North Wales BSA Troop 84 goes back a long time!

In 1914, North Wales Borough was a spry forty - five years old, and the Scouting movement, begun in England, was just seven years old. Scout troops had been forming in the United States for just a few years. The names of those who have served North Wales’ Troop 84, and those youth who have been its members make up a who’s who of North Wales history.

Our Troop was organized in North Wales the 9th of February, 1914, chartered by the Sanctuary Methodist Church, with 25 boys registered. The first Scoutmaster was Rev. Sheriden Dawson. Rev. Dawson served for one year, followed in 1915 by the Rev. Willard L. Anthor with 28 boys. His services ran for four years. Then from 1919 to 1920 Rev. Frank W. Teske was Scoutmaster, and in 1920 George Oglesby served as Scoutmaster with 36 boys. George served for three years, and in 1923 Walter Wireback took over Troop #1. Walter served for one year.

In 1924 a new sponsor chartered Troop #1 known as a “Citizen Group”. Robert Skinner took the reins as Scoutmaster for two years. Many camping trips were enjoyed at Skinner's farm. The year 1925 brought our Troop’s first Eagle Scout, Alton Krauss. E. N. Weikel then became Scoutmaster in 1926. The story has been told that E. N. packed the boys and their gear in his old touring car and took off for the woods not knowing when they would return. E. N. served for two years, and then Russell Kriebel and Chester Lukens each took over for three years. I In 1934 George Van Billiard took over and served for one year.

In 1935 the Rotary Club sponsored Troop #1. At this time William Wampole was appointed Scoutmaster. William served from 1935 to 1939, followed by Arthur Dodson , George Brommer, and Jim Trindle.

In 1943 the North Penn Volunteer Fire Company took over the charter of Troop #1 and besides a period in the 1990’s, when the North Wales Lions Club served in this role, still charters the troop to this day.

1943 saw Carl Sauerland served for a short while, until he was called into the service in World War II. Carl's assistant, Joseph Coyle, took over from 1943 to 1945, and from 1946 to 1948 Williard Seipl, who was Committee Chairman, took over as Scoutmaster. In 1949 Horace Madtes served for one year, then Joe Coyle returned for his second tenure from 1949 to 1950. Joe was replaced by James McDonnel who served for one year and in 1952 to 1954 Joe Coyle returned for his third crack as Scoutmaster. 1951 was the year that Cub Scouts, the BSA program for younger boys ages six through ten years old began in North Wales.

1954 tuned out to be an eventful year for Scouting in North Wales. At the time, we had a Troop for boys 11 – 18 years old, a Cub Scout Pack for younger boys, as well as an Explorer Post for older boys. Until this time, the Troop had been meeting in various churches in the borough. For several years the Troop Committee had been trying to get a dedicated local meeting place. In 1954 the Scout Committee, under the leadership of Melvin Burman as Building Fund Chairman, purchased the old A. K. Shearer building, better known as the Lawrence Buck Planing Mill and later occupied by VanBillard. The families of the local Troop put aside their own work and started to make alterations to what is now known as the North Wales Scout Center. We are very fortunate to have our own space to meet and to store our equipment. Recent renovations include new windows and doors, and a new standing seam metal roof that will serve us well for many years to come.

In 1954 J. David Rittenhouse took over as Scoutmaster, and served for an extraordinary eighteen years. Attending a ceremony to recognize his service were Fire Company President Dallas Hartman and Eagle Scout Tom Byron.

In the 1970’s, and 80’s, Troop 84 was served by several Scoutmasters, typically serving for one to three years. They were, William Bard, Jr, Bernard Reese, Thomas Costello, Jr, Jack Nelson, Barry Cressman, Jack Nelson again, Barry Pace, and then Lambert Liebel, Jr from 1984 to 1990. Ken Fine took on the troop next, handing over the reins to Ed Arendasky from 2000 – 2003. Fine served again as Scoutmaster from 2003 – 2004. Paul Unger served until 2008, when Jim Greenwood took over. Our Current Scoutmaster, David Arnold, has served for six years, from 2012 to the present.

For a period in the late 2000’s, a Venture Crew, the coed, high-adventure focused Scouting program for older youth, called the North Wales Scout Center home. 2016 was a banner year for Troop 84. Under Scoutmaster David Arnold, nine young men attained the rank of Eagle Scout. In 2018-19, Troop 84 will spend over 25 nights camping, with another five day trips.

As of this year, for the first time, Cub Scout Packs have the option to admit both boys and girls into the program, and Pack 84 has embraced this change, welcoming girls into our ranks. At this time, there are no immediate plans to start a separate BSA Scouts troop to accommodate girls, but we’ll see what the 21st century brings to Scouting in North Wales.

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. Troop 84 has proudly spent the last 105 years serving the youth of North Wales, and is one of the three longest operating troops in the greater Philadelphia region. Hundreds of young people from our area have benefited from the character education and exposure to the outdoors that our programs offer. We invite anyone interested in learning more to reach out to us by email at Troop84NWales@Gmail.com or Pack84NWales@Gmail.com, or follow us on Facebook.