The City of Mill Valley is privileged to have inherited a number of excellent online articles written by Mill Valley resident Alan Nayer. These articles give historical background and information about Mill Valley. We hope you enjoy these articles as you learn more about the amazing resources in and around our city. More of Mr. Nayer's articles can be found by visiting our Locations of Interest page.
Boy Scout Troop 1
Mill Valley is home to one of the oldest Boy Scout troops in California. Troop One was formed just six months after the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated in Washington, DC in 1910. Some well known names in Mill Valley belong to former Troop 1 members. Lytton Barber was a charter member of Troop 1 before he enlisted in the aviation service during World War I. He died in late 1917 during his service, the first Mill Valleyite to do so in the Great War, and the following Memorial Day, Mill Valley's town square was named Lytton Square in his honor. Boyle Park in Mill Valley is named after the Boyle brothers, all three of whom were charter members of Troop 1.
In late 2000, 45-year-old Mill Valley resident Scott Smith took over the duties as Scoutmaster of the troop. Alan Nayer interviewed Smith via email to find out more about Scouting, and Mill Valley's Troop 1 in particular.
AN: What is your position in the Troop?
Scott Smith: I am the Scoutmaster of Troop 1, Mill Valley. The Scoutmaster is responsible for the overall operation of the Troop. His aim is to develop Scout spirit, be a companion to the Scouts, promote self activity and create Scout leadership which is observable. The uniformed adult staff responsibilities are delegated by the Scoutmaster based upon functional areas and rank advancement. Assistant Scoutmasters are responsible for service, ceremonies, recruitment, tenderfoot, second class, first class, star, life and eagle rank advancement. The Committee Chair is responsible for coordinating with parents and the overall administration of the Troop with the assistance of the advancement chair, recruitment chair, secretary and treasurer. Troop 1 is fortunate to have a great asset in its volunteers, many of whom are trained on various levels by the Marin Council of Boy Scouts.
Troop One is designed to be a Troop of approximately 40 to 60 Scouts. There are five permanent patrols: Grizzlies, Serpents, Falcons, Wolverines, and Jaguars. Each patrol is led by a Patrol Leader. This responsibility changes every six months when patrol members elect a new leader. New Scouts, prior to the rank of Tenderfoot, are temporary patrol members. They are led by one Guide for program and one Instructor for Scoutcraft, who are appointed by the Scoutmaster. At the Tenderfoot Investiture ceremony, a Scout receives the Troop One Scarf and Tenderfoot badge and becomes a member of a permanent patrol. He remains with his patrol for the duration of his Scout experience.
Troop One is led by the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) and his appointed assistants for program and Scoutcraft. All Patrol Leaders and Troop officers report to the Senior Patrol Leader, who reports to the Scoutmaster. The Senior Patrol Leader is in-charge of the Troop when it assembles at meetings, events and outings. From time to time a different 'event' SPL, may serve if the SPL is unavailable. The SPL, Scribe, Quartermaster and Color Guard Chief are elected annually, and the ASPL's serve a one-year term. The Librarian/Historian, Webmaster, Chaplain's Aide & Bugler are elected every six months. The Junior Assistant Scoutmaster is appointed by the Scoutmaster annually and one Guide, one Instructor & the Order of the Arrow Representative are appointed by the Scoutmaster each six months.
AN: What are the benefits of Scouting?
SS: The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to instill values in young people that will enable them to make ethical choices over their lifetime. These values are found in the Scout Oath and Law which is the code of conduct for Troop 1. Additionally we emphasize twelve leadership skills that the boys learn initially at the annual Brownsea Junior Leadership training camp once they have achieved the 1st class rank. The boys bring these skill back to the troop and use them through a leadership position, and they include planning, communication, effective teaching, and understanding the needs and characteristics of a group and its members. Scouting builds character, enhances citizenship and strengthens mental and physical ability.
AN: Can you tell me about the history of Troop 1?
||Mill Valley incorporated as a city. |
||National census gave Mill Valley's population as 2,551, more than double from 1900.|
|Feb. 8, 1910
||Boy Scouts of America was incorporated in Washington, D.C. |
|Aug. 25, 1910
||Troop 1 was established with 23 "soldiers" in the "patrol."|
||Troop meetings were held at Tamalpais Polytechnic High School. Scoutmaster F. H. Beckmann reported that, "Instruction for the most part has been given in first aid, gymnasium work, games, talks by the Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, and others interested." |
||During the years of America's involvement in World War I, Troop 1 Scouts were particularly active in Mill Valley's extremely successful war bond drives.|
||Downtown portions of Throckmorton, Miller and Blithedale were finally paved. |
|Nov. 14, 1917
||Lytton Barber, a charter member of Troop 1, enlisted in the aviation service and reported to Camp Lewis, south of Seattle. He died 17 days later, on Dec. 1st, of spinal meningitis.|
|May 27, 1918
||Mill Valley's town square was named Lytton Square, in honor of Lytton Barber. |
||Troop meetings, along with all public gatherings, were discontinued when the worldwide influenza outbreak reached Mill Valley.|
|Oct. 6, 1919
||Scout Hall was donated to the Mill Valley Council by owners George and Maria Billings. There was no electricity and no heat. Before being donated to the Scouts, the building had been used as a laundry, and may also once have been used as a livery stable. It was originally McInnes' Tavern. Because Mill Valley was "dry," the tavern was located outside of City limits in what was called "Jagtown."|
||Marin County's four troops and 102 Scouts banded together to form the Marin Council. |
|June 13, 1927
||Roy Ibach, owner of Mill Valley Lumber Co. and an early member of Troop 1, presided over the first installation of the Mill Valley post of the American Legion. The Legion's first project was the renovation of Scout Hall. |
|Jan. 2, 1945
||An anonymous donor gave the Scouts an 800-acre ranch in the hills above Fairfax. Its name, Tamarancho, was selected among hundreds of entries in a contest won by a Kentfield Scout. |
||The Council purchased a 250-acre site at Chubb Lake for a High Sierra camp, now known as Camp Marin Sierra. |
||The City of Mill Valley condemned Scout Hall. A center post was installed, and the hall reopened.|
||There were five Troops in Mill Valley: Troops 1, 2, 28, 34, and 77. |
||New facilities and structures were constructed at the Tamarancho "wilderness camp" building housing the ranger's home and camp office, 30-foot totem pole and campfire circle, two A-frame campsite shelters, the rifle range, trading post, five latrines and water system, including two water tanks. |
||Scout Hall was declared a fire trap. The M.V. Lions Club put in thousands of work hours on a general overhaul of the building. |
||Troop 1 allowed its charter to lapse due to dwindling membership caused by the post-Viet Nam War political climate. |
||Troop 1 was chartered by American Legion Post 284 and reestablished by Scoutmaster Ned White, with 14 boys. |
||There were two troops in Mill Valley: Troops 1 and 77, both with about 7 or 8 members. The two troops later merged as Troop 1, with C.J. Carrillo as Scoutmaster and Willy Coronado, Scoutmaster of Troop 77, as Assistant Scoutmaster. |
||Willy Coronado became Scoutmaster of Troop 1. Membership was approximately 40 boys. The troop took part in an international exchange program with a Scottish troop. Several Scouts and adult leaders, along with Scouts from other Marin County troops, traveled to Scotland during the summer to participate in Scouting activities. They stayed with host families while in Scotland. |
||Twelve senior Scouts organized a Varsity Scout crew. Troop 1 hosted a group of Scottish Scouts for two weeks, as part of the exchange program in which they had participated last summer. |
||Scott Smith, past president of the Mill Valley Lions Club became Scoutmaster of Troop 1 with a membership of approximately 50 boys. Troop members participated in the National Jamboree in Virginia, sent Scouts to Scotland, held a 50-mile hike in Yosemite and attended Florida Sea Base. Eight Scouts are awarded the Eagle Scout Rank.|
||Ted Fishman, Senior Patrol Leader is elected Marin Council Boy Scout of the Year. |
AN: How often, and where, does the troop regularly meet?
SS: The troop meets most Thursday evenings at 7:30 until 9pm at Scout Hall located at 177 E. Blithedale Avenue.
AN: What activities do you do?
SS: Each year in late August the Scouts convene at Camp Hillwood to plan their annual calendar of outings and activities. Outings and dates are scheduled by interest and consensus by the Scouts. Traditionally, the calendar includes the Marin Council events of a fall Camporee at Camp Tamarancho in Fairfax, Klondike Derby during the winter at Camp Marin Sierra in Nevada County and Scout O Rama in the Spring and Summer Camp. Basic skill building outings occur monthly at Tamarancho and Rim Rover Hikes are scheduled quarterly as a tune-up for the 20 miler, which is a tune-up for the 50 miler which is in Yosemite again this year. Additionally, Troop 1 schedules at least one high adventure camp at one of the three National BSA sites in Philmont, New Mexico, Northern Tier, Minnesota and Florida Sea Base in the Keys. Next year, the Scoutmaster is leading the troop to trek the Great Wall of China.
The Scouts use their weekly meeting to plan ahead and to be prepared for the various outings. Different levels of preparation and ability are required for our diverse program. We believe that 80% of the benefits of Scouting occur in the field by building confidence in self reliance, leadership and physical ability.
AN: How old are the Scouts?
SS: The Scouts range in age from 11 to 17. A Scouts career ends upon his 18th birthday. The troop comprises boys at all ages and stages of rank advancement. In 2001 the troop produced eight Eagle Scouts. The troop has a total of 58 Eagles as of this date.
AN: How does a boy join? Are there any qualifications or things he must do in order to join?
SS: Joining the Boy Scouts in Troop 1 is very simple. A boy must be at least 11 years old or have completed the 5th grade. Upon visiting a troop meeting, a Scout can pick up a packet to register with the Boy Scouts of America. A boy need not have had a career in Cub Scouting to join Boy Scouts. New boys must meet some basic requirements that are in the Boy Scout Handbook to earn the Scout Rank. Troop 1 has handbooks and some secondhand uniforms available. Otherwise these items can be purchased at the Scout Trading Post in San Rafael or Marin Outdoors Stores. Come check us out at any Thursday meeting or call Recruitment Chairman Mr. Paul Kollerer at 389-8021.
Black & white photo above courtesy Troop One, Boy Scouts of America.
Written by Alan Nayer. Text and Photos (except where noted) are © Alan Nayer.