Scout Troop 171 to celebrate 75 yearsThis Saturday, June 8, the current members of Troop 171 will hold a three-day campout on the east end of Dunlap Island in Cloquet, highlighted by a 75-year anniversary celebration beginning at 10 a.m. The public is invited to stop by anytime during the day and join in a host of scouting activities.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Today, Boy Scout Troop 171 of Cloquet has its own website, Facebook account and Twitter feed – something its founding members could never have imagined back in 1938. At that time, according to troop historian John Cavanaugh, the Great Depression still had its hold on the nation and the ugly face of war was appearing overseas as Hitler and the Nazis were about to expand into neighboring countries.
“One of the things that Hitler did when he came to power was to ban boy scouting in Germany,” said Cavanaugh. “In Cloquet, however, concerns mostly focused on the economy and jobs.”
People at the movie theaters were introduced to Bugs Bunny for the first time in April 1938. Action Comics issued the first Superman comic. Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of “The War of the Worlds” was broadcast, causing mass panic in the eastern United States. Adolf Hitler became Time magazine’s “Man of the Year.” Kate Smith sang a rendition of Irvin Berlin’s “God Bless America” for the first time on radio during an Armistice Day broadcast.
The 1938 era was a time of patriotism and dedication to family and country, and the boys involved in scouting at that time would become an integral part of what Tom Brokaw called “The Greatest Generation.” That was the year the troop first got its start, and the tradition has been going strong ever since.
This Saturday, June 8, the current members of Troop 171 will hold a three-day campout on the east end of Dunlap Island in Cloquet, highlighted by a 75-year anniversary celebration beginning at 10 a.m.
The public is invited to stop by anytime during the day and join in a host of scouting activities, including blacksmith demonstrations, cooking, pioneering, BB gun shooting, fire starting and tomahawk throwing.
“Though these are activities aimed at boys in the same age group as the troop members in order for them to experience what scouting is all about,” explained Scoutmaster Ken Branning, “adults are invited to join in, too.”
The festivities will conclude with a Court of Honor and Voyageur Ceremony around the bonfire at 7:30 p.m. At that time, the rolls will be read citing the names of all 82 troop members who have accomplished the rank of Eagle over the past 75 years.
There is no charge to attend any or all of the events, and the public is encouraged to attend. The B&B Picnic Wagon will be on site as well.
According to the troop’s history, in 1938 when Troop 171 was formed there were over 109 boys involved in scouting in Cloquet and five active troops. Today two troops remain, with Troop 171 by far the oldest.
The roots of Troop 171 actually started in 1927 as Troop 71, sponsored by the YMCA. In 1938 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart took over sponsorship of the troop and it became Troop 171. Four years later the Knights of Columbus became the sponsor and remained the charter organization for close to 70 years, up until the Cloquet Rotary Club took over in 2006. Branning said today Troop 171 meets every Monday night at 7 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Cloquet, as well as three times during the summer. Ryan Bodin is the troop’s current senior patrol leader. Branning, who has a son just graduating from the troop, has been scoutmaster since 2012, the latest in a long line of scoutmasters since 1938 – 28 of them to be exact.
For more information on Troop 171, or scouting in general, Branning can be contacted at 218-341-0555.