Greenwich Scouting, Troop 9 Celebrates 100th Anniversary
On Dec. 17, Troop 9 celebrated its 100th anniversary in addition to their quarterly Court of Honor ceremony. Founded in December 1918, Troop 9 is the oldest continuously chartered troop in Greenwich sponsored by the Second Congregational Church. Troop 9 started just eight years after Greenwich Council was established in July 1912. Monday evening’s distinguished guest included: Selectman John Toner, Senator Scott Frantz, Representative Mike Bocchino, Greenwich Police Chief Jim Heavey; several executive members from Greenwich Scouting including Craig Harding, Kevin O’Shea, and Wayne Plewniak; former and current adult leaders, and scouts. Selectman Toner presented a Proclamation citing “December 17, 2018 as Greenwich BSA Troop 9 100th Anniversary Day.” Senator Frantz presented a Connecticut State Assembly Citation; a Certificate of Special Recognition was presented from Congressman Jim Himes’ office, and a special commemorative patch was made for the occasion featuring the Second Congregational Church.
The ceremony was scout-led by Senior Patrol Leader, Christian DiMatteo, his assistant scout patrol leader, and the Troop 9 Scoutmaster. Recognized, were scouts who achieved rank advancements: Scout, Tenderfoot, and First Class. Also awarded were several merit badges, including the Personal Management Merit Badge to Whit Armstrong, a Brunswick School 6th grade and newly honored Tenderfoot rank scout. He proudly described and how he saved $300 to contribute towards a bandsaw for his enterprising woodworking business making cutting boards. When asked what aspect of scouting he liked best, he replied, “So far, I like the campouts.”
On July 12, 1912, the BSA Greenwich Council was founded and granted its first charter from National BSA (founded in US in 1908). In 2012, the Greenwich Council celebrated its 100th year anniversary after Ernest Thompson Seton founded the League of the Woodcraft Indians in Cos Cob, which became the Boy Scouts of America in February 1910. Formed in 1918, Troop 9’s first four Eagle Scouts and photographed in 1921. The vintage photo shows them in boots and vintage uniforms with their hard-earned merit patches sewn on their right sleeves.
At the time, Woodrow Wilson was the country’s 28th President 1913-1921 and the country was in the middle of WWI. The original troop’s Scoutmaster was Franklin G. Chapin from 1918-1930, and its membership was believed to consist only of members of the Second Congregational Church. For a long time now, Troop 9 (across BSA) has included members of many Greenwich faiths, and from all areas of town but mostly scouts from the Central to Cos Cob areas of town (6th-12th grades).
A continuously chartered troop also means that Troop 9 has provided a continuous chain of service to their community and country. Another photo from the archives is a photo of Troop 9 scouts standing with their wood-constructed wagons with the headline, “Boy Scouts Ready for Defense Role.” It was not uncommon during war times for the boy scouts to assist as a show of their effort to collect scrap materials for salvage.
In today’s times, a town-wide call to service busied Greenwich Council’s troops as they assisted with preparations for 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. Troop 9 did their part as they filled sandbags at the local Cos Cob Fire Station. Troop 9 also participates in the annual town-wide Neighbor to Neighbor Food Drive called, Scouting for Food.
“Neighbor to Neighbor is fortunate to have Troop 9 as a partner in lifting up the 20% of Greenwich residents who cannot afford basic necessities. Troop members have offered food and clothing donations, countless hours of volunteer service, and a deep and reliable commitment to serving the community. Congratulations on 100 years and we look forward to working together for the next 100!” – Nancy Coughlin, Executive Director.
Unique to Troop 9 are the following community service partnerships:
As an act of service to its Charter, Second Congregational Church, Troop 9 annually cooks and serves the Stamford men’s shelter, Inspirica (formerly known as Pacific House). Troop has helped by cooking and serving one or two of those meals each year.
Old Greenwich Merchants Association in assisting with the annual First Light event including set-up of barricades, organization of trash cans, cleanup, and takedown. This annual service was initiated by a Troop 9 scout, Robbie Tolette in 2006 and continues – even for this year’s rainy event.
Local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW for the annual handing out of the poppies at the Greenwich Town Party.
In addition to their town’s many public wooded preserves that benefit from site improvements (e.g. Audubon, Greenwich Land Trust, Pomerance, Pinetum, Mianus Preserve), and community organizations with whom have partnered with Troop 9 Eagle candidates. In 2003, a Troop 9 Eagle Scout was responsible for erecting Greenwich’s first 911 Memorial (before its current location); and other projects include: the Mill Pond Chess Park (on Strickland Road, adjacent to the Cos Cob Starbucks); concerts at senior citizens’ homes, a new outdoor staircase at Grass Island, the marking of storm drains “Drains to the Sound,” and most recently a new pollinator garden at the Nathaniel Witherell Senior Center.
While there is emphasis on climbing the ranks to Eagle, not all need to be on that track. Some scouts really enjoy that there’s plenty of adventure as part of the whole scouting experience. In addition to the Council-wide events, campouts, and winter Klondike; Troop 9 participates in annual:
- Weekend Campouts & Ski Trips to VT
- Campouts at Great Captains Island
- Backyard Patrol Camps
- Annual pot luck holiday party (scouts cook)
While much has changed over the scouting years (such as allowing girls to join), much remains the same as with the inherit value of building leadership skills, confidence and giving back to the community as in the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
BSA Greenwich Council boilerplate:
Adventure, leadership, service and learning, especially in the outdoors, have remained essential to the Greenwich Scouting experience since its inception in 1912. Nearly 1,750 local youth participate in fun programs, such as the Fishing Derby, run by 250 dedicated volunteers, all of which help prepare local boys and girls for life. With over 20 partnering organizations and Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Venturing and Exploring opportunities in Greenwich, Connecticut, there’s never been a better time to join the Scouting community. The BSA Greenwich Council is open to new fall registration for Cub Scouts (1st-5th grade), or Boy Scouts (6th-12th grade, up to 18 years old). To locate the Troop in your area, contact the Scout Office at: 203-869-8424 ext. 102, or visit GreenwichScouting.Org for more information.