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Denton's Boy Scout Troop 65 celebrates 100th anniversary

Profile image for Julia Falcon
Julia Falcon, For the Denton Record-Chronicle

The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910, after the concept was brought over from England in 1907. In 1918, the first Boy Scout troop was established in Denton. 

Troop 65 was founded with the support of Denton's First United Methodist Church in February 1918. This weekend, troop members of all ages and members of the community came together to celebrate the milestone at Evers Park in north Denton, where the troop has its Scout Hut, built in the 1940s. 

About 300 people came to Saturday's celebration, according to chartered organization representative Scott Simms. Attendees included Denton Mayor Chris Watts and state Rep. Lynn Stucky.

Curtis Ramsey, who joined Troop 65 in 1938, is the oldest living member of the troop and helped build the Scout Hut that now sits at Evers Park. He said he appreciates all that Scouting has given and taught him.

"I was able to be in the Scouts until I joined the Army, which was 1943," Ramsey said. "I think the experience in the scouting was helpful to me when I was first in the Army. I got my first promotion because of the skills I learned in the Scouts."

Ramsey said the most important skills he learned were civic responsibility and leadership, which made him a proud member and product of the troop. 

In the 1960s, Troop 65's scoutmaster wanted to separate the troop from the church. Bill King, then the institutional representative of First United Methodist Church, put a stop to it. King began his involvement as a Cub Scout in the 1930s and wanted to keep the Scouts close to the church.

World War II veteran Donald Graves, who was at Iwo Jima, was invited to speak to the troop, and he sang the national anthem to the full crowd at Evers Park. 

Graves, who started out as a Cub Scout in his hometown of Detroit, served in the Marines from 1942 to 1946. 

Because he was a Boy Scout during the Great Depression, Graves said his troop was limited in what it could do compared to what Troop 65 is doing today, but said they will all have the same military knowledge.

"We didn't go out and camp a lot — we went to parks, and we didn't have a lot of transportation," Graves said. "We didn't have the money. We didn't do what these boys are doing today."

Current Troop 65 Scoutmaster Bob Eastman is about to retire and pass the role to the troop's assistant scoutmaster, Mat Krause. Eastman, who has served as scoutmaster for 12 years, said there have been only small changes in scouting since he was an Eagle Scout in high school. 

"I think we are better organized, we are better funded and we are able to get a lot of donations," Eastman said. "A lot of boys come to Scouts and maybe they can't afford it. One of the things we have really strived for is, if you really want to be active in Scouts, we have scholarship money and help kids where they need to be helped out. I think that is a really big change."

Learning the basics of how to cook in a Dutch oven, tie knots and go backpacking are some of the skills Krause learned when he was a young Scout, and he said he was surprised to see how some things haven't changed — other than the technology advancements in camping gear.

Krause will become scoutmaster at the end of the summer, and said he is excited to jump-start Troop 65's year 101.

Krause was a part of Troop 65 from 1986 to 1993, and now he has a 13-year-old in the same troop as well as a son in Cub Scouts.

"We're still going to work towards being a high-adventure troop, and all the new dads participate with the new Scouts," Krause said. "There's always a cycle of people coming in. I wasn't a part for 20 years until my boys joined, and it's amazing how much hasn't changed."

Next month, the troop will be voting for a new senior patrol leader. Sixteen-year-old Carter Price, who currently holds the position, joined the Cub Scouts when he was in the first grade, following his father's footsteps.

Price said he wants to get Cub Scouts excited about joining the higher ranks and to see fuller meetings in the future.

"I hope the future will be brighter. We've been in a recent little slump," Price said. "I want it to be brighter with more things they can look forward to. Come excited and leave excited."