Don’t tell Troop 77 today’s boys would rather stare at screens than enjoy the outdoors. And don’t tell them their generation isn’t interested in service.
The Baraboo Boy Scout troop will celebrate its 75th anniversary — and completion of a service project — Saturday at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County.
The troop’s 30 Scouts have spent the spring removing invasive species from an outdoor classroom on campus. Scoutmaster Steve Bishop said the troop’s monthly service work this year also will include cleaning up Highway 33 litter and doing landscaping work at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
“I’m always impressed with the lack of complaining,” Bishop said.
Many of the boys from age 10-17 are attracted to the troop by its camping trips. Along the way, Scouts learn life skills like basic first aid. Sometimes fun can be educational. “They know how to tie knots and solve problems,” Bishop said.
They also learn the importance of service. Volunteer work can be fun, too. “I think they enjoy helping their community out,” Bishop said.
Cleaning up the outdoor classroom at UW-Baraboo has been a four-year project led by Baraboo Range Preservation Association volunteers. Middle and high school students, UW-Baraboo staff and Troop 77 have joined the effort, removing buckthorn and honeysuckle growing beneath old-growth oak trees behind the campus science building.
“They dove right in, and they’re very effective,” BRPA Executive Director Todd Persche said of the Boy Scouts. “They have brought some good energy.”
After dwindling to four members six years ago, the troop has mushroomed to 30 members and 10 adult leaders. “It’s been on a growth spurt,” Bishop said. “We’re trying to do things boys find interesting.”
The troop meets Monday evenings at St. Paul’s. After its final work day Saturday, the troop will share a celebratory potluck with family members at the campus cafeteria. A program will feature a presentation on the troop’s history — it has produced 70 Eagle Scouts — and an appearance by state Rep. Dave Considine, D-Baraboo. He will present plaques to three new Eagle Scouts — Aaron Swenson, Austin Boettcher and Mychal Hainz. State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, can’t attend, but will send the troop a flag flown over the state Capitol in Madison.
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