The ability of our organization to sustain itself depends not only on recruitment and the quality of our programs, but also on the commitment of our great volunteer force to keep our Scouting units alive and active. Sometimes it takes the efforts of just one person to make a difference in terms of whether a unit continues or folds.
Thanks to people like Harry Heckler, Jr., Troop 3 of Ambler, Penn., is alive and well and recently celebrated 100 years of service to the community — but achieving that milestone was a close call.
In 2008, Troop 3 had been without a Scoutmaster for two years, and attendance was dwindling. The troop had just finished preparing a letter to their council indicating that the organization was shutting down. That’s when Harry stepped in and volunteered to serve as Scoutmaster.
Even though his son was still too young to join the troop, Harry’s heritage with Troop 3 was an important motivator in bringing the unit back to life. His grandfather was a charter member of Troop 3 in 1915, and his great-grandfather was the general contractor for the church where Troop 3 had been holding its meetings since 1920. And Harry is an Eagle Scout from his time with Troop 3 in the 1980s.
When Harry took over as Scoutmaster, there were no Scouts in Troop 3, but after inviting Cub Scouts from around the area to join the troop when they reached Boy Scout age and met the requirements, Troop 3 celebrated its centennial in May with 35 registered Scouts. What a remarkable turnaround!
I encourage you to read more about Harry’s accomplishments in this great feature story about Harry being named Ambler Gazette Citizen of the Month in June. It’s an inspiring account of how one person can rally others to bring Scouting to young people who otherwise may have missed out on many life-changing experiences with Troop 3.
Next on the troop agenda is a 2016 trip to Alaska. Way to go, Harry and all of the Troop 3 volunteers!