Troop 3 was honored with an article in the Tennessean by Nicole Young.
East End Methodist shares 100-year bond with Boy Scouts
For more than 100 years, Boy Scout Troop 3 and East End United Methodist Church have shared a common bond.
They both meet in the same building, and they both support community members in East Nashville, said the Rev. Diane Blum, East End pastor.
“Our church has a very positive commitment to the troop. We’re very proud of it, and we see it as one avenue of youth ministry,” said Blum, who resides in the church parsonage. “We believe that the troop is meant to serve others and the community at large. It’s not doctrinal of course, but the motto of honoring God and country has existed in its core values since it was founded.
“As charter organization of the troop, the church has an obligation to see that it not only survives, but thrives. There are physical, financial and volunteer opportunities for the church and the troop to interact creatively, and many of our members step up and do that.”
Founded in 1889, East End United Methodist currently has about 200 members, Blum said. It has been at its current location since 1907.
“In the heyday of East Nashville, we had about 1,000 members at this church,” Blum said. “That was between the 1920s and 50s.
“Back in the day, the most elite neighborhoods were in East Nashville.”
When the Boy Scouts of America organization formed in 1910, East End sought to form a troop and did so that September. Historically, the troop hasn’t been a large one. Its average is about 12 boys, but the troop currently has 21 members.
Other troops, such as Troop 1 at Brentwood United Methodist Church, which also celebrated its centennial in 2010, have many more members. Troop 1 has 88.
The United Methodist Church is the second-largest charter organization with the Boy Scouts of America, said Larry Coppock, national director of Scouting ministries with the General Commission on United Methodist Men.
UMC has 370,000 Scouts participating in more than 11,400 units led by members of more than 6,700 churches in the U.S., Coppock said.
Blum said the United Methodist Church encourages congregations to charter Boy Scout troops.
When Blum began her ministry at East End five years ago, about eight were in the troop. The gain in membership came largely from word of mouth after a renewal of outdoor activities and adventure trips, she said.
Scoutmaster Libor Koudelka was drawn to East End when his son, Antonin, now 13, began looking for a troop.
“We were looking for a group that would be more in line with the outdoors, an active troop,” said Koudelka, who is originally from the Czech Republic.
“We really fell in love with the program there.”
Last year, Koudelka, an East Nashville resident of 14 years, took over as scoutmaster when Blum’s husband, Jeff, retired from the job. He had run Troop 3 for two years and had built up the outdoor part of the program, Koudelka said.
“Typically every year, the big focus is on the high adventure trip, which happens in the summer,” he said. “The year is geared towards what we’ll be doing on that trip. Last year, we visited the Boundary Waters in Minnesota for backpacking and canoeing, so we focused on gaining skill in those two areas.”
This year, the troop plans to visit North Georgia for a multisports trip, which will include hiking, backpacking, white-water rafting, rappelling and climbing. Plans are still in the works on the specifics of the trip, Koudelka said.
In past years, the troop has been on trips to the Florida Keys, the Big South Fork and Great Smoky Mountains and the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The scouts also canoe every year on the Buffalo River.