Boy Scout troop ‘thriving’ after refounding

Scoutmaster Jorge Rodriguez of Boy Scout Troop 24, St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Bettendorf, presents certificates to the troop’s re-founders: from left, Bill Beck, Dr. Ben Van Raalte, Dr. Bill Candler and Duane Eaton during a Court of Honor in December.

By Barb Arland-Fye

BETTENDORF — Four dads seeking to enhance their sons’ experience in Boy Scouts with year-round camping and other scouting activities re-founded Boy Scout Troop 24 of St. John Vianney Catholic Church a decade ago. As a result of their efforts, the troop has grown to 49 registered youth members and 23 registered adults who contribute to the organization in some way, said Scoutmaster Jorge Rodriguez.

Last month, Boy Scout Troop 24 expressed its appreciation to the four “re-founders” during a Court of Honor at St. John Vianney, which provides meeting space for the troop. The four guests of honor were Bill Beck, Dr. Bill Candler, Duane Eaton and Dr. Ben Van Raalte, each of whom has at least one son who earned the rank of Eagle Scout, Rodriguez said. Statistically, just 5 to 7 percent of all boys who join the Boy Scouts attain that rank, the scoutmaster noted.

“It’s quite gratifying to see how large the troop has grown; this is a thriving troop,” Dr. Van Raalte said following the Court of Honor Dec. 21. “You have such a wide range of boys interacting with one another,” added Beck, a former Scoutmaster for the troop and father of three sons who earned the Eagle Scout rank. “St. John Vianney was generous enough to sponsor us,” noted Dr. Candler, who also served as a scoutmaster for the troop. His son, Dan, was the first to attain the Eagle Scout rank since the troop’s re-founding.

“We are tremendously indebted to Father Robert McAleer (the parish’s pastor) and St. John Vianney Catholic Church for their generosity, their embracing this youth leadership organization,” Rodriguez said. The parish provides not only a place for the troop to hold its weekly meetings, but storage for its equipment. The men’s fellowship of the parish also contributes financially to the troop.

In turn, the Boy Scouts “try to give back to the church in any way we can,” Rodriguez said. They took a turn assisting injured Deacon Bill Donnelly with his paper route; they’ve also helped with cleaning up parish grounds and assisted with the parish picnic.

Rodriguez also was honored for his service as scoutmaster. He’s been involved in scouting since moving to the Quad-Cities in 2003; his son, Daniel, now 14, joined scouting while in elementary school.

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