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Condon Boy Scouts have been involved in a variety of community activities this past year. Scouts and their leaders who helped with the Flag Raising Ceremony during Veteran's Day activities last fall are pictured here, from left to right: (Front) Andy Matthew and Carl Daenzer; (Back) Randy Williams, assistant scoutmaster, D.K. Mitchell, scoutmaster; Matt Schnabl and Cody Daenzer.

New Scout Troop in Condon

by Suzanne Vernon
For the Pathfinder
February 11, 1999

The newly formed Boy Scout troop at Condon is tackling a large variety of projects this winter, everything from camping and fishing, to cutting firewood for local residents and selling hamburgers at community events. They hope to be ready for major outings next summer, including two river trips (one on the Missouri River and one on the Clark Fork through the Alberton Gorge), and a 10-day pack trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

"They're a pretty busy bunch of kids," Scoutmaster D.K. Mitchell said during a recent interview. The Condon Boy Scout program, which began in May 1998 with help from their local sponsor, the Swan Valley American Legion, is the first Boy Scout program in Condon in many years, Mitchell explained. It's been a positive thing in this community.

"I've had many, many different people come up and offer support for the program," Mitchell said.

The rewards of scouting, he explained, include leadership training and character development through community service, along with outdoor trips organized as rewards for completion of projects.

The young men in Condon have already helped the community in several ways. They have cut, delivered and stacked firewood for elderly residents, and they have helped the American Legion with projects such as the flag-raising ceremony at the Veteran's Day program in November and the Fourth of July Parade.

What started as a small group of four of five boys has now grown to a troop with more than a dozen members. The scouts recently held their first award ceremony. All who started out as Scouts have now advanced to the Tenderfoot rank and one member has advanced to the rank of First Class Scout. Mitchell explained that the boys work on Merit Badgesthere are nearly 200 categories of projectsand receive awards and trips as they advance through the programs.

So far the Scouts at Condon have worked mostly on camping and fishing badges, "Naturally," Mitchell chuckled. The troop enjoyed camp outs at Glacier Lake and went fishing at Holter Lake during the summer. They are planning their winter campout for February. Other projects that local scouts are considering this year include citizenship, fire safety, 1st aid, woodworking, map reading, orienteering, forestry and fish and wildlife management. Nationally, the programs include a wide range of other topics like aviation and physics. Mitchell is encouraging all boys between the ages of 11 and 18 to join the scouts and work toward some $8,000 in scholarships given annually to those who excel.

"Newcomers are welcome," he said. The scouts meet on the first and third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Lutheran Church at Condon.

Mitchell, whose 30 years' experience as an outfitter and guide in Western Montana more than qualifies him for the job of Scoutmaster, hopes that the older Scouts in the program will assume leadership roles within the group, and that the local troop will soon do all of their own planning.

"Ideally, the adults should just act as advisors. Boy Scouts of America is a leadership training project, and citizenship is a big part of that," he explained.

Local resident and former scout leader, Bob Wilson, is currently acting as Troop Advisor. Wilson was a Boy Scout Leader for twenty years and received the Silver Beaver award, the highest award given to volunteers in scouting. Other adults in the community who are helping as Assistant Scoutmasters include Randy Williams, Phil Leishman, Jim Daenzer and Barry Kaser.

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