Where have all the Boy Scouts gone?

14 years ago

By Joseph Cyr
Staff Writer

    HOULTON — A southern Aroostook man wants to know, “Where have all the Boys Scouts gone?”
    Buster Prosser of Merrill is hoping to recreate interest in Scouting in the southern Aroostook area, but has been finding support for his venture to be sporadic at best.
    “I’m trying to be involved with all of the Scouting programs,” he said. “But we haven’t made much progress. There have been a few Cub Scout troops that have started out, but they are struggling.”
    Boys Scouts of America was created in 1910 and has taught millions of youngsters the values of community service
    Faced with a shift in youngsters’ interests, Boy Scout troops, which were once prevalent in Aroostook County, have dwindled dramatically. Years ago, there were three Boy Scout troops in Houlton alone. Additional troops were located in Monticello, Littleton and Bridgewater.
    “Scouting was big in the 1970s when I was growing up,” he said. “It just died off.”
    Prosser said to encourage youngsters to become Scouts; the group has expanded its scope on a national level.
    “We now do things with computers and HAM radio operators, just to name a few,” he said.
    As a youth, Prosser enjoyed learning about Scouting as he grew up in Monticello.
    “Carol Fullerton was my Scoutmaster and I think 12 of us became Eagle Scouts,” he said. “That’s quite a few for such a little troop.”
     To reach new members, Prosser is embarking on a “massive” recruiting program in a number of towns.
    “The word is just not getting out there,” he said.
    Prosser said he has been working with Matt Ghirarda, NorthStar District Executive for Boys Scouts, to first generate interest from adults who are willing to become Scout leaders. A Scout leader must complete a series of training courses before they become certified.
    “Before we can start a new troop or Cub Scout pack, you have to have five adult leaders,” Prosser said. “That way, everything doesn’t fall on one poor guy to do it all.”
    For more information on becoming a Scout leader, contact Prosser at 207-757-7235.
    A new Boy Scout Troop has also been created in the Hodgdon area. Boy Scout Troop No. 155 meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month at Cary Baptist Church in Orient. That group meets from 6-7:30 p.m. and will be exploring a variety of topics including carpentry, geocaching, orienteering, camping, hiking and shooting sports.
    For more information on Troop No. 155 contact Darcy Tidd at 532-2302 or Melony Lowery at 694-0238.