SCRANTON — 2015 was a big year for Scranton Boy Scout Troop 16. The Troop is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Chartered by the Hickory Street Presbyterian Church, the troop has mentored many generations of Scouts. As of November 2015, 238 boys in the troop reached the highest rank available to Boy Scouts, the rank of Eagle Scout.
Honoring Scouts and leaders throughout the year, the troop’s centennial celebration was recently held at Genetti Manor, Dickson City. Enjoying photos, memorabilia and each other, the dinner started with social hour and ended with speakers from within the troop. The boys from long ago are now men. Many have sons and grandsons in the troop.
Taking the podium wearing his traditional master’s hat with his original badges still attached, 86-year-old William Fritz told of his days with Troop 16. Fritz earned his rank of Eagle Scout on Feb. 27, 1945. He told about hiking to the cabin on East Mountain at Mountain Lake. The boys trekked through the streets of the city, as walking was their mode of transportation. Fritz joined Boy Scouts in 1941, before Cub Scouting programs were available. Sharing stories of how Scouting was in his days, he joked carrying ice from the ice house to the kitchen at Goose Pond Scouting Reservation where he was staff. That was before freezers were common and hard work was much more common. Reminiscing about the days when his brother, Carl, earned his Eagle Scout on August 6, 1944 and his son, David, on May 31, 1988, Fritz glowed as he remembered Scouting as a boy and as a father. He was proud to tell about the tradition of Scouting in his family and those of his friends.
Also attending as an old timer was 83-year-old Dan Emick, who earned his Eagle Scout rank on June 24, 1952. He joined Scouting as a Cub with Pack 4, before Pack 16 was established, in 1944. Emick was a Goose Pond staff member. He graduated Scouts with 21 merit badges, with stamp collecting being his favorite. He was Patrol Leader of the Wolf Patrol.
Congressman Matt Cartwright, wearing his Silver Beaver Award, told of his time as a Scouter with his boys and the pride he felt when his son, Jack, earned his Eagle Scout rank in 2010. Cartwright read the proclamation that he read to Congress regarding the 100th anniversary of Troop 16.
The last Eagle Scout to speak was the newest Eagle Scout to Troop 16, Ryan Astleford, who earned his rank of Eagle Scout on Aug. 19, 2015. Astleford served as flag bearer in the evening’s Honor Guard. As he began to speak, his mom reminded him from the crowd to speak slowly.
“Thanks, Mom,” Astleford responded to a roar of giggles.
Every Scout knows that a Scouting mom is essential to any Boy Scout. In his speech, he clearly and slowly told about Scouting trips and events in his time with Troop 16.
Scout Executive Marcel Cinquina congratulated the Troop on such a fantastic feat of reaching 100 years. Cinquina told the crowd of more than 200 people simple facts of Boy Scouting. He told that the Boy Scouts of America holds the position of the top ranking youth organization in hours spent performing community projects, including Eagle Scout projects. 70 percent of those recognized as Who’s Who in the United States of America have a Scouting background. He also commended all Eagle Scouts, both past and present, on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout and told how only between four and six percent of Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
Closing the evening ceremony was Eagle Scout Patrick O’Malley playing Taps on the bugle.
The celebration continues with Troop 16’s 100 Anniversary tree at the Festival of Trees at The Mall at Steamtown. The trees are on the first floor near the old Bon Ton and will be available to be viewed throughout the holiday season.
Led by Scoutmaster Brian Klatt, the Troop welcomes all boys ages 11-17, beginning in the fifth grade, to visit the Troop and see all that Scouting has to offer. Cubmaster Brittain Banull welcomes all boys grades 1-5 to join Cub Pack 16. More information on the Boy Scouts of America in the NEPA region can be found online at bsanepa.org.