Scouting at Principia Supports Focus on Character
This year marks a century since the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) initiated its highest rank of Eagle Scout—to which Principia School has contributed at least 55 members, including three recent graduates David Ritter, Steven Hammond, and Conner Matusek, and senior Zacher Lewis.
The relationship between the School and the scouting movement dates back more than six decades, thanks to the active participation of parents and students alike. Adults supporting the School’s scouting activities appreciate the positive alignment between Principia’s founding principles and the vision of the worldwide Boy Scout movement, begun in 1907.
Longtime scout leader Bruce Bollinger (US’71, C’75), who is an Eagle Scout himself, notes important similarities between the organizations’ respective founders, Mary Kimball Morgan and Lt. Gen. Robert Baden-Powell. “Both were educators who knew how critical moral integrity is to the success of young people,” Bollinger points out. “Both had the vision of ‘whole man’ character development and knew the importance of experiential learning.”
A Principia School-sponsored Cub Scout pack was first chartered in 1950 under the stewardship of David K. Andrews, then principal of the Lower School at the Page and Belt campus. While BSA membership at Principia has varied over the years, more than 30 students from Lower, Middle, and Upper School were registered as Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts during this past school year.
Garrett, who just finished fifth grade, started out as a Tiger Cub in first grade and moved into the Boy Scout troop a few months ago, following in the footsteps of his brother, Dylan, who will be a freshman this fall. “I saw what a great experience my brother was having, so I wanted to join,” Garrett says. “I love how the older scouts include me and teach me fun stuff.” Indeed, scoutmaster Shannon Caldwell (US’86) has encouraged senior scouts to take the lead in mentoring and communicating with younger members as part of efforts to reinforce leadership, communication, and planning skills.
All that “fun stuff” Garrett was referring to includes weekly sessions on the School campus; the pinewood derby; regular campouts, including biking, backpacking, and canoe trips; and volunteering activities such as canned food drives, environmental cleanups, and even an annual pancake breakfast.