Troop 303 bids farewell to Scout Master of the Year
July 11, 2012
HOHENFELS, Germany -- When Kirstin Reed became Scout Master of Hohenfels' Troop 303, there were six boys in the troop. Three years later, this Scout Master of the Year leaves behind 30 members in one of the healthiest Scout Troops in Europe as she departs Hohenfels for Oslo, Norway.
"In the 18-months I've know her, she never ceases to amaze me with the amount of energy she puts into this program," said Mike Langille, who will take over the reins of Scout Master for the troop from Reed. "And the results for (the Scouts) have been nothing short of remarkable."
Under Reed's mentorship, three scouts in the past two years have reached the coveted rank of Eagle Scout, and there are two more Eagle Scout projects currently underway. Eighty percent of the scouts in Troop 303 have advanced at least one rank per year, a statistic much higher than the national average. Troop 303 also conducts six service projects for the community annually, as well as a conservation project each year.
"The only way you can do this is by being very consistent in weekly meetings and running an outdoor program consistently, and she's done that to the highest standard," said Paige Tyler, Troop 303 committee chairperson. "Every single month, the boys are camping, or biking, or canoeing or hiking."
Reed's efforts did not go unnoticed by the Boy Scouts of America's Transatlantic Council, the governing body for Scouting in Europe. At this year's annual convention, Reed was awarded Scout Master of the Year of the Edelweiss district which covers much of Germany and central Europe.
"It's just doing the program by the book, and putting the boys first and having them lead," Reed said. "It's the boys who run and steer this entire ship. I'm in a support role."
"You're in a mentor relationship when they first come in, and you teach them how to do it, and then you stand to the side and watch them do it, give them feedback if they need it, and that's how they learn to lead," she said.
"When Mrs. Reed started, a lot of people (in European Scouting) had no idea that Hohenfels existed and within a year and a half, everyone knew where Hohenfels was," said Eagle Scout Clinton Schwartz. "Our troop is significantly active in the Transatlantic Council, and that's not possible without a scout master that's devoted 24/7 to making the troop work."
Reed is quick to share any praise both with the scouts themselves and with the Hohenfels community.
"It takes an entire base to raise a scout troop," she said. "However big or small the event, we've had an awful lot of people come out to help this troop come along. The support has been fantastic. The 1-4 (First Battalion, Fourth Infantry Regiment) helps us out with the Christmas trees every year, we have volunteers from the Craft Shop, and people just come out of the woodwork to volunteer."
"I'm really proud of this troop and I think we're leaving behind a really strong scouting community," said Reed. "I wanted to create a stable community where all of us, the parents and the kids, we all felt really comfortable to be in, there's a bond that we have with each other. For a lot of us, this is our family away from home."