Ninety years is a long time. Just ask Boy Scouts of America’s Troop 90.
At the end of January, Litchfield Park-based Eagle Troop 90 reached its 90th anniversary, and one day earlier the 65th anniversary of the Scout Lodge in which it operates.
“It was mostly fun,” Scoutmaster Brian Lien said of the troop’s celebratory meeting. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. Mondays at the Scout Lodge, 99 W. Fairway Drive, Litchfield Park.
“The boys played games. They picked their activities they wanted to do, and we goofed around. That was kind of like our goof-around meeting, for our birthday, and then we had cake and we just had a nice dedication of prayer from our chaplain.”
Troop 90 has evolved since it was chartered on January 31, 1929, by the Litchfield Park community. Changing hands to numerous organizations over the years, the nonprofit Litchfield Park Scout Lodge Preservation assumed the charter in 2011, according to the Litchfield Park Historical Society.
Lien has been a scoutmaster for less than a year, but he has been involved in Troop 90 much longer. His son has been a Boy Scout for three years, and prior to that in Cub Scout Pack 90, which graduates to Troop 90. Lien was a Boy Scout as a child, too.
Though Lien hasn’t been scoutmaster for long, he notes the organization itself has likely changed over the years, though it doesn’t necessarily affect them as a local troop. Troop 90 is just having fun.
“Stuff happens at the national level and you hear the news and stuff like that. Some of that trickles down into the troop level or even just at the local level, but for the most part we’re all volunteers and we like the scouting program. We just try to focus on that,” Lien said.
According to the Litchfield Park Historical Society, the troop met in various locations, such as schools and a community hall, until 1954, when the men of the Goodyear Farms built an official Scout Lodge. The troop was, at the time, chartered by Goodyear Farms and intended for the boys of Goodyear Farms.
The Scout Lodge was founded later. It was dedicated by Paul Litchfield on January 30, 1954, and, as Litchfield Park Historical Society information shows, despite not having sons of his own the city’s founder had a history with scouting.
He knew of the organization but didn’t encounter it until 1911. Litchfield had been traveling to the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, but, due to an onset of heavy fog, the ship on which he was traveling was stopped at the mouth of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Thanks to a Boy Scout troop from Alberta, however, passengers’ spirits were lifted.
From thereon out, Litchfield was interested in the organization, and his efforts helped to establish him as the Father of Scouting in Ohio.
He created an Akron, Ohio-based troop in 1913, sponsored by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and in doing so was recognized numerous times over the years. In 1945, he was awarded BSA’s highest honor, the Silver Buffalo award. Other awards include the Silver Antelope and Silver Beaver.
Two years into the formation of the Akron troop, Litchfield helped organize the Akron Council of BSA, and in 1936 he was elected to represent Akron on BSA’s National Council. In 1956, Litchfield’s work was recognized with the presenting of the 15 millionth copy of The Handbook for Boys.
Due to his lengthy tenure with BSA, in 1936 he received a 20-year Veteran Boy Scout Pin and in 1953 a 40-year Veteran Boy Scout Pin.
“I have sometimes thought, too, that if every nation had utilized the basic values of scouting as America had done, and the boys everywhere had grown up with these common ideals, world peace and understanding might not be the impossible goal it often seems now,” Litchfield is documented as having said in 1958.
“The brotherhood of man starts with the brotherhood of boys.”
Now, the Scout Lodge and Scout Park belong to Litchfield Park. The city acquired them in 2013 in a preservation effort.
“It has not changed. It’s still the same,” Lien said of the Scout Lodge with a laugh. “Well, it has carpet now. Before, when I was there (as a child), it was just a slab.”
Troop 90 isn’t the only Boy Scout troop with access to the Scout Lodge. Other Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops, as well as Girl Scouts, use the Litchfield Park Scout Lodge, which is exclusively for scouting activities and meetings.
“It was actually built for scouts, and scouts have free use of it,” Lien said.
Led by its scouts, according to Lien, Troop 90 participates in all kinds of activities, from biking to hiking, camping and a recent visit to Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff. One hundred and 37 members have reached Eagle Scout status.
On top of celebrating 90th and 65th anniversaries, Lien noted the Scouts held an election for positions that were up for grabs.
“It gives them opportunity to learn in a safe environment that they can fail and gives them leadership roles to actually lead,” Lien said of letting the scouts take charge.
He added of the election, “We’re there just to give them a program and give them something to do and move and move forward and obtain things and rank and experience.”