Boy Scouts of America
Park Lake Presbyterian Church, Orlando, Florida
Troop 48, BSA, is a youth program of Park Lake Presbyterian Church, which serves the neighborhood community and the church membership. It has a long and distinguished history, beginning in 1932 and continuing until today, with only one year interruption during World War II. Scouting at Park Lake has touched and enriched the lives of more than 2,500 young men throughout the Church's history.
What is Scouting?
Scouting is a world-wide youth movement for boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 18. It is led by male and female adult volunteers who are 18 and over. The younger program is called Tiger Cubs and is a parent/child relationship for young men aged 6. After reaching 7 years of age, they enter Cub Scouting, which is a program for up to 10-year-olds. When they reach 11 years old, they can enter Boy Scouting and continue in it as a youth until reaching 18. However, when they become 14 years old, they can enter one of the co-ed programs of Exploring which serve both young men and women.
Scouts Stress Values, Moral Code
Today, Scouting is almost alone among youth programs which teaches values and stresses a moral code of conduct. Most of its sponsoring organizations are Churches or other religious organizations. The Presbyterian Church is one of the top five sponsors of Scouting units in the United States. The Church of the Latter Day Saints in fact uses the Scouting programs (Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts) as their youth program in lieu of youth fellowship, etc.
To be a Scout, a young person is required to be a believer in a higher spiritual authority. A youth who does not have such a belief cannot be a member of Scouting. Scouting encompasses many faiths, including Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. Of interest to Park Lakers is that an Eagle Scout in Troop 48, Ta Ann Sung, was the first Scout to win the Buddhist religious award in the southeastern United States.
What do the Scouts do?
Scouting focuses of the theory that young men and women learn and develop life skills best when they have fun. In the early years of Scouting, it was totally focused on using the great outdoors as the learning laboratory. In later years, while the outdoor experience still plays the most prominent part, Scouting also stresses citizenship, leadership training, and new technologies in both an outdoors and urban environment. Emphasis is placed on not only developing self reliance but on responsible citizenship and a recognition of a higher spiritual authority. It introduces young people to a wide range of occupational, vocational, cultural, and life enrichment skills---as evidenced by some 121 Boy Scout merit badges, ranging from Astrology to Zoology.
Tiger Cubs meet weekly in small home groups of parents and children and stress family activities.
Cub Scouts meet in Dens, under an adult Den Leader (most of which are Den Mothers), normally 5 to eight boys of the same age group. The Cub Dens are part of a larger organization, known at Cub Packs, which hold monthly meetings and sponsor joint activities such as day camps, model car races, athletic events, etc. Cubs normally do overnight camping in backyards. When a Cub becomes 10, he moves into the Webelos program and begins preparing to become a Boy Scout upon reaching 10.5. Troop 48 Scouts can serve as Den Chiefs to assist adult leaders in teaching Scout skills and outdoor activities. While Park Lake has sponsored Cub Scout units in the past, it does not today, but does have a partnership agreement with Pack 148, which meets, at Lake Highlands School.
Boy Scouts meet as Troops, which can range from a few too many in memberships, with some units having as many as 100 members. The typical unit, however, is between 20 and 25 members. Within the Troop are units of 5-8 members who join together as Patrols based sometimes of their ages, sometimes on their special interests.
Boy Scout units are supervised by adults, the chief of which is the Scoutmaster, but are boy run with program planning and meetings and activities a function of the youth leadership, the Patrol Council, made up of the Senior Patrol Leader, his staff (Troop Quartermaster, Chaplin, Scribe, etc) and the Patrol Leaders. The Scoutmasters function is to serve as a moderator for that group and provide them with leadership training and experience.
Tiger Cubs meet normally weekly, as do Cub Dens. Pack meetings are held monthly. Troop meetings are held weekly, and Patrol meetings may be held during Troop meetings or outside on a regular or infrequent basis.
Park Lake currently sponsors Venture Crew 48, a senior scouting program for young men and women from 14 to 21 years of age.. In past years, it also sponsored Explorer Post 48 in the 1960-1970-time period, and again in the 1980-90 eras.
Congress chartered the National Boy Scouts of America in 1916, but Scout units began forming in various communities prior to that. Scouting began in England under the leadership of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, a British hero of the Boer War, and whose books for boys‚ÄîScouting for Boys---led to a formal program. His wife, Lady Baden-Powell, founded the Girl Guides, which in the United States are known as the Girl Scouts, later after young women demanded a program of their own. Likewise, Wolf Cubs were formed for boys under 12 because they wanted a program like their big brothers. Interestingly, the first Boy Scout unit formed in Central Florida was at Tavares, and the father of the late Gene Carpenter, long-time Elder at Park Lake, was a member of that unit.
Early History of Scouting at Park Lake
In 1932, the Session at Park Lake voted to sponsor the Boy Scout program, and Troop 29 was chartered to Park Lake. Its first Tenderfoot Scout and later its first Eagle Scout was Carl Langford, who later became Mayor of the City of Orlando and was the first person in the Central Florida Council, BSA, to be named a Distinguished Eagle.
During World War II years, the Troop did not recharter in 1945. However, it was rechartered as Troop 48 in 1946 when the veterans began returning home and a Scoutmaster was found. In 1996 the Troop celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Judge Donald Cheney
Besides the Troop, Park Lake has played a key role in Scouting in Central Florida. When World War I broke out, a young Don Cheney, who for health reasons was unable to soldier, at his father‚Äôs urging did his duty by agreeing to serve as Scoutmaster for a composite Orlando Troop, which was organized from three existing troops which had lost their Scoutmasters and other adult leaders to the war effort.
At the end of WWI, Cheney continued his involvement in Scouting and became the first President of the Central Florida Council when it was organized in the 1920‚Äôs. By then, now a County Judge, Cheney played a key role in the development of Scouting in Central Florida, and was a charter member of Park Lake Presbyterian Church when it organized in 1924. In the early 1950‚Äôs, Judge Cheney laid the groundwork for what is now known as Camp LaNoChe, a sprawling Scout reservation near Paisley. Judge Cheney donated to the Council the first 50 acres on Lake Norris, which became the camp. The camp‚Äôs name represent Lake (La) Norris (No) Cheney (Che), although generations of Scouts have been told it was the name of an Indian tribe which used to camp there, in ‚ÄúThe Legend of Lanoche‚Äù which was penned by Judge Cheney and is still a part of the opening campfire of the annual summer camps.
Judge Cheney received the ‚ÄúSilver Beaver‚Äù award from the local and National Council for his service.
Since its initial beginnings in 1932, there have been 58 Eagle Scouts achieve Scouting's highest rank, which less than 1% of Scouts nationwide have ever received. These Scouts have gone on to serve their country and communities with distinction. Three of them, Tom Allen (1990), Steven Vickery (1990), and Brent Benson (1982, returned to Troop 48 to serve as Scoutmasters while many others have returned as Assistant Scoutmasters and other adult leader positions. Eagle Scouts Hanton Walters (1981), Kareem Mahone ( ) , Allen, Zack Thrasher (2003), Alex Barron (2004), (David Barron) (2007), Logan Bethel (2002), Noel Way (2006), and Jason Glassford (2001) are serving or have served as Assistant Scoutmasters. The Eagle Scout honor roll Plaque is displayed in Struble Hall.
Adult Leaders and Scoutmasters
While early records are not complete, more than 40 Scoutmasters, most of who were Park Lake members, have led Scouting at Park Lake. As noted above, several have been adults who earned their Eagle badges at Park Lake. Others have been adults who earned their Eagle ranks as Scouts in other Troops. They are John McClure, Elder, Tom Price, Elder, Price earned the rare Silver Award from the Exploring Scout program at Ormond Beach, which is an equivalent of the Eagle Scout Badge.
The longest serving Scoutmaster apparently is Elder Corb Sarchet, who served over a period from 1978 to 1987, with time out for a stint as President of the Central Florida Council from 1981-82, and currently serves as SM now. Sarchet also is a holder of the Silver Beaver Award, and the Presbyterian Church‚Äôs God and Service award. Second longest serving Scoutmaster was Park Lake member Fred Abell
Scouting Today at Park Lake
The current Scoutmaster of Troop 48 is Elder Corb Sarchet. Robert Bates, Elder, , is the Institutional Representative; and Elder Tom Price (Eagle Scout), is the Troop Committee Chairman; and a former Scoutmasterk. Committee members from Park Lake are Matt Cook (former Scout), Dr. Dolinda House (Elder) , John McClure (Eagle),and David Rickey (Eagle ).
In July, Troop 48 will attend a weeklong summer camp at Camp LaNoChe with an expected attendance of 30 Scouts and three adult leaders, plus several one-day visiting adult leaders. Scouts will be working on merit badges, plus special certificates such as BSA Lifeguard and BSA Snorkeling, and testing their skills on challenge and climbing courses, swamp hikes, and a wide range of aquatic, hiking, and biking activities.
During the year, the Scout Troop has a monthly outing. They leave on Friday evenings and return Sunday afternoons from camping trips, tours, and special activities, such as Busch Gardens and Wet N. Wild. Troop meetings are held weekly, at 7 p.m. each Tuesday night at Struble Hall. At Troop meetings, the Scouts plan programs and the monthly events, work on advancement skills, and enjoy games. A Court of Honor at which advancement and awards are recognized and honored is held once every three months.
The Scouts at Park Lake also take part in a wide variety of service projects and Eagle projects. Recent Eagle Projects benefiting Park Lake Presbyterian Church were those of Eagle Bethel who erected duck nesting boxes around Park Lake, Eagle Barron who landscaped the small parking lot, Eagle Noel Way, who built the first nature trail around Park Lake (which was later refurbished and increased by then Life Scout Logan House, a PLPC member), Eagle Barron who rebuilt the original duck boxes and added more; and Eagle Thrasher who built planters for the large parking lot.
How do I join Troop 48?
Scouts wishing to join "The Great 48" can attend any Troop meeting and meet with the adult leaders to receive an application. Troop 48 and Park Lake Presbyterian Church pay the Scouts registration fees, but the Scout will have to provide his own uniform but the Troop provides each a Scout handbook. There are no dues to be paid. A young man must be between 10 1/2 and 18 years of age. Physical examinations are required before the Scout can go on aquatic activities or camping. The Troop provides a limited medical expense insurance program to cover Scouts while involved in scouting activities.
Summer Camp fees (now about $200 for a week) are paid for from credits the Scouts earn during the Troop‚Äôs fund-raisers, which include manning soft drink booths at two Lake Eola events, car washes, and an annual Spaghetti dinner at Park Lake. New Scouts who have not had an opportunity to participate and earn credits draw on future credits. The Scouts provide their own funds for personal expenses at summer camp, such as a visit to the well-stocked with snacks, Trading Post.
Many members of Park Lake have Scouting backgrounds and the Congregation has been most generous in donations not only of funds but of equipment and supplies. The Church budget also supplies $500 annually toward the annual recharter expenses of the Troop.
Adult Volunteers Welcome!
At the Troop level in Scouting, all adult leaders are volunteers. There is no paid staff. Troop 48 is always looking for adult volunteers to assist as merit badge counselors, skill teachers, and committee personnel, assistant Scoutmasters and Scoutmasters. Adult volunteers can be men or women, but are required to undergo a screening process as part of the child protection program.