Let’s meet at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, July 18, and mow the cemetery on Visher Ferry Road near the transfer station. We have mowers; boys can bring long pants and water, and adults can bring line trimmers. Should only take about an hour. This volunteer work will count towards your service time and scout spirit requirement for advancement. – Mr. Hodder
The weather gods delivered a perfect week for this year’s summer camp at Camp Wakpominee. A full write-up is coming, but we’ve already got some pictures up (click on the album on the right or go to the photo galleries section of this website). If you have any pictures you’d like to contribute, contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
The July 13, 2012 edition of the Community News had a front page article on Clifton Park’s Fourth of July celebrations, which included three photos of Troop 45. If you missed the paper edition, it’s online here: Community News article. As the piece says “…the Clifton Park Parade is a great example of small-town friendliness…[and] a love fest between those on the sidewalks and those going by.”
Everyone had a great time marching in Clifton Park’s 2012 Fourth of July parade. The troop got lots of attention with it’s rolling canoe ride. After the parade Senior Patrol Leader Adam S. and past SPL Eric B. volunteered to help read the Declaration of Independence as part of the festivities. Pictures are available on the photo gallery section of the website (if you have some pictures you’d like to share, just contact email@example.com).
[The Fourth of July is a celebration of our nation’s birth. But it’s also a chance to reflect on the great fortune we all have to be Americans, and to appreciate the freedoms we all enjoy under our Constitution.
Among those is the freedom to assemble in peaceful groups and the freedom to associate with whoever we want.
Imagine if you lived in a country where you didn’t have those freedoms. Where it was illegal to be a Boy Scout, and your troop was banned from ever meeting together.
That’s exactly what Svante Prochazka had to deal with – not once, but twice!
Mr. Prochazka was born in Czechoslovakia and grew up in a family interested in Scouting. His father translated the writings of Ernest Thompson Seton, one of the pioneers of Boy Scouts, into Czech.
But shortly after young Svante became a Scout, his country was occupied by the Nazis, and Scouting was banned. At the end of World War II, Boy Scouts was allowed again briefly, only to be outlawed a second time when the Soviet Union took over Czechoslovakia.
He eventually emigrated from Czechoslovakia to the United States, where he became a successful scientist and inventor, helping develop special materials used in U.S. missile systems.
Troop 45 met Mr. Prochazka at the Coburg Village Flag Ceremony in 2011, and he spoke again at this year’s event about the history of Scouting.
The story below is his description of the brief window of freedom Boy Scouts had in his country.]
Becoming a Boy-Scout Leader
by Svante Prochazka
A day in early June, 66 years ago, the phone rang in our home in Prague. My mother told me that a man with an unfamiliar name was asking to talk to me.
It was only a few weeks after the end of World War II. The whole country was still in turmoil, but people were happy that the 5 years of the NAZI occupation of Czechoslovakia had finally come to an end, with relatively little bloodshed and destruction of the city. The lilacs, dogwood, locust and chestnut trees were in bloom, and people milled around in the streets doing their business and enjoying the day.
A familiar voice introduced himself and said that Boy-Scouts Group 18 was being revived. The group had become dormant during the German occupation, as the Germans were suspicious of any social assembling and had disbanded them. The original club space would be available eventually, he said, but it was not ready for a meeting.
“We have to meet this weekend and shall do it in the open,” continued my former troop leader, whom I had not seen since I was a 10 year old Cub Scout. “Take a bus on Saturday to Štĕchovice, and, at the terminal, take the road up-hill, walk for two kilometers and take the small dirt road to the left. There will be familiar signs that shall guide you to our meeting place in a clearing in the woods. Take a sleeping bag and all you plan to eat. There should be several of you. See you there…”
I took the bus with 5 of my friends and we arrived at our destination later in the afternoon. Emerging from the forest, we found a clearing with tents and a group of about 20 people in lively conversation. There was a great hubbub of welcoming, embracing, guessing forgotten names and recalling funny stories from our prior camping life.
Our camp leader eventually brought the socializing to a close, saying “Now everybody find himself a place to sleep and hurry into the woods to collect wood for the camp fire before it’s dark.” Shortly a pile of dry sticks grew near the fireplace bordered by stones. The small smoldering fire , now well fed by dry spruce and pine branches, soon leapt several feet high and attracted the whole crowd to form a circle around the flames. Everyone enjoyed the warmth of the crackling sparking fire. The flames dancing against the darkness exerted an irresistible and mysterious power that seemed to join us all together.
The night was cold, as early Spring nights can be. My home-made sleeping bag, sewn from scrounged around materials offered only mediocre protection against the chill. But one short cold night? No problem.
I was among several others who sat around the ashes of the campfire at dawn. Some leftover wood and few puffs of breath into the embers ignited the fire in no time. Our tea was ready shortly following the blush of dawn. What a pleasure!
After a while Eda, the senior troop leader, emerged from the tent, asked for a cup of tea and sat with us, silently sipping the morning delicacy. When he finished he tapped my shoulder and asked me to come with him to his tent. I followed him and he gestured me to sit down on an improvised seat. He began to speak, not letting me say so much as “good morning.”
“Svante, this gathering is all work to bring back the Boy-Scout Movement in our country and we need you, “ he said. “I know you well, you will serve. There is no time left. I talk now almost daily with young boys and kids who come to my office to ask when they may enroll. These are great kids, who really want to become members. We have to get them for their sakes and ours.”
He paused for a few moments. I took a deep breath to say something, but my words did not come fast enough, and he continued: “You will be a leader of the group of BEAVERS, and will lead a group of 12 boys, between 13 and 15 years of age. Most are already registered. You were a Boy-Scout for two years before the war, and you do not need much instruction. However we shall make some available. Do come next Thursday to the old club rooms and meet your new Scouts!”
I finally gathered strength to answer. “Brother, I thank you for your trust. However, I’ll be a senior at high school next year and have to get ready for my finals. There is so much work ahead, so much lost ground to be made up for after the war years. I am afraid to waste any time.”
He smiled at me, and said the words that would link me to a group of my best friends for the rest of my life. “What you’ll do for the group will be anything but a waste of time. I was a teacher in high school for many years; you will do well in both assignments.”
The boys I met and guided through the following years became my best friends. The Beavers started a chain of adventures in hiking, skiing, canoeing, socializing, marrying and supporting one another through the tough times of the Communist regime.
[Svante Prochazka continues to be a proud supporter of Scouting, and still gathers annually with his friends and former troop mates, now scattered around the world.]
Troop 45 Campers: A couple of folks have asked me about the packing list for summer camp. In case anyone needs it, I am reposting the document that contains that list, which is on the last couple of pages. Please find it attached below. — Mr. celeb gossip Lacey
2012 Troop 45 Summer Camp Packing List and Information (Adobe Acrobat format)
2012 Troop 45 Summer Camp Packing List and Information (Microsoft Word format)
Troop 45 Scouts,
The float is built and we’re ready for the parade!
We will be taking turns carrying flags, so please wear your Class A uniform. And, be sure to bring a bottle with 1 liter of drinking water.
We will be meeting at 11:30 AM across the street from Shen UMC, by the big tree where the first intersection in the school driveway is. Once the parade starts moving at noon, I believe it takes about an hour to move down route 146 (west) and down Vischer Ferry Road to the Commons. We can take a “shortcut” back to our cars by walking back from the Commons baseball fields between the elementary schools and back to where we started.
We’ll see everyone there!
— Mr. Lacey