By Linda Lane
What may have been the final meeting of Boy Scout Troop 254 in Schoolcraft was held March 13 with a celebration dinner honoring the last scout to earn an Eagle Scout rank, Colby DeVries. It was combined with the dedication of a core group of active scout leader volunteers.
The troop was forced to request that they be moved to a suspension status by the Boy Scout headquarters because there aren’t any scouts passing from the Cub Scout rank – “Webelos” – to cross over to the troop’s Boy Scout ranks. The troop can remain in this status for two years. If no other scouts and parent volunteers come forward to reinvigorate the troop in that time, it will be permanently abandoned and the troop number reassigned to another new group. One remaining scout, Trent Strake, will join the Boy Scout troop in Three Rivers, hoping to finish requirements to achieve his Eagle Scout rank. Just a year and a half ago, the troop honored five scouts for achieving their Eagle Scout ranks.
Seven Boy Scout leaders were honored for the past 14 years of volunteering with the scouts since the boys were Tiger Cub Scouts in first grade. The leaders honored were Scoutmaster Scott Macfarlane Sr., Steve Dickerson, Phil Marks, Jennifer Thompson, Jim Strake, Roger Lynch and Nancy Mora, who was not present.
DeVries achieved his Eagle Scout rank with a project consisting of exhibit shelving, display stands, and a new sign board for the Vicksburg Historical Society. Eight young men, three of whom had achieved their Eagle Scout rank in 2017, also attended the dinner: Scott Macfarlane Jr., Clayton DeVries, Jared Lynch, Keegan Lynch, Wyatt Thompson, Trent Strake and Nolan Strake, in addition to Colby DeVries.
Having earned his Eagle Scout rank last summer, Colby DeVries volunteers on the Eagle Scout Review Board for the Southwest Michigan Boy Scout Council. “Scouting has made a big impact on my life. I’d like to help other scouts and think I’ll probably volunteer as a junior scout leader,” DeVries said.
“We’ve had such a great group of kids and scouts to work with over these years. It’s been so much fun and we’ve made so many good memories,” Scott Macfarlane Sr. said. Laughter erupted throughout a slideshow playing pictures from the many years the scouts enjoyed outings, hikes, camps and events. The troop has explored caves in Indiana, hiked 80 miles in northern New Mexico at the Boy Scouts’ Philmont Scout Ranch, visited Isle Royale and Pictured Rocks in the Upper Peninsula, endured winter camping on the dunes of Lake Michigan, enjoyed many canoeing and camping excursions, and stayed overnight on the USS Silversides, a WWII submarine moored in Muskegon.
The Schoolcraft Boy Scout leaders have been such dedicated volunteers and love the outdoor activities and enjoy working with the young men so much that several leaders, including Phil Marks and Nancy Mora, continued to volunteer for years after their own sons had achieved Eagle Scout ranks.
“I enjoy it so much I think I’m going to join another troop as a Scout leader too,” Steve Dickerson said. Although his son, Matthew, earned his Eagle Scout rank in 2017 and has been attending Calvin College, Dickerson has remained active with the Schoolcraft troop.