Boy Scout Troop No. 114 serves as Governor’s Honor Guard

A contingent of Boy Scouts prepares to raise an American flag on June 26 on Mackinac Island. (Courtesy photo)

A contingent of Boy Scouts prepares to raise an American flag on June 26 on Mackinac Island. (Courtesy photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Answering questions for tourists. Completing service projects. Flag duty. These are just some of the responsibilities Scouts fulfill as part of Boy Scout Troop No. 114’s week at Mackinac Island Scout Service Camp serving as the Governor’s Honor Guard.

For each of the past 40 years, Boy Scout Troop No. 114 has taken Scouts for a week-long stint on Mackinac Island as part of the Honor Guard. While 40 years isn’t the longest consecutive stretch of time for any one troop to participate, Troop No. 114 is among the veteran organizations.

“It really is an honor to be selected,” said Jim Williams, Troop No. 114 Scoutmaster for Mackinac Island. “We’re one of seven Boy Scout troops in the state that get to participate. There are seven Boy Scout and seven Girl Scout troops selected each year — we have to apply each year.”

This photo of Boy Scout Troop No. 114 is from 1978, the first year the troop served as the Governor's Honor Guard. Scoutmaster Dr. A. Duane Addleman is in the back row to the right of the post. (Courtesy photo)

This photo of Boy Scout Troop No. 114 is from 1978, the first year the troop served as the Governor’s Honor Guard. Scoutmaster Dr. A. Duane Addleman is in the back row to the right of the post. (Courtesy photo)

Each chosen troop serves for one week, alternating between Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts throughout the summer. Being invited back for another year is never a guarantee, Williams noted, and is based in part on the behavior of the boys while on the island and the quality of the work they do.

In addition to the year-round members of Troop No. 114, Honor Guard participants include boys from troops located around the state. While in the Honor Guard, all the boys are considered part of Troop No. 114. The group of 60 Scouts is divided into four patrols.

Each patrol serves shifts of “guide duty,” when the Scouts are required to stand at various points throughout Fort Mackinac and the downtown area to help tourists and answer questions; completes a service project benefiting the state park; and takes a turn at K.P. — kitchen patrol — to help feed the rest of the troop.

In addition, the troop raises and lowers the flags on the island — in unison — each morning and evening. The largest flag, which flies over the fort, requires several boys, including a few who stand under it, bent over to hold it up with their backs while other Scouts fold it.

Pictured, Big Rapids Boy Scout Troop No. 114 arrives on Mackinac Island in June 1982. Dr. Ells is in the lead. (Courtesy photo)

Pictured, Big Rapids Boy Scout Troop No. 114 arrives on Mackinac Island in June 1982. Dr. Ells is in the lead. (Courtesy photo)

Troop No. 114 first served as part of the Governor’s Honor Guard under the leadership of Scoutmaster Dr. Duane Addleman, who recently passed away. The troop dedicated its 40th year to him and there was an alumni get-together on the island on June 25.

Keith Hammel has served as an adult volunteer for 38 of the 40 years, and was one of the adults who helped the first year. He also was one of four men Dr. Addleman asked to visit the island the year before Troop No. 114 first applied to find out more about the opportunity.

“I would really say it’s an educational experience the Scouts get,” Hammel said. “Not everyone gets to be involved like that. This is a great opportunity, at least for a week, to have a large number of boys be involved.

“This was good foresight on Dr. Addleman’s part. From the standpoint of the experience of the Scouts, they get to work in a historic setting and learn to deal with the public.”

The work involved with participating in the Honor Guard begins long before the bus leaves town. Scouts have to apply for a spot in the Honor Guard and participate in three “shakedowns,” or training sessions, before departure. They have to learn about the island’s history and be able to answer questions ranging from the historical importance of Fort Mackinac to where the nearest restroom is, should a tourist ask.

Boy Scout Troop No. 114 members push their bikes up Fort Street on Mackinac Island in 2012. (Courtesy photo)

Boy Scout Troop No. 114 members push their bikes up Fort Street on Mackinac Island in 2012. (Courtesy photo)

“The Scouts meet people from all over the world,” said Assistant Scoutmaster Jim Lindsey. “It’s always neat, watching foreign-language speakers interact with the boys, and it happens every day.”

It’s not all work and no play, however. Each Scout has an assigned duty shift for the day, but once work is complete, he’s able to explore the island with friends or sign up to go downtown with one of the adult leaders in the afternoon.

“There’s an esprit de corps, being part of something bigger than themselves,” Williams said.

The experience allows Scouts to utilize the skills they’ve learned, said Jim Perialas, the adult leader in charge of Patrol 2.

“The boys learn leadership in their weekly Boy Scout meetings,” Perialas said. “Scouts gain leadership training in Boy Scouts and Mackinac Island puts that to the test. For some, it might be their first taste of, ‘Somebody is relying on me.’ It’s a sense of responsibility.

“The adults of this troop do a good job of handing the troop over to the boys and letting them lead. The younger boys see that if they do things the right way, they might be given a leadership role.”

The overall idea is to keep the tradition going, he noted.

“The goal is to promote leadership so these kids can continue to have this opportunity and provide this legacy to Troop No. 114 beyond this first 40 years,” Perialas said.

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Posted by Candy Allan

Candy is the Pioneer's associate editor. She also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Parenting pages. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at callan@pioneergroup.com.

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