Scouting in city has 88-plus-year history

Published 9:08 am Saturday, February 20, 2010

Just when the Boy Scouts of America became a part of life for the youth in Albert Lea is now a somewhat elusive detail.

However, a news report found by Linda Evenson, librarian at the Freeborn County Historical Museum, does provide an indication as to when Scouting may have started in the city. This news report in early February 1922 said a local council was being organized to promote Scouting which had become a part of American life just 12 years earlier.

Listed as officers of this council were Albert Lea Postmaster C.H. Day, president; Arthur Speltz, vice president; Dr. Walter Lyon, secretary; Will Carlson, treasurer; and H.H. Hallin, scout commissioner. The purpose for this new group was to “promote Scout activities so that every boy in the city may enroll and receive the benefits.”

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In this same news report was an indication that a Boy Scout troop or two had already been organized in Albert Lea during the preceding year. The one group specifically mentioned was Troop 4, sponsored by Salem Lutheran Church.

Through the years since 1921-22 the local Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs have been involved with many activities and public service projects.

Also, during those same years, those Scouts and Cubs have been a part of several council organizations.

According to information found by Evenson in the museum’s archives, the local Scout troops and cub packs were part of the Cedar Valley Area Council by 1939. This council was based on Jackson, Martin, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower and Waseca counties. By 1950, this county alone formed the Shellrock Council. And in 1970, the area was part of the Faithful Beaver Council based on Freeborn, Faribault and Waseca counties.

Presently, regional Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts are part of the Twin Valley Council of Mankato. This council is divided into four districts — Great Bend, Sioux Trails, North Star and Southern Trails — and covers a large portion of south central Minnesota.

Freeborn County is part of the Southern Trails District, which also includes all of Mower County, a large part of Faribault County and the New Richland part of Waseca County.

Paula Nuessmeier of Blue Earth is the district executive of the Southern Trails part of the Twin Valley Council. She has furnished the following information about Scouting in Freeborn County.

The Cub Scout program is for boys in the first through fifth grades.

In Albert Lea are Pack 7 sponsored by Halverson PTA, Pack 72 sponsored by Grace Lutheran Church, and Pack 105 sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. Pack 11 in Alden is sponsored by Redeemer Lutheran Church, and Pack 14 is sponsored by First Lutheran Church of Glenville.

Boy Scouts is for boys in grades 6 through 12. At the present time there are two troops in Albert Lea. Troop 7 is sponsored by Halverson PTA, and Troop 105 is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. The American Legion in Alden sponsors Troop 11, and Troop 219 is sponsored by the First Baptist Church of Clarks Grove.

There are two specific scouting programs for boys and girls ages 14 to 20. Exploring is based on career exploring, while Venturing is high adventure based. In Albert Lea are the Police Explorers and Fire Explorers. Also in Albert Lea is a Venturing unit sponsored by the Eagles. The Alden Venturing unit is sponsored by the American Legion post.