Brookfield Scouts Help Launch Centennial Celebration
This coming year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America. The celebration of this milestone began this past weekend in a big way in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with members of Brookfield's Troop 21 joining right in.
Troop 21, sponsored by Trinity United Church of Christ on Calhoun Road here in Brookfield, joined several other local Waukesha County Boy Scout Troops in attending the first ever Great Lakes Centennial Jamboree (GLCJ) held at the EAA grounds in Oshkosh. With the gates opening mid day Friday September 25 over 8,900 preregistered Scouts began to arrive. With additional Scouts joining in for the day on Saturday, it was reported that 10,143 had come for the event, enough to make the Jamboree site the 83rd largest city in the state for the weekend, briefly surpassing Platteville.
The GLCJ was organized by 12 Boy Scout Councils stretching from Chicago, Illinois, and its suburbs, north through Wisconsin and including the entire Upper Penninsula of Michigan. Additional Scouts came from Minnesota, Indiana and as far away as Ohio. All in all it is expected to be the largest regional gathering of Boy Scouts of its kind in the country, short of the National Scout Jamboree to be held next summer in Virginia. This regional event was in the works for nearly three years to plan.
The Scouts camped by Troop all together in a roughly half mile by quarter mile long area divided into five sub-camps named for each of the Great Lakes. Traffic flowed in for hours Friday with a steady flow of arriving units. Nothing but tents could be seen from the ground as all the boys set up in their designated areas in a massive grid.
While rain dampened Friday evening, the balance of the time was warm and becoming sunny as the Scouts spread out through the mammoth EAA property for the day and partook in a wide range of activities. While some worked on a range of merit badges, others shot archery, rifles or paintball guns; some got up close looks at raptors and bird of prey, or got to touch and hold a range of full size live snakes. Mountain biking, kite flying, javelin throwing kept others busy while others ran through a full size obstacle course. Many spent time in the EAA's museum on the grounds while others toured a traveling Boy Scout museum (even with uniforms and other items dating back 100 years). Aircraft to watch ranged from radio controlled airplanes to lifesize old fashioned biplanes to the current Blackhawk helicopters all flying and landing there. A few participants even partook in the old Scouting tradition of trading patches with each other from all over the region and nation.
Service to others has always been a core value of the Boy Scouts of America. This was seen in the over 100 totes of food donated for area food pantries brought in by the Scouts that weekend. It was also seen at the Bloodmobile there where the five preregistered donors turned into enough people to donate the over 150 units of blood collected that day, with many youth donating blood for their first time.
The evening highlight was a three hour program including the retelling of the story of the BSA over the last 100 years. Many awards were presented and the crowd was addressed by Miss Wisconsin and the General of the Wisconsin National Guard, recently back from Iraq. A Wisconsin band, The Dweebs, entertained all with two full sets of live music for the rest of the night.
Scouts from Brookfield's Troop 21 Scouts (Jakob Brecheisen, Kenn and Kwin Larson, Donovan Lutz, Samuel Putnam, Nate Rockey, Connor Rumpit and Matthew Wolff) and their leaders (Kal Larson, Jim Lutz and Bob Rockey) all jumped into the events across the property. With the range of activities far exceeding the time available to do it all, our boys were seen at most venues by the end of the event. None of the Scouts had ever been to a Scouting event of this magnitude (though two members of Troop 21 will go on to the National Jamboree next summer in Virginia). All of those attending were enthusiastic about it all.
Many more events will mark the Boy Scouts of America 100th anniversary in the coming months and this was only the first to occur. Closer to home, Brookfield's Troop 21 is also celebrating its own 40th anniversary and a reunion event for past members this winter is also being planned. But that will be another story. Keep watch for that one as it comes!
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