by Dennis Dalman
The search is on for former Boy Scouts who were, at one time or another, members of Sartell Boy Scout Troop 11, which is about to celebrate its 50th birthday.
Any former Scouts or people who know where they now live should contact current Scoutmaster John Burnett at 320-293-9852 or at email@example.com. Or, they can send information to Jeff Kearney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Burnett wants to send all former Scouts personal invitations to a birthday bash set for 2-4 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at Bernick’s Arena in Sartell.
Founded in 1963, Troop 11 has had only five Scoutmasters in its half century, a rarity since most troops go through that many Scoutmasters – or more – in a decade.
Burnett, an electrician who lives in Sartell, has been Troop 11 Scoutmaster since 1986. Burnett, who grew up in St. Cloud, joined a St. Cloud Boy Scout troop when he was 11. He became Scoutmaster of a St. Cloud troop in 1973, then decided to lead the Sartell troop in 1986.
Burnett said he has no accurate count of how many Boy Scouts have been part of Troop 11.
“It’s a lot, I know that,” he said. “Well over 100 scouts earned Eagle Scout awards in the past 50 years from our Sartell troop. About 10 percent of our members earned their Eagle Scout awards. It’s hard to do a final count, though, because some years the troop had maybe 20 kids and some years only two or three. Some Scouts stayed in only a year, but lots of Scouts stayed in the troop for the full seven years.”
Boy Scouts range in age from 11 up to 18.
Troop 11 is comprised of 20 scouts. They meet at the St. Francis Parish Hall from 7-8:30 p.m. every Monday most of the year, but in the months of May and June they are meeting at that same time and date at Watab Park in Sartell.
In the half century of scouting activities, Troop 11 Scouts have accomplished untold numbers of good deeds for Sartell, including clean-up projects, park improvements, Eagle Scout projects and appearances at the annual Memorial Day ceremony. They also have enjoyed camping, canoe trips, hiking, bike-riding, field trips, rock climbing and earning merit badges from a variety of personal projects that include crafts and even robotics.
The main sponsor of Troop 11 is the American Legion of Sartell.
Burnett said the most rewarding aspect of being a scoutmaster is “working with kids and watching them grow in maturity toward their leadership and Scouting skills.”
“Scouting,” he said, “is a lot of fun, and that’s why Scouts join.”
But, in the process of having fun, Burnett added, the scouts through teamwork and involvement are learning citizenship, patriotism, self-sufficiency and maintaining mental and physical fitness.