Boy Scouts Initiated Battle of Sunset Lake

troop251a
Photo by Matt VanderMeulen.

By Sue Moore

The idea for bringing Revolutionary War re-enactors to Vicksburg came from an invitation from the Vicksburg Boy Scouts to three re-enactors who attended their camporee in 2015. The lads were enthralled with two guys dressed in red as members of the 84th Scottish Highlanders and a Continental militia member explaining their muskets and uniforms. The leaders wondered what it would be like if a whole host of re-enactors could come and camp with them in 2016.

That is about to happen. Over 200 re-enactors from the Northwest Territory Alliance (NWTA) will be in Vicksburg on June 25 and 26, camping at the village’s Recreation Park. The Scouts will have their 2016 Camporee nearby. They’ll help with the logistics of the battle for the two days.

“Scouting in Vicksburg is alive and well,” said Kevin Borden, scoutmaster for the Boy Scout Troop 251. “We have 47 boys who participate and another 60 Cub Scouts headed by Renee Hawkins. We just celebrated our 75th anniversary of being chartered. Now we are going to top that with the Battle of Sunset Lake. It doesn’t get much better for those involved in scouting.”

The Vicksburg troop is expecting neighboring troops from Schoolcraft, Portage, Kalamazoo, and others to participate. They will be camping at the Vicksburg Bible Church on Sprinkle Road. The site backs up to the Recreation Park trail for easy access. Their important functions include delivering ice to the re-enactors, directing parking for the public at the pavilion and assisting the re-enactors.

While working alongside the men and women who are in costume, it’s possible that they will absorb some history lessons about the founding of this country, Borden said.

Troop 251 provides Vicksburg boys ages 11-17 opportunities to grow into good citizens and be active in the community, all while having fun and becoming mentally and physically fit. These include Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day ceremonies, helping at the cemetery and the Historic Village, assisting with the newspaper collection each month, sponsoring the spaghetti dinner during Rotary Showboat weekend and meeting at their Barton Lake Boy Scout cabin.

Some fun outings include Boy Scout summer camp, year-round monthly campouts at the Barton Lake Cabin and other locations, regional and national camporees and jamborees, annual DIBC (Canada) Campout, fishing and canoeing at the troop cabin, a National Youth Leadership Training event, and the annual Troop 251 Christmas Party.

Six members have become Eagle Scouts in the last four years.

Founded in 1917, Troop 251 has been continuously chartered since 1940. Today it is chartered by the Vicksburg United Methodist Church. Troop 251 is part of the Pathfinder District of the Southern Shores Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

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