|Troop 49 evolved from a continued desire of the men at Back Creek Church to have a Boy Scout Troop. They had previously established Troop 93 in 1955 under the leadership of Mr. Jay Torrence and it had operated until the mid 60s. In 1968, several men decided it was time to restart Scouting at Back Creek and William Harding along with Lewis Helms, Jr. and Eugene Hodges,III filed for a charter. Troop 49 was established late in 1968. According to John McLaughlin a long time supporter, “Bill (Mr. Harding) was instrumental in getting the whole thing off the ground as he had a son that wanted to be in the troop. Without Bill the troop would not have succeeded.” We believe that Mr. Harding actually served as the first Scoutmaster and performed many other positions that first year. However, Robert Burrows, a previous Scoutmaster who moved into the Newell community from another Scout council, is listed as being the first official Scoutmaster on the first re-charter with Bill becoming the IR (institutional representative). Eugene Hodges, III became the second Scoutmaster, followed by Avery Fender, then Gerald Thompson. In 1972, Chip Wampler was recruited by John McLaughlin to be an Assistant Scoutmaster and shortly after became Scoutmaster. He has served in that position continually for over 31 years at this printing and is currently the senior serving Scoutmaster in Mecklenburg County.|
The Outdoor Program
Troop 49 began just like all troops, very humbly. In fact when Chip came to the troop, the unit owned one canvas tent. Chip had one from his days in Scouting and John loaned one he had. Chip, having been in a troop that did not have the most active camping program, wanted to ensure that troop 49 did. So with three tents, Chip’s 1964 Ford and John’s yellow LTD they would take off. Of course most of the time the destination was John’s land behind Gus Caldwell’s house. This camping spot was referred to as just “Gus’s”. The troop quickly established a monthly camping program. They soon branched out to places like King’s Mountain, Morrow Mountain, and other nearby state parks. This regular monthly camping program has expanded to include unique high adventure program. Having a strong outdoor camping program is the cornerstone that the troop has built its continued success on.
The High Adventure Program
Having established a solid monthly camping program, it was decided to step up some and establish an additional camping or adventure opportunity for the youth. In the late 70’s Chip, Carl Chapman, and Ellis Satterwhite took the troop for an extended camping trip consisting of “more than a weekend” to the Upper Cove Creek area in the Pisgah Forest. What followed the following year were a 25-mile Appalachian Trail trip, then a 50 miler AT trip, and then a 50-mile canoe trip on the New River. The summer high adventure program continued to grow and became an important part of the troop outdoor programs. In 1989 Troop 49 took its first Super Trip to the Grand Canyon where they performed a Rim to Rim to Rim hiking and camping trip. These “Super Trips” would replace the normal high adventure trip every couple of years. These Super Trips have included a week in Yosemite and California, a week to Yellowstone National Park, and trips to the Philmont National Scout Reservation. The leadership of Troop 49 believes that it’s outdoor program of regular monthly camping along with a high adventure program has been a key to their success.
Commitment to Summer Camp
As important as its outdoor program is Troop 49’s commitment to attending and participating in the Mecklenburg County Council’s Summer Camp Program. Since 1973, Troop 49 has not missed a year of sending youth to this weeklong camping experience and opportunity. Even after hiking the Grand Canyon or Philmont, Troop 49 would return to attend Camp Grimes. From the days of Camp Steere to the modern Camp Grimes, troop 49 feels that the Boy Scout Summer Camp is a must.
Commitment to Adult Leadership
The troop is very proud of the continued service of its Scoutmaster, Chip Wampler. For 31 consecutive years, he has provided consistent leadership and guidance, which has enabled Troop 49 to grown from a group of 7 youth to a troop of over 50 Scouts going from the Newell Community to places across America. His commitment to service, training and youth have been an example to other adult leaders in the troop. Today many have over 20 years of service, staying long after their sons have left the program. Raymond Coulter, Mark Chapman, Max Cooper, the late Ellis Satterwhite, Vernon Brewer, Tim O’Rourke, Jeff Worboys, John Brown and Barry Douthitt are being joined by new leaders like Tim Shaw, David McIntyre, Willy Rooker, Bob Kravchuk, Daren Seigler, Gerald Crump, and Ken Hilton. In addition to this is the commitment to adult training. Today’s Troop 49 leadership includes seven Silver Beavers and countless District Awards of Merit along with many 2, 3 and 4 bead Woodbadgers. Troop 49 has enabled 56 Scouts the opportunity to achieve the Eagle Award and countless others the opportunity to experience the out of doors in locations that many just dream about. The strength of its program is built around commitment to the standards of Scouting Program, the Outdoors and quality leadership.