Boy Scout Troop 527 has been in existence under its current charter for 31 years, and the Scouts have been doing a chicken dinner fundraiser for a large part of that time — according to Scoutmaster Mathew Brown, the fundraiser has been raising money for the troop for at least 20 years.
And this year is no different. The chicken dinner fundraiser is from noon to 4 p.m. May 3 at Richmond Hill United Methodist Church.
Tickets are $9 and include a half chicken, potato salad, green beans, a roll and tea. Guests can dine in or take out, and baked goods will also be available. The money raised through dessert sales will go to the Coastal Georgia Council, which includes Troop 527.
“It’s really the main fundraiser we do each year,” Brown said, who has been involved in Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts for several years. “It funds the program for the year, including our summer camp in July, which is an annual trip, and things like camping fees and gas expenses.”
This summer the troop will be heading to Virginia to earn more merit badges and participate in high-adventure activities.
C.J. Fischer, 13, said he is looking forward to the Scouts’ trip. He plans to do activities such as small boat sailing and zip-lining.
“It’s fun to do things like that,” Fischer, who has been in Boy Scouts for three years, said. “You learn skills you can use for the rest of your life.”
There are 18 boys active in the troop this year. Many of the older boys will be working on earning merit badges during the trip in order to move up in rank. There are more than 120 badges and a certain number is required to become an Eagle Scout.
Brown explained badges can be earned in many areas, such as swimming, archery, wilderness survival, first aid, geology, wood carving and more.
Fischer has earned eight merit badges and said his favorite was his swimming badge. Through Boy Scouts, Fischer said he has learned such skills as tying knots, setting up tents, starting fires and more.
Five of the boys have recently moved up from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. They will spend the week working on basic Scout skills, according to Brown. At the end of the week, they will have earned a lot of their requirements.
“They’ll have to finish up just a few more requirements, but within the first year of being in the troop, they will be second- or first-class Scouts,” Brown said.
While at the camp, Brown said, the boys will get to choose the activities in which they will participate. One option is a mining experience, where the participants will separate from the rest of the troop to live like miners in the 1800s.
In this activity, the boys will spend the week cooking for themselves and learning blacksmithing, how to throw a tomahawk and even black powder rifle shooting. Throughout the week, the boys can earn money to use at a training post where they can purchase snacks or drinks that would have been found in the 1800s.
“These boys are anywhere from 10-15 years old,” Brown said. “They are learning to function with each other, and they have certain duties they have to perform each day. It’s a good opportunity to learn to function as a troop and depend on each other.
“They learn Scout skills, which are life skills. They are learning things that they will use for the rest of their lives.”
Troop 527 also takes trips to state parks around Georgia, Cumberland Island to camp and other backpacking trips. Next summer, some of the boys will get to go to a Scout reservation in New Mexico. The expedition will include 55 to 80 miles of mountain hiking in a 10-day period.
Each Boy Scout is asked to sell tickets for the upcoming fundraiser. Those who sell a total of 100 tickets will have the cost of summer camp and their annual program fees covered.
“We try to encourage them to sell so that they have an investment in the program,” Brown said. “They aren’t just letting their parents do it for them. Instead, they earn it and learn how to care of themselves.”
The troop has been selling tickets door to door in different neighborhoods, as well as at local churches between services.
Those who are unable to purchase a ticket beforehand will be welcome to come to the chicken dinner and pay at the door.