Honesdale’s Boy Scout Troop 1 is celebrating a century.

“We are one of the oldest troops in the country,” said Scoutmaster Mike Jurkowski, involved in scouting 17 years.

Honesdale’s Boy Scout Troop 1 is celebrating a century.
“We are one of the oldest troops in the country,” said Scoutmaster Mike Jurkowski, involved in scouting 17 years.
A 72-year member of Troop 1 and former scoutmaster, Dick Kreitner said, “Our national troop number is one, which is a big deal. Every troop in the National Council has a number and ours is one ... We’ve been continually registered since (May 24) 1911.”
Troop 1 has been faithfully sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of Honesdale since 1963. Prior to that, the troop has been sponsored by: Grace Episcopal Church, Honesdale Lion’s Club, Honesdale Area Jaycees, and a group of concerned citizens.   
Currently 45 members strong, scouts hail from Honesdale, Hawley, Damascus and Forest City.
Setting the bar high for the scouts involved, Jurkowski said, “If we expect high standards of our youth, we’re going to get those high standards.
“Our goal is that [the scouts] develop into men of good character. We try to teach them servant leadership, giving back to their community and others. They’re going to be trustworthy. They’re going to be men of their word, and honorable,” Jurkowski said.
It’s all spelled out in the Scout’s Law, Kreitner said. “The Scout’s Law is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. And they follow it.” Every day.
“One of their requirements for every advancement in rank is to demonstrate how they live by that in their daily life,” Jurkowski said.
The Scout’s Law is brought up every week. “And they live by that. We live by that, even as adults,” Kreitner said.
How do they know that scouting works?
Scouting transforms people, Jurkowski said. “When they come in as a new scout, they’re usually about 10 1/2 to 11 years-old. When they leave, they’re 18. So, all of those teen, formative years, when all of that growing and all of that awkward boy stuff is going on, we get to see them growing up into fine young men during that time.”
Since 1911, Troop 1 has produced 76 Eagle Scouts, the highest ranking scout. “About 4 percent of the scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout,” Jurkowski explained.
Senior Patrol Leader Ezra Smith, the son of Mark and Sheela Porter Smith of Honesdale, 17, has participated in scouts for the past six years.
An Eagle Scout since September, the likable teen admits there was a time he almost quit. But he hung in there and obtained the ultimate scouting goal. 
To someone considering scouting, Smith says, “I encourage them to try it out, come to a meeting. If you’re on the fence, become a new scout. You’ve got nothing to lose.
“Pay attention to the people that will let you into the group, and people that are inclusive, because they’re the people that really represent what the program is all about,” Smith said.
Rex Schweighofer, the son of Brenda and Dean Schweighofer of Rileyville, is troop scribe. Involved in scouting for three years, his favorite part is camping.
Any camp outing he can be part of, he signs up. “You’re on your own with your friends. It’s not, I don’t know how to say this: Sissy. It’s not your mom telling you to pick up your things and do all your stuff. You’re on your own.”
That’s who a scout is, says Kreitner, “self sufficient.”            
Troop 1 kicks off their birthday celebration with a public, non-denominational church service on Scout Day, Tuesday, Feb. 8, at the First Presbyterian Church of Honesdale, 7-10 p.m.

Upcoming events

• Troop 1 is holding an Non-denominational church service at the First Presbyterian Church on 10th Street in Honesdale, on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 7-10 p.m. February 8 marks Scout Day.
• Troop 1 Recognition/reunion dinner is being held on Saturday, Nov. 19, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Ladore Conference Center.
• Troop 1 and Wayne Bank are sponsoring a Spirit of Scouting Award, accepting nominations/essays describing Wayne County residents who exemplify the Scout’s Law. Essay deadline is June 1. The scouts will determine the winning 12 entries.
• Wayne County Historical Society will feature a Scouting Display in Spring.