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Reporter's Notebook

May 24, 2014

Boy Scouttrip haddeep roots in U.S. history

With Memorial Day approaching, it was interesting to research the recent first-place award given to Worcester Boy Scout Troop 168 at the recent West Point Scoutmasters Council Camporee.

According to the West Point website, the link is a natural. West Point’s role in the nation’s history dates back to the Revolutionary War, when both sides realized the strategic importance of the commanding plateau on the west bank of the Hudson River. General George Washington considered West Point to be the most important strategic position in America. It is the oldest continuously occupied military post in America.

Several soldiers and legislators, including Washington, Henry Knox, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, desiring to eliminate America’s wartime reliance on foreign engineers and artillerists, urged the creation of an institution devoted to the arts and sciences of warfare.

President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation establishing the United States Military Academy in 1802. He took this action after ensuring that those attending the Academy would be representative of a democratic society.

As the world’s premier leadership institution, West Point’s mission is to train commissioned leaders of character for service to the nation, according to the website. As an organization, the Boy Scouts of America’s mission is also character-centric, as it strives to prepare its members to make moral and ethical choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath — values also consistent with those instilled at West Point.

While numerous former Scouts had always attended West Point, the Academy’s Scoutmasters’ Council was formally established in 1961 as an official club that enabled cadets to continue their participation in and association with scouting while at the Academy. The first annual West Point Camporee was at Stillwell Lake in April 1961. In 1963, it was moved to Lake Frederick.

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