There was an old Morse code set, a World War I era mess kit, and hatchets and sheathed knives dating back to the 1920s.
There was even a 1935 Camp Flying Eagle song book with tunes like “The Far Northland,” “It’s Always Camp Weather,” and “Sling Your Pack” that must’ve livened campfires way back when.
“Pretty cool,” said 11-year-old Dakota Lupinski, a Troop 111 Boy Scout, looking over mementoes of 100 years of Scouting in Manatee County.
It’s part of an exhibit at the Palmetto Historical Park by the Manatee District Southwest Florida Council, celebrating a century of Scouting not only here, but across America.
It begins Friday and runs through Oct. 2.
Various scouts and scout leaders spent Wednesday setting it up and they’ll be busy today, too.
There were plenty of memories to go around — and examples of how Scouting has adapted to the times.
Take the tripods of whittled tree limbs with a bucket for cooking, another with a bowl for washing.
“Those are things we teach boys to do in summer camp and you used to be able to cut what you needed, wherever you needed. Now you can’t,” said Steve Rees, 68, a unit commissioner, and Scouting member since 1952 in Lawton, Okla. “Most troops have a supply of these (tree limbs) they’ve accumulated and carry them. You leave no trace but your footprints.”
Yet there are some things about Scouting that have not changed since its inception in 1910.
We don’t mean learning knots like a bow line, clove hitch or sheepshank, either.
“It still teaches boys character and leadership, gets them to do things on their own instead of depending on others all the time,” said Scott Lupinski, Dakota’s 48-year-old father, a former scout in Verona, N.Y., and current scout master. “Work in a group. Boy leads boy. Take on responsibility, what we look for in life.”
The merit badges adorning Thomas Palmieri’s uniform indicated as much.
Besides first aid, fishing and wilderness survival, he had them for disability awareness, family life and finger printing.
“They teach you about different careers,” said Palmieri, 13. “It’s great.”
With 2,500 scouts in the county, Jim Thielen said Scouting still matters.
“A lot of people look at us as being back in the ‘50s and ‘60s,” said the chairman for Friends Of Scouting. “But we have to prepare our youth, give them the character and values they’re not getting in home life or in schools. The more youth go through the program, the less will visit the juvenile justice system.”
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.