Boy Scouts – Troup 28, Cub Scouts – Pack 28

Lynn Mezyk, BHCC Chartered Organization Representative

Bower Hill Community Church is a chartered partner with Laurel Highlands Council of the Boy Scouts of America as the sponsor of Boy Scout Troop 28 and Cub Scout Pack 28. Scouting has been a part of Bower Hill’s community ministry for at least 63 years. Our responsibilities include assuring that qualified adults lead the units and providing places for them to meet. We have annually celebrated Scout Sunday in February, with members of the units attending and participating in worship.

Troop 28 ended 2014 with 35 boy members. The program includes weekly Tuesday meetings in Fellowship Hall, monthly weekend campouts, and other activities chosen by boy leaders and guided by Scoutmaster Mike Fuson. Weekend outdoor experiences in 2014 included a trip to the Cumberland-Frostburg History Railroad, a wilderness survival trip, a visit to the Kalahari Water Park, and a Pedal and Paddle trip on the Youghiogheny River. Week-long camps were experienced at Heritage Reservation in the Laurel Highlands and at Camp Raven Knob in the Carolinas. We also sent a crew to BSA Sea Base in the Florida Keys for a week-long Scuba Diving Adventure. The crew included a Venture Scout from a local venture crew.

The Scouts staged their traditional gourmet cooking weekend at Camp Anawana in Washington County, hosting Webelos Cub Scouts and parents. Community activities and service projects included participation in the Rotary Club flower planting program at the Castle Shannon park-and-ride T Station, participating in BHCC flea market set-up and take-down, participating in the Urban League Thanksgiving food distribution at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and participating in Relay for Life Mt. Lebanon. The Troop helped with set-up for Relay, ran a fundraising booth, and had a team that walked for the entire 24-hour event. We were able to raise over $1500 this year, and the scouts already have plans to exceed that number in 2015. The Troop staged its third Mardi Gras pancake dinner to raise funds for troop activities, with this year’s dinner scheduled for Tuesday, February 17.

Two Scouts attained the Eagle Scout rank in 2014, and four to six are expected to achieve this highest rank in Boy Scouting in 2015. Five Scouts and two adult leaders were selected for the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s honor camping society. Troop 28 qualified for the Gold Level (the highest) in Scouting’s Journey to Excellence Program, as it has since the program was introduced.

The Scouts continued to give significant assistance to the church whenever called upon. They carried a tremendous amount of Flea Market merchandise downstairs from the loft to the floor of Fellowship Hall, and then returned the unsold items to the loft. They also cleared large areas of snow when the church was facing a critical situation.

Pack 28 for the 2014-15 school year consists of 44 boys and 12 registered adult leaders. The boys range in age from 6 through10 and from grades 1 through 5. By having a wonderful place to gather like Fellowship Hall and some surrounding “den meeting rooms,” we are able to teach the boys many core values such as being loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous and kind. We also have the opportunity to teach them about our county and its rich history.

This year we participated in flag ceremonies on Veterans Day at some of the Mt. Lebanon Elementary Schools. In December, we reached out to our neighbors at Ashbury Heights and sang Christmas carols with them one evening. On Memorial Day weekend, we honored our veterans by placing flags on the their graves at the Mt. Lebanon Cemetery. We also marched in the parade on Memorial Day, and conducted a “Flag Retirement Ceremony” in which flags that are no longer fit to fly are “retired” in a solemn ceremony. The Pinewood Derby and Rain Gutter Regatta brings the scouts closer to their parents as they work together to find just the right design for look and speed. These experiences are all building blocks for the elementary school-aged boys to begin to assume leadership in their communities.