Troop 325 is an exciting place to be. It is not unusual for Scouts to sign up as adult leaders once they turn 18. It is not unusual for parents to continue working with the troop long after their sons have gone off to college. It is not unusual for our Scouts to develop a lifelong love for nature, camping, backpacking, cycling or rock climbing after experiencing our program. It is not unusual for our committee to organize several exciting social gatherings throughout the year.
I am proud to be the Scoutmaster of such a fine unit. Check back in another 25 years and you'll still find me here!
John Combs Scoutmaster Troop 325
In 1976 Rick Eppley was asked to come on board to carry out an extensive summer cycling program. His cycling program was so good that it (and Rick) has been a staple of the troop ever since.
In 1978 Scoutmaster John S. Combs appointed his son John as Scoutmaster. Since John was only 18 he could only serve unofficially in this capacity until he turned 21. John's goal was simple: if it isn't fun then it isn't Scouting. With this philosophy in mind, John began an indoor and outdoor program to attract new Scouts and provide opportunities to challenge them. An ember was beginning to glow.
In July 1983 the troop kicked off its high adventure program with a trip to Smoky Mountain National Park. The trip included hiking, backpacking, sightseeing and whitewater rafting. The troop has had high adventure trips every year since. Other trips in the '80s include the Aircraft Carrier Yorktown in South Carolina, backpacking, mule riding and rafting at Grand Canyon N.P., a backpacking trip at Rocky Mountain N.P., a citizenship trip through the eastern states including Washington D.C., a backpacking trip at Philmont Scout Ranch and a sailing/snorkeling trip at the Florida Sea Base. Scouts earned money for these trips by selling subs, wreaths, candy and popcorn.
As the decade draws to a close, Scoutmaster John created the Eagle Eye Opener a newsletter for Troop 325 Eagle Scout alumni. It is designed to keep Eagle alumni informed on troop happenings as well as keeping track of them.
The troop's outdoor program continues to flourish. Each year finds them camping at least once a month, having dozens of 25 and 50 mile cycling trips, attending summer camp and participating in a fantastic high adventure program. High adventure in the '90s includes hiking and rafting in Smoky Mountain N.P., a 250 mile cycling trek though upper Peninsula Michigan and Canada, two sailing/snorkeling trips at the Florida Sea Base, a backpacking trip at Philmont Scout Ranch, a 50 mile canoe trip at Charles L. Sommers Canoe Base and a cycling trek in Indiana. The 1997 trip will be SCUBA diving in the Florida Keys.
The troop was also well cared for by benefactors in the '90s. The Northmont Rotary Club shared in the expense of a troop trailer including custom painting. The members of the club made personal donations that enabled the troop to purchase new equipment. One member even donated a PC 386 computer system for use in tracking advancement. Happy Corner Church donated used computer furniture for this computer equipment. G.T.E. provided funding for new Eureka Timberline tents, camping equipment, storage shelves and cabinets. G.T.E. also donated a 1987 12 passenger Chevy van. Dayton Stencil donated custom lettering and logos for the sides of the van. Cargil made a financial donation which is used to assist Scouts who cannot afford to attend camping trips. Happy Corner Church designated a small section of their land for the troop to use for their program. This included a picnic table and fire ring. The church also gave permission for the troop to store its van and trailer in a garage of a neighboring rental property they own.
The troop also had custom T-shirts and sweatshirts made for its members. Almost every member owns a troop T-shirt and this has become standard attire for troop meetings and camping trips.
In 1995 the troop began mailing out a monthly color newsletter. This has helped greatly in communicating the program to the parents. We also created a web site on the Internet to communicate with other troops as well as the world. Our goal is to make this the best troop web site in the United States. The troop also purchased a laptop computer to record advancement, dues, Scout accounts and attendance.
In March of 1996 the troop finally got its Venture program off the ground.
Three to four Venture families are responsible for making a three month
Venture program happen. In the spring the Scouts became astronomy experts
through the Dayton Museum of Natural History. In the summer and fall the
Scouts learned rock climbing and practiced their skills at indoor rock
climbing centers and favorite outdoor spots. Currently Scouts are sharpening
their skills at downhill skiing. The Venture program has challenged older
boys as well as creating dreams for younger ones.
2000 started off with a bang. The troop lost its meeting room in the basement of Happy Corner Church due to an implementation of a Friday night youth center. After some negotiation between John S. Combs and the church, the church let the troop use a room upstairs. Although the new room was one third smaller, the troop would have exclusive usage. Rolling up their shirt sleeves, parents and Scouts spent hundreds of hours refurbishing the area. The old carpet was removed and walls, floors and ceilings were painted. An automatic outdoor light was added, coat rack and plexiglass window shields installed, bulletin and marker boards hung and outdoor landscaping completed. The icing on the cake was a six foot tall three color BSA emblem painted high on the meeting room's wall.
On May 28 Troop 325 lost one of its finest members, John S. Combs. After bravely battling cancer and leukemia for several years, the Lord finally called him home. Unfortunately, John passed away one week before the troop's 25th anniversary.
The troop also held its 25th anniversary in June 2000. The celebration spanned two days and was well attended by Eagle Scout alumni. Friday night was a campout and bonfire at Centennial Park. Scout skills such as building a monkey bridge, Dutch oven cooking and rappelling were held Saturday morning. A one pitch softball tournament was held Saturday afternoon. A special Court of Honor was held Saturday evening. It featured a catered dinner, door prizes, guest speaker, a slide show summarizing the past 25 years and adult recognition awards. It was attended by the troop's first Scoutmaster Billy Subler and over half of the Eagle Scout alumni. Rilda Combs was presented a plaque which dedicated the troop's new meeting room to the dedication and memory of John S. Combs.
Since 2000 was a special year for the troop, John chose a special place for their high adventure trek, Alaska! Thirty-one people spent two weeks in the land of the midnight sun. They backpacked in Denali National Park and on the Johnson Pass Trail, rode the Alaska Railroad, slept in the Alaska Sealife Center, viewed puffins, sea lions, killer and humpback whales and sea otters during a boat cruise, saw caribou, grizzly bears, foxes and Dall sheep during a nine hour Denali NP bus tour, beach camped, dug for clams and much, much more.
In the fall of 2000, Ken Bonenberger installed two permanently mounted climbing systems in the meeting room. This gave the Scouts the opportunity to work on climbing, ascending and rescue skills.
In late fall of 2001, Ken Bonenberger and his crew built a 12x14 foot climbing wall in our meeting room.
In 2003 Assistant Scoutmaster Gerald Young started an annual yard sale fund raiser. In the first year it brought in $3,700 while the following year yielded $3,000. These were our biggest fund raisers to date.
In 2004, our 1987 Chevy Beauville van was really beginning to show its age. The troop committee decided to try to raise funds to purchase a late model replacement. It was decided to use the $6,700 yard sale funds as a start for the fund raising effort. An anonymous donor agreed to donate $10,000 if the troop could raise $2,500 on its on. The troop was able to raise over $3,500 including donations from the troop's Eagle alumni. The troop then used their funds to purchase a 2004 Chevy Econoline 15 passenger van! Hopefully, this will last us for the next 15-20 years.
In 2006, Committee Chairperson Jerry Amos and a loyal bunch of volunteers raised the roof of our shed fourteen inches to accommodate our (higher) troop van.
In 2007, Ken Bonenberger and a group of volunteers converted the church balcony into an indoor air rifle range.
In August of 2010, John M. Combs became the 50th Eagle Scout. See news article here.
On January 29, 2013 John Combs retired as Scoutmaster after 35 years. Troop 325 Eagle Scout Steve Carey took the reigns as Scoutmaster with Karl Harvey serving as Senior Assistant Scoutmaster.
National BSA outlawed the use of 15-passenger vans manufactured before 2005 due to lack of Electronic Stability Control. Therefore, on July 25, 2015 the troop sold its 2004 Chevy Econolineand began searching for a new one. On September 30, 2015 the troop purchased a 2014 15-passenger Chevrolet Express 3500.
On October 5, 2015 Steve Carey saw his first Eagle Scout. It was his son Daniel Carey.
Special thanks to Scoutmaster John Combs for writing the troop history.