Boy Scouts of America Troop 646 in Coweta is looking for new members to join its ranks. Assistant Scout Master Ken Elliott said the troop currently has three scouts, and in order to re-charter for the new year, there must be at least five scouts in the organization before January 1, 2020.
“If we don’t pick up at least two new scouts, the troop will unfortunately close,” Elliott said. “If Troop 656 closes, the only remaining option for Coweta boys would be a Broken Arrow troop.”
He added Coweta’s Cub Scout pack has already moved to Broken Arrow.
“It use to be we would get boys moving up from the Cub Scout Pack to the Boy Scouts, but we haven’t gotten that for several years,” Elliott noted. “They moved to the Broken Arrow Elks Lodge as a sponsoring organization, who also sponsors Broken Arrow Troop 999. A group of Webelos went to Troop 10 in Tulsa.
“Of those we see go to other troops as opposed to those who stay here (in Coweta), we kept a higher percentage of them until they were 18.”
Scout Master Dr. Randall Marrs said over the past 19 years, 85 Coweta Boy Scouts stayed with the program until they aged out. Of that number, an incredible 20 earned their Eagle Scout rank.
Marrs added the national average is two Eagle Scouts per 100 Boy Scouts.
The assistant scout master said Troop 646 is primarily looking for boys in 6th through 8th grades.
“We accept boys through the 12th grade, but realize that joining scouting after the 8th grade will not allow enough time for someone to reach the Eagle rank,” he said. “The Eagle rank is the highest ranking in Scouting and one that employers and the military look for in interviews.”
Those having earned the Eagle rank automatically get an extra stripe when entering the military.
This year, the re-charter fee increased from $45 to $72 for a boy and from $45 to $48 for adults. That fee includes both national and local fees.
“Sometimes the fees keep a boy from joining,” Elliott said. “We passed out dozens of applications during Fall Festival, and either the kids don’t tell their parents or the parents say, ‘We don’t have time for that.’”
Elliott, who has been involved with scouting at all levels for 23 years, said Boy Scout Troop 646 has been chartered for 19 years. The troop meets every Monday at 7 p.m. at American Legion Post 226 in Coweta — its sponsoring organization.
“There are future generations that want to be in the troop because their parent was in the troop. It’s a legacy of almost 20 years,” he explained. “But we also have to have leaders. Including Dr. Marrs, Troop 646 only has three non-parental leaders. Sometimes when a boy joins, you get that parental leader, and sometimes you don’t.”
Elliott said at the council level in Tulsa, Boy Scouts have lost about half of their membership in the last five years.
“It’s not the same world it was 20 years ago,” he reminded. “There is much more to keep those boys’ attention now, and the parents don’t force them to do what’s better for them.”
The clock is ticking. Anyone who is interested in participating in Coweta Boy Scouts is urged to contact Elliott at 918-281-9961 or instant message him on Facebook.