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Diminishing numbers impact Mason Boy Scout Troop



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 5:0PM

Dwindling numbers have spelled the end of Mason’s Boy Scout Troop 264.

The problem stems back to the ending of Mason’s Cub Scout Pack several years ago. Brian Beihl, the membership chair of the Mt. Monadnock District of the Boy Scouts of America, said in an e-mail to the Ledger-Transcript Wednesday that without the Cub Scout pack feeding youth into the Boy Scout troop, membership has flagged.

Mason Troop Committee Chair Mike McGuire confirmed in a post on an unofficial Mason community Facebook page that the troop would be disbanding at the end of the year, and the scouts who remain will be absorbed into the Milford Troop 4.

In McGuire’s post, he wrote, “We simply do not have the numbers here in town anymore,” saying that over the past few years, some scouts have turned 18 and aged out, and numbers have been reduced to “just a small handful.”

McGuire posted that there had been attempts to re-start the Cub Scout pack during Mason Elementary School’s open house and by holding family hikes and cookouts, pinewood derbies and other recruiting methods, but they only resulted in a handful of recruits. Beihl said some options are being discussed for Mason’s troop, including trying to restart a Cub Scout pack in 2019, which could lead to an eventual resurgence for Mason’s Boy Scouts.

“Packs are volunteer intensive, and not enough adult leadership is the number one reason that packs fail,” wrote Beihl.

But the Mt. Monadnock District has recently started two new Cub Scout packs, one in Chesterfield in 2018 and one in Keene this year.

“With the inclusion of girls in a pack in Mason, and additional volunteers entering the program, it’s likely that a new pack could survive and ultimately help Troop 264. But that doesn’t help in the short term,” Beihl wrote.

Beihl said he hopes Mason’s troop can revitalize.

“Every time a Scout unit closes, especially a troop that’s been around for so long, it pierces the soul of a community. Food drives, service projects, and youth development all suffer, and a community is the poorer for it,” Beihl wrote.

McGuire also encouraged residents who were interested in attempting to try to bring the scouting program back in Mason.

“What the organization needs is a fresh face. A younger team of parents of elementary school children who drive the effort,” McGuire posted. “There are plenty of us scouting veterans who can distribute advice and support if needed but the real task is getting parents to step forward and volunteer, and finding that special someone to take ownership and lead.”

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.