In a scene worthy of an episode of Downton Abbey, William Boyce, an American visiting London in the early 20th century, got lost in the thick London fog. A scout helped Boyce find his way, but refused a tip, saying it was his duty to be helpful.
Boyce was so impressed he wanted to begin a similar scouting program in the states. He spoke to the founder of the British scouts, Robert Baden-Powell, a nobleman himself, about the fine character of the young scouts he had encountered.
Back in America, Boyce found help from Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard and James E. West, and the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated in Washington D.C ., on Feb. 8, 1910.
One hundred and four years later and scouting is alive and well in states, including Boy Scout Troop 323 of Ironwood and Hurley.
"The boys have been busy," said new scout master John Jarocki. "They've been busy and we've got lots of exciting things planned."
Jarocki, a former assistant scoutmaster, recently took over the top post from longtime scoutmaster Bill Perkis.
Troop 323 has 14 members and is chartered through Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood. Nearly 50 percent of all scout troops are chartered through religious organizations.
One troop member earned his Eagle Scout award last June and three more are in line to receive scouting's highest honor soon.
Each of the scouts completed a project as part of the requirements for the award.
"They've been working hard, doing a lot of good work all over the community," said Jarocki.
Ethan Johnson, a senior at Luther L. Wright High School, received his Eagle Scout award last summer. His project included work on the Miners Memorial Heritage Trail in Ironwood, including work on some benches.
Paul Garthwait, also a senior at LLW, helped clean up Norrie Park after a storm blew down many large, old trees. His work helped reclaim the trail and lay wood chips.
Logan Jacisin, senior at LLW, constructed several bike tire cleaning stations along a trail in Gogebic County. The idea is for riders to periodically brush off their tires to prevent spreading invasive plants.
Cody Starky, a senior at Hurley High School, marshaled trail maintenance at the Hurley School District's forest.
These are not the only members of Troop 323 who are progressing through the ranks, and another may soon be receiving his Eagle Scout award, as well, Jarocki said.
Troop 323 has a busy schedule of events planned.
The scouts will soon head to the sea caves along Lake Superior in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore near Cornucopia, Wis.
The scouts also plan to attend a search and rescue training session in Drummond, Wis ., along with scouts from Drummond, Ashland, Wis ., and Washburn, Wis.
Nine members of Troop 323 have made plans to attend a scout jamboree in Pine City, Minn ., in the first week of May. "There'll be lots of scouts there," Jarocki said.
The troop also plans to go camping this summer in the Sylvania Wilderness Area near Watersmeet. "We'll portage, fish, camp and build a fire," said Jarocki.
For more information on scouting, contact Jarocki at 906-285-3665.