Last weekend, the oldest African American Boy Scout Troop in the nation celebrated a milestone: It turned 60 years old.
Troop 358, which hails from Grace Baptist Church in Germantown, held a Saturday night banquet in Horsham where both new and old scouts gathered to reflect on the group’s achievements.
The event featured pictures and artifacts from the troop’s history including old handkerchiefs, rank patches, old uniforms and awards. The troop’s founder, William Green, was also in attendance.
A momentous winter
Reflecting on the event, Troop Leader Charles Whiting said out of his 33 years with the troop, he is most proud of the troop’s representation of the Boy Scouts of America at both of President Barack Obama’s inaugurations.
“It’s an honor to have marched in both inaugurations,” said Whiting.
The troop is also known to have overcome the odds by producing 61 Eagle Scouts since its founding when only one percent of all African American Boy Scouts ever achieve that rank.
Since there has been a decline in urban troops in general, Whiting said is very proud that their efforts are thriving.
“Urban troops are a rarity, and we’re proud to be here,” said Whiting. “We teach our young men community service and leadership.”