Troop 301 In Webster Groves Marks 100 Years



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During Sunday's Centennial Celebration, Scouts from Troop 301, as well as Troop 300 from Webster Groves Presbyterian Church, Troop 303 from Avery School and Troop 314 from Edgar Road School participated in the Parade of Flags. Pictured, preparing for the flag ceremony are, from left: Charlie Brader, unit commissioner from the Greater St. Louis Area Council, Matthew Sudekum Whitaker from Troop 300, Alex Riedel from Troop 301, Jordan Presley from Troop 301, Adam Taussig from Troop 303 and Michael Gilliland from Troop 303. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
May 28, 2010
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The delicious smell of barbecue wafted through downtown Webster Groves as a crowd gathered at the First Congregational Church on Sunday, May 23, for the Centennial Celebration of Boy Scout Troop 301.

The event paid homage to the generations of boys who have learned and grown within the organization during the past 100 years while also honoring the achievements of those who are keeping the traditions alive today.

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The Centennial Celebration included photos such as this circa 1913 picture. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
"We are the oldest troop in the greater St. Louis area and one of the first to be chartered by the Boy Scouts of America," said Steve Ruzycki, assistant scoutmaster and organizer of the centennial event. "There are very few 100-year-old troops in existence."

The troop was chartered by the church in 1910 and has been continuously sponsored by it since that time. There have been approximately 3,600 meetings held on church property, an annual Scout Sunday service every February, and a space is set aside in the building's basement for storage of archives and equipment such as camping gear.

"It is very generous of First Congregational to allow us to use their space," said Denise Lee, spokesperson for Troop 301. "Our members are not necessarily part of the church - the boys come from all faiths because the Boy Scout Law asks only that a boy be reverent, regardless of how they practice.

"I think a lot of what we do is in harmony with the church's mission," she added.

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Hew Wallis, a Boy Scout with Troop 301, rededicates a totem pole by throwing water from Shady Creek on it. The totem pole was built in 1991. Troop 301 Boy Scouts Brian Grzyb and Taylor Halteman also participated in the rededication. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
Over 4,000 boys have been part of Troop 301 during the past century. Each has committed to the scout law, which states that members must strive to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent at all time.

There have been changes to the program over the years, but working with young people to teach them the value of character, train them in the responsibilities of citizenship, and developing personal fitness are goals that never go out of fashion.

"An organization only lasts if it remains relevant, and we have remained relevant in Webster Groves," said Ruzycki. "It has provided a place for boys to grow mentally, physically, and spiritually. And because we deal with boys, it's also an organization that has been fun," said Ruzycki.

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