They’ve been prepared for this for 90 years.
Scouts, and their leaders, of Boy Scout Troop 12 are celebrating the pack’s 90th anniversary in 2023, as the youth-based organization took time to reflect on its impact on the Lutz community.
With 24 scouts of varying ranks, about a dozen adult leaders and an absolutely impressive list of Eagles Scouts through the years, Troop 12 has been developing boys into men, then into leaders, for nine decades.
“There’s two sides to it, really,” Gabe Luria, assistant senior patrol leader and life Scout, said. “On the one side, you hope to live up to it all, but also not wreck the history by letting this place burn down or something. On the other side, you realize, wow, this is my troop and look at what they’ve all done.
“It’s kind of insane they’ve done so much and been around so long.”
Troop 12, even with its history, is different from many other troops for several reasons.
For starters, according to former Scoutmaster and Troop Historian Paul Evans, the troop has had an uninterrupted charter since it was formed in 1933. Sometimes, troops can dissolve or merge with another troop — Troop 12 did just this as recently as two years ago with Troop 21 out of St. Mary’s Church in nearby Lake Magdalene.
Additionally, Troop 12 also doesn’t have to rely on a church or school to hold its meetings, as it’s not dependent for a meeting place. It has its own Troop Hut, or building, located at 205 Second Ave., S.E., in Lutz.
It’s a medium-sized meeting hall where the scouts come together to work on their projects, trips and initiatives. It also houses not only their equipment, but a plethora of history and scout memorabilia.
“No one has the history we have,” second-year Scoutmaster Doug Tibbett said. “Since we don’t have to rely on churches or other places for facilities to meet at, it allows us to do a little bit more by having our own property.
“When (my son, Grayson, and I) came in, we didn’t really know everyone,” Tibbett added, “but became quite comfortable with everyone quickly. Eventually, you are sending your son off on a trip or camping with people that you want to rely on. Everyone’s vetted and on the up and up, and because of it, we get great leadership.
“As a parent, I’m not worried about my son or the boys because we have quality leaders.”
Leaders, as it turns out, that actually lead.
Troop 12 is self-run by the young men, which gives the scouts a chance to really step into leadership roles.
“I like that we’re youth-run,” Luria said. “We practice leadership in a practical manner, so we have to lead, but we get to lead in a way that we learn from it.
“And that way, becoming an Eagle Scout isn’t just about putting it on your resume. It’s about being able to show that we can actually lead the Troop.”
Troop 12 had its first Eagle Scout when Ralph Combs earned the honor in 1939. Not long after that was their second Eagle Scout, Sydney Evans, who would go on to serve in World War II, only to return to Troop 12 and become a Scoutmaster.
According to Tibbett, Troop 12 members generally become Eagle Scouts around 16 years old, about two years before they age out of scouting.
“We try to get them to Eagle before the fumes kick in: car fumes and perfumes,” Tibbett said. “They get cars and girlfriends, so sometimes they branch out their lives, which is fine, but we like to see them mentor, too. We don’t want them to Eagle and disappear, and they usually don’t. With all the Eagles on the board (in the hut), some have become leaders in the community.”
“It’s an organization that you don’t realize what you get out of it until later,” Evans added. “I think that’s why many end up coming back, even if not to lead, but to see the troop, talk to the scouts, see how we’re doing.
“They’re always a part of Troop 12.”
Also always a part of Troop 12 is its impact on the community, specifically from its service to its many institutions — which include the countless Eagle Projects that dot the small unincorporated town.
Tibbett, Evans, Luria and the rest of the Troop can’t help but see the projects, from work done at Carolyn Meeker Dog Park, a butterfly garden, aviaries, retired flag boxes at multiple locations, and work done at Lutz Library and Cemetery.
The bottom line is be prepared for many more Eagle Projects in Lutz coming from Troop 12.
“You can’t look around Lutz without seeing one, and, of course, we always look at places close to us (for projects), from the K-8 School to the Old Schoolhouse,” Tibbett said. “Those projects, they’re great, because they’re a part of Lutz and always will be.”
“To walk around Lutz and see all the previous Eagle Scout projects, that’s really cool,” Luria added. “In fact, we went to a campsite somewhere in Georgia and (a project) said, ‘Eagle Scout Project Troop 12’ and that’s insane since it was hundreds of miles from Lutz.
“One day, some kid is going to do the same thing to my project and that’s going to be pretty cool, too.”
Published September 13, 2023