Grove City Record

Troop 385 will end storied history at year's close

Scouts in the active troop are being offered the chance to transfer to others in Grove City

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Bert Whitaker was 11 years old when Boy Scout Troop 385 became chartered in Grove City in 1970.

"Boy Scouts was unbelievable," said Whitaker, 54, who remains a Grove City resident. "There were five members that started, and I was among the five."

In July 1977, Whitaker became Troop 385's first Eagle Scout.

"I always wanted to be an Eagle," he said. "I consider it one of my greatest achievements."

According to the troop's website, 66 boys from Troop 385, which is sponsored by First Baptist Church of Grove City and meets at Kings Day Care, have reached the rank of Eagle.

But there won't be a 67th.

At the end of this year, after more than 40 years in operation, Troop 385 will officially disband.

"It's sad to see it go away," Whitaker said. "The experience you get have, the friends you get to make, it was an opportunity."

Roland Guay's three sons achieved the rank of Eagle Scout through Troop 385, something he regretted not doing when he was in Boy Scouts.

"385 has been such a great unit," Guay said. "It's hard to believe (Troop 385) won't survive."

Guay, who is still involved with Boy Scouts as an assistant scoutmaster with Troop 410 and a director on the district level, said Boy Scout troops need Cub Scout and Webelos units to feed new members into them.

"You hardly ever recruit a 10-and-a-half or 11-year-old boy directly into Boy Scouts," he said. "(Troop 385) lost their feeder back."

During his sons' time with Troop 385, Guay said they went on trips to Montana, Gettysburg, Acadia National Park and more.

"We did more with Troop 385 than we ever did with my group as a kid," he said. "We've been on some pretty big adventures with Boy Scouts, and it's been a great experience."

Whitaker said he fondly remembers many trips the troop during his scouting years, including a 12-day visit to Canada, with stops at Niagara Falls and the Ontario Science Center.

"That was a trip of a lifetime," he said. "Those were some of the best years of my life. You name it. We did it."

Troop 385 Scoutmaster Scott Smith said via email there are several other active troops in Grove City and many Troop 385 members have expressed interest in continuing on. They are being offered the chance to transfer to other local troops.

"Several of them are closing in on Eagle themselves," he wrote.

Among the activities Troop 385 participated in 2013, Smith wrote, were hosting the Ohio Valley District Klondike Derby, backpacking in Zaleski State Forest, attending a return reception for Honor Flight where they helped escort veterans down the escalator, attending the final reunion for the Doolittle Raiders, sending a crew to Seabase in the Bahamas and providing some 100-odd of community service.

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