Paradise Valley Boy Scout Troop 644 recently celebrated, with the help of U.S. Congressman David Schweikert, reaching the feat of producing 200 Eagle Scouts over its 46 years of existence.
The troop gathered at El Dorado Park in Scottsdale Sunday, Nov. 10 to celebrate the achievement. Joining Mr. Schweikert was Arizona State Rep. Aaron Lieberman, leaders from the Boy Scouts of America’s Grand Canyon Counsel and other community leaders.
The event included a flag ceremony, speakers, catered picnic lunch, games, activities, a bald eagle display from Liberty Wildlife and reptiles from the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary.
Mr. Schweikert used his remarks to encourage the young men to take the lessons they learn during scouting and apply them to their lives, whatever direction they go.
“Scouts --- it is such a powerful thing [that] you are doing,” he said. “I know some days it is going to feel tedious. Some days you are going to be tired of listening. But stay involved in Scouts --- it will change your life, and will open up doors for you that you can’t imagine right now.”
Other speakers took time congratulating the troop and spoke of the future of scouting. Senior Patrol Leader Max Hopper opened the festivities, introducing recent Eagle Scout John Moore.
Troop 644 is a high adventure troop, meaning the troop maintains a focus on outdoor and scouting events. In a typical year, the troop backpacks three to four times across the state.
Each summer, in addition to its regular one-week session at Camp Geronimo, the troop organizes a special high adventure trip.
Recently, the destinations have included a 12-day, 70-plus-mile hike at Philmont Scout Ranch, backpacking 14,000-foot peaks in New Mexico, white water rafting, a seven-day backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park and canoeing the Canadian Boundary Waters.
Service projects include wildlife protection and environmental conservation and charitable work for other charitable organizations, home restoration, curb painting, trail replacement and building, erosion control. Troop 644 is boy-led, with strong adult leadership support.
Troop 644 was organized in 1973, sponsored by St. Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Church. There were 13 boys in the original troop at the rank of Tenderfoot, earning various merit badges.
The first two Eagle Scouts from the original founding boys were awarded their Eagle on March 17, 1976. As of today, more than 200 scouts in Troop 644 have earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
Over the last 46 years, the troop has been blessed with consistent, long-term and active adult leadership, having had only six scoutmasters.