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About Troop 2

In 1946 a group of Santa Monica parents asked Keith Monroe to become scoutmaster of a new Boy Scout troop. Mr. Monroe was only 31 at the time, but had spent most of his life in Scouting. He was on the Emerald Bay (Catalina Island Boy Scout camp) camp staff as a teenager, and his father had been a scoutmaster for many years. He was also an accomplished freelance writer. Mr. Monroe was the scoutmaster of Troop 2 for the next 42 years. Mr. Monroe was very involved in Boy Scouts at the national level in addition to being our scoutmaster. He served as BSA historian for some time, and helped write many of the different books for Scouting and contributed many articles to Scouting and Boys Life magazines.

Soon after Troop 2 was started Mr. Monroe was renewing his water safety instruction certificate, and met an instructor named Bill Tobias. Mr. Monroe talked to Mr. Tobias about Troop 2, and convinced him to join the troop as an Assistant Scoutmaster. Together they developed a complete program for Troop 2, focusing on five core areas: 1) Advancement; 2) Physical Training; 3) Camping; 4) First Aid and Emergency Preparedness; and 5) Swimming and Water Sports. Mr. Tobias stayed with the troop for over 40 years until his death in 1990.

Every Boy Scout troop has to be chartered by an organization of some sort. Troop 2 was originally chartered under Franklin Elementary School. It is now under a joint charter with the Santa Monica Rotary club and the RAND Corporation.

In 1988 Mr. Monroe let the troop know that he was retiring. The parents committee searched for a replacement for months, and finally asked Dr. Steve Marcy to become scoutmaster. He agreed, and has been scoutmaster since 1989. Dr. Marcy had a son, Matt, in the troop who became an Eagle Scout. Dr. Marcy was a math teacher at Lincoln Middle School until retiring in 2007, and he also sells a series of math worksheets to school teachers. He is an avid outdoorsman, and especially enjoys river kayaking.

Troop 2 has a great history of representing our community and our nation. The troop has attended many national jamborees as a complete troop, while most other troops at the jamborees consist of scouts assembled from many small troops in a region (West Los Angeles, for example). In 1971 the troop attended the World Jamboree near Fujinomiya, Japan (one of Santa Monica’s sister cities). The jamboree was interrupted by Typhoon Olive, and most of the 20,000 scouts were evacuated to shelters. But the scouts of Troop 2 stayed in their tents and weathered the storm. In 1979 Troop 2 visited Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan for its summer trip, finishing with a climb of Mount Fuji. The scouts stayed with Taiwanese scouts while in Taipei, many of whom had stayed in Troop 2 family homes the prior summer. The scouts also stayed at the homes of Japanese scouts while in Fujinomiya, and we hosted many of the same scouts the following year in Santa Monica.

Troop 2 has always focused on leadership as a major part of scouting. One of the things that makes Troop 2 strong is that so many of the scouts stay in the troop through high school, helping to run the troop and to teach younger scouts as their own leadership skills increase. As a result, Troop 2 is very competitive. When Troop 2 attended the 1954 National Jamboree, Troop 2 won all the competitive events. Other troops were so discouraged that they wanted to ban Troop 2 from any further Jamboree competitions. The next year at Emerald Bay, Troop 2 again won all the events. Canoe expertise and competition also became a part of Troop 2. In 1981 Troop 2 attended the National Jamboree and took 7 of the top 10 places in the two-man English Gates canoeing competition, including first place. A Troop 2 patrol also won its regional volleyball championship, then challenged any patrol at the jamboree to beat them. Nobody else could.

A newer tradition in Troop 2 is the flag ceremony put on by our staff during summer camp. The staff practices for hours to put on an impressive display of pomp and ceremony, while showing respect for the American flag. During summer camp Troop 2 always stands out from the others due to our size, sharp dress, and organization. Scouts from other troops often feel intimidated at first by Troop 2’s size and presence, but they quickly learn how friendly and helpful we are.

Troop 2 built a set of 13 canoes in the late 60’s, thanks to a scout parent who was an expert handcrafter, and they were maintained for years by skilled parents and scouts. They were retired in 2006 and replaced with a new fleet, purchased with Christmas Tree Lot profits. Soon after the canoes were built, Mr. Monroe came up with the idea of canoeing around Catalina Island as he watched the scouts practice with the large Emerald Bay war canoes. It had never been attempted before, and some people thought Keith was crazy to attempt this feat. Troop 2 rose to the challenge, accomplished the circumnavigation in three days, and Troop 2 has been canoeing around Catalina ever since. Some alumni return every four years for the circumnavigation, and two have completed it all twelve times it has been attempted.

Troop 2 searches out isolated areas with springs or lakes for canoeing, camping, mountain backpacking and competition. Usually for Summer Camp the troop will attend an organized scout camp for the first week, then do some sort of high adventure in smaller groups, such as canoeing or backpacking. In a search for High Sierras camping, Troop 2 has been to Shaver Lake, Huntington Lake, Jackass Meadows and Twin Lakes. Since the 1990’s Troop 2 has hiked the Teton Range in Wyoming, the Collegiate Peaks in Colorado, the Olympics in Washington state and Haleakala Crater in Maui. The scouts have also canoed the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota and the Klamath River in northern California, and rafted the Salmon River in Idaho.

Another large focus of Troop 2 is first aid and emergency preparedness. Every two years the troop puts on the Bloody Monday training exercise, which includes Santa Monica emergency personnel as well as the troop parents, alumni and siblings. As a result, Troop 2 can claim dozens of lives known to have been saved by current and former scouts. There are probably many other incidents that have not been reported that resulted in a life saved thanks to the preparedness of a Troop 2 scout. In 2001, four scouts and four assistant scoutmasters were awarded the Medal of Heroism for saving lives at the scene of an accident involving a van rollover at 70 mph. A fifth scout was also awarded the Medal for a separate incident, in which he saved the life of a kayaker who was stuck upside down in a river. One of the scouts was later selected to represent Troop 2 and the Boy Scouts of America in presenting the ‘Annual Reporting on Scouting’ to the President of the United States.

Many of the parents of Troop 2 scouts have special abilities or training. They are encouraged to contribute their expertise to help the troop. For example, the biannual Bloody Monday event is usually organized by parents who are doctors or have other emergency training. Some parents continue to work with Troop 2 even after their sons have graduated. And several Troop 2 scouts have returned with their own sons, a testament to their rewarding experiences as boy scouts.

As a new scout you will have the opportunity and the duty to keep the traditions alive and to create an even more impressive history of Troop 2.

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