Awesome, exciting, challenging, imaginative and rewarding, are all words that come to mind when reviewing the history of Hatboro Troop 3. The story begins over 60 years ago.
It was l949. Harry S. Truman was President. The Philadelphia Eagles’ Steve Van Buren was having his greatest season, rushing for a team record 1,146 yards. The Phillies were resting up for their pennant winning campaign.
And in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, a Boy Scout Troop was born.
Hatboro Troop 3, sponsored by the Hatboro Baptist Church, was off and running before the ink had dried on its charter. By some accounts it was the successor to Hatboro Troop 1. At least, Troop 1 was probably the source of the army tents used by the troop for many years
Thanks to Len Henryson, the troop’s first scoutmaster, success was almost immediate. An Eagle Scout, he was a dynamic leader and the spark plug who made it happen. He only committed one year to the task, but in that short time he built a strong foundation.
Providing vital leadership at the troop’s inception were Dr. James B. Sadler, the pastor of Hatboro Baptist Church; Robert E. Casey, chairman of the first troop committee; Francis Orce, the institutional representative, and three assistant Scoutmasters; Joseph T. Carter, John Sugars and William (Bill) Ritchie.
The program’s fast start was highlighted during its inaugural year by its first place finish at the Delmont Olympics. This was a competition held at the troop’s first summer camp that combined scouting and athletic skills. Another highlight of that first year was a backpacking trip to Sunfish Pond on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap.
Henryson was followed as Scoutmaster by Warren Clemens (’50 –’51), a Hatboro gunsmith and gun collector; Ellsworth (Bud) Snyder (’51-’53), whose son was a member of the troop, and Bill Clausen (’54-’55) the uncle of troop member, Bill Maisenhelder.
Clausen was succeeded by Bob Casey (’55-’56) who agreed to take the part on an interim basis until a successor could be found. The search for Scoutmaster number 6 ended quite surprisingly when John G. (Windy) Weand (’56-‘61 & ‘70-’71), who was for many years active as a Scout and Scouter in Norristown, came to a committee meeting and announced that he would like to be Troop 3’s Scoutmaster. The committee was quick to accept the offer.
Weand, a father of five girls, one of whom is married to the current scoutmaster, proved equal to the task. He retained key staff members and encouraged even more to come aboard. The troop adult staff list looked like a Who’s Who list in Valley Forge Council and Pemapacka District. Fred Ewald, Troop Committee Chairman, was a board member of the Council. Bill Kay, Assistant Scoutmaster, was the District Camping Director. Stoy Weaver, Assistant Scoutmaster, was the District Commissioner and on the training staff. Dick Gerhardt, Committee Chairman after Ewald, was also the District Commissioner, a trainer, and Wood Badge Staff member.
Other staff members included Bob Casey, new Scout coordinator and troop record keeper; Ed McCarty, high adventure coordinator and Morris McFarland, fund raiser, committee and staff member. Charles D Zimmerman Jr. was troop committee chairman for approximately three years, from 1955-58.
Morris McFarland was largely responsible for putting together the first scout fair. The envy of many merchants, this event was held in downtown Hatboro, on York Road, on the property presently in front of Produce Junction. There were pony rides, food, games and pavilions built by the troop to house some of the activities. Often times the troop camped out during the fair. This fund raiser was as much fun as it was successful in raising funds for the growing troop.
During this time the troop’s gear was stored in an old, small home that stood in front of the Church adjacent to what is now LeRoy’s Flowers. Car Washes were held by the troop, which utilized the circular driveway that went all the way around the church.
Under Weand’s leadership, one of the most highly anticipated events was summer camp at Resica Falls. It brought together two of the Council’s largest and finest troops. Cheltenham Troop 22 and Hatboro Troop 3 went head to head at this annual rite of summer. No-one knew it at the time, but two young men participating in these outstanding programs would later become the key leaders of Troop 3. Dave Cooper, the present troop committee chairman, was a member of Ed Drach’s Troop 22, and Bob John, the present Scoutmaster, was a member of Jack Weand’s Troop 3.
The first Philmont Expedition from Troop 3 occurred in 1957 when Dave Lutz, Mike Mullen, Billy Kay, Tom Webster and Charlie Zimmerman attended Philmont. They went via bus and did roughly 90 miles during the expedition.
In addition to taking one of the largest groups to summer camp, Weand also established a winter father and son camping trip at Council Lodge at Delmont. The singing and fellowship from those days will long be remembered by all the participants.
Haycock Mountain, a property owned by the Scouts of Hatboro on Lake Nockamixon, got its heaviest use in those days. Every year in April the three Hatboro troops would camp at Haycock and run a Pre-Camporee competition.
Weand is fond of telling how a bus showed up to take the scouts on his first camping trip as Scoutmaster. Apparently the Church had been providing a bus for transporting the scouts to and from its trips. The troop had dwindled down in size and Weand sent the bus back to the garage. For most trips after that time, the private automobiles of the leaders and parents were used for transporting the scouts to and from the trips.
Weand was the only person to serve two separate terms as Scoutmaster of Troop 3. During his first tenure from l956 to l961, the troop experienced excellent growth, in membership, activities and good reputation.
In l961, Troop 81, sponsored by the Lehman Memorial United Methodist Church in Hatboro, was having leadership problems. Weand, a member of that church, felt compelled to take over as its Scoutmaster. At that time, C. Stoy Weaver (’61-’63) became Scoutmaster. Weaver joined the Troop 3 staff shortly after the troop was formed in early l950, and continued to serve as a leader until his death on August 19th, l984. His dedication and hard work were instrumental in keeping the troop together. It was during his tenure that our present Scoutmaster, Bob John, became Eagle Scout.
In l963, Jesse Burnett (’63-’66), a wide-smiling Texan with a fantastic drawl, became Scoutmaster. Burnett was young and full of fun. He served until work assignments forced him to relinquish the reigns to Hank Hudson (’66-’68). Hudson had two sons, both of whom became Eagle Scouts.
Following Hudson as Scoutmaster was Harry Hilger (’69-’70), a member of the Hatboro Baptist Church who had also served as the troop committee chairman. Hilger’s term was followed by Jack Weand’s (’70-’71) second term as scoutmaster. Next came Ralph Nagle (’71-’72), another member of the Hatboro Baptist Church, who took over the leadership of the troop. Nagle had three sons involved in the program. One of them became an Eagle Scout. He was a very giving man with a big heart. Unfortunately, his health took a turn for the worse and the troop struggled while looking for Scoutmaster number 12.
The Bob John Years
Down to a handful of boys, Stoy Weaver was the key person who held the troop together during the search. Then, in June, l972, Bob John (’72 – present) expressed his interest in taking over the troop. John had been a continuous member of the troop starting in l958 and had just graduated from Law School. While John thought the situation was desperate, Weaver showed his conservative nature and insisted on calling together the other adults to discuss the matter. The ad hoc committee made it official in September and John was the new Scoutmaster.
John’s first camping trip was to College Settlement. After a great game of football the boys sat around the campfire that night and John challenged them to develop a program for the next year. The Scouts had heard his stories about Camp Comer in Alabama, and they told him that was where they wanted to go to summer camp.
The Troop Committee was reluctant to endorse such a trip, but John was not going to be denied and he set out to recruit a staff. He also set a goal to have at least 30 boys by the summer of ’73.
Ed McCarty was John’s first adult staff member recruit. Related to the family that gave the Scouts of Hatboro the Haycock Mountain property, he also was very active in the program when John was a Scout. McCarty led the older scouts (boys l4 years of age and older) on the first Troop 3 sponsored High Adventure trip. This was a backpacking trek from Philadelphia’s City Hall to Resica Falls Scout Reservation. John was only 13 at the time and unable to go, but he didn’t miss the follow up trip the next year in l961. That trek took the scouts to Canada where they camped with the Scouts Catholiques of Canada above Montreal. One of the highlights of that trip was an all night bee line hike. McCarty was quick to sign on with John and served as the older boys program chairman until his death in February, l980.
John’s second recruit to assist him as Scoutmaster was Jesse Burnett. Burnett was John’s last scoutmaster before he graduated from High School. Burnett had 2 boys join the troop and assisted with the program until he moved to Perkasie. David Kutz, a scout with John, also joined the adult staff at about the same time as Burnett.
When summer camp ’73 rolled around John had over 30 scouts signed up for the trip south. That was the troop’s first out of council summer camp. It wouldn’t be the last. The Troop committee approved a plan that year that would call for the troop to camp in the local council camp in the even years and go to an out of council camp in the odd years. Since then, the out of council trips have included Camp Comer again in l975 and l989; Scoutland Georgia, l977 and l999; Haliburton Scout Reserve in Canada, l979, l987, l995 and 2001; Daniel Boone camp in western North Carolina, l981 and l997; Mount Morris Scout Reservation in northern Vermont, l983 and l991; Assateague State Park on the beach in Maryland and Dundee youth camp in the Shenandoah National Park, l985; Camp Crooked Creek in Kentucky, l993; and Cedarlands camp in northern New York, 2003.
In l974, John, with the help of McCarty, planned a 2 week wilderness canoe trip in Canada. This trip to Kipewa was the troop’s first High Adventure Canoe trip. Since then the troop has conducted several High Adventure Canoe trips, including the Delaware River, l976; the Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada, l982; the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Maine, l986, l990 and l998; and Quetico Provincial Park in Canada (north of Minnesota), l994. This last trip involved 37 scouts and scouters; the most people that ever attended an older boy High Adventure trip with Troop 3.
In addition to the Canoe trips, the troop sponsored several High Adventure Bike Hikes for the older scouts including Cape May New Jersey to Shad’s Landing, Maryland, l980; Nova Scotia, l984; Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Boston, l988 and 2000; and the Trans – Pennsylvania Bike Hike, l992. Other High Adventure trips included White Water Rafting on Pine Creek, Pa., l978; Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico, l996; Appalachian Trail (New Hampshire to Maine) and white water rafting on the Penobscot, 2002 and the Annapolis Sailing school in Florida, 2002. Since l996, the troop has had at least one of its members participating in the Philmont Expedition every year.
From the start of his tenure as Scoutmaster, it was clear that John was uniquely qualified for the job of Scoutmaster. He joined scouting in l955 as a member of Louis Hihn’s Hatboro Cub Pack 17 where he earned the Arrow of Light. In Troop 3 he served as Senior Patrol Leader, graduated from the National Junior Leader Instructor Training Course at Schiff Scout Reservation, served as the Boy Chairman of the Washington District Patrol Leader Training Course, was the Senior Patrol Leader for the Valley Forge Council Junior Leader Instructor Training Camp at Delmont, went to Philmont as crew leader, and earned the Eagle Badge in l962.
During the summers between College and Law School, John served on the National Junior Leader Instructor Training Camp staff at Schiff Scout Reservation as Senior Patrol Leader, Asst. Program Director and Program Director; was Program Director for summer camp and Junior Leader Training Camp at Camp Comer in Mentone, Alabama, and also served as Program Director for the Junior Leader Training Course at Camp Palila in Louisville, Mississippi.
As an adult, John has served on the National Wood Badge Staff, the National Jamboree Staff in Idaho, the National Training Committee, and was District Chairman for the Troop Leader Training courses for several years.
The troop enjoyed rapid growth during the seventies. From a handful of scouts in ’72 to over 70 scouts a few years later, the troop was quick to return to the elite status it enjoyed during the Weand years. Most notable, the troop has maintained this status to the present time.
Just as impressive has been the Adult Leadership serving the troop since l972. Starting at the top, the troop has been blessed with great Troop Committee Chairmen – Jack Weand, ’72 – ’75; Ken Snader, ’75 – ’77; Jim Rider, ’77 – ’79; Dick Rapson, ’79 – 86; and David Cooper, ’86 to the present.
Cooper is the only member of Troop 3 to receive the Silver Antelope Award for outstanding service to the Region and Nation. He has served on various National Committees including the Episcopal Church Committee to Scouting. For years he has been the key volunteer in charge of the VIP tent at the National Jamborees. He was a professional scout; has served on Woodbadge staffs, and is the father of an Eagle Scout.
The list of other outstanding adults serving the troop is overwhelming. Al Kiel, and more recently Lester Blum and Garry Pfeil, have assisted with the cycling program. Ray Maund, and more recently Dan Murphy, have been the equipment chairman. Maund constructed the top to the old army trailer and maintained the equipment as if each piece was his prized possession. Murphy was responsible for the internal design and construction of the new equipment shed, which is a working storage area with few equals. The lightweight aluminum equipment boxes the troop uses were the result of Jerry Buseck’s hard labor in the late ‘70’s.
Tim Thornburg has directed the first year scout program, collected the dues and taken care of the troop’s canoes and trailers for years. Doug Gramp has been advancement chairman for a long time. Hilda Balot has done newsletters and organized numerous activities, including John’s 10th Anniversary as Scoutmaster program in l982.
Stan Berkowitz constructed and painted the large troop 3 plaque still used for ceremonies. Charles Spicer, Ray Luce, Jack Tiley and so many more dedicated adults helped make the program one of the best around.
Dave Fortunato was the Order of the Arrow liaison for the troop and served as the Council OA advisor during the time of the Delmont and Unami Lodge merger. Since his death, the Council Lodge has established one of the top annual awards in his memory.
The monthly trips planned by the boy run Troop Leader Council would make a travel agent envious. Washington, D.C.; Williamsburg; Sandy Hook; Mystic, Connecticut; Annapolis; West Point; the Coast Guard Academy; Cooperstown; Baltimore Harbor; Rhinebeck, New York; and Harper’s Ferry, were just some of the troop’s destinations over the past 3 decades.
Ever mindful of the obligation to do a good turn daily, the troop has conducted scores of good turns. Setting up and taking down the Library Book Fairs and Bazaars; directing the parking at the Rotary Lobster Pots; putting up markers on all the Horsham Township fire hydrants; painting the Hatboro Union Library’s summer house; collecting food for the needy; weeding and mulching the tree beds in town; and recently installing underground cable at the Hatboro-Horsham High School stadium for television broadcasting ( a $10,000.00 job), are just some of the many projects performed by troop 3 scouts.
The Troop has also won awards for its projects including the construction of suspension bridges, covered bridges, a trestle bridge across the fountain in the Willow Grove Park Mall, a draw bridge, monkey bridges and a 25 foot high signal tower, also built at the Mall.
Over the years the Community has been most supportive of the program buying light bulbs, hoagies, tickets for our pancake breakfasts ‘75 – ‘78, and patronizing our ham suppers which have been the troop’s main fund raiser every year since the first one was held on February 10th, l979.
In l982 the troop purchased six used aluminum canoes and in l985 refurbished its first canoe trailer. The troop now has three canoe trailers and 20 canoes including 7 Penobscot canoes and 3 Trippers. Mike Bernard and Don Cross are currently building 3 new canoe trailers. Bernard personally led a crew in the construction of our current equipment trailer.
The Troop has always shown great pride in running a boy run program. The fruits of its labor were never more evident then when Troop 3 won the Valley Forge Council contest for the best boy run program four years in a row under the leadership of Senior Patrol Leaders Steve Maund (l982), Stuart Luce (l983), Jeff Burnley (l984) and Tim Stauffer (l985). After the fourth year the Council discontinued the program.
Two of the Scouts from Troop 3 have been recognized by the National Council for saving lives. Ed Cordenner and Doug Pfeil have both received the National Medal of Merit Award.
There have been innumerable firsts in the troop’s history. Tom Casey was the first member of the troop to go to Philmont (l955). Fred Ewald, Bob Kay, Don Gleiter, Russ Casey, Neil Farnsworth and Tom Weaver were the first contingent to attend Philmont (l959). Tom Casey was also the first troop member to attend a National Jamboree (Valley Forge, l957).
In 2003 Vicki Blum directed our first Jazz Band at the District Dinner. Also in 2003, the troop refurbished and launched its own 21 foot sailboat that sleeps four.
In 2001 the troop established its first web page and started sending the monthly newsletter out to all members on the Internet. George Fesmire, the troop’s first web master, continues to do a great job. Updated daily, Fesmire includes pictures of events and important announcements on the web page.
Dan Murphy is the current Crew Advisor for the older boys, which is now called the Venture program. The crew has been climbing Mount Washington each winter using ice picks and crampons. Under Murphy’s guidance Venture trips have also included white water rafting, caving, rappelling, cycling and backpacking.
The Venture Crew is also running its own broadcast studio. Taping all the home Hatboro-Horsham High School football games, some of the High School ice hockey games, the annual Hatboro Christmas parade, and providing programs like “2001, the Year in Review,” the crew has established quite a following on Hatboro and Horsham cable channel 22.
In l974, at Joseph’s Catering in Horsham, the troop celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Much of the early history that you are now reading was created by Stoy Weaver for that occasion. Fred Ewald was the general chairman and Ken Snader the program chairman for that gala event.
In l989 the Troop celebrated its 40th Anniversary at the German Club on Davisville Road in Warminster. Dick Rapson worked many long hours putting together the program. Doug Rapson, Mark Maund and Stuart Luce put together a three screen slide show with narration and music for the closing.
Over the weekend of June 25-27, l999, the troop celebrated its 50th Anniversary with an encampment at Hatboro Memorial Park. Dave Cooper was the general chairman of this extravaganza. Jack Burrell put together the massive mailing list and constructed the exhibits for the displays in the big army tent. Hilda Balot took care of the registrations. Dan Murphy, Bill Kelley, Mike Wagner and Bruce McCaffrey were in charge of physical arrangements. Joe Koye did a superb pig roast for the Saturday evening banquet. Pete Walts and Tim Thornburg were the campmasters. Pete Walts also did the recognitions. It was an event most fitting for the celebration of 50 years of Scouting in Troop 3.
The success of the troop can certainly be seen in the 85 boys who have attained the rank of Eagle Scout. It was also evident in the cover story in the September-October, l990 edition of “Scouting Magazine.” The picture on the cover of this National publication showed the entire troop gathered around its Model of Hatboro. This amazing project took five years to complete and included every house, garage and structure in the Borough of Hatboro displayed on a topographically correct model base.
And what is it that has made this program so enduring? PRIDE! The pride that has been shown by every boy and adult wearing the numeral 3 on their shirt sleeves.