HISTORY OF THE FIRST TWENTY-FIVE YEARS
OF SERVICE TO THE BOYS OF TROOP 65
(1951 - 1976)
Boy Scout Troop 65 had its beginning when Mel Brockman agreed to be the Scoutmaster and seven boys decided to give Scouting a chance. This was March of 1951. In those first few months, the members of Troop 65 started a tradition that has remained throughout the years.
They were going to meet new people and have a lot of fun at the same time. They would also live up to the ideals that Scouting has set fourth. But the Troop tradition took place when scouts: Jim Crosby, Bill Stanek, Tom Brockman, Paul Del Favero, Butch De Hooge, Kurt Ulrich, Ed Clark, and Jerry Wolf went on a hike. The trip to Salt Creek was the first activity that the Scouts took. The day was rainy, windy, and cold to make a hike a real challenge. The rain has followed Troop 65 ever since.
The boys were cold, so a fire was to be made. There were a few problems to contend with. The wood was wet, but that wasn't the hardest to cope with. All of the boys were new at the outdoor tricks and did not know how to start a fire. They eventually got it started and kept warm. This was just the beginning of a great Troop.
A few months later the Scouts were ready for more outdoor and adventurous activities. Now they were ready for an overnight. Scouting had become more popular as more Scouts had joined the unit. The troop did not have any tents, so they called upon the help of fellow Scouts. Troop 683 of Bensenville came to our rescue by loaning our Troop the needed tents for the weekend. After this campout, the Troops made their initial investment, the purchase of three“Canadian Bell” tents. The price of these tents was $100. The troop still owns and uses these tents quite often. (ed. note: As of 1979)
In June of 1951, the Troop was presented its initial charter. The Troop was sponsored by the Church of the Holy Ghost in Wood Dale, and Father Wagner said a Mass commemorating this event. Also at this time Mr. Tony Langfeld was installed as Assistant Scoutmaster while Ken Lehman became a Committee member.
Camping became a big part of Troop 65 as time went on. In the summer of 1951, the boys were invited to spend a week camping. The invitation was from The Kenosha Scout Council to attend camp Oh-Da-Ko-Ta near Racine, Wisconsin. Going away for the summer has become an annual event for the members of the Troop, and everyone looks forward to the time to leave.
Many activities followed for the young Troop. One annual event to raise money was the paper drive. The money was used to help defray the Troop expense and additional equipment. Ed Adams is the man to thank for making sure the boys had a box car to put the papers in regardless of how miserable the weather was. And the rain has played an active part with the paper drives, making its usual appearance.
In 1954, the Explorer Scouts of Crew 65 had a beginning. Don Malcome their crew chief, led his crew to a victory in the Klondike Derby. The crew consisted of Jim White, John Sandberg, Tom Adams, Leo Brewer, Pat Anallo, Don Malcome Jr., and their advisor was Dick Lucas.
In 1954, Troop 65 received a new Scoutmaster, Mel Brockman handed the leadership to his assistant, Tony Langfeld. Tony's first hand at a summer trip was as a return to Camp Oh-Da-Ko-Ta. This was in 1955, and the trip was just as much fun as the first and the Troop was still getting larger.
Troop 65's Emergency Service unit was put to its initial test in 1956. Within thirty minutes, twenty three Scouts and Leaders were assembled to search for Tom Wiley's four year old son. The boy became lost in the woods south of Deerpath Road. Tony Langfeld found the lad, being protected by the family dog “Queenie.” They were found near Third Avenue.
Don Malcome Sr. and Mel Brockman took the Troop on their first week long canoe trip. It was Council Canoe Base: Region Seven in 1956. Those braving the challenge were Don Malcome, Bob Malcome, Tom Brockman, Norm Wallis, John Sanders, Joe Sinchneus, Flip Anello, John Rosello, and Jerry Risting. The trip was an adventure right from the beginning.
As the Motto states, a Scout is always prepared and Jerry Risting was. His first aid was needed to get the Malcome Chevrolet back on the road so they could learn how to handle canoes. Everyone learned quickly how to work the canoes, especially Don Malcome and Mel Brockman. They found out the hard way that they both couldn't take two hard “J” strokes on the same side at the same time, as they fell overboard in the process.
Also in 1956, Troop 65 had a big accomplishment when two Scouts received the highest award in Scouts. Don Malcome and Tom Brockman reached the plateau of Eagle Scout. Troop 65 has had 18 more reach that plateau since that time.
In 1957, the Boy Scout training showed its importance. A Holy Ghost school bus was rammed from behind by a steel truck, and many students were injured. One girl lost her life.
Eighth grader George Roberts, the youngest Eagle Scout from Troop 65, was on board at the time. George took command of the entire situation, something his Scout training told him he had to do. Mrs. Kaspari, a registered nurse, stated that she arrived at the accident to find the Scouts had taken over and George had notified the proper authorities in the correct manner. The Scouts had treated the students for shock, while George said a prayer for the dead girl. This was a tragedy that the Scouts handled as they are expected to.
In 1959, the Troop brought in their third Scoutmaster by the name of Ed Cosick. Like his predecessor, Ed took his Scouts to Camp Oh-Da-Ko-Ta. The camp left a good impression on the Scouts of Troop 65 as they elected to return a fourth time in 1960.
1962 brought a new group of adventuresome Scouts to the Wisconsin Waters of Region Seven. It also brought a new man to the helm of Scoutmaster. Bob Steffke was the lucky fourth Scoutmaster.
In 1963, Jerry Risting took over the position as Scoutmaster, which he's held ever since. (ed. note: As of 1976.) Uncle Sam called upon Jerry's services, so John Zweifer volunteered to take over position of Scoutmaster until Jerry returned from the service. (ed. note: From starting date and "term of office" given for Jerry Risting and the starting date of the following Scoutmaster (Jack Froehling), it appears John Zweifer assumed the duties of Scoutmaster, but never actually registered in that position.)
Du Page Council's summer camp was the place for the Troop's summer event for 1964, 1965, and 1966. The Scouts had fun at camp, but they were becoming tired of this. They wanted something with more of a challenge. They discussed the possibility of seeing the country. This was the biggest change in the Troop's history.
The change in summer activity occurred in 1967. Until this time the Troop had been going to council run trips. They wanted to see the country their own way.
The first destination and goal was the Grand Canyon. They didn't want to see the Canyon like most people driving to the South Rim and looking down at its beauty. But they wanted to see the real beauty that the Canyon offers from the inside.
But hiking in the heat isn't too much fun for two weeks, so other plans were to be made. They decided to let animals do the walking for them and see more of the Canyon. The animal power came from horses and mules. This was another new and exciting first for the boys of Troop 65.
But getting to the Grand Canyon entails a lot of money which most Scouts don't have. So the mothers were organized to form the Historical Horizons for Youth (HHY). The club had fund drives to earn money to send the Scouts around the country. This was just the beginning.
The winter of 1968 was another first when the boys invaded Four LakesVillage in Lisle. They were all armed and ready for any obstacle place in front of them. They conquered the tow rope, fallen people, and the fence at the end of the run.
This was the Troop's first effort at snow skiing, and everyone ended the day wondering why they were skiing. They all answered that question and wanted to know when they would ski again. Ever since that cold winter day, Troop 65 has spent a day on the local ski slope.
The trip that summer was to Akers, Missouri and that wild Current River. The river was fast and quite a challenge. Only three canoes turned over– that was good for a laugh.
The highlights traveling to and from Akers, Missouri were a stop at LincolnNew Park, Meramec Caverns, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and the various points in Springfield. The main highlight was a tour through Bat Cave. It was found while canoeing and we decided to take a hike. The cave was exciting, because we all felt like explorers.
In 1969, the Mothers hit the funds to send their Scouts to Glacier National Park in Montana. The train ride was a lot of fun and relaxing. Again, the Troop would really see what the National Park had to offer. We spent six days in the back country with the wild animals.
Another first for Troop 65 was a snowball fight on July 31 heading up to Granite Park Chalet. Also for this trip, the Troop ate all their meals in restaurants to eliminate the time to cook and the weight of cooking gear. The Scouts also tired of fishing and swimming in the crystal clear glacier water. The Scouts didn't have much luck in either one as the water was quite cold and the fish couldn't care less about the worms.
Isle Royal Michigan was the next stop on the discover America plan of Troop 65. This destination was decided by the Scouts in 1970. The trip had many problems on the arrangements. The Scouts were to reach the island by noon, but finally arrived at 5:00 PM. That was the beginning as more things went wrong.
The good points for the trip were a seaplane ride to and from the island and the great cooperation between all those taking part.
Also Troop 65 started their survival trip in 1971. The Scouts were allowed to take anything they wanted; so long as it weighed under three pounds. Then with their Scout training they would live off the land. Everyone had a good time and no one starved.
A return to the Grand Canyon was in store in 1971. The group was almost entirely different except for a few of the leaders. The return trip was different from the first, as new things were to be seen.
The main objective of the trips was about to begin. The Troop would hike from rim to rim, something very few people ever think of doing. Along the way, Scout Pat Malick found a scorpion. On the last day it rained hiking back from the North rim. It was reported by Canyon officials to be the worst rain in years. Thanks to Troop 65 there wasn't a water shortage at the Grand Canyon for the rest of that year.
1972 was quite a different summer for trips. For all our other trips, motorized vehicles were used to transport our Scouts to their destination. But the mode of travel was by bicycle and the destination was placed 1253.7 miles away from Wood Dale. The journey was to Jacksonville, Florida.
The journey was a gruel and well worth the effort. The main highlights were the steep Smokey Mountains, the Southern hospitality, and Cape Kennedy. The Scouts were treated as royalty as they received numerous keys to cities and countless compliments.
The Scouts were celebrities as they were live on radio back to the Chicagoarea on WIVS of Crystal Lake. They were also on television and radio and numerous newspaper articles were written up in the Wood Dale area. The Scouts were ambassadors of good will from Wood Dale to everyone along the way.
The Scouts had a couple more firsts at the end of the trip. They flew back from Jacksonville on a big jet. Also they found out they had just completed the longest bicycle trip in the history of the Boy Scouts of America. Finally, the Boy Scouts had a warm welcoming party when they arrived home after thirty days on the road.
In 1973 there was a return to Missouri and the Current River. The river was just as wild as the first time and to the new adventurers, quite a challenge. The trip was going to be run the same way, until weather changed for the worse. It started to rain as usual for Troop 65, but this one wasn't going to stop. It started at 8:00 PM and didn't stop until 4:00 AM the next morning. In the process, there was a flash flood. The river rose seventeen feet in that short of a time. Unfortunately for the Troop, they were camped only twelve feet above the river. This caused a camp evacuation at 2:00 AM. Everyone was moved to safety with only a small amount of equipment.
But the rain made the already wild river even wilder, and too dangerous for our Scouts. A new plan had to be made, and it was decided to take the Jack's Forks River instead. This river was a little calmer and slower than the flooded Current River.
During the evacuation, the Scouts' teamwork and training turned the flood into a harmless discomfort. Without everyone's cooperation, it could have been a real disaster.
After this canoe trip, the Troop decided to go afloat. They made the purchase of six canoes. Troop 65 can be more independent with their own canoes.
Another bike trip was in store for 1974, but this time La Crosse, Wisconsinto Wood Dale, Illinois was the route. To make the trip complete, Troop 65 brought along their rainmakers as it rained most of the time to make bicycling miserable. This trip was a lot of fun for all that went as they bicycled an old railroad bed complete three tunnels.
They also met a lot of people and really saw how people live in small towns. They also spent a day in an old European village – New Glaris. After the trip it was decided bike trips are more fun if they bicycle away from home.
In 1975, Glacier Park was to be revisited, but they didn't know how they would get there, because the Historical Horizons for Youth was disbanded. (ed. note: HHY became active again at some point after this was written.) The Troop looked into the trains, planes and any other commercial way to get their Scouts to Montana. To no avail, they were all too expensive.
Troop Committee member Robert Sample found the answer. They would buy their own school bus. A lot of debate went into the decision, because they didn't know if this would be a wise decision or investment. The answers all turn out to be yes, and Troop 65 purchased the bus and named it “The Blue Flash.” The few bugs were worked out of the bus before they left, and they had no trouble on the way to Glacier.
This trip was similar to the first one, but more things would be seen. They took hikes to the Many Glaciers and St. Mary's Lake areas. The hikes were very long, but they were good because the gear was left behind at camp.
The glaciers were huge and well worth the effort to get there. The friends and guest books were still at the Chalet just like the first visit.
This year (ed. note: 1976.) Troop 65 will try once more to conquer the Current River in Missouri. Let's hope the rain stays away for that week. In 1977 Troop 65 will be on their way to Florida again, but this time by the Blue Flash. The plans are to spend a few days at Disneyworldand to make this trip a nice relaxing vacation for a change.
Troop 65 has been a good Troop and everyone leaves with a good feeling and a better person. The Troop is always lucky to still have some of the original members around. Mel Brockman and Tony Langfeld are still members of the Troop Committee. Bill Stanek has two sons in the Troop at the present time, and many more Scouts will pass through the doors of Troop 65 and become better men because of their methods and ideals.