Bryn Mawr 100: Boy Scout Troop 19
The troop was started in 1912.
A Bryn Mawr Boy Scout troop was started in Bryn Mawr in 1912, just two years after the Boy Scouts of America was founded.
The first scoutmaster was Dr. B. K. Wilbur, a homeopathic physician and an elder in Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, and six of the first eight troop leaders shared his last name.
When current Troop 19 scoutmaster Bob Ames was approached about joining the Bryn Mawr 100, he began doing a little research.
He found the first Wilbur's hand-typed autobiography online, including information about his seven years as a surgeon on a Presbyterian mission to Sitka, AK, before founding the troop, as well as information linking that family to Wilbur Chocolates in Lititz.
"It impressed upon me what information is available on the Internet," said Ames, whose son is an 8th grader in the troop.
One scout approached Ames last year about being the troop webmaster and started a website for Troop 19. Ames is convinced they wouldn't have been approached by the Bryn Mawr 100 committee if the website had not existed.
"Now I've been on my own kind of quest to find all this information," Ames said.
Ames was also surprised at what information was available even in the scout room in Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, where Troop 19 still meets. He found handwritten awards and magazine articles from 1916 to 1920 and typed notes from the 1930s about what kinds of activities the Boy Scouts were doing.
He found a postcard of B. K. Wilbur at Camp Delmont, named for Delaware and Montgomery counties, which was one of the first scout reservations in the country. Evan Knowlton in 1914 and Fred H. Lippincott in 1919 became Eagle Scouts, the highest rank attainable in Boy Scouts, under Wilbur's leadership.
Troop 19 was originally Troop 1 until it ultimately merged with Explorers Post 19, Ames said.
The current troop, which has 33 active scouts from age 12 to 18, meets every Thursday night during the school year at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, camps once a month and spends a week in early August each year at Rodney Scout Reservation outside of North East, MD, according to Ames.
The troop is also active in community service: In the past year, the troop has participated in Haverford Days, performed community service at Clem Macrone Park in Radnor and constructed period pine storage boxes for the Colonial Plantation at Ridley Creek State Park.
To celebrate the troop's 100th anniversary, they've also planned some special events, like a one-night camping trip to Hershey Park on Sept. 22 and a November trip to Washington, D.C.
"It's not really about the merit badges," Ames said. "The kids who really stick it out are the ones who like to camp."
Troop 19 has now had 139 scouts achieve the rank of Eagle. Three scouts in 2012 already have completed all the requirements for the rank of Eagle: Brandon Chang, Nate Frank and Spencer Ivey.
"People come and people go, but the relationship with Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church has been ongoing," Ames said.
Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, founded in 1873, is also a Bryn Mawr 100 institution and is the largest congregation in Bryn Mawr of any denomination
Troop 19 is one of the two organizations, along with Bryn Mawr Gospel Hall, being inducted into the Bryn Mawr 100 on Saturday for a total of 21 institutions that have been active in the community for a century or more.
Alden Tucker, who served as scoutmaster from 1971 to 1978, will be receiving the award on behalf of Troop 19, Ames said.
Boys from the troop will be volunteering at Alex's Lemonade Stand at the Shear Touch, and other scouts will be manning a table with historical information about Troop 19 in Bryn Mawr Lot 7 by the farmers market. One scout will also be accompanying Bobbie McElroy of the Lower Merion Historical Society on the Bryn Mawr 100 bus tours.