I was a twenty-three year old scoutmaster when I attended a week of training at the Philmont Training Center in 1984. One evening, the staff brought out a reel to reel movie projector and we watched a movie from Disney titled Follow Me Boys. I really enjoyed the movie, as did everyone else in the dining hall that night.
One of the things that stood out from the movie in my mind was that Lem Siddons’ Boy Scout troop had a building to call its home. A club house, if you will. I thought it would be great for my troop to have a place to call home, but alas, it was not to be for Troop 68 of Melrose. Even after thirty years we still have no place to call home. Not even a meeting room of our own.
Troop 68 holds their meetings at the Jaycee Park during the summer months, May through September. During the colder months we meet at St. Mary’s School gym. Both places have worked well for us. We plan our meeting activities and games to fit the place we are meeting that month. The park works well for outdoor skills and open air games. The gym is large enough to break into various groups for skill development and is a natural area for indoor competitions.
Unfortunately, neither place is really a “home” for the troop. We cannot leave troop gear at either place. We cannot leave troop photos, awards, or advancement charts hanging on the walls. We do not have a place to store the troop library or the flags and stands.
The closest thing to a troop home is my house. The troop gear is stored in a shed in my backyard. The group photos hang on the walls of my stairway and recreation room. One wall is dedicated to the Troop 68 Eagle Scouts. The troop library currently has a spot in a closet. The troop flags and stands are kept in the garage or the trunk of the scoutmaster’s vehicle. My rec room has been the site of patrol leader council and committee meetings for the last fourteen years.
It would be nice to have a meeting place of our own, or a club house like Lem’s troop. But then, we would also probably have monthly heating, electrical, and water bills. We would have building maintenance costs. We would need to carry property insurance. In other words, we would probably need another yearly fundraiser or two just to pay for this place.
Yes, it might be nice to have a place to call home, but we have done well with the places we do use. The boys enjoy their meetings (usually). If we had a different meeting place they may not be able to play the rough and tumble games they are so found of. What would a meeting be if the Scouts could not hurl balls at each other during some point of the evening?