Ten years ago, Westford resident Mark Edwards founded Troop 437 at American Legion Post 437 and served as scoutmaster until Andy McKeen took it over. McKeen, also of Westford, continues to lead the troop. Edwards served in the U.S. Air Force for 12 years before retiring at the rank of captain in 1999. Today he is a cloud operations manager at Tracelink, Inc. in North Reading.
Edwards is also commander of American Legion Post 437.
What inspired you to start the troop?
A group of adult scout leaders started Troop 437 to provide a positive experience for young men in Westford where they could learn to be leaders as part of a boy-lead troop.
What do you consider to be your successes with the troop?
The boys have had a variety of experiences on camping trips, at summer camp and at weekly troop meetings, and have been exposed to a large number of subjects through the merit badge program. Scouts in Troop 437 have earned over 2000 merit badges alone in the past 10 years in addition to hundreds of nights of camping and miles hiked. Additionally, the strong relationships that have been built among the boys and adults have benefited all.
How many boys have passed through?
There have been 105 members of the troop. Currently, there are 40 scouts in the troop.
How many Eagle Scouts has it produced?
We’re all really proud of the 25 Eagles the troop has produced, and there are 3 more that we expect to become Eagles in the next few months.
Tell us a little bit about its history over the decade?
The troop has had a strong relationship with its chartered organization, American Legion Post 437 in Nabnassett. The Post shares its space with the troop, providing a place to meet, have campfires, outdoor ceremonies, and waterfront activities in all seasons. The troop has participated in Flag Day, Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day ceremonies with the Post. The two organizations have meshed together to provide support for the entire community.
What are your hopes for Troop 437 in the future?
Boy Scout troops exist because the community supports them. That means that organizations must provide a home for them and adults must provide both leadership and positive role models. Troop 437 has excellent support from both the Legion and adult leaders and is poised for another decade where boys come together to become fine young men who are leaders in our community.