About Troop 868
Scout Troop 868 traces its roots to a unit that originally began as Troop
848 in January 1999 with 5 scouts and 4 adult leaders. The initial
troop was sponsored by Saint Aloysius Catholic Church in Shepherdsville
and all the founding scouts and leaders were associated with the parish.
The troop did not remain isolated, however. From day one, the troop's goal was to serve not just the member families at St. Aloysius, but the whole community of Shepherdsville, a town of roughly 12,000 residents located about 16 miles south of Louisville.
With support from the professional staff at the Lincoln Heritage Council, who helped get the word out to the community by holding recruiting meetings at local elementary and middle schools, the unit immediately began attracting boys and parents from the community at large.
The troop's first weekend camping trip took place in February, 1999. It was held in a (supposedly) winterized shelter at the local Boy Scout camp. A light dusting of snow covered the ground. The drafty shelter provided a roof, a concrete floor, some old Army cots, a couple of picnic tables, and a much-cherished wood stove. It was huddled around the latter that the troop spent a good deal of this first outing! Not yet owning any equipment at all, meals were cooked in an electric skillet borrowed from the Scoutmaster's wife. But the outing was a great success and everyone came home smiling.
The troop's adult leaders decided it would be their goal to operate in a very "traditional" manner. They would be 100% uniformed, 100% Boys' Life, and have 100% trained leaders. The troop would conduct at least one outing every month --- no excuses. They would cook over wood fires whenever possible (no more electric skillets) and use canvas tents to reinforce knot-tying skills. Boy leaders would be sent to the Council-sponsored Junior Leader Training course. The troop would be boy run (but with as much adult involvement as necessary at the beginning to get it started in the right direction).
In less than a year, the troop more than tripled in membership. Today, the troop has three fully functioning patrols. The troop calendar and outings are planned by the Patrol Leaders' Council. Over 80% of our boys have at least one parent registered and actively participating as either a Scoutmaster or Troop Committee Member. Through various fund-raising efforts (supplemented by several generous donations from local businessmen), the troop managed to purchase unit flags, cookware, dining tarps, and tents in it's first year of operation! In it's second year, the unit acquired a used school bus. The bus allows the troop to travel safely as a group and eases the wear on leaders' personal vehicles.
During the third year of operation, and funded entirely by Scouts' fundraising, the troop was able to purchase a used Ryder 15-foot cargo van. The bus/truck combo allows the troop to move people and gear easily --- and safely --- to anywhere the Patrol Leaders' Council decides the troop will go!
In early 2004, a difference of opinion between scout parents and the priest who was then assigned to the parish resulted in the troop leaving St. Aloysius. Support for the move among scouts and their parents was unanimous and 100% of the active members (both youth and adults) transferred to the 'new' troop. In reality, only the sponsorship and unit number changed; the program continued without interruption and troop membership increased by more than 20% by the end of that year. Today, Troop 868 truly is a 'regional' troop whose current scouts live in three different counties and attend more than a dozen different schools!
Undoubtedly, the most important measure of a troop's success is the personal growth of the scouts --- boys learning, growing, and ultimately becoming leaders and teachers to others. Nearly all Troop 868 Scouts achieve the rank of First Class within their first year of membership and 100% of those who actively participate in troop outings advance in rank every year. On average, roughly 80% of our membership attends any given outing or troop function. Enthusiasm is high among both the scouts and their parents.
The troop produced it's first Eagle Scout in December, 2001; one month before the troop's third anniversary. A second boy earned his Eagle in July, 2002 and a third in December, 2002. The troop continues to produce Eagle Scouts at an average rate of 1~2 per year.
Troop 868 remains committed to delivering
the promise of Scouting to boys in and around Shepherdsville,