Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 2 of East Lansing will celebrate its 95th Anniversary this year on November 1st, 2016 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Peoples Church. Chartered by Peoples Church on October 31st, 1921, Troop 2 is believed to be the longest continuously-chartered troop in Michigan and one of the oldest in the nation.
Started just fourteen years after the chartering of the Village of East Lansing, with both a troop and Sea Scout unit, the troop has served thousands of youth and produced 199 Eagle Scouts. Currently the troop has 35 youth members and an associated venturing crew, which serves male and female youth 14-21.
Year-round camping (including Okpik, where youth winter camp in quinzees), pioneering, orienteering and other outdoor skills have always been part of the troop’s traditions, along with a strong emphasis on servant leadership and service to the community. The troop annually attends summer camp, most recently at Cole Canoe Base, where scouts take both advancement and exploratory courses like meteorology, welding and art and enjoy swimming, boating, shooting sports and specialty courses such as ATV riding and hunter’s safety. Brett Geiger, the troop’s current Senior Patrol Leader, took wilderness survival a third time. When asked why he said “You get to stay up all night, be cold, wet and hungry around a fire with your friends - what is not to like?”
Troop 2 recently participated in its third Michigan International Camporee, hosting both Taiwanese and Kenyan scouts’ homestay, and then camp week at Northwoods Scout Reservation. Recently the troop and crew has participated in several adventures including canoeing one-hundred miles of the Fox-Manistique Rivers, backpacking in Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, white-water rafting in West Virginia and hiking on North Manitou Island.
The troop also actively participates in service for scouting and our community. Through Eagle Scout projects and other service, the Troop has collected and redistributed clothing, built improvements and provided environmental stewardship at several local parks such as Burchfield, Fenner, Henry Fine and the Harris Nature Center, and provided necessities and school supplies for families in need. Each year the troop strives to send members to the National Youth Leadership Training offered by the BSA and spends much of its time developing our community into one that leads and cares for each other.
Last winter the troop participated in a project sponsored by the Retired & Senior Volunteer Programs (RSVP) where their volunteers had knitted hats, scarves and mittens to be distributed to youth in need through local elementary schools. Troop 2 played a small role by sorting, bagging and tagging over 3200 sets, which filled 4 mini-vans. Afterward Scoutmaster Kevin Brown sent an email to the families reflecting that although he didn’t think we could finish in one day “everyone worked hard and by the end of the night we had filled every order, the boxes were broken down for recycling and the vans loaded. It was amazing."
Furthermore, every single item of clothing had been knitted by hand by community members. When the scouts realized this, and that many of the items were going to their schools, the significance of what they were doing really sank in. It is social service and volunteer opportunities such as these that help build a sense of our community and personal civic responsibility, and remind youth that, even as young adults, they can make a difference and play an important role in their communities.
Troop 2’s anniversary event will be held Tuesday, November 1st, 2016, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Peoples Church in the Snider Social Hall, and will include dinner, a trip down memory lane and a sneak peek at the troop’s plans for the next five years which will take us to our centennial. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.