by dave ammenheuser
Returning home after 30 years to take care of my late parents’ estate has given me a lot of time to reminisce about Thurmont and Northern Frederick County. I’ve driven over the country roads and through the covered bridges; I’ve returned to Cunningham (to me, it will always be McAfee) Falls; and taken leisurely drives through Foxville, Wolfsville, Sabillasville.
All of those scenes and settings have provided some comfort in a year when I lost both of my parents.
Perhaps nothing has been more therapeutic than returning to 26 Elm Street in Thurmont.
As a youth, I spent hundreds of Thursday nights at that Thurmont address, home of Scout Troop 270. It was the building where I became the region’s third Eagle Scout, and where Scoutmaster Norman Feldser provided leadership and mentorship to hundreds of youth.
So, it was with great pride that I returned to 26 Elm Street on June 12 to join in Troop 270’s weekend 75th anniversary celebration.
More than 125 current and former Scouts, parents, and friends attended the weekend festivities, which included skills competitions, a pig roast, campfire, and more.
The concrete building has been home to the local Scouts since 1946. The troop was founded in 1942, supported since day one by the Thurmont Lions Club. (A quick history lesson: The original local organization was Troop 11, founded in 1928. It disbanded during World War II; Troop 270 was founded after the war).
Felder is still active in the troop, but he has taken on a larger district-wide role. The troop is now led by Sean Young and Carie Stafford. Sean is the Scoutmaster for the boys Troop 270-B, while Carie is the Scoutmaster for the girls Troop 270-G, which was founded in 2019 when Boy Scouts of America transitioned to Scouts BSA to reflect its policy to allow girls to join separate, gender-specific troops.
“Sean had the idea to celebrate the 75th anniversary,” Troop Committee Chair Julie Bostian said. She told me that it was Young’s idea for the weekend celebration. “He said we needed to do something to celebrate. So, we decided to have a big party.”
One of the weekend highlights was dedicating the new outdoor pavilion to Sherm Pearsall, John and Beth Ruppel, and Feldser. Key long-time board members, they were honored for their leadership for the pavilion project and other endeavors throughout the past half-century.
William Bentz, who became the troop’s first Eagle Scout in 1975, returned for the weekend and was honored at the pig roast. The troop now boasts 75 Eagle Scouts, with a couple more expected to join the elite rank in the coming months.
Seventy-five Eagles in 75 years! With a few more targeted to join the elite rank very soon.
The weekend was so successful that Bostian told me that the troop leaders are thinking of having an annual alumni weekend. However, she and the troop need help in locating many former Scouts (reach her at 301-471-8419).
The troop is constantly fundraising to support their monthly outings and summer camping adventures.
Boys and girls interested to learn more about Scouting should attend a meeting. They are held each Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at 26 Elm Street in Thurmont.
Dave Ammenheuser, who achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in November 1977, is writing a monthly column for The Catoctin Banner in 2021. He can be reached at AmmenheuserFamily@yahoo.com.
Returning Scouts share stories and look through mementos and scrapbooks that highlight the troop’s history.
Current scouts participate in a competition during the weekend festivities.
Scouts, families, and friends enjoy a pig roast to celebrate Troop 270’s 75th anniversary.