If you’ve ever been to the Carroll County Agriculture Center, the Silver Run-Union Mills Community Park or the Union Mills Homestead — or enjoyed a campfire at the Linwood Brethren fire pit, or benefited from the Silver Run Food Pantry — you’ve enjoyed the services of Boy Scout Troop 483.
Seven members of Troop 483 took on a variety of projects over the years, culminating in each young man earning the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest a Boy Scout can achieve.
A Court of Honor was held on May 19 to honor the accomplishments of these seven scouts — the last such ceremony for Troop 483.
While an event such as this happens often across the country, it’s less common to have seven new Eagle Scouts share the same moment of achievement. All the scouts have been together since elementary school.
Austin Arnold, 17, built handicapped-accessible picnic tables for the Silver Run-Union Mills Community Park. Brad Cole, 18, repaired and painted the decaying walking bridge that links the Homestead to the park on the other side of Big Pipe Creek. Ryan Knarr, 17, built a retaining wall and benches for the Agriculture Center and the 4-H Extension Office. Tanner Miller, 18, built a fire pit and benches around it for his church, Linwood Brethren. Jaden Muse, 18, built 10 benches and a display box at the Homestead. Jared Muse, 19, built compost bins for Camp Hashawha. Jeremy Reynolds, 18, ran a “Food Stock Concert” to bring food in for the Silver Run Food Pantry.
The scouts can attest to the hard work it takes to attain the rank of Eagle Scout.
Ryan, who built the retaining wall and bench, said, “The wall took three hours to build and eight months of planning and preparation; the bench took three weeks to plan and two nights to gather materials and build.” The bench is dedicated to the memory of Brenda Barber, his 4-H club’s “most beloved leader.”
Attaining the rank of Eagle Scout is not an easy road, but also not a journey taken alone. Austin said, “I knew from the day I joined Scouts that reaching the rank of Eagle Scout [would be] difficult.” He credits the constant support of his fellow scouts, scoutmasters and family for his success. “As long as you are with a troop that is willing to help you along the way, and you are willing to do the same for your fellow scouts, it will be a worthwhile and fun journey.”
They all talked about Scouting being about family. Jaden, reflecting on his journey during his speech at the ceremony, said, “These guys have been with me every step of the way. They are my family.”
The journey is also lined with scoutmasters, parents and direct family. Brad acknowledged his father, saying, “My dad wasn’t always there at my events, but he had a good reason. He was out securing our freedom.” His father is Sgt. First Class Michael Cole, who was deployed to Iraq in 2007 and 2008, and to Egypt in 2011 and 2012.
Jeffery Muse, father of Jaden and Jared, served as scoutmaster over the past 10 years. Assisted by Don Baker, they saw 10 scouts earn the rank of eagle. Those 10 scouts will go on to continue their education in college, with some choosing to stay together while attending the same college.
Troop 483 will not re-charter, effectively ending with this class of boys. The charter officially ends Dec. 31 this year.
Muse noted that every troop depends on elementary schools to recruit new members. Charles Carroll Elementary was the feeder school for Troop 483.
“The troop has always met at St Mary’s Lutheran Church in Silver Run,” Muse said. “Unfortunately, the troop will dissolve [because] we lost our feeder [Cub Scout] pack when Charles Carroll Elementary was closed.”
Despite increased recruiting efforts, there wasn’t enough interest to keep the troop going beyond this year. Muse said that leaves him feeling disappointed.
“I am disheartened that there will not be the next generation of scouts,” he said. “St Mary’s is a perfect place for a scout troop. We had our own section of the basement were the boys were able hang pictures, maps and other knick-knacks from their journey to Eagle, and storage for all the troop gear.”
Three scouts from the troop, Alexander Dorman, Matthew Ball, and Zach Stuart, had previously earned the Eagle Scout rank. One still-active scout will transfer to another troop.
Tina Cole, mother of Brad, coordinated the group of volunteers who put together the Eagle Court of Honor luncheon. She felt the structure of the program allowed the scouts to learn things they wouldn’t have learned in school or at home.
Cole indicated that for all their scouting years, Troop 483 has been actively involved in the community. It wasn’t just about choosing, planning and carrying out an Eagle Scout service project — every project involved the community in some way. Every member of the troop stepped in wherever they were needed, she said, whether it was helping at the annual strawberry festival or volunteering with the Silver Run Food Pantry by showing up to unload the truck every week, then stocking the food pantry shelves.
The scouts were not the only ones who benefited from this journey. Cole said the parents and families of the troop members built meaningful bonds.
“We were all just very close during the entire time,” she said. “We always will be.”
Cole summed up the scouting experience simply when she said, “I think the biggest thing about this is it’s a journey, Scouting is a journey, and these boys have been on a fabulous journey.”
Gabrielle Schoeffield covers Taneytown, Union Bridge, New Windsor and surrounding areas. Reach her at email@example.com.