In the early years, the Troop, and its scouts, was poorly equipped, both in uniform and camping gear. Uniforms were informal since there was no national Boy Scout dress code at that time. As a result, the Troop created its own uniforms by obtaining the familiar olive and gray wool clothing easily obtainable at the numerous Army-Navy stores. Each Scout did have a flat-tin canteen and a mess kit, (actual relics from the Spanish-American War). The Scouts used blankets as sleeping bags. All scouts had their staffs, which were used as walking sticks and to hold up the Army canvas tents. About 1916, the Troop built its first trek-cart and, as time went on, three additional trek-carts were made for the other patrols. The two-wheeled carts were used to carry the Troop’s provisions many miles to camping locations.
During World War I, Troop activity diminished for the lack of young men. However, a small group of interested men, mostly located in Wayne, held the Troop together. Following the War, Colonel Clifton Lisle became Scoutmaster and the Troop’s Charter was restructured indicating a “Group of Citizens” as sponsor. The Troop continues to use the military dress (the wool shirt and military press) emphasized by Colonel Lisle and wears the distinctive campaign hats.
In the early years, parts of the Scout Law and the Scout Oath were discussing in detail at the end of Troop Meetings. These discussions were very important to the early members and each scout said his part. The Scout Law and Scout Oath continue to be of prime importance to the scouts. The Troop has developed many traditions. One of these is the sailor hat. The sailor hat is a memento of the Troop’s first summer trip. The hats are worn during special celebrations such as the annual birthday celebration. The Troop takes summer trips which, like the time spent at summer Boy Scout camp, are a longstanding tradition of the Troop. In 1927 and 1929, the Troop took trips to Europe, which included hiking through Scotland and parts of Brittany. On one of these trips, the Scouts met Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the Scout movement. The Troop has had four mountain climbing expeditions in the Swiss Alps during 1966, 1970, 1974, and 1984. The Troop flag has flown at the top of the Matterhorn. In 1988, the Troop toured England, Scotland, France, Holland and Belgium. Troop members have climbed Mr. Ranier and have taken trips to the Grand Tetons, Alaska and the Canadian wilderness.
As discussed, activities of the Troop are outdoor in nature and include hiking and camping. On overnight or day hikes, each patrol typically plans and brings its own provisions by Troop meals are also an option. The Troop engages in mountain climbing, canoeing, white water canoeing and kayaking, and most recently, has added cross-country and alpine skiing to its many and varied activities. Cooking contest occur on Troop campouts. The Troop enjoys ski trips to Vermont.
To keep the scouts sharp, inter-Patrol contests were begun early (1913) and were as varied as they are now. The contest is the backbone of activities. A coveted Inter-patrol Cup is awarded, by a point system, to the patrol with the most points. Points are given for everything, from competitions, jobs the Patrol does down to attendance at Patrol meetings. Points are deducted from improper or sloppy dress uniforms and inadequate performance. The Birthday, as at present, is help in Jun of each year and cup is awarded at the Birthday.
The Troop has had several headquarters over its history. In 1915, the Troop repaired and used, as their headquarters, a Revolutionary cabin on Diamond Rock, given to them through the courtesy of the Phoenix Iron company. The original cabin and grounds in Wayne were located on the Le Boutiller property and were acquired in 1924 from the former Wayne Troop No. 1, and it is interesting to note, that the chimney still stands. The present cabin and grounds were acquired in the 1950s and current facilities are the product of much effort by many Scouts and interested people. The Troop’s current headquarters includes an over 20 acre wooded site with onsite facilities including the Troop’s cabin, canoe barn, and camping facilities.
The current Scouts are reminded of the Troop’s history. The present cabin contain four portraits that had in positions of honor, those of Reverend Horace Walton, the Troop’s founder, “Uncle Paul” Clark (who came to Paoli No. 1 from the former Wayne Troop No. 1), Colonel Clifton Lisle, and H. Leland Smaltz, Esquire. “Uncle Paul” Clark and Colonel Lisle were major forces in the development of the Troop. H. Leland Smaltz, who in 1977 received the Silver Beaver Award, had dedicated more than 35 years to Paoli Troop No. 1 providing inspiration, wisdom, and leadership. Also noteworthy, the cabin has a chandelier with nine lamps honoring the Troops scouts killed during World War II.
The Troop functions under the leadership of its Scoutmaster and assistants, and under the general supervision of a group of concerned citizens known as the Troop Committee. Its purpose, as spelled out in it constitution, is to promote, maintain, and carry out the principles of the Boy Scouts of America and to work for the best interests of it members.
The leadership of the Troop has most always been from within; that is, the Scoutmasters have mostly been ex-Paoli 1 Eagle Scouts, who have helped perpetuate the traditions, spirit, and loyalties of the Troop. The Senior Patrol Leader is typically an Eagle Scout. The leadership and responsibility of running the Troop have been place in the Boys themselves. Paoli Troop No. 1 is a unique and meaningful experience for all involved. The Troop is indeed a historic Mainline group. The Troop is in the Diamond Rock District of the Chester County Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Some traditional activities that are of significance in the Troop are:
– The Drill Contest, which continues throughout the year with the staffs. Points accumulated for the activity, are recorded by the Scribe. Then at the Birthday, a trophy is awarded to the patrol winning for the year. This award originated in 1927 and was given to Troop by the 316th Infantry based at Indiantown Gap. Col. Lisle was commander of the 316th Infantry at the time and many scouts were members.
– Marching in the Wayne Memorial Day Parade. Following the Parade, the Troop marches to Old Saint David’s Church, where graveside memorial services are held for Col. Lisle who passed away in 1966.
– The annual Birthday Celebration. Parents and friends are encouraged to come and see the boys in action performing various activities and competitions for which the winning Patrol for the day received the Birthday Plaque. There are also several additional individual cup awards, which are explained during their presentations. The Eagle Scouts and their parents are also awarded.
– The summer trip: The trip is discussed above and due to the usually rugged and challenging nature of these trips, is generally attended by older Scouts with two or three years of experience. The younger boys are offered a week at Camp Horseshoe, the Council’s official Scout Reservation in Rising Sun, Maryland.
That, briefly, is a little background and information about the Troop your son is joining. As parents of Scouts and former Scouts, we bear an important responsibility to help keep the boys enthusiastic, to encourage the continuance of the traditions, not for traditions sake alone, but for their impact on the boys and continuance of the Troop for future generations.