Boy Scouts ring in hundred years in Walla Walla area

The local troop's focus on service includes a food drive planned for Saturday.

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Boy Scouts from Walla Walla Troop 305 salute as guests and passers-by on Main Street all look up to the large American Flag at Land Title Plaza during the saying of the pledge of allegiance to open a ceremony to honor the 100th year of service for the Boy Scouts of America Wednesday afternoon.

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Boy Scouts Cameron Peters, 10, (left) and Andrew Feistner, 12, hold a hand-written envelope with blank faces as they accept donations from passers-by on Main Street for the Boy Scouts 100-year anniversary.

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Boy Scouts of America Pioneer District executive David Rudie navigates the urban jungle of Main Street with the Troop 312 flag for the Boy Scouts' 100th birthday festivities Wednesday afternoon at First Avenue and Main Street. Rudie brought the College Place Lions Troop 312 flag to the ceremony because the troop itself could not make it.

WALLA WALLA - Although the wind whipped overhead and a dark sky threatened rain, Wednesday was a fine day to be a Boy Scout.

Gathered at Land Title Plaza, Troop 305 of the Blue Mountain Council presented a flag color guard and recited the Boy Scout pledge in front of onlookers, Scout leaders and beaming parents.

Underneath protective tents, two large sheet cakes awaited cutting as part of the national organization's 100th birthday celebration.

With flags set firmly in posts by rosy-cheeked Scouts, Pioneer District Executive David Rudie welcomed the celebrants with some local Scout history.

"The Blue Mountain Council started in 1922 by Walla Walla Rotary Club and Troop 312 is in its 75th year," he said. "In 1985, there were more than 2,000 Boy Scouts in Walla Walla."

Officially, the first troop here was established by the Walla Walla YMCA in 1917. "Being so far out West, it took a while for organized Scouting to get here," Rudie explained today. Communication between the Boy Scout troops that popped up all over the nation was spotty until councils were formed, he added.

Today's number is about 300 boys in the Walla Walla area, but rebuilding efforts are adding 100 or so new Scouts a year, Rudie added.

The area Boy Scout council serves more than 5,000 youths in Southeastern Washington and Northeastern Oregon.

Doug Taggert, leader of Troop 305, was a Scout in Troop 312 some 40 years ago he said. His son, Daniel, 17, is now in Doug's troop, maintaining the family Scouting legend.

Being part of Boy Scouts is the sort of experience that builds a kid's character, the troop leader said. "I think it gives them good direction."

One such direction is community service, and the Walla Walla Scouts will be facilitating a food drive on Saturday.

Scouts and receptacles will be at all local grocery stores and Wal-Mart, and the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank truck will be at the corner of Second Avenue and Sumach Street to collect food donations.

For more information call 525-7578.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/fromthestorageroom.

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