Saturday, November 05, 2005

Annual Report to Our Sponsor Organization - Princeton United Methodist Church

Troop 88 continues to provide boys from Princeton, West Windsor, and Plainsboro the opportunity to participate in the Scouting Adventure. Unfortunately, during the past year the Troop again declined in enrollment, having now only 11 registered Scouts while maintaining strong adult interaction through 5 committed Scoutmasters and a busy Troop Committee. Recruitment remains the biggest issue facing Troop 88, and the Troop Committee has been working to get the word out on the Troop and its activities.

Despite our small size, the Troop remains active. For the second year in a row the Troop attended Summer Camp, spending a week this past July at the Kittatinny Mountain Scout Reservation (KMSR) near the Delaware Water Gap. Several Merit Badges, many required for Eagle Scout, were achieved by the individual Scouts, and we hope to take a fresh crop of new Scouts to KMSR next summer. This fall, the Troop also supported an all-day Cub Scout event, Scouts to the Rescue, at the Mercer fire training center. As always, the Troop plans to continue monthly events for the Scouts, usually overnight campouts.

Eagle Advancement is very strong in Troop 88. During the past year, Shane Schoepfer completed his requirements for Eagle and celebrated his achievement in a joint Eagle Ceremony (June 2005) with his fellow Eagle, Maurio Ingato. Nirmalya (Rinku) Bandyopadhyay and Michael Carmen, Senior Patrol Leader, both finished their Eagle projects within the past few months. Their respective Boards of Review will be held in November. Ross Merkin, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, had an extremely good turnout for his Eagle project in October. Coming up, Dante Ingato and Brian Allenby are formulating their own plans for Eagle projects to benefit the community and expect to be working seriously on their respective projects by Spring 2006.

There were several changes in the adult leadership of the Troop in September, with Kent Allenby becoming the new Scoutmaster and Dan Dabbs stepping down to Assistant Scoutmaster. Dan continues his association with the Troop, having served as Scoutmaster for four years and, before that, Assistant Scoutmaster for two. Kent has been Assistant Scoutmaster since 1999 and is now stepping up to the main leadership role. Kent’s first order of business is to build up the Troop’s membership, a task that is facilitated by the Committee’s very active program for attracting new Scouts. In the Committee, Ellen Souter and Jim Walker, after several years of shepherding the Scoutmasters, have stepped down as Committee Chairs and the Troop Treasurer, Pat Mickey, has agreed to take over.

Invitations have been sent to the area Cub Scout Packs to join Troop 88 in activities that will introduce them to the Troop. Plans are to have a Parents’ Night for members of the PUMC and the neighboring community.

It is important to note that previous Scouting experience is not required to join Troop 88. Any boy between the ages of 11 and 17 is eligible to become a Boy Scout. We welcome visitors to our Monday night meetings, parents and boys.

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