Troop 26 back in action

Published 8:37 pm Monday, October 8, 2012

Troop 26 members from left to right, Edward Williams, Mac Henley, Tyler Renfroe, Orenthal Magee and Asst. Scoutmaster Greg Babiak

Troop 26 went on hiatus for a number of years, but Scoutmaster Tony Gibbs brought the group back together this past April. The group will have a yard sale this Saturday, Oct. 13. The yard sale will be held at the Scout Hut on the corner of Craig Street and Carney Street. All proceeds will go towards the scouts’ tuition savings for summer camp. Gibbs is hoping that each and every one of his Boy Scout members will be able to go to Camp Euchee next summer.

“Summer camp’s a pretty big deal,” Gibbs said. “Summer camp is pretty expensive.”

Gibbs noted that for families with more than one child, sending both to summer camp might be cost-prohibitive. So, the hope is the yard sale will be able to solve such potential dilemmas.

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The troop just returned from a camping trip in Pensacola last weekend, where they were invited by another troop as guests. According to Assistant Scoutmaster Greg Babiak, the troop that hosted Atmore’s Troop 26 won first place among all the troops at the camping trip. Troop 26 had a great experience at the camp and grew in their scouting skills.

Gibbs himself is no stranger to summer camps.

“I’ve been to probably 12 summer camps with the troops,” he said. “You get to travel. It’s interesting. I enjoy it.”

One of the summer camps involved a trip to Boone, NC. This was before he recently took over Atmore’s Troop 26 when Gibbs helped out with nearby Bratt’s Boy Scouts. Gibbs said one of the funny things about the trip was how cold the water seemed to him and his scouts. Meanwhile, the scouts from Boone were surprised by the temperatures of the North Florida waters.

“The boys up there don’t like to come down here because they think the water’s too hot,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs remembers the odd period when Atmore had a hiatus in scouting.

“All of our boys turned 18 and we weren’t getting any young boys,” Gibbs said.

Since then, things have changed.

“We have a very active and pretty good size Cub Scout pack and once the boys got through Cub Scouts, they had no place to go,” Gibbs said. “I went ahead and told them I’d be Troop Master.”

Gibbs has been involved in scouting for about 15 years now. He estimated there are roughly nine total troop members with quite a few more in the Cub Scouts.

“To have a Boy Scouts, you have to have a Cub Scout pack to feed the troop and we’ve got that,” Gibbs said. “We’ve got a good bunch of boys. They really seem to be thrilled.”

One of the thrills is the fact that the scouts get to try out more adventurous activities.

“Once they get to be a Boy Scout, it’s a little different. They get to shoot a real rifle and bow and arrow,” Gibbs said. “All of my boys, with the exception of a few, we’re getting started on merit badges, which they all have to have to earn Eagle.”

Babiak said scouting teaches valuable life lessons, including leadership, safety, and service to others, among other things.

The ultimate goal of a Boy Scout is to earn Eagle Scout. In order to do so, a Boy Scout must complete 21 merit badges chosen from a total of about 120 different merit badges. The Eagle Scout culminates in the Eagle Scout Service Project.

“The goal of a service project is to give service to your community,” Babiak said.


Troop 26 will have a yard sale on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Scout Hut located at the corner of Craig Street and Carney Street. For those interested, Troop 26 meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Scout Hut.