State of the Troop 2020
St. Matthew’s is the Chartering Organization (sponsor) for Scouts BSA Troop 1396 and Venturing Crew 1396. Tom Bortner is St. Matthew’s representative (COR) to the Troop and Crew and provides oversight and is a liaison on behalf of St. Matthew’s to support the Troop and the Crew in their programs and Boy Scouts of America’s goals and objectives. The following is a summary of this past year of 2019 of the activities and projections for 2020.
- Scouts BSA Troop 1396 - Re-chartering for 2020 (annual renewal for all members, adults and boys between 11 and 18 years of age). Chartered by St. Matthew's in April 1989; our 32nd year of existence in 2020 (celebrated our 30th birthday at St. Matthew’s in April 2019). This is our fifth year starting with over 100 Scout and Adult (Scouter) members; 2020 starts at 103; 2019 started with 109; 2018 started with 106; 2017 with 116; and 2016 with 101.
- SCOUTS - Started 2019 with 55 and added 18 and decreased 24 for a 2020 start of 49. Of the 24 Scouts who dropped, six "aged out" (over 18 – but 4 of 6 rejoined as adult members), five transferred/moved, and 13 dropped for various reasons, including just too many activities (six) or lost interest and decided that Scouting was not for them (seven). Of those added 18, twelve crossed over from five different Cub Scout Packs; one had dropped out and then rejoined; two were transfers (one from another Council and one from another Troop in our area); and three were new to Scouting. Our retention was again very good at 85% (85%, 84%, 79%, 86%, 81% (2014-18). There will always be some turnover each year, for various reasons. We carefully monitor those reasons to ensure we are true to our goal of delivering an outstanding program consistent with the goals of Scouting.
- ADULTS (aka “Scouters”) - Started 2019 with 55 and added 14 and decreased 15 for a 2020 start of 54 (including Pastor Zimmerer as our "Chartering Executive Officer"). As expected, most adults drop out when their Scouts drop out. Several families moved out of this area. Scouters are the Committee Chair, Scoutmaster, 12 Assistant Scoutmasters, 32 Committee Members and seven in school/college, plus Pastor Zimmerer.
- Our large Troop membership has parents and Scouts from quite a few churches in our area and includes a current total of four adults and two Scouts from St. Matthew’s (Bortner (2), Knudson (2), Tamai (1) plus Pastor Zimmerer. As you might expect for our area, just like for the church, a number of our St. Matthew’s Scout membership over the years has moved / gone to college / other activities, and so forth. Our Troop diversity is proud to include Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Protestant Scouts and a variety of races and nationalities. Current Troop diversity: Asian – 5; Black – 13; Cau/white – 76; Hispanic – 2; Pacific Islander – 10; other – 6.
- Venturing Crew 1396 chartered August 1, 2018 and has re-chartered for 2020. Venturing is an inclusive program through the Boy Scouts of America for males and females aged 14-20 and is operated through Venturing Crews, units of youth and adult advisors. Crews focus on youth-led and selected activities with more responsibility placed with the youth versus more traditional Boy Scouting / Scouts BSA.
- VENTURERS – The Crew started with a total of 17 youth members: 11 members who are dual registered members of Troop 1396, three Venturing Participants (members between the age of 18-21), and three female members (two who are also members of Girl Scout Troops). Re-chartering for 2020 included 14 youth members. The Crew lost four youth members during the year- one to college, two who could not commit to both the Troop and Crew, and one who dropped Scouting. The Crew also added one new member from the Troop and three members aged up to become Venturing Participants.
- ADULTS – The Crew chartered in 2018 with a total of 11 adult Advisors/Committee Members (all 11 also in Troop 1396; plus the Executive Officer, Pastor Zimmerer. The Crew re-chartered in 2020 with 12 adults.
- Troop 1396 annually participates in a variety of community service, especially in conjunction with their various Eagle Scout projects. Some examples over the years: for churches, such as Pohick, Grace Baptist, Good Shepard, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Matthew’s; for community, such as ACTS, Lake Ridge and Woodbridge Middle and Dumfries Elementary Schools, Lake Ridge Parks, Lions Club, and several conservation projects, including Bureau of Land Management. Troop 1396 completed an Eagle Project for the Day School in 2017. (Please note: Shane Jampole, a member of Troop 964, completed his Eagle project at St. Matthew’s, as did Troop/Crew 295 Dolan Nethercutt.) Our Troop has contributed numerous hours of community service in Prince William and Fairfax Counties, including those Eagle Scout Project efforts. These activities also included Quantico National Cemetery (erected hundreds of American flags and 15’ flag poles for Memorial Day weekend); work with St. Matthew’s Day School and playground; support of National Public Lands Day at Prince William Forest Park; and our annual participation in Scouting for Food – over the past five years our Troop has collected over 1800 pounds of food per year (part of Prince William District’s Scouting for Food collection effort), and donated it to ACTS.
- Crew 1396 also participates in a variety of community service projects both in conjunction with Troop 1396 and on their own. Small groups of youth have supported activities at the various member churches, such as packing meals for the needy and a Living Nativity. Our members support the church cleanup at St. Matthew’s and preparing the playground for the start of the Day School. Other activities include Quantico National Cemetery with Troop in support of Memorial Day weekend, and support of Operation Clean Sweep at Prince William Forest Park. For our annual participation in Scouting for Food, the Crew supported both Troop 1396 and Cub Scout Pack 1369 in their areas. Venture Crew activities involve both high adventure and fun small group activities. The Crew attends the annual Klondike Derby at Harpers Ferry in January, went hiking and repelling at the New River Gorge in WV, movie marathons, canoeing/kayaking on the Shenandoah River, and go cart racing in Manassas.
- Past Troop and Crew notable events and other activities planned for 2020.
- Over the years, Scouts and families participated at St. Matthew’s in events not already mentioned, such as Boy and Girl Scout Sunday (held at St. Matthew's since 2001 and 2003 respectively), participation in past Senior Citizen Luncheons, and setting up the large Scout canopy to support our annual church picnic, and other ways of support.
- Troop goal is a major event each month, such as Camping, District Camporee, Summer Camp, Tree Sales fundraiser. The Troop camped 10 months in 2019; including Summer Camp. The Electronics Jamboree (E-Jamboree) in St. Matthew’s basement (Jan 10, 2020) is a much anticipated and fun event as our Troop and Crew Scouts display Scout spirit and have fun, welcome visiting Webelos Scouts and prospective members while using electronics and associating games which are tied in to Scouting merit badge themes. Visiting Cub Scouts are recognized for their mastery of information and skills.
- Three Courts of Honor (COH) - April, May and September Courts of Honor plus our Christmas party (attended by some non-Scout and St. Matthew's folks) - plus any separate Eagle COHs. The COH is a recognition and award event for individual Scout, Troop and Crew achievements and accomplishments.
- Christmas Tree sales during Nov/Dec is a great event – meeting various business and salesmanship practices and experiences for the Scouts. This event also increases the visibility of St. Matthew's in our community. 2019 had great results: we sold 334 trees and 20 tree stands for a final profit of over $10,000, which is largely used by the Scouts to fund camping and Summer Camp, as well as some general Troop and Crew expenses. Thanks very much to all who supported us, purchases, donations, & otherwise. We really appreciate your support.
- The Troop and Crew also conducted a variety of camping, skiing, hiking and other activities in Triangle, Quantico, Harper’s Ferry, Antietam Battlefield, Fairfax Rod & Gun, Woodstock and Massanutten Mountain Range in the Shenandoah Valley; Horseshoe Scout Reservation, Rising Sun, MD; and recently in Valley Forge.
- In 2019 Troop 1396 sent a contingent of 38 Scouts and 13 adults to Summer Camp at Camp T. Brady Saunders, Heart of Virginia Scout Reservation, Maidens, VA. Scouts completed 145 Merit Badges (MBs) and 26 partial MBs (to be completed after Summer Camp), and earned several Camp awards for individual, Patrol, athletics, aquatics, campsite accomplishments, including Clean Sweep Award; Retreat Cup; three Scouts completed BSA Stand Up Paddle Boarding; one Scout did COPE; five Scouts did Ranger Challenge Program; one Scout participated in Trailblazers; two Scouts and two Scouters completed the mile swim; ASM Mike Bowers won the Scoutmaster cook-off; and SM and ASMs earned the Scoutmaster Merit Badge.
- Several members participated in the 2019 24th World Scout Jamboree at BSA's newly constructed Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve (10,600 acres) in the New River Gorge Valley, WV. (Scout jamborees are held once every four years; first in the US in 52 years; the 1967 World Jamboree was held in Farragut State Park in Idaho).
- Troop and Crew are planning to send two 12 member adult and youth Patrols to Philmont Scout Reservation in Cimarron, NM in July for a 12 day hike, covering approximately 70 miles and climbing to over 12,000 feet. Reservations made, airline tickets purchased, detailed planning and gathering equipment and supplies continues.
- Reviewing some additional information and statistics.
- Currently Troop 1396 has 93 Eagle Scouts (2017 – 7; 2018 – 3; 2019 – 2) with several more working toward that goal in 2020. There has been at least one Eagle Scout every year since 1989, except the first year.
- Both Troop and Crew successfully earned Boy Scout of America’s Journey to Excellence GOLD award. Of 2000 points available, Troop earned 1800 and Crew earned 1600 points for a variety of measurement objectives and performance indicators such as: membership, retention, advancement, community service, budget, Scout involvement, camping and summer camp, Courts of Honor, and percentages of trained Scouts and Scouters.
- Our Troop and Crew members also contribute to Boy Scouting through Friends of Scouting, and since 2009 have strongly supported this program with Troop total contributions averaging over $2500 per year.
- Boy Scout Troop 1396 and Venturing Crew 1396 sincerely thank the Council, Church Staff, and all the people of St. Matthew’s for their sponsorship and organizational support of our units and Scouting. Our leadership feels strongly that presenting this annual information update to our family at St. Matthew’s fosters the strength and commitment of, and nurtures the good will with you, our Chartering Organization.
Yours in Scouting, Tom Bortner. Chartering Organization Representative and Troop Committee Chairman.