History of Troop 20

by Jeremy Weagley, Matthew Weagley, and Spencer Fox
(Troop 20 Historians)

The year was 1933. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president, Adolf Hitler came into power, and the Boy Scout Troop 20 was started. However, the Troop had a rough start. Weekly meetings were held for only about a couple years, and then ceased altogether. Three years later, the Troop was up and running again, but it was not to last. Both of these lapses were probably caused by the Great Depression. Finally, in 1942, the economy was stable and nationalism was high due to World War II. Troop 20 started again on October 30, 1942.  At this time, the Troop's future first Eagle Scout, Carroll Dyer, joined. He was already involved in a church group, the Willing Workers, and wanted to help his community more.

The Troop met in the basement of the Penningtonville Presbyterian Church in Atglen. Mr. Dyer has fond memories of many campouts and hikes. Bob Alexander served as Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, but he had to leave for college. So Mr. Dyer took over in 1950. There were two patrols, the Owl patrol and the Hawk patrol. Eventually, the Troop became so large that they had to send some of the scouts to meet in a schoolhouse, which is now an apartment building, across from the graveyard behind the church. The scouts also planned to build a headquarters near Fox's Meadow in 1951. However, it was not finished due to lack of time and funds. Mr. Dyer served as Scoutmaster at this time. Mr. Dick Brown and his friend, Scott Greenfield, were scouts in the Troop. Mr. Brown has fond memories of Camp Horseshoe, Camporees, and marching in parades. Both Mr. Brown and Mr. Greenfield achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.

Mr. Calvin Trice took over from Mr. Dyer in 1957.  The troop grew larger.  Scouts from Mr. Trice’s time fondly recall camping at Horseshoe, Indian dancing with the Order of the Arrow, trips to Philmont and to the Sommers Canoe Base in Minnesota.  The troop program was strong.  Ten scouts earned Eagle in the 1960’s and early 1970’s.  Mr. James Gawthorp, retired scoutmaster of Troop 53 in Kennett Square, fondly recalls the years his troop shared a summer camp site at Horseshoe with Troop 20 and Mr. Trice.

In 1978, Mr. Mitchell King was working for the Boy Scout Chester County Council as a District Executive, It was his job to make sure that Scouting programs got started in the area. Mr. King learned that Troop 20 was no longer meeting. So, Mr. Dick Brown and Reverend Bob Andrews, the minister of the Presbyterian Church, helped Mr. King restart Troop 20. Mr. King took over as Scoutmaster and on October 15, 1979, the first meeting of the new Troop was held in the basement of the Penningtonville Church in Atglen and has been meeting there ever since.

Many people feel that Troop 20 is one of the best Troops in this area. Mr. Ben Chappell, who served as the Committee Chairperson from 1993-1999 and still teaches many merit badges, likes how over 12% of the scouts in Troop 20 become Eagle Scouts and the variety of trips the Troop goes on. The Troop has a different activity each month, and  include trips to Camp Horseshoe, indoor rock climbing, the USS Massachusetts and other World War II vessels, Camp Rodney, and many others. The Troop also goes on a High Adventure Trip every year. High Adventure is for boys of fourteen years of age or older and consists of trips to places such as Philmont, New Mexico; the Florida Sea Base; canoe trips in Algonquin ; hiking in Montana; and others.

Mr. Keith Williams, an Assistant Scoutmaster, thinks very highly of Mr. King's leadership.  Dr. Jim Brofee, who used to serve as Committee Chairperson, enjoyed how Mr. King allowed the boys to be responsible and run things, rather than the adults doing it. Mrs. Pam Diller, who served as Treasurer, thinks it is very important that boys learn how to survive in the wilderness and how to react in an emergency. Mr. Dick Brown, who was a scout are the old Troop 20 and served as Committee Chairperson, thinks that the Boy Scouts is a very worthwhile organization, and likes how the parents are involved in the Troop. Dr. Raymond "Chip" Ewing, who was a committee chairperson, enjoyed the variety of trips that Troop 20 goes on.  Mr. Carroll Dyer, who was Troop 20's first Eagle Scout and held many leadership positions within the Troop, thinks very highly of Boy Scouts because it teaches you many different skills and lessons.

In addition to trips, Mr. Chappell notes how he likes that each of the weekly meetings have a meaning to them  The Troop teaches the Scouts something during each meeting helping the Scouts advance in their requirements for each rank. Mr. Chappell is proud of the Scouts in Troop 20.  In 2009, the Troop’s regular meetings were highlighted by 4 Amazing Race competitions held in Atglen, Christiana, and Parkesburg.

All these Troop 20 trips and activities are made possible with the help of many adults who hold leadership positions within the Troop. As of 2009, Mr. King remains a very dedicated Scoutmaster for Troop 20. Adult leaders devote a great deal of personal time as volunteers for the Troop and are the reason the Troop remains a popular Troop. The adult leaders help to make sure the Scouts are having a good time.

During the past 30 years, Troop 20 has continued to be one of the best Troops in the area. Many of the adult leaders love to see the Scouts achieve Eagle. Troop 20 had a rough start, yet doing very well now with highly-committed leadership and good community support. With good leaders, involved parents, and enthusiastic boys, Troop 20 should continue to do well for a long time. The Troop looks forward to the 100th Anniversary of Scouting—the 2010 National Jamboree in July 2010. The success the Troop has experienced over the last several years is a solid foundation from which to
reach for greater goals in the future and continuing a strong Scouting tradition in the Octorara area.


Troop 20 Scoutmasters & Sponsors

Year Scoutmaster Sponsor
1919-? Rev. Herbert O. Frey ?? (Atglen Troop 1)
1934-1936 John W. Hogg Home & School League of Atglen
1939-1940 Donald W. Scott Penningtonville Presbyterian Church
1942 Haines Newswanger Group of Citizens
1943 John J. Newswanger Group of Citizens
1944-1946 Donald S. Deaver Group of Citizens
1946 Haines Newswanger Group of Citizens
1947 Willard D. Hogg Group of Citizens
1948-1949 Clinton D. Forrester Atglen Christian Brotherhood
1950-1951 Carrol R. Dyer Atglen Christian Brotherhood
1952-1954 Carrol R. Dyer Group of Citizens
1954-1957 Carrol R. Dyer Cochranville-Atglen Rotary Club
1957-1973 Calvin Trice Sr. Cochranville-Atglen Rotary Club
1974 Dan Bronson Cochranville-Atglen Rotary Club
1975-1977 David G. Miller Atglen Scout Sponsorship Committee
1979-Present G. Mitchell King Penningtonville Presbyterian Church