Gahanna's Boy Scout Troop 98 is celebrating 75 years of helping youths to be prepared.

The community is invited to a free open house at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at Stonybrook United Methodist Church, 485 Cherry Bottom Road.

Ted Hathaway, the troop's assistant Scoutmaster, said the event will include displays of the troop's photos and memorabilia accumulated over the years.

A patrol competition is scheduled from 2:30 to 4 p.m. for anyone who wants to test their Scouting skills. Current troop members will test guests' knowledge at several stations.

Hathaway said the troop has had 92 members attain the highest achievement rank of Eagle Scout since it was founded. The troop currently has 32 members.

Benjamin Bratton, a Gahanna Lincoln High School freshman, is the latest troop member to achieve Eagle Scout status.

"My Eagle Scout project was making four wooden costume cabinets for my middle school's drama department, Grace Christian School in Blacklick," he said.

Bratton said he earned his Eagle rank three days before turning age 15.

"Being in Troop 98 has been a fun experience," he said. "I have had the opportunity to go caving in Kentucky, develop my leadership skills and grow lifelong friendships."

Bratton said the troop has provided him with the opportunity to work with Honor Flight Columbus, welcoming veterans home from a trip to visit military memorials in Washington, D.C.

Mike Sheldon is the troop's longest-serving Scoutmaster, having led the group for 32 years before retiring and turning it over to current Scoutmaster Rob Ward.

"I joined Troop 98 in 1967 as an 11-year-old Scout and stayed on as an assistant Scoutmaster when I turned 18, then took over for my Scoutmaster when he retired in 1982," Sheldon said. "Some highlights I remember are going to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico with my Scoutmaster Lou Carswell in 1972. I had the privilege to go back in 1992."

Sheldon said he enjoyed going to summer camp each year, helping boys become better men, seeing his two sons reach the rank of Eagle Scout and being associated with more than 50 other Scouts who became Eagle Scouts during his tenure as Scoutmaster.

"One thing I am grateful for is the other adults who have helped me in the troop," he said. "Many came in as dads, then stayed long after their sons moved on."

Sheldon grew up with a set of brothers, Roger and Tom Wright, who returned to the group when their sons joined and still are serving as assistants.

"I am very proud to be part of this troop," he said. "We held our 50th anniversary, and it was great to see so many come back to visit and swap old stories. I am hoping this reunion will be the same, and then some."

The celebration will include a barbecue dinner at 5 p.m., followed by a closing campfire. The cost of dinner is $12 per person.

Alumni are invited to camp out with the troop Saturday night after the festivities.

For more information, visit Troop98Gahanna.info, view the troop's Facebook page @Troop98Gahanna or email leaders@troop98gahanna.info.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla