The troop is gathering at Spring Lake Presbyterian Church this weekend to celebrate its birthday, as well as the relationship between the troop and church. The church has sponsored the troop since the beginning — supporting them and providing a space for meetings, celebrations and events.
“My goal is to raise young boys to be men of character,” Troop 37 Scoutmaster Brian Brummel said. “You do that by challenging them and putting them in places where they can grow.”
The troop’s original scoutmaster, Jim Brunner, is also celebrating a major birthday this year. He turns 90.
In fact, three generations of Brunners have made trails through the Boy Scout troop.
After asking the church for a job to do, Jim Brunner was handed a tent. With the help of the church, he put together a Boy Scout troop in 1964.
“We didn’t have that much stuff, but we did have a good time,” Brunner said.
Brunner recalled an incident in the 1960s when he instructed his troop to go for a hike, but instead one of the senior patrol leaders led them to buy cigarettes. After catching the boys smoking, Brunner decided to quit his own smoking habit to set a good example.
It’s been a half-century since Brunner began leading teenage boys around on hiking trips and campouts, but changes in technology and culture have barely altered the troop’s old-fashioned rules. Brummel said the current rules do not allow technology during any activity unless it serves a purpose. Unless it’s an app that solves knot twists or identifies plant life, phones and video game equipment are left at home.
Troop members have been keeping busy this summer by volunteering at the Feast of the Strawberry Moon, the Memorial Day parade and other service projects. The troop is now getting ready for Coast Guard Festival, where they set up chairs and participate in the National Memorial Service.