Boy Scout Troop 1775 Celebrate 50 Years
By Sean Sullivan
Fifty years have seen many a campfire.
This month, Natick’s Boy Scout Troop 1775 will celebrate five decades of service and adventure.
“We’re a very active troop,” said Natick’s Wade Huber. He’s Scoutmaster to the organization, and his two sons are scouts.
Decades ago, the troop’s founder petitioned to have it specially designated as an homage to the U.S. Marines. That branch of the military was founded in the year 1775. Up to that point (in 1971), Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troops had numbered in the hundreds, and were assigned triple-digit designations as they were founded anew.
Troop 1775’s size can range from 15 to 60 scouts per year, and is currently comprised of about 30. The scouts are active primarily during the school year, and attend regular weekly meetings at Lilja Elementary School.
BSA chapters like Natick’s are kept going primarily through fund-raising initiatives. Wreath and candle sales are held during holiday months, bracketed by bottle and can drives throughout the year. 1775’s charter organization is Natick’s VFW Post 1274. The troop can be found there at the outset of camping and day trips, loading gear that the VFW allows 1775 to store on site.
Near the middle of last month, the troop had just completed a hike of New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock. The 3,165-foot mountain is regarded as one of the most well-travelled in the world, with more than 125,000 hikers traversing its trails every year.
Recent highlights have also included a ski trip, and a trek to Cape Cod for some biking and fishing.
“It’s the monthly camping trips that the kids really enjoy,” said Huber. “It’s really an opportunity to disconnect and be outdoors.”
During one such recent trip, an unexpected snowstorm offered the troop a rare experience. 1775 had planned on learning how to build shelters in the wild, and the fresh-falling powder piled an added layer of difficulty onto the task. The snow would also put their lean-to shelters to the test, proving whether they could shrug off what the skies could muster.
Huber became the troop’s Scoutmaster just when Covid was coming onto the scene. Last year marked the troop’s official anniversary, but celebrations were put on hold until scouts and chaperones could gather in person to properly celebrate.
The pandemic also meant the troop couldn’t engage in the many public-service drives that are so integral to scout culture. Still, the troop found resourceful ways to stay connected to one another during the shutdowns and sequestration that marked the last few years. Low tech turned to high tech, as 1775 took part in virtual camping trips, the glow of electronic screens replacing the flicker of firelight.
“It prevented us from doing what we do best,” said Huber. “There’s a lot of community service that goes along with our scout program. A lot of education, adventure and community service.”
Now, with virtual meetings and social distancing ostensibly in the rear view, Troop 1775 will assemble at Natick’s AMVETS, Post 79. The June 10th gala will belatedly celebrate the BSA chapter’s half century of scouting. After 50 years, what’s a few more months?