As I sit here preparing for another adventure I cannot help but think back to the adventure I have been a part of since my son joined scouts. I have been able to make great friends from around the area, increase my level of leadership skills, and most importantly help guide tomorrows leaders. However, just over a year ago this adventure was at a crossroad with some decisions to be made related to the scouting family we were apart of and the direction of our scouts continued path. As a scouting family, there was a meeting held with parents and scouts with an ultimate decision being made to develop a new scouting troop in Shell Lake.
Now the work begins. Not only is there the paperwork associated with the creation of a new troop; there is also the need for funding and a charter. Initially this seemed to go very smooth; however, that was a short-lived honeymoon. Initially, the new troop was going to be chartered by the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Organization. Shortly after this contact was made and voted on the Charter fell apart due to a change in leadership. However, this opened the door for more of a local support and thinking outside of the box for the parents desiring to build this new troop. Enter Matt and Ben Dryden, local Shell Lake residents who were looking for a way to give back to the community.
After meeting with Matt and discussing what scouting means to these young Shell Lake youth as well as what the programming looked like Matt was interested. He discussed his desire to find ways to give back to the community he has been a part of. He asked for a little time to discuss this with his family and his brother Ben. In less than 24 hours Matt was happy to say that they were on board with chartering and supporting local youth engaged in the scouting movement. With this in place, all individuals began the process of moving forward and establishing the new scouting troop in Shell Lake. This unit soon came to be known as Troop 468, which seemed fitting given the location of the troop. The final detail that needed to be worked out was where the troop would meet. The troop is very thankful for the United Methodist Church who opened their doors and gave Troop 468 a location.
(Pictured Left to Right: Back Row: Matt Dryden, Isaiah McKelton, Anthony Stephanites, Lucas Arnes, Samuel Shelton, Drew Schultz. Front Row: Jonathan Lawrence, Archer Schultz. Not pictured: Nathan Whitmore, Miles Hoffman, Ben Dryden)
Matt has continued to support the troop in various ways. He is willing to meet with and help individual scouts if there is a need. He has been willing on several occasions to open up his business, The Body Shop, in Shell Lake for scouts to complete fitness-related goals. He has also offered different meeting locations such as a meeting on his barge for the youth. Matt has also engaged in the troop committee to help the troop come up with fundraising ideas and opportunities. Ben has offered opportunities through his company to help the troop get information on their activities out to the public. The end of November 2018 all of the hard work and dedication came to fruition when seven cub scouts from Pack 51 crossed over into Scouting BSA Starting Troop 468, and a past scout returned to scouting.
This group of young Shell Lake individuals has engaged in many different experiences from Tent Camping in December to exploring Copper Falls State Park to helping to make improvements in their community when asked. Since late 2018 they have built the new Cans for Kids recycling collection area at the Shell Lake School near the track, completed roadside clean-up around Little Long Lake while on a 5 mile hike, ran a geocaching station for Cub Scouts at Camp Phillips during a winter activity day, and helped with the set-up and collection of food for the Washburn County Food Shelf during the Scouting for food activity.
These young men continue to work to support their community, engage in outdoor activities and meetings on a monthly basis. They have been involved in various activities with scouts from around the country, most recently spending a week camping with Troop 612 out of Milwaukee.
Your Friend in Scouting