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Troop 1 Toasts 100 Years
Boy Scouts
By Ann Needle

    As Boy Scout Troop 1 Stow celebrated its 100th anniversary Saturday, reminders were everywhere of the role the organization has played in town. The 200 guests at the Collings Foundation gala included elected officials; former and current Scout leaders; Scouts and their parents and siblings; Troop 1 alumni; and even a celebrated guest with the middle name of his hometown.
    Gordon Stow Carvill, 84, journeyed from his present home in Colorado to celebrate Troop 1’s history of preparing hundreds of boys for leadership in Stow and beyond. Carvill is Troop 1’s oldest living Eagle Scout, and the third in Troop 1 history to earn that highest ranking in Boy Scouts.
    Recalling his days with Troop 1 — well before becoming a CPA and moving out West — Carvill offered a lesson in Scout values of perseverance and leadership.
    “In my first 18 months of Scouts, I didn’t even earn Second Class [ranking],” Carvill chuckled. But that changed when Scoutmaster Richard Herrick came on board, a man Carvill credited with motivating him to obtain Eagle ranking in 1944.
    Appropriately for the historic event, Carvill offered the crowd anecdotes of life growing up in the town named for his own ancestors in the 1700s. His mother, who passed away at 106, attended the West School. “Our high school graduating class was the magnificent total of 11,” coming from a town of only about 1,100, he recollected. And, there was what Carvill termed his most vivid memory, the 1938 hurricane, where a person standing on top of a hill “could lay against the wind.”
“Troop Awesome”
    Carvill is far from the only testimony to Troop 1’s ongoing success. There are many visible projects in Stow that were carried out by potential Eagle Scouts in their quest for the coveted ranking — new stairs at the town beach, road signs, a map to the Lower Village Cemetery, a video of the West School’s history, to name a few. Scouts of all ranks provide an array of services for Stow organizations, including assisting the Stow Lions Club with Christmas tree sales and conducting “work patrols” for elderly residents.
   On the leadership scale, JP Benoit and Gary Bernklow, Troop 1’s long-time scoutmasters, also earned their Eagles growing up in Stow and with the Troop; each has sons that are current members of Troop 1. And Hank Krantz, the Troop’s newest Eagle, is the Troop’s 60th young man to receive that award.
    The value of the Eagle rank was on display, when Bernklow held up a formal Boy Scout uniform shirt, containing the Troop 1 insignia. He explained that the shirt was found at a local rummage sale, together with the Eagle badge pinned to the front — something that triggered a few quiet gasps from the audience. Researching the shirt’s origins, Bernklow declared he had found the owner, Eagle Mike Wood, who was in the audience.
    Said an abashed Wood as he received the shirt from Bernklow, “This is what happens when a man moves out of his parents’ basement.”
     The families of Scouts in attendance Saturday night attested to the wide variety of skills they believe Troop 1 gave to their Scouts. Scout mom Barbara Piantedosi said that for her son Mike, “Leadership has been the number-one thing.” As Hank Krantz’s mother, Rachel, nodded in agreement, Piantedosi continued, “It builds so much self confidence, but I don’t think [the Scouts] see that.”
     But asked the same question, newly minted Eagle Mike Piantedosi pointed to “morals and character.” He also stressed the endless opportunities for fun that come with the adventures that are crafted to help build so many skills. 
    On display were tables of Scouting memorabilia — handbooks, campfire cooking kits, clothing, badges — dating back to Boy Scouting’s founding year of 1912. Two slide shows highlighted scenes from countless camping trips in the Stow Town Forest and around New England. There also were shots from the High Adventure trips that are taken every three years to distant camping areas such as Montana, Wyoming, and New Mexico. This summer, the Troop heads for California.
     Benoit and Bernklow outlined this history and its close connection to the town. Bernklow spoke of how the Troop was first sponsored by the Stow Civic Club (every Boy Scout troop must have a sponsor), then by the Lions starting in 1980, then by the newly formed Troop One Stow Alumni as of 2010.
     Troop 1’s success also is reflected in the many adult volunteers who no longer have sons active in the Troop — or, no sons at all. Take Ed Reverdy, an Eagle who, with three daughters, naturally never had sons in the Troop.
    “I loved Scouting when I was growing up,” said Reverdy. “My opportunity to give back is by being a merit badge counselor,” someone who advises Scouts as they fulfill requirements for a particular badge. “It thrills me to no end to see these boys grow up in the Troop,” he said.
    “We are the envy of many troops, with our members, our active alumni,” Benoit told Troop 1 and its fans on Saturday. “One of our youngest members said we are ‘Troop Awesome.’”