COVID-19 delays Nutley Scouts troop’s centennial anniversary celebration

NUTLEY, NJ — Nutley Scouts BSA Troop 147, sponsored by the Franklin Reformed Church, completed 100 years of registration on Feb. 28, 2021. The troop has held online and outdoor meetings for the last two years and only recently started meeting in-person again inside the Community House at the church. 

The troop originally was chartered in June 1917 and lasted for two years before disbanding, most likely due to World War I, as some of the leaders went off to military service. The troop, with nine Scouts, had met in the church basement for those two years, as the Community House had not been built yet. 

When the Community House was completed in 1923, the troop started up again on Feb. 28, 1923, and the troop has had continuous registration since. The troop was actually the first organization to be sponsored and to meet in the newly built Community House building. Troop 147 was one of 12 Nutley Scout troops over the years; however, today, it is the only troop in town, as several churches and schools dropped their sponsorship due to lack of interested Scouts and leaders. 

Scout membership in the troop had gotten up to 90 boys in the 1960s and 1970s and today’s membership is 25. The troop has had 133 Eagle Scouts — the highest rank — with the first two being Arwid Michaelson and Frank W. Scamell in 1929, and most recently, Ethan Wanko, who became an Eagle Scout on April 26 of this year. The Scouts have contributed to hundreds of Eagle Scout and good turn projects in the town of Nutley and for the Franklin Reformed Church over the years. 

Throughout the years, Troop 147 Scouts and Scoutmasters have received recognition for lifesaving efforts. The troop has been teaching first aid and lifesaving skills during its 100-year history, embracing the Boy Scout motto: “Be Prepared.”

Troop 147 Scouts have enjoyed year-round camping and hiking activities, as well as summer camp and special summer hiking tours in the eastern part of the United States, a two-week trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, and a two-week canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota. In addition, Troop 147 Scouts have attended National Scout Jamborees over the years. For the troop’s 50th anniversary in 1971, the troop hiked the 184.5-mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail from Washington, D.C., to the Cumberland Gap in Maryland, which took two weeks that summer. 

Two teams from Troop 147 recently participated in the Council Klondike Derby, with the older team placing third in its division. The Klondike Derby is a winter Scout event based on the Klondike Gold Rush of Alaska and the Yukon. Since the event started in 1949, Troop 147 has won the event more than 30 times, collecting more than 90 trophies for first- through fifth-place finishes. 

The troop has had only 15 Scoutmasters in their 100-year history, and is currently led by Scoutmaster Mike DeCarlo, Troop Committee Chairperson Eric Buset, Assistant Scoutmaster Scott Ballou and others. 

The Troop meets on Tuesday nights, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the Community House at Franklin Reformed Church, 45 Hillside Crescent in Nutley.