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Troop 3 would like to thank The Key Foundation, Inc. for allowing us to use some of the pictues found on this page from it's archives.

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HISTORY OF TROOP 3 - THE FIRST 50 YEARS
(AS WRITTEN BY HARVEY STRAUSS FOR THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION)

Troop 3 began in 1929 under the sponsorship of the Jewish War Veterans.  It was first chartered through the Greater Lowell Council, B.S.A. on November 19, 1929.  Our first Scoutmaster was Harry Jerome, and the original Troop Committee consisted of Sigmund Rostler, William Cantor, Albert Kotzen, Dr Ralph W. Cushing, and George Cohen.

In 1930, Troop 3 experienced a lapse of membership for a few months but was reinstated with the same Scoutmaster, Harry Jerome.  His son Shepard became our first Eagle in August, 1931.  Harry remained as Scoutmaster until Martin Gates took over in 1937.  Martin turned the reins over to Harry Swartz in 1938.  Harry Swartz stepped down in 1939 as he turned the Troop over to Maurice Zall, who in turn himself stepped down in 1940.

Troop Histroy

At that time, Alfred Strauss then became Scoutmaster and  held that position for 10 years.  During that period, three Scouts earned and received their Eagle Badge.  The first of the three was Harvey Strauss, son of Scoutmaster Alfred, marking the second Scoutmaster/Eagle Scout son team.  Next came Donald Bernstein and his brother Norman. These were the first Troop brothers to receive Eagle.


Troop History

Scoutmaster Alfred Strauss became ill in 1950 and his Asst. Scoutmaster and son Harvey took over leadership of the Troop.  During this transition period, a cabin was built on Troop land in Tyngsboro near Lakeview.  In January of 1958, the Eagle Badge was presented to Howard Zubick and his close buddy, Edward Rindler.  This was our first double Eagle night.

In 1959, our Scoutmaster, Harvey Strauss was asked to serve as a Council Commissioner.  During his leave of absence, Harry Freedman and Frank Warshawsky served as Scoutmaster.

Harvey then returned to the Troop to serve as their leader in 1960.  The following year, the Brotherhood of Temple Beth El took over the sponsorship of the Troop from the Jewish War Veterans.  They had been our sponsor for 30 years - truly a record of proud achievements.

In March, 1965, seven years after our double Eagle night, the event happened again.  On March 28, 1965, Alan Rindler became the second brother to receive his Eagle.  That same night, Alan’s good friend Jack Paley also received his Eagle badge. Over the next few years, the Troop continued to grow, but it would be five years before the Troop would see another Eagle presentation.

Troop History

In 1970, Alan Strauss, son of Scoutmaster Harvey Strauss and grandson of former Scoutmaster Alfred Strauss was  awarded the rank of Eagle.  This made the first father and son Eagle team of our Troop.  The excitement caught  on with other members of the Troop, for in just two short years, we celebrated our next Eagle Scout ceremony.

On the evening of March 19, 1972, Mark Robbins, Jay Strauss, and Ronald Tye marked the first and so far the only triple Eagle award night.  In so doing, Jay added another member to the Strauss Eagle Team.

The Troop continued, as it had for many years previously, to win many awards, not only on camporees but in general.  The Troop could be found camping all throughout the year as well as teaching and learning familiar Scout skills from one generation to the next.

It was no surprise then that on February 8, 1974, Merrill Tye added his name to our Eagle Roster, and again, another team of brothers were recorded.  This would also be the last Eagle ceremony over which Harvey Strauss would preside as Scoutmaster.

During all the years since 1950, Scoutmaster Strauss was fortunate in having many devoted assistants and committee members.  Among them were Milton Cohen, Daniel Bernstein, Arnold Greenhouse, Leslie Tye, Frank Warshawsky, Bernard Shapiro, William Robbins, Sam Kaplan, A. Melvin Glazer, Marc Scolnick and many, many more.  In 1975, after 25 years as Scoutmaster, Harvey Strauss proudly turned over the reins of the Troop to his friend and long time Asst. Scoutmaster, Arnold Greenhouse.  During the past eight or nine years especially, many of our Scouts remained with the Troop to become Junior and Adult Assistant Scoutmasters.

Thus in 1977, when Scoutmaster Greenhouse retired, his Assistant Scoutmaster (and another member of the Tye family), Jeff Tye became our Scoutmaster.  Scoutmaster Tye said the first few years were a little shaky as he learned the ropes of being “The Leader”, but he persisted.  So this evening, February 8, 1981, we celebrate our Golden Anniversary.  Few Troops in the Country have reached this milestone.  We look now to the future for hopefully at least another 50 years! 

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HISTORY OF TROOP 3 “THE BEST” FROM ITS 5OTH TO 75TH ANNIVERSARY
(As written by Jeffrey Tye, Scoutmaster, for the 75th Anniversary held on
September 10, 2006)

Before beginning the tale of the last 25 years, I feel compelled to add several points of information that were left out of the history from the first 50 years.  I feel these are important as they not only made an impact on me, but in many ways left an impact on the Troop.  I am sure there are many other Scouting memories that have made an impact on those who have worn the number “3” on their sleeve over the years. 

Fire for cooking

Troop Three has always had a lot of spirit for as long as I can remember.  You could often find Troop 3 just by listening well.  Many of the same cheers and songs that I learned as a Scout are still in use today.  (I took the liberty of passing many of them on to succeeding generations!) In fact, the words “The Best” were added on to “Troop 3”, many years ago, maybe even during the first 50 years by Scouts in the Troop.  These words truly reflected our spirit.  While we certainly never won every single contest in which we ever participated, we always stuck it out to the end and tried as best as we could.  More often than not, Troop 3 was often cheering at the end of a contest, even if we had lost.  Scouts in Troop 3 have learned over the years that even if events, contests, or other experiences didn’t end in the way we expected, we treated it as a learning experience, picked ourselves up from our loss or mishap and moved forward.  I learned this lesson well on my first camping trip, which was only a few short weeks after having crossed over in to Scouts from Cub Scouts - Pack 3, of course!

It was a Council or District camporee held in late spring, 1965.  There were at least 20 - 30 Troops there and every thing was set to go, when we arrived on Friday evening.   Our tents were brown canvas without floors and had been in the Troop for many years.  When we noticed other Troops come in with relatively new tents, with floors, many of us were envious.  Our leaders showed us how to properly set up our tents to keep us dry and just shrugged off the new tents.  On Saturday morning, we woke up to an overcast, dreary day.  By afternoon, the rain was coming down fairly heavy.  The camporee staff decided to shut down the events early.  Troops were given the option to head out Saturday evening or stay until Sunday.  All but three or four Troops decided to leave (with their “brand new tents”)! Troop 3 “The Best” decided to stay.   Not only did our leaders keep our spirits high for the rest of the weekend, but showed us we could turn something damp and dreary into something very positive.  As we hiked out of the camporee, singing Troop 3 songs and chants, our heads were held high, and we were no longer envious of those other Troops and their “nice tents.”  From that point on, I was hooked on Scouting, especially the Troop 3 way!

Troop 3 Braves

Another legacy - building memory for me as a Scout was when I found out that the Troop also had a “secret society” within the Troop that was designed to recognize those who most lived up to the Scout Oath and Law.  It was called the Society of Braves and had started long before I joined the Troop.  On select camping trips, those in the Society would sneak away from a campfire and suddenly reappear in Native American regalia. A special “tapping out” ceremony would be held in front of the entire Troop.  Those that were selected were then escorted out of the campfire, at which point they had to remain completely silent.  They were told which few items they could retrieve from their personal gear and were then escorted away from the campsite to spend a night in the woods in solemn contemplation as to why they had been chosen.  Candidates were given the opportunity of not participating, but very few ever chose to take this route.  They knew if they did, it would be a long time before they were again selected, if ever.  In many ways, this special Society resembled the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s National Honor Society, which for some reason, never seemed to gain a foothold in Troop 3 during the first 50 years.  As more and more key members of the Troop 3 Society of Braves moved on to other things, by the time I took over as Scoutmaster in 1977, there were very few “active” Braves left to do ceremonies.  (My own regalia, which we were all required to make once elected, had become too small to actually wear without being arrested for indecent exposure!)  Thus the Society of Braves soon became just a fond memory.  Even this though became a big “positive” for the Troop in the long run.

Troop 3 Braves

Over the first few years in my tenure as Scoutmaster, I realized how special the Society of Braves had been for me and what it had come to mean to be elected into it.  At the same time, the Order of the Arrow had become much more prominent in the Council and had gradually started making its way in to the Troop.  One of the reasons for this is Brian Lobao.  Brian had been in the Troop with me and after graduating from college, became very involved with the Order of the Arrow.  Eventually, he became the Lodge Advisor.   Over these last 25 years, many Troop 3 Scouts have been heavily involved in the O.A., many holding significant leadership roles in the process, including Lodge Chief and Vice Chief.  At the risk of leaving someone off the list, I hope to be able to make note of them at a later time.  The legacy of the Troop 3 Braves remains alive through them!

Camping Trip

Another significant memory from the first 50 years that still impacts the Troop today is that of the annual “Chrisnukkah” camping trip, usually held at Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation.  It actually started in the late 1960’s when the Troop’s junior leaders were trying to come up with a theme for the month of December.  We were stumped as to what we should do for a theme.  Given the fact that we couldn’t come to a consensus, we eventually decided that since December was the 12th month and it had a few holidays in it, we would focus on the 12th point of the Scout Law, that being Reverent.  We asked the adults if they would be willing to make a special meal for us and they agreed.  This was practically unheard of in Troop 3, as our leaders had always insisted that we do our own cooking, mistakes and all.  We developed a special program for the evening, and from that moment in Troop history, another Troop 3 tradition was born.  Today, as many Scouts will attest, the “Chrisnukkah” camping trip is generally considered a favorite camping trip of the year!

Obviously, this is not the only camping trip that Troop 3, The Best has ever considered special.  We continue to participate in many Council sponsored activities such as camporees and Klondike Derbies.  We have enjoyed and participated in several “MassJams” - jamborees that include Troops from all over Massachusetts and New England.   This event which occurs every four years, is generally held on Cape Cod at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds, and always proves to be a memorable experience.  If we’re not at a Council activity, we’re usually on at least one Troop activity per month.  Places that come to mind as to where the Troop has been over the last 25 years include Mt. Monadnock State Park in New Hampshire, Greenland State Park in New Hampshire, Plymouth State Forest and many historical sites in Plymouth, the State Park at the Quabbin Reservoir, Brimfield State Forest, Wah-Tut-Ca, the other Council camps (Lone Tree Scout Camp, Camp Onway) and other “special” locations.

Knots for a raft!

Many of our trips have been more local in nature to cut down on driving distances and allow Scouts that are participating in other activities to join us at some point on the camping trip.  Some of our more “local” camping trips have included such places as the Greater Lowell Sportsmen’s Club, East Boston Camps in Westford, Harold Parker State Forest in Andover, the YMCA camp in Dunstable, Townsend State Forest, and Camp 40 Acres in Wilmington.  As a Scout and even for many years as a Scoutmaster, our favorite local location though was always “Udot’s Field” in Dunstable.  Unfortunately, for us, this property has been sold and is no longer available.  Houses now sit where Scouts would occasionally bury dirty dishes!  Our favorite local place now seems to be the Bertozzi Wildlife Management Area along the banks of the Squannacook River in Groton.  This is the same place where eventual Eagle Scout, Rob Pitkin led the Troop in replacing a stone bench onto its foundation.  It was literally a slab of granite that easily weighed at least 1000 lbs.  This was no match though for Rob and crew.  This was also the location where our Junior Staff built a raft from scratch and tried to sail it down the river a few years ago.

We have also had the opportunity to go on a number of “Big Trips” over the years.  The first that I recall was a canoe trip down the Saco River in Maine during Memorial Day weekend on 1979 or ‘80.  We set up camp towards the end of each day, broke down the campsite in the morning and canoed all day.  By the time we reached our final destination, the black flies along the river were very content, courtesy of Troop 3.  We also provided entertainment for others on the river.  Several of our Scouts, led by daredevils Mike Teague and Bob Fillebrown decided to jump off a 30 foot bridge over the Saco River.  I think my heart jumped with them!

It would be several years before another big trip.  I loaded up my Datsun 610 with all the Troop gear, conned my brother Ron and 1 or 2 other drivers into providing transportation and we went to a campsite on the New Hampshire / Canadian border.  It was drizzling when we left Lowell but it was supposed to clear up.  It didn’t.   Given the fact that it was well into fall, the rain soon became ice crystals.  We managed to get the big canvas staff tent set up and a few of the Scout tents.  People were just so tired at this point that many just draped their tents over picnic tables, put down a ground cloth and went to sleep.  We awakened in the morning to find everything covered in ice and practically no burnable wood in the campsite.  We were supposed to climb a nearby mountain, but I don’t recall making it to the top.  Several Scouts took off on their own and managed to get lost.  After finally locating them, and getting everyone back to the campsite, we had already made the decision to bail out that afternoon, and had contacted our rides for the trip home before we even went up the mountain.  In hindsight, that turned out to be a very wise decision.  Maybe this swayed everyone not to take a big trip for several more years.

It would be 1987, April vacation, before we ventured forth to another long distance destination.  We chose to visit Washington D.C. with a tour guide, who just happened to be my brother Mel Tye.  Over the four day trip, we managed to visit so many sites, that we didn’t think there was anything left to see.  Everyone seemed to have a great time with many stories to tell.  The highlight of the trip though had to be our visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  This was one of the few times I can remember that everyone was actually in full, complete uniform.  It was very impressive when we placed the wreath on the Tomb with the military honor guard in their dress uniforms.  This was truly a trip to remember.

In 1990 (’91?), after about a year of preparation, Troop 3 went to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico with our older Scouts under the leadership of Asst. Scoutmasters:  Ken Bienstock and Gary Scott.  Everyone managed to come back safe and sound with many stories to tell.  The most notable story once again showed the resourcefulness of Troop 3 Scouts.  While traversing one of the mountains at Philmont, Chris Mills injured his knee and was unable to walk.  The Troop emptied two backpacks, divided supplies amongst the rest of our crew, lashed the two empty backpacks together and carried Chris down the mountain on their homemade stretcher to safety.  Troop 3 once again showed why it was called “The Best”.

In 1992, I had the opportunity to take the weeklong Wood Badge Training Course in New York.  Randomly being assigned to the “Eagle” patrol, and fulfilling all the requirements also seemed to make me feel as if I had redeemed myself for not having made it to Eagle Scout.  This course provided me with much insight into some of the things that could have been done better to help the Troop move forward.  Renewed with a new Scouting Spirit and Leadership skills, more adventures were planned.

In the mid ’90’s, Troop 3 went to a regional camporee held at Six Flags, New Jersey.  The focus was supposed to be on various merit badges, but the distractions of Six Flags won in the end.  This would be the only time when we tried to do this type of trip.

Whitewater Rafting

We entered a dry spell for “Big Trips” until 2003 came along.  The Troop went white water rafting on the Kennebec River in Maine with Moxie Outdoor Adventures.  It proved to be such a popular trip; we repeated it two years later in 2005.  On each of these trips we had several Scouts launched into the River.  On our second trip, we actually lost an entire raft.  Despite these mishaps, almost everyone agreed that these rafting trips were something very special.

A history of Troop 3 camping experiences would not be complete without mentioning summer camp at Wah-tut-ca Scout Reservation in Northwood, NH.  Over these last 25 years, many summers saw Troop 3 at Wah-tut-ca.  Volumes could be written just on our experiences at this one camp alone.  We have stayed in many of the sites and had a great time no matter where we were.  Many of our Scouts and leaders have worked on staff in a variety of capacities.  They have always brought much back to the Troop as a result of their Wah-Tut-Ca experiences.

WTCSR: Lifesaving Merit Badge

These Wah-tut-ca experiences combined with an active Troop 3 program and individual guts, determination, and persistence have transformed eighteen (and soon to be nineteen) Troop 3 Scouts into Troop 3 Eagle Scouts.  Their names are listed elsewhere in the program as well as the year in which they earned their Eagle badge.  Each Eagle project was a special Troop 3 experience in and of itself.  Each was a reflection of the character that lay beneath the surface of everyone of these special Scouts.  While many started on the trail to Eagle, myself included, only these few ever made it to the top.  They represent what it really means to be “The Best”.  They were able to take advantage of all that the Scouting program has to offer.  I prefer to see those that did not reach the rank of Eagle, not as “second best”, but as not having reached their full potential during their years of Scouting.  Many, after “graduating” from Scouting have incorporated their Scouting experiences into their lives and gone on to do many great things.

Just like my Scoutmaster, Harvey Strauss had many Asst. Scoutmasters and Troop Committee members who helped him along the way, so too have I.  Many of these Asst. Scoutmasters were Scouts first, often in Troop 3.  I am sure that I will have left many off the list that fall into these categories and for that, I apologize in advance.  Those that come to mind on the Troop Committee as I write this include (in no particular order):  Jeannine Teague, Isak & Chaya Perera, Bob and Joan Laferriere, Brendon Bailey, Ross & Ada Allen, Lillian Nadeau, Sue & Steve Price, Jackie & Dennis Mills, Karen & Tim Dellolio, Nancy Pitkin, Shirley Morrison, Neal & Maxine Berke, Diane & Ray Tremblay and the Committee Chair that has served the longest in this position during my tenure as Scoutmaster, Charlene Svenson.  In addition, her husband Charlie has often served as our special projects person especially when it came time to rebuild the Troop trailer.  Our current Committee (besides Charlene) includes Jim & Laurie Dubois, Brian Breckinridge, Renee Giroux, Gail Halligan, Phil Rogers, Kathy & Manuel Silva, Alison Laraba, Celeste Nadeau, Paige Philaphandeth, Denise Hall, and Gayle Tye.  Asst. Scoutmasters over the years include Rick Johnson, Rick Demers, Mike Teague, Ira Wolfe, Mark Ferman, Randy Schacht, Randy Allen, Ken Bienstock, Gary Scott, Ken Mills, Jay Moore, Bob Moore, Toby Carroll, Jon DeSousa, Jay Sickorez, Zeke Mermell, Brandon Berke, Matt Tremblay, Gerry Yaffa, Zach Hanson,  Nathan Felton, Keith Price, and currently Chris Garrahan, Bob Garrahan, and primary Asst. Scoutmaster, Ray Morrison.  I have also been fortunate to have many great junior leaders along the way as well, far too numerous to mention here, but their efforts have always been very much appreciated.  They are the ones that have really helped us to have a quality Troop.

I would be remiss though if I also didn’t acknowledge our current sponsor, St. Margaret’s Parish.  They were kind enough to take on this responsibility after Temple Beth El closed its doors in June of 2004 and merged with another Congregation in Andover.  When it merged, that also meant the end of sponsorship of the Temple Beth El Brotherhood, which took over in 1961.  Over the years as the Lowell Jewish community became smaller; Troop 3 became a more diverse neighborhood Troop.  The Troop Committee requested that the Troop remain in Lowell as a neighborhood troop instead of moving to Andover with the Temple. Fortunately, St Margaret’s was able to accommodate us.

Over the last twenty five years, many have come and gone in Troop 3, just as they did over the first 50 years.  Some of the old traditions have faded into memory and others have remained.  Newer traditions have been created like the “Hoover Club” and the “Order of Siam”.  Sponsors have changed and various leaders have changed as well as Troop Committees.  Merit badges and advancement requirements continue to change.  Even the uniform has changed over the years. One thing that has not changed though in all these years is the “message of Scouting” and its timeless values.  I feel as though I have truly been given a privilege to be involved in an organization that has turned so many boys into men of character.  Happy 75th - Troop 3, “The Best”

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