Sayre scouts

A group of Sayre scouts and an adult leader are pictured in this 1920’s-era photograph from a scrapbook owned by the late Kenneth Meade. “A History of Scouting in Sayre” will open Saturday, September 7 at the Sayre Historical Society. (Photograph courtesy of James Nobles)

SAYRE – A new exhibit that explores “A History of Scouting in Sayre” will open on Saturday, September 7 as part of History Fair at the Sayre Historical Society.

One of the first references to the scouting movement in Sayre occurred on August 16, 1911 when it was announced that scouts from Sayre would be joining a group of Boy Scouts from Elmira for “a jolly outing” to Sullivan’s Monument. Equipped with woolen blankets for an overnight trip and “a supply of green corn” for a corn roast, the scouts were going to learn about the famous battle between General Sullivan’s Continental Army and the Native Americans and British east of Elmira. The Star-Gazette article noted that this outing might be the last opportunity to see the structure due to the precarious condition of the old stone monument. The original monument collapsed days later following a windstorm on August 29, 1911.

The Sayre exhibit covers both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and highlights interesting events in the history of the scouting movement. The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910 and was based on a similar program begun in 1908 in England by Robert Baden-Powell. The Girl Scouts were founded in 1912 when Juliette Gordon-Low met Baden-Powell and started a movement in Savannah, Georgia. In 2017, the Boy Scouts announced that they would allow girls to join Cub Scouts and eventually be eligible to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

The new Sayre exhibit will include early photographs, newspaper articles and memorabilia such as scout books, canteens, backpacks, neckerchiefs, uniforms, badges and pennants. The historical society will continue to accept additional scout memorabilia to preserve and include in future displays.

Local names associated with the scouting movement include L.E. DeLaney, former teacher and superintendent of schools at Sayre, Dr. Donald Guthrie, Mrs. Cass Williams, Dr. Harry Fish, Albert Cryder, Edward Woodruff, Clair Daniels and more.

On July 30, 1948, sixteen-year-old Sidney Daniels of Sayre was awarded the Gold Medal for Life Saving Award from Boy Scouts for risking his life when another boy fell into the icy Packer Pond while ice-skating. He received the prestigious award in a ceremony in Howard Elmer Park.

Eagle Scout John Sargent of Troop 17 and Donald Mint performed an equally heroic act on January 25, 1967 when a seven-year-old Sayre boy fell into Island Pond and was rescued.

Other highlights include the opening of Brotan’s in Sayre as an outlet for scouting equipment in 1942. An advertisement in the Sayre Evening Times features an “official scouting hat” for 60 cents, a shirt for $2 and a knapsack for $2.35.

Longtime scouter Ed Woodruff was a member of Troop 6 in West Sayre when he received his Eagle Badge. Woodruff served 18 years as scoutmaster of Troop 18 in Sayre and later wrote a History of the General Sullivan Council and Camp Brule for his Wood Badge requirement. In a 1992 interview, Woodruff looked back over 60 years of scouting.

“A lot of things are hard to believe,” he said. “The first scout show we had was at the Sayre High School football field in about 1953, showing scouts working on merit badges. One of the boys was using a short wave radio, taking messages and building a radio set. My Lord, did we have a gathering of people to see that. It was beautiful. One of the best scout shows in the area.”

The exhibit will open on September 7 and run until December 22. Admission is free.

Upcoming events include History Under the Stars on Saturday, August 24 starting at 7 p.m. The event will feature music by Dr. Maria Sanphy and a history program on Howard Elmer Park by James Nobles. History Fair will be occurring on Saturday, September 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring history displays, re-enactors, live music and food. The Sayre Historical Society will also participate in an event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the World War I Dough Boy Monument on Saturday, September 14.

The Sayre Historical Society is an all-volunteer, non-profit historic preservation organization funded in part by the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.

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