Sunday, December 13, 2020

Court of honor, annual Christmas party put a bow on an ‘unprecedented’ 2020

Troop 50’s December court of honor and annual Christmas party put the proverbial bow on a year during which the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted weekly troop meetings and monthly campouts. Despite those interruptions, Scouts persevered as evidenced by the number of merit badges and new ranks presented during the troop’s Sunday, Dec. 13 court of honor. The event also included the troop’s annual Christmas celebration, “Dirty Santa” gift exchange, and toy collection for the City of Auburn Department of Public Safety’s toy drive

Trey and Luke (left) congratulate the troop's newest Life Scouts: (left to right) Will, Olen and Tyson

Senior Patrol Leader Trey and Lead Troop Guide Luke opened the court of honor with the traditional Pledge of Allegiance, Scout Oath and Scout Law — followed by an opening prayer by Chaplain’s Aide Rhett. They then presented Scouts with 63 merit badges and 18 ranks (along with the now-common pandemic fist-bump) — the results of several advancement-focused outings like October’s wilderness survival campout and November’s advancement campout, and the postponement of the troop’s traditional June court of honor. 

Troop Chaplain Michael Tullier (left) and Troop Committee Chair Rob Stanford (right)
congratulate Creighton Williams on earning the God and Life religious award.

In his role as the troop’s chaplain, Chartered Organization Representative Michael Tullier presented Junior Assistant Scoutmaster Creighton Williams with the God and Life religious emblem award. He explained to Scouts and parents that the religious awards program provides Scouts with a way of living out their “duty to God” commitment. The awards opportunities can be pursued in troop-based group settings, individually with Scouts’ families, or under the guidance of a religious leader. Troop Committee Chair Rob Stanford, who has also served as Creighton’s Auburn United Methodist Church D-Group leaders since the seventh grade, assisted with the presentation. [Update, Dec. 31, 2020, Programs for Religious Activities with Youth (P.R.A.Y.) featured Creighton's achievement on its website.]

The troop's elected and appointed youth leadership for the first half of 2021
take the official oath of office.

The December court of honor also marked the transition of youth leadership. As is the troop’s tradition, Scoutmaster Andrew Baird introduced Scouts elected during the Dec. 7 troop elections, along with Scouts selected for other troop and patrol positions. Those serving in new leadership positions for the first half of 2021 include (front row, left to right) Tyson, senior patrol leader; Will, assistant senior patrol leader, and Rusty, junior assistant scoutmaster; (second row), Conner, lead troop guide; Jake, lead troop instructor; Olen, troop quartermaster; (third row), Rhett, Gladiators patrol leader; Harrison, Gladiators assistant patrol leader; Beck, Wizard Lizards patrol leader; and James, Wizard Lizards assistant patrol leader. Not pictured is Jason, promoted to junior assistant scoutmaster in anticipation of earning his Eagle Scout rank in the spring. 

Scoutmaster Andrew Baird (right) officially welcomes Chris Baker as one of the troop's
newest assistant scoutmasters for 2020.

Scoutmaster Baird also recognized the troop’s newest assistant scoutmaster: Chris Baker, who has been serving in the role since the spring, and Creighton Williams, who earned his Eagle Scout in 2018 and moves into an adult volunteer role having turned 18. 

Outgoing SPL Trey and Scoutmaster Baird

A closeup of Trey's pandemic-era
SPL neckerchief slide

Scoutmaster Baird also honored the extended service outgoing Senior Patrol Leader Trey provided the troop for 2020. While youth leaders’ tenure in an elected position is usually limited to six-month terms, Trey served in his elected capacity for all of 2020 due to the pandemic. In presenting Trey with the traditional handmade neckerchief slide denoting past senior patrol leaders (with the addition of 2020’s ubiquitous face mask), Scoutmaster Baird noted that Trey makes serving as SPL a family affair — his brother Andrew, one of the troop’s founding members, served twice as SPL during the latter half of 2013 and the first half of 2015.

To conclude the court of honor, Scoutmaster Baird noted that, despite the cancellation of many of the troop’s spring events due to the pandemic, as well as having to adapt many summer and fall outings, the troop had much to celebrate in terms of advancement and accomplishments. Together, Scouts collectively logged 159 camping nights, 257 service hours and 354 hiking miles. 2020 also included one new Eagle Scout and the start of several new Eagle Scout leadership service projects now in various stages of planning and execution. At least three Scouts are poised to earn their Eagles in 2021.

$5 and two boxes of Pop-Tarts ... what else
could a Scout want for Christmas, right, James?
As everyone enjoyed holiday treats and sweets, Scouts and leaders gathered around wrapped gifts for the troop’s customary “Dirty Santa” gift exchange. As with past years, gifts included numerous camping tools and gadgets like flashlights, pocket knives, and first-aid kits. Perhaps the most clever gift, in keeping with the theme of gifts useful for campouts, was the two boxes of Pop-Tarts (accompanied by a five-dollar bill). And the award for most frequently stolen gifts went to Jackson, who had at least three gifts stolen during the course of the gift exchange.

Giving gifts to one another wasn’t Scouts’ only focus. In honor of the Christmas season, and in keeping with the troop’s practice since its first Christmas court of honor in 2012, troop families donated toys that will be gifted to Auburn’s Department of Public Safety as part of its annual toy drive. Gifts included sports equipment, games and other outdoor recreational items. 

The court of honor and Christmas gathering represent the troop’s final events for 2020. The troop’s Patrol Leaders Council will hold its first meeting of the new year on Monday, Jan. 4, and the entire troop will meet on Monday, Jan. 11. The locations for both meetings will be announced.

For more photos from the court of honor and party, visit the troop’s online photo album.