Boy Scout troop leader finds new satisfaction


April 04, 1999|By Rosalie Falter | Rosalie Falter,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BOY SCOUTING is my avocation," said Linthicum resident James P. Dunne Jr. In his youth, he was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Explorer and earned Eagle rank. As an adult, he has served in many areas of the Scouting program.

When his three sons were in Cub Scouts, he was Cubmaster of Pack 845 and Pack 447. He has been a Scoutmaster three times for three troops (869, 550, and 216).

But, it is Boy Scout Troop 216, the one with which he is associated now, that possibly gives him the greatest satisfaction.

Troop 216 is a special Scout group, with mostly mentally and a few physically challenged members. Dunne said that Charlie Smith founded the troop 20 years ago and soon was joined by Paul Higgins.

For a long time, they tried to get Dunne to join them. About five years ago, he said he felt he was ready. Now, he is Scoutmaster and he likes to talk about his "boys."

There are 30 of them, ranging from 14 to 61 years old. The age limit has been waived for this troop, but in everything else the regular Boy Scout program is followed. "We attempt to do all regular Scouting things, only we tend to do things slower," said Dunne. "And, that includes me."

The program allows advancement plans to be written specifically for each Scout. The members do the best they can, and as much as they can at their own pace. The leaders also find different and creative ways to help their Scouts learn more easily.

Dunne said he felt it was important to teach life skills, such as some supervised cooking and safety lessons on what to do in case of a home fire. He talks about a camping trip when he taught the Scouts how to cook a hamburger. "It took two hours," Dunne said, "but, they did it themselves and were pleased that someone let them try." He has plans to teach them to cook on a stove.

Dunne's diligence and dedication to the Scouting program has been acknowledged. In January, the National Court of Honor of the Boy Scouts of America, through the Baltimore Area Council, presented Dunne with the Silver Beaver Award at the annual recognition dinner. He received it in recognition of his service to youth and the wide range of his professional and civic responsibilities, which fulfilled Scouting's aim of providing responsible, mature adults as good models for youth.

Dunne also is the recipient of the Department of Transportation's Secretary's Award, the District Award of Merit and the St. George Award.

Dunne said he has some active helpers, and he credits them with much of the troop's success. Besides Smith, who is 93 years old, and Higgins, the troop committee chairman, there is Gerry Eidenberg, assistant Scoutmaster; Susan Eidenberg, committee member; and Alice Gearhart, who drives a specially equipped bus.

As a member of the Church of the Crucifixion, Dunne serves as an extraordinary minister, a Sunday school teacher and chairman of the church building committee. He also has served as president of the Church Council.

Boy Scout Troop 216 meets from 7 p.m. to 8: 30 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of the month at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Ritchie Highway.

Information: 410-859-0544.

April auction-dinner

St. Philip Neri Roman Catholic parish is sponsoring "April in Paris," an auction and dinner, at 6 p.m. April 17 in the school hall, 6401 Orchard Road.

The dinner, to be catered by Signatures, will include crudites, cheese and crackers, salad, chicken Marsala with champagne sauce, peppercorn beef with wild-rice pilaf, baked ziti, grilled vegetables, roasted garlic potatoes, petite pastries, coffee, tea, beer, wine and soda.

A cash bar will be available for mixed drinks.

The silent and live auction will include a microwave oven; wine basket; weekend in Ocean City, including hotel and dining; a nature cruise to Assateague Island; meals at local restaurants; hotel stays; and exercise equipment.

Other items will include a wooden cradle with a ceramic doll; silk flower arrangements; a ski trip; harbor cruises; Beanie Babies; Furbies; Longaberger baskets; golfing; and a wine tour. There are no minimum bids on most items.

Tickets are $25 and must be purchased in advance. They are available at the school or rectory. Reservations: 410-859-1212.

Herb club outing

The Friendly Thyme Herb Club is sponsoring a day trip to Longwood Gardens near Kennett Square, Pa., on May 4.

The former country estate of Pierre S. Du Pont includes 1,050 acres of outdoor gardens, three sets of fountains and 3 1/2 acres of heated greenhouses and glass-enclosed conservatories. A demonstration at the garden, "Spring Perennial Care," will be included.

A bus will leave Ferndale Senior Center, 7205 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd. at 8 a.m. and returns at 6 p.m. The cost is $23 and includes transportation, admission, gratuity and snacks on the bus. Food will be available at the Terrace Restaurant, or lunch on one's own. Full-service and cafeteria dining are offered.

Reservations: Send a check by April 15, payable to the Friendly Thyme Herb Club, to Renee Bivans, 7916 Andorick Drive, Severn 21144.

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