By Kristin Boza
The Boy Scouts of America, now rebranded as BSA since girls have been invited to join, originated in 1910. For 101 of those 112 years, Beverly/Morgan Park Troop 607 has committed to the community and its sponsor, Bethany Union Church, 1750 W. 103rd St. Troop 607 is celebrating its 100th anniversary on Sat., Apr. 23 at 11 a.m. during a church service at Bethany Union, followed by an open house from 12 to 3 p.m. in the church’s Fellowship Hall.
“The troop turned 100 on May 19, 2021, but with the pandemic we were not able to celebrate with all the fanfare it deserves, said Troop 607 Scoutmaster Michael Ruud. “It is very rare that a troop is chartered for 100 years, let alone with the original organization. Beverly/Morgan Park is blessed to have three such units near or past the 100-year mark, including Troops 608 and 609, which is a strong statement to the stability and strength in character of our community.”
The relationship between Troop 607 and Bethany Union Church is very special to both organizations. The troop holds a Scout Sunday Service every February and conducts service projects on behalf of the church throughout the year. “Bethany Union Church has given us a place to call home and house all of our equipment, including our 86-year-old aluminum canoes,” Ruud said. “Sometimes, our scouts choose to do their Eagle Service project for the church as well.”
Ruud has been a part of the Troop 607 for the last seven years, and has two sons who earned their Eagle Scout rank with the troop. Along with assistant Scoutmasters Mike Crispo, Eagle Scout Charles Stevenson, and Olivia Patch Stevenson, Ruud says the troop is blessed to have such loyal adult volunteers and parents to help the kids along their scouting journeys.
“Scouting is a place you feel you belong. It is diverse and allows many scouts to share experiences and learn teamwork in a community setting,” Ruud said. “We as a troop keep the ‘outing’ in Scouting as the boys learn outdoor skills they would not usually get in a city setting.”
Scouts complete individual merit badges that provide unlimited opportunities to explore various skills. “Scouts can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers as they earn merit badges,” Ruud said. “There are more than 135 merit badges and there are 13 required merit badges to make the Eagle Scout rank; these are the badges that best prepare a scout for the real-world by learning life skills as well as being a good citizen in their community, nation, and world.”
Troop 607 is proud of its numerous veterans that served in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam; there is a plaque in Bethany Union’s Fellowship Hall commemorating the names of these veterans that served and gave their lives while doing so. The board was an Eagle Scout research project and is maintained to this day.