Magazine Feature

DU-founded Boy Scout troop celebrates centennial

This past weekend, Boy Scout Troop 5, one of the nation’s oldest continually operating troops west of the Mississippi, celebrated its centennial at the University Hills United Methodist Church — just steps away from DU’s University Hall, where the troop met for almost 50 years.

The troop started in 1910 as a club for boys.  One of the principal founders was DU science Professor Ira E. Cutler.

Steve Fisher, associate professor and curator of Special Collections in Penrose Library, says Cutler had a rich history with DU and was involved in many University activities.

“Cutler trained students in DU’s ROTC, organized the University’s glee club and directed the choir at the University Park Methodist Episcopal Church,” Fisher says. “He even supervised the publication of the first edition of a book titled ‘Denver University College Songs.’”

And, according to Fisher, Cutler wrote the University of Denver alma mater, “Hail to Denver U.”

Ten decades later, the boys’ club that became Troop 5 honored its founders during its centennial with a daylong event that included old-fashioned games like hoop rolling, stilt walking and camp sing-alongs. The event also included an official Court of Honor to recognize Eagle Scouts.

One of the Eagle Scouts on hand at the event was current DU sophomore Riley Price. A member of Troop 5 since he was in fifth grade, Price, an International Studies major, attended the event to support the legacy of Troop 5.

“Being a Boy Scout definitely impacted my life in many ways because it taught me morals and ethical values that you don’t find in everyday life. It’s nice to be around people who share the same beliefs,” he says.

Price became an Eagle Scout two years ago after spearheading a service project that included covering graffiti and restoring city trash bins along a stretch of Federal Boulevard in Denver.

“Scouting was a big part of my life growing up and it instilled in me the importance of being part of a bigger community, instead of just sitting back,” he adds.

Current Troop 5 leader Scott Dory said community service has always been a part of Scouting history.

“Some of Troop 5’s earliest activities included pulling a fire cart up and down East Warren Avenue, spraying water at Observatory Park in the winter to create an ice rink and going camping at Diamond Joe Lake, now known as Wellshire Lake, at Colorado Boulevard and Hampden Avenue,” he says.

According to a proclamation issued by the city of Denver, Troop 5 served the University Park community by collecting peach pits and nut shells used in the manufacture of carbon for gas masks during World War I and through the sale of Liberty Bonds and war stamps. They collected milkweed floss in 1944 as a substitute for kapok used in life jackets and spent long hours in the victory garden, located at the current South High School parking lot, to grow food for the neighborhood and “augment the nation’s food supply.” The proclamation was sponsored by District 6 City Council member Charlie Brown.

Recent projects included replacing a rotted boardwalk at the Littleton Historical Museum, working to stop erosion and overgrowth on federal forestlands, replacing a bridge and building a Mother’s Day garden at University Park United Methodist Church, Dory says.

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