetings.”
KP Middle School student Max Goins, “had to earn six merit badges, four of which are Eagle required,” he said. “I was also Den Chief for Cub Pack 222, a year’s worth of work, to get my Star rank.”
“I’m earning the swimming merit badge,” said First Class scout Robert Quill. “It was the most fun merit badge I’ve done so far. We dove under water and got things form the bottom and we swam six different strokes. I hope I have another badge as fun as this one.”
A. J. Hollaway said, “In earning my First Class rank I had to demonstrate first aid, knots, camping, swimming, and knife safety skills.”
“As always,” said the senior Wiklund. “There was the feast of plenty, enough food for all and then some.”
He added, “This also marks the start of our Popcorn Sales. Boy scouts are working with Pack 222 cub scouts. Each has a goal of $20,000 in sales. This fund-raiser pays for most of the camps and outing for both groups. Without fund-raisers like this, some boys wouldn’t be able to experience scouting’s journey or learn skills to become the leaders of tomorrow.”
So, buy some popcorn, won’t ya?