Scout Troop 42 is a new BSA Scout Troop in the Roanoke Valley formed in July 2019. The young men in the troop have worked so diligently on earning their initial “Scout” rank that they were able to hold their first Court of Honor ceremony on October 29.
Troop 42 meets at the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center (BRAAC) in North Roanoke and that was the scene of the celebration. The troop currently has about 11 members.
Scoutmaster Hawk Hillberry was the master of ceremonies for the event which began with a Flag Ceremony. The Scouts, along with their leaders and guests recited the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout Slogan, and the Scout motto.
The first rank you can earn in Scouts BSA is the “Scout” rank. To earn this rank, Scouts lean the basic skills of participating in a group and learning self-reliance. They must demonstrate a rudimentary knowledge of Scouting ideals and the program.
Being able to recite and explain the Pledge, the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, and Motto are an important part of earning the Scout rank.
The Scout Oath states: “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
The Scout Law says that a Scout is “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
The Scout Motto is “Be Prepared” and the Scout Slogan is to “Do a Good Turn Daily.”
Other requirements for earning the Scout rank include mastering the practical skills of being able to tie a square knot, demonstrating the proper care of a rope, and demonstrating a knowledge of pocketknife safety.
The Scouts who received their Scout rank on October 29 included Nate Wainwright, Joshua Crump, David Kirkbride, Noah Weeks, R. W. Markham, Braedon Markham, and Nicholas Yakob.
The Scouts were called forward to receive their badges from Scoutmaster Hawk Hillberry, Assistant Scoutmaster Jannette Hunt, and Assistant Scoutmaster Paul Yakob.
Hillberry introduced Hunt, Yokab, and the other adult leaders of the Troop 42 and Pack 42: Assistant Scoutmaster Dale Ferrebee, ScoutAbilities Committee Chair Courtney Pugh, Troop 42 Committee Chair and Assistant District Commissioner Joe Ostronic, Troop Committee member Rachel Ostronic, Troop Committee Treasurer Wesley Mills, and Pack 42 Cubmaster Zach Rice.
Troop 42 Scouts were next recognized for the success of their first Popcorn sales and presented with their own tents as a reward. Troop 42 sold over $2400 in popcorn this fall.
Janette Hunt presented special awards to Gary and Heather Mason—the Special Needs Scouting Award.
“Not only do our Scouts deserve to be honored for their outstanding work and dedication, but so do those who help them become their best selves,” said Hunt. “The recipients of Troop 42’s first of many distinguished awards have shown outstanding service and leadership to all scouts and leaders. These individuals relentlessly advocate, promote, recruit, educate, and fully give their time, experience, wisdom, creativity, and kindness to every scout, parent, leader and aide involved in any capacity with the success and belief in Troop 42.”
“They truly have a passion for helping scouts become involved in all that Scouting has to offer, by helping them advance, planning programs, and ensuring they feel included and empowered to make a difference in the lives of others along with helping their communities,” Hunt said.
Hunt also recognized Scoutmaster Hillberry with a token of gratitude for “giving of his time, teaching us, and believing in us and scouting.”
When the local Blue Ridge Mountain Council/Great Valley District of Scouts BSA realized there was an unmet need locally in the inclusion of children with special needs in Scouting, the ScoutAbilities Committee was formed with Courtney Pugh as Chair this past spring.
“One mission of this ScoutAbilities committee was to create an environment in which those with limited social, physical, cognitive, and communication skills could come together and work as a Scouting unit,” said Pugh. “These Scouts may require a slightly different Scouting experience due to their needs.”
Many members of the Committee knew one another and were passionate about serving those with disabilities, especially since many had children of their own with special needs.
“Through collaboration with the BRAAC along with the ABC’s of ABA, Troop 42 and Pack 42 were created,” Pugh says.
BRAAC provides the location for the Troop 42 and Pack 42 meetings. The plan is to add a Troop 42G for girls once they reach the membership requirement of five girls.
“Currently all of the Scouts in these two units have special needs but we are open to all abilities and everyone who wants to join,” Pugh says. Most of the Scouts are associated with BRAAC or the ABC’s organization.
Troop 42 meets on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. on the lower level of BRAAC.
Meetings start off, as in all BSA Troops and Packs, with the Pledge, the Scout Oath, the Scout Motto, and Scout Law. The program is tailored to troop needs. While the Scouting goals remain the same, adaptations are made.
Scouts in Troop 42 and Pack 42 will progress through earning pins and badges and completing rank requirements on their way to Eagle Scout the same as other Scouts; however, they can perform alternatives for meeting requirements if there is a documented need.
Scouts will master knot tying, hiking, first aid, swimming, identifying trees and insects, personal fitness, environmental science, cooking, and much more. They will follow the Scout handbook, making modifications as needed.
Some Scouts and leaders from Troop 42 recently participated in planting flags on the graves of veterans at Mountain View Cemetery in Vinton in observance of Veterans Day.
Several of the leaders have worked with other Scout Troops. Joe Ostronic says “99 percent of the time when a child wants to join Scouts, the parent ends up serving. Parents just naturally become involved.” His son is an Eagle Scout. Ostronic recruited his wife Rachel into Scouting.
Hillberry has been involved with Scouting since earning his Bobcat rank in 1965–an Eagle Scout who has served in many leadership positions. In 1979 he started a special needs troop in northern Virginia with 11 boys. Out of those 11, eight went on to become Eagle Scouts.
Hunt has three sons in Scouting—a Life Scout, a Tenderfoot, and a Webelo. She first became involved in 2015 as Den Leader with her middle child.
Pugh served as Cubmaster, planning and organizing Pack activities, when her youngest child was a Cub Scout. Her oldest is an Eagle Scout.
Cubmaster Rice did not grow up in Scouting. He was recruited by the ScoutAbilities Committee because he works with the ABC’s of ABA program and has a background with children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities.
They are all passionate about making Scouting available to everyone.
Troop 42 and Pack 42 welcome boys and girls ages 11 and older of any and all ability levels. Their email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website is https://troop42roanoke.wixsite.com/troop42roanoke.