Max Webster explains the history of Boys Life magazine. (Courtesy Photos / Matt Dobson)

Scouting out 110 years of history

Culmination of the scouts working to complete their Scouting Heritage Merit Badge.

Boy Scout Troop 6 hosted a scouting heritage night on Monday to celebrate 110 years of documented scouting in the Juneau/Douglas area. The event was the culmination of the scouts working to complete their Scouting Heritage Merit Badge which requires participants to research and report on historic scouting figures, iconic scout locations and exploring their troop’s history. One specific requirement asks scouts to either visit an established scouting museum or create one. For the merit badge, each scout chose a topic to report on and prepared a display table to help explain their specific person or place. These included key figures in scouting history like Waite Phillips or Daniel Carter Beard or scouting destinations like the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. The troop’s Senior Patrol Leader Max Webster, completed his report on the history and significance of Boys Life Magazine which came into publication in 1911.

With the help of several “old” adult scouters, a collection of scouting memorabilia dating back to the 1930s was collected and brought in for display. This included merit badges sashes, pinewood derby cars and uniforms. Jerry Taylor, who began his scouting career in Juneau as a youth in the 1950s talked about attending the 1964 Boy Scout National Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Scouts from Juneau took the ferry to Prince Rupert before boarding the train for the ride to the East Coast. Taylor recalled that one highlight for the scouts as they made their way across summertime America, was getting off at all the train stops and buying fresh fruit and produce for the ride, a real treat for boys from Southeast Alaska.

Prior to the event, a search of the archives at the Alaska Daily Empire (now the Juneau Empire) revealed several great stories on the history of scouting in Juneau. Especially interesting were 1917 articles about scouts growing victory gardens downtown and in Douglas to support the troops in World War I. Each scout was encouraged to grow enough vegetables to support one soldier. Other articles clearly outlined the history of the scout camp at Tolch Rock in the Mendenhall Valley (1922 and 1923), summer camp at the Chilkoot Military Barracks in Haines (1924, 1925 and 1926) and the establishment of Eagle River Scout Camp at its current location out the road in 1927. As preparations were being made for heritage night, many old photographs of scouts and Eagle River Scout Camp were collected for display. Several interesting ones included photos of the scout camp in the 1930s and 1950s and a good series of photographs taken by the Alaska National Guard during the construction of the access bridge built across Eagle River in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

If anyone is interested in the scouting history of Juneau or would like to share photographs or articles about scouting in Juneau, Troop 6 is actively collecting information. They can be reached at troop6juneau@gmail.com Troop 6 would also like to thank Chapel by the Lake for hosting the event.

Matthew Schwarting with his presentation on the National Jamboree and the history of the First World Jamboree. (Courtesy Photos / Matt Dobson)

Matthew Schwarting with his presentation on the National Jamboree and the history of the First World Jamboree. (Courtesy Photos / Matt Dobson)

Jerry Taylor divulging some secrets about building a Pinewood Derby car. ( Courtesy Photos / Matt Dobson)

Jerry Taylor divulging some secrets about building a Pinewood Derby car. ( Courtesy Photos / Matt Dobson)

A collection of scouting memorabilia. (Courtesy Photos / Matt Dobson)

A collection of scouting memorabilia. (Courtesy Photos / Matt Dobson)

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