Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
ARCATA – After more than 77 years, Arcata’s Boy Scout Troop 9 is gone from the Arcata Veterans Memorial Building. The troop has lost the Vets Hall’s sponsorship when its membership fell to a single scout, a decision announced at the Dec. 7 meeting of the American Legion by Commander Jeff Sterling.
Sterling cited official Boy Scouts of America (BSA) unit requirements specifying that a troop requires at least five members. In a Nov. 2 letter to BSA leadership, he stated that while the Legion continues to share values with the organization and supports youth programs, it would be “unethical and untenable” to support a troop with just one scout. The letter promises to resume support “if there is ever an appropriate amount of youth to reestablish Troop 9.”
Shortly thereafter, Troop 9 Scoutmaster Chris Kjer removed the wealth of Troop 9 mementos that had encrusted its former headquarters on the ground floor – many of them placed there by late Scoutmaster Marino Sichi. Kjer declined comment except to say that the items were safe.
“We hate to see them go, but we’ll utilize the best possible scenario out of it,” Sterling said.
The Troop 9 evacuation clears the way for the Vets Hall to expand its canteen to include the entire eastern wing of the ground floor. A bar renovation is nearing completion, and Sterling now plans to construct a stage on the canteen’s south end.
That will find use during the hall’s New Year’s Eve Party, starting Dec. 31 at 1 p.m. Admission is free to the community. The event will feature several bands, plus music, dancing, pool, shuffleboard, and, according to the event’s Facebook page, “a ton of fun.”
Arcata is still served by Boy Scout Troop 15, which is sponsored by the Arcata Kiwanis Club and meets at the Scout Hut in Redwood Park, which itself is crammed with old time scouting artifacts. Scoutmaster Daniel Washburn said Troop 15 has no plans to absorb the Troop 9 mementos.
More images of the now-gutted Troop 9 headquarters at the Vets Hall: