In a little less than a week, members of Severna Park's Boy Scout Troop 450 will meet men who stood in their shoes decades ago as they celebrate their group's 50th anniversary.
The troop, chartered in 1962 at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, has been home to several hundred young men in its five-decade history. The original unit contained only four scouts, but that number has risen to more than 60 at a time.
The Anne Arundel troop is one of 94 units in the Baltimore Council, which celebrated its 100th year last year. Members now come from not only from the Severna Park area, but Arnold, Annapolis, Pasadena and Millersville.
To celebrate, the troop is hosting a reunion at St. John the Evangelist on Saturday, June 9. Troop members from every decade will be present and have been asked to bring scout memorabilia and stories to share with the scouts of today.
Andrew Sternberger, 17, an active Boy Scout and a rising senior at Severna Park High School, said he's looking forward to meeting fellow scouts from the troop's early years.
"I think every different generation of Boy Scouts has to deal with different aspects of scouting," Sternberger said. "I'm excited to get a perspective of what it meant to be a Boy Scout in the '60s and '70s. It'll be interesting to see what's different."
Sternberger has spent the past nine years as a scout — two as a Cub Scout and seven as a Boy Scout. He attributed the troop's longevity to its programming and the drive of its members.
The troop's 50th anniversary is "really exciting because it means that we're successful in what we do and we can continue to do what we love, like backpacking, hiking and camping," Sternberger said.
Garrett Sanshawe, 17, a fellow scout and classmate of Sternberger's at Severna Park, said he'll enjoy comparing stories and experiences with the scouts who went through his troop decades ago.
"I'm looking forward to meeting them," Sanshawe said. "They must have some good scouting stories from back in their day."
Renee Gibb, the troop's committee chairwoman, said that over the past 50 years, the group has grown into an integral part of the Severna Park community and provides a variety of leadership and community service opportunities for members.
"It's a fairly good-sized group," she said. "We can have boys lead if they want to lead as patrol leaders or instructors [or in] other leadership positions."
That was evident in the projects Sternberger and Sanshawe undertook as part of their consideration for Eagle Scout honors. Sternberger, with the help of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and local businesses, planted 22 trees to reforest a hillside along College Parkway near St. Andrew by the Bay Church in Annapolis. Sanshawe created a rest area with a garden near the Stations of the Cross outside St. John the Evangelist, spending the past year fundraising and getting approval before completing the physical work in a weekend.
Gibb mentioned several other community service projects troop members had done in pursuit of their Eagle Scout honors, including food bank volunteering, community restoration and various outdoor projects at St. John's and surrounding parks, neighborhoods and playgrounds.
While Troop 450 isn't the oldest Boy Scout unit in the area — some in Baltimore are 70 and 80 years old — members are excited to be able to say they've spent a half-century developing Severna Park's young men and communities.
"It is quite an achievement," said Patrick Shields, the Boy Scouts' Four Rivers district executive who oversees Anne Arundel County. "Not only does it take a lot of good use, but it takes a lot of good volunteers to run the troop."
Saturday's celebration at St. John the Evangelist on Ritchie Highway is open to the public, but Gibb requests that anyone interested in attending RSVP by contacting her at 410-647-2713 or email@example.com.
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