By Maria Cook
Scouting is sometimes a family tradition, but rarely do children get to join the same Troop that their parents did. Boy Scout Troop 131, however, has a few second-generation members. This year marks the troop’s 50th anniversary.
Established in 1969, the Troop has approximately 55 Scout and produces a notably high number of Eagle Scouts—around five—each year. Steve Simmons, who has served as Troop 131’s Scoutmaster for more than four years, said Troop 131 is the second-oldest Boy Scout Troop in Carmel.
“Around a month-and-a-half ago, we had what we call our Court of Honor, where we hand out all the merit badge patches and recognize the kids that got their Eagle and things of that nature,” Simmons said. “The theme of it was the 50th anniversary, so we dredged up a bunch of old photographs.”
Troop 131 has produced more than 150 Eagle Scouts during its 50 years. Eagle Scout is the highest rank a Scout can achieve. To achieve the rank, a Scout must show good leadership abilities and complete a service project to help the community, among other qualifiers. Simmons said teaching leadership skills is a major focus for Troop 131.
“Troop 131 is a typical Boy Scout Troop. We go and teach these young men to be leaders, and that’s the whole purpose, to teach these boys how to be leaders,” Simmons said. “Three years ago, my son, who at the time was 14 years old, was a senior patrol leader, and he ran our Winter Camperee. It was attended by 350 people, and there was a 14 year-old running it. There aren’t too many programs out there that develop that kind of leadership.”