Scouting Behind the Iron Curtain With freedom' Outpost's Troop 46

No American community is complete without Boy Scouts. Troop 46, named Freedom Outpost, fulfills this need in the Berlin American Community, providing boys with the healthy outdoor activities, guidance and the goals that have become such. an important part of American life. Carrying out this mission as the only American scout troop behind the Iron Curtain, the local group here has overcome everything from lack of interest and supplies to the problems of finding a place to hold its activities. A year ago the troop numbered 20 boys, with only eight or nine attending meetings. Today, largely because of its enlarged program of interesting activities, the troop has 65 young men on its rolls with almost all of them regularly attending meetings. A good portion of this growth can be attributed to James Tice, the Scoutmaster for the past year. When Tice took over the troop in August of 1957, he was too young under Scout rules to be anything but an assistant scoutmaster. He held that title until his 21& birthday, February 10, 1957. On his birthday, Tice received a special certificate “promoting” him to Scoutmaster. Thus, for a short time, he was the youngest Scoutmaster in the world.

A native of Oklahoma City, Tice was active there as an assistant scoutmaster and held the prized Eagle rank. He calls scouting the finest way of Life for a young man. “It gives him exercise, skills, group activities, friendship and a moral way of life. A few statistics prove my point,” he .adds. “First, more than 26 million boys and men are or have been affiliated with the Scouts in America. Currently there are almost five million men and boys engaged in Scouting, and the number increases all the time.” Tice is aided in handling the troop by assistant Scoutmaster Aaron D. Blankenship, Louis Ball and Charles I. White. Like most troops, Freedom Outpost is sponsored by a group of older, more experienced men, interested in seeing that America’s youth has the guidance needed to grow into good citizens. Sponsoring the local group is the Berlin Rod and Gun Club. A Boy Scout committee of interested ex-Scouts and parents, headed by David C. Bergeron, acts as advisors to the scoutmaster and to the boys. These advisors pass on advancement of the boys, aid in merit badge counseling, and help the boys plan their outings. Pursuing their goals under this careful guidance, the troop follows an active year-round program. Last Christmas collected a truck load of toys for distribution Berlin children by the German Red Cross. Local papers commented favorably on this generous act by the Americans, adding greatly to the prestige of Freedom Outpost. As a Christmas project this year, the boys are selling cards showing typical German scenes to earn money for and equipment and future events. In December last year the troop sent delegates to Wildflecken, near Fulda, for a snow camporee and competition in scouting skills hosted by the 14th Armored Calvary Regiment and Headquarters V Corps. The Berliners were selected as the best delegation at the camporee for their superb showing of scouting skill, exemplified by their adaption to the adverse winter weather conditions. An all-expense-paid trip to London on George Washington’s birthday was awarded to Scoutmaster Tice for the fine showing of the troop. Carrying on in the “Be Prepared” tradition, five members of the troop, Wayne Duke, Robert mite, Toby West, Howaud Schlereth ‘and Richard Sobieski aided a German injured in an auto accident near Turner Barracks. The boys gave the injured driver first aid and directed traffic around the accident scene until relieved by Berlin Police.

In February the boys joined scouts around the world to celebrate their 48th birthday. A special family night at the Scout Center in Crump Hallwas held to mark the date. Erving H.Dennis, Deputy Scout Executive of the Transatlantic Council in Heidelberg, presented a series of discussions on youth leadership and scouting that was attended by many of the Scouts’ parents. Continuing their active program, the troop traveled to Bremerhaven in the spring for a three day camporee with the Port City’s Troop 17 and an exchange of camping skills and Scouting activities. An active summer program followed with camping trips in Berlin. Outings in the city have proved a problem to the local boys, as German law is very strict on fires and tenting in the forests. The boys have overcome this problem by going to the British Air Field at Gatow for their overnights. ‘Scout-0- Rama with the local British troop, complete with skill demonstrations, skits and a campfire ceremony. Right after the get-together with the British, a father and son hike was held with the boys * leading their dads through the Grunewald to a meeting for lunch with a German Scout troop. Merit badges f o r hiking are also getting special attention as group hikes are being organized to meet award requirements. In addition to this, a patrol contest is in progress with a trip to a foreign country during Christmas vacation as a prize. The patrols are judged On personal neatness, attendance at meetings, advancement and bringing in new members. Something new started this fall as the troop opened an odd-job service for anyone needing a trustworthy part-time worker. The boys will take on anything from baby-sitting to snow shovelling, Money earned in this way is used to purchase needed scout equipment. A most important part of the troop’s activity centers around sharing activities with local German Scout troops. Berlin scouts often visit the American troop and bring samples of their own work with them. The two groups hike together, work map problems and follow each other’s trails through the forest to secret meeting places for cook-outs and campfires. According to Tice, the continued success of the program depends on. holding the boys interest and parent support. The scouts can always use more merit badge or parents willing to devote a few hours to help prepare them for manhood.

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