Records show that Troop (1, 2) 3, of Ambler, was originally chartered as an official Boy Scout Troop on May 17, 1915. The original “Application for Commission as Scoutmaster”, dated May 17, 1915, identifies the troop as “Troop 1, Ambler”.
The Charter Troop had William J. Hopkins, A.J. Williams, and Rees C. Roberts as members of the first Troop Committee. Legend has it that Rees C. Roberts was the first Committee Chairman.
The Charter Troop’s Scoutmaster was John Edward Martin and E. Fullerton Cook was the Assistant Scoutmaster.
The Charter Troop’s Scouts were James Williams, William Acuff, M. Holstein Roberts, Leidy B. Heckler, Jr., Ralph Tomlinson, Daniel Biddle, Charles Cleaver, William Rile, Kelso Davis, Russell Davis, Jack Hopkins, James Thomas, and Arthur Nichols.
The Charter Troop was sponsored by “A Group of Citizens” and met on the 2nd floor of a nearby garage owned by William C. Evans, which was known as “Evan’s Garage”. The Charter Troop was a member of The Delaware & Montgomery County Council…which later became The Valley Forge Council…and finally, The Cradle of Liberty Council.
On the original Application for Commission as Scoutmaster, John Edward Martin stated that he became interested in the Scouting movement because, “I believe the Scout movement to be the best way of making our future men worthwhile”.
Records show that, in 1916, the Troop was known as Troop 2, of Ambler.
The early Troop 2 Scouts delivered telephone directories, built fly traps, gave bread and bake sales, sold U.S. Bonds, and showed “moving pictures” in order to raise money for camping. Records, from 1916, show that “this produced good camping money”. Records, from 1918, show that Troop 2, of Ambler, was the first Boy Scout Troop to deliver telephone directories as a Boy Scout fundraiser (in the Philadelphia and surrounding areas).
Records, from 1918, show that Troop 2 founded two new Boy Scout troops in Ambler and participated as a “Charter Member” in establishing a new Boy Scout camp for the Delaware & Montgomery County Council. This new Boy Scout Camp was Camp Delmont.
Records, from 1920, show that Troop 2, of Ambler, was provided a meeting place in “the gymnasium at Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church” (this was the basement area of the church). The first meetings at the “Trinity Gymnasium” were held on Friday nights at 7:30 PM.
Records, from 1922, show that “Troop 2 participated in the search for a missing boy in the surrounding territory”.
Records show that Troop 2, of Ambler, continued to be sponsored by “A Group of Citizens” until 1946, when Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church became the sponsor. This relationship has continued through the present day.
The Troop continued to meet at Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church until the disastrous fire destroyed the church building in the late afternoon of Monday, June 16, 1986.
During the 1950s, a national movement in Scouting was undertaken to renumber the troops. Prior to this time, many communities had a Troop 1, a Troop 2, and a Troop 3: this led to confusion. It was decided to renumber the troops so that there would be only one Troop with a given (chartered) number within each Boy Scout Council. In order to comply with the newly enacted troop numbering system…Troop 2, of Ambler, became Troop 3 of The Valley Forge Council (this went into effect with the 1957 re-chartering application).
During the 1970s and early 1980s, Troop 3 Scouts earned much of their camping money by collecting used newspapers & selling them to be recycled. This fundraiser helped the community save money by lessening the trash load and it helped save trees by supplying used newspaper for recycling. By the mid-1980s, the troop had to abandon this fundraiser as many communities started recycling programs, which forced the price of used newspaper down to where it was no longer profitable.
With the disastrous fire at Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church (during the Summer of 1986), Troop 3 was provided a meeting place at The First Presbyterian Church of Ambler from the Summer of 1986 until May 13th, 1990, when the Troop returned to Trinity Episcopal Church for their meetings.
(Insert history from 1990 to present here)
During the period of 2007 and 2008, Troop 3 was without a Scoutmaster. Activities decreased and membership declined until there were no active Scouts involved. A few dedicated long-time adult leaders, which included Lou McLaughlin, Dick Stoler, Bill McCole, Harry Heckler, Sr. and others continued to meet every Monday night while searching for a new leader. A letter to Trinity Episcopal Church was written in October of 2009 to inform the church leaders of the dissolution of Troop 3.
It was at this time that Harry Heckler, Jr., a Troop 3 Eagle Scout, decided to accept the position of Scoutmaster and rebuild the troop. Keanan O. and Keyan C. were the first 2 to join under the new Scoutmaster. Through their bringing in friends and the Scoutmaster’s recruiting efforts, we added Scouts through 2009-10. It was challenging at this stage since the absence of just a few boys make a big impact on activities. A website and email newsletters were created to enhance communication and marketing. Our efforts also branched out to neighboring Cub Packs to get Troop “back on the radar” of Cub Scout families.
Troop 3 today is about as “boy-run” as a troop can get, and consists of 3 patrols and approximately 25 Scouts, with 18 – 20 participating in most activities. Many of the present membership crossed over from Cub Scouts, while some joined with little or no Cub Scout experience. All are engaged and have influence in how the troop runs and what we do.
Throughout the years, many young men have learned life long skills as patrol members in Troop (1, 2) 3: and yesterday as well as today…they have become leaders in their communities.
Much of the information for this history of the Troop has been taken from official Troop records at The Cradle of Liberty Council. These records are readily available to Troop personnel.
This was adapted by Harry L. Heckler, Jr. from “The History of Troop (1, 2) 3” written and compiled by Richard G. Stoler, Committee Chairman Emeritus, for the Troop’s 75th Anniversary in 1990.
Troop 3 celebrated its 100th anniversary on May 17, 2015. We’re doing some special things in order to commemorate this momentous event!
100th Anniversary Projects
The Scouts of Troop 3 have chosen to do a special 100th year anniversary trip to Alaska. … click here for more information.
The Troop is also planning a large special service project to celebrate the 100th Anniversary… check back in for more information!
Stay tuned for more projects as we mark this special year!
Click to Download: Letter to Alumni
100th Anniversary Book and Documentary
In celebration of the 100th Anniversary, the Troop has published a commemorative book featuring historical Troop 3 photos, documents and memories. It was distributed at our Anniversary Gala on May 17th. Additionally, Troop 3 has released a commemorative documentary which features historical Troop 3 photos, documents and memories.
Click to View: Commemorative Book
Click to View: Commemorative Documentary
PA State Representative Kate Harper sent out a Tweet during the Gala:
— Kate Harper (@Montco061) May 17, 2015
We would like to locate all former Troop 3 Ambler scouts (Troop 2 if the Scout was from prior to 1950). If you have information, please forward it to Scoutmaster Harry Heckler, Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-264-7820. If you would like to be a part of the planning, please contact Team Chair Brian Edgar at email@example.com.