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Charles Hasbrouck marks Scouting milestone

February 6th, 2012 12:50 pm by Staff Report

Charles Hasbrouck marks Scouting milestone

Charles Hasbrouck has spent so much time Scouting in his retirement years that his wife, Clara, has started calling him, 'The Big Boy Scout.'

Growing up in the small Eastern North Carolina town of Bladenboro, Charles Hasbrouck had little opportunity for Scouting. He was a Scout for approximately six months during 1944 and, during those six months, the troop had three leaders, one of which was his uncle, R.C. Bridger.

"I distinctly remember one night we were meeting at my house, and my uncle said, ‘If all you boys are going to do is horse around, I don’t have time for this,’" Hasbrouck laughed.

When he moved to Kingsport to start his career with Eastman, Hasbrouck quickly made up for his lost time scouting as a youth and, later this month, he will be recognized by Boy Scouts of America for 50 years of continuous service.

While in the Air Force in Nebraska, Hasbrouck met his wife, Clara, who worked for the Girl Scouts. Both shared a love of hiking and camping and, when their three sons came along, both pledged to share that love with their boys through Scouting. Clara was a den mother for a time, and then Charles became a troop leader.

He has worked with Troop 48 the entire time in various capacities, mainly as a troop leader or Scoutmaster. Troop 48 has been sponsored by Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church for the last 65 years. The troop currently has 70 boys and is both the largest and oldest in the local Warriors’ Path District.

Hasbrouck is proud of his troop and its accomplishments. The troop has produced 129 Eagle Scouts, with 118 earned under Hasbrouck’s leadership. His three sons, Chuck, Bruce and Keith, all earned the coveted Scout distinction.

Over the last 50 years, the fundamentals of Scouting have remained the same. The program itself is very similar and is based primarily on outdoor activities and Scout skills.

"Our saying is we need to keep the outing in Scouting," he said.

The most significant change Hasbrouck has noticed is the changing parent demographics.

"We have seen an increase in single-parent households," he said. "When we go on outings, we have had to adjust to be more inclusive of moms and even sisters accompanying us on trips."

Scouting isn’t just about camping, fishing and earning merit badges. The program also builds both good leaders and followers. In Troop 48, the leaders and team members change every six months so all members have the chance to be both a leader and a follower.

"They may be a leader for the first six months, and a follower for the next six months. That’s not easy for 11- and 12-year-old boys to learn," he laughed.

Hasbrouck has enjoyed his 50 years in Scouting.

"You get to meet a lot of fine young men and some of these boys come back after they have graduated and moved out of the community and it’s fun keeping in touch," he said.

Both Hasbrouck and his wife have enjoyed watching the many boys of Troop 48 grow up.

"Clara especially laughs at this because she remembers some of the boys when they were 11 and 12, and they are cute little guys and sometimes mischievous and full of energy. Then, she sees them when they are getting their Eagle badge and they are 16 or 17, she says ‘Boy has he ever changed.’ It’s fun watching them grow up."

Working with parents has also been rewarding because the Hasbroucks have made new friends and reinforced old friendships. Hasbrouck said those parents have also been instrumental in making his troop a success.

"We currently have 61 troop leaders registered and, out of that number, 40 have made a significant contribution to the program. So we are blessed in that aspect and with our Senior Scouts," he said.

Since he retired from Eastman, Hasbrouck has been able to do all the Scouting activities he didn’t get to do as a young man. He spent three weeks at the National Boy Scout Camp, Philmont, in New Mexico; two weeks on a canoe trip; another week on a sailing vessel; and has hiked a 185-mile portion of the Appalachian Trail numerous times.

In fact, Hasbrouck has spent so much time Scouting in his retirement years that his wife, Clara, has started calling him, "The Big Boy Scout."

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