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By Mike Gill. Photos by Todd Martin and Mark Larson.

Can a boy described by some as a “lost cause” become an Eagle Scout? He can and did, says Cub Scout Pack leader Mark Larson.

calloutA young scout’s difficult home situation made fitting in with the other boys hard. Mark worked with the Scout Master of another troop to provide the structure this boy needed. The lost cause went on to be the senior patrol leader, an Eagle Scout, and an exceptional young man. Scouting has rules that everyone has to follow, but it serves individual needs as well.

Scouting at First Baptist Church

Boy Scouts have been meeting almost steadily at First Baptist Church since 1932, just a few decades after being organized in the United States.

Troup 443’s 18 youths, ages 11 to 17, participate in at least one adventure activity every month, ranging from hiking to canoeing. Assistant Scout Master Paul Kreckman describes them as a “high adventure troop.” Their annual trip to Camp T. Brady Saunders in Goochland County allows them to share their adventures with other scouts from the area.

Scouting at First Baptist ChurchMore than 30 first- through fifth-grade Cub Scouts experience outdoor fun with two organized camping trips per year. Just as the older scouts, they hone their leadership skills at regular meetings and eagerly anticipate annual events: the Pinewood Derby and the Blue and Gold Banquet.

The troop and pack are committed to giving back to the community, mainly concentrating its efforts on Northside and The Fan areas of Richmond, where most of the scouts live. In addition to those efforts, in 2012, their annual “Scouting for Food” event resulted in their collecting approximately 4,000 pounds of food for those in need throughout the city.

Scouting at First Baptist ChurchJohn Farmer serves as the Chartered Organizational Representative for the scouts, liaising between the troop and pack leaders and FBC. John has been involved in scouting since the 1940s. For him the most fulfilling thing about scouting is watching “the development of boys…some (participating) from age six to eighteen.” Last year an impressive six scouts in Troop 443 earned the prestigious distinction of Eagle Scout, the highest rank awarded by the Boy Scouts of America. John went on to explain that while some Scouting activities are timeless, such as swimming and forestry, “Scouting does an outstanding job of changing with the times,” remaining relevant for boys whatever the decade, or century.

Scouting at First Baptist ChurchSo, how can FBC members support Troop 443? Although supplies that the scouts use have very exact specifications, monetary donations to help procure those supplies are always greatly appreciated. Mark says that the Cub Scouts have a continuous need for adult leadership. While the youths in Boy Scouts largely run their activities themselves, the Cub Scouts always need volunteers to help with meetings or trips, as well as other events.

Another century of scouting would be a wonderful investment for FBC and Richmond!

Editor’s notes: Scout leaders Mark Larson, Paul Kreckman and John Farmer are FBC members.
Boy Scouts meet every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in Suite 230. Cub Scouts meet at 6:30 p.m. in Suites 210 and 250 on the first and second Tuesdays and in the Dining Room on the fourth Tuesdays. Both groups meet from September through June. To make a monetary contribution or to serve as a volunteer, contact Paul Kreckman, Mark Larson or John Farmer.


Mike GillMike Gill and his wife, Sherry, have attended First since 1999. They have two children, Lane and Lindsey. Mike is Director of Middle Schools for Chesterfield County.

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