Celebrating 100-years of Scouting in Campbell County

Patch design by BSA Troop 310 Scoutmaster Chris Thacker.

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Thacker earns Eagle Scout rank

By Charlotte Underwood of WLAF

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Campbell County High School junior Stewart Thacker has earned the rank of Eagle Scout after a six year commitment to Boy Scouts of America. He is in Troop 310.He is also the recipient of the Boy Scout National Award of Merit. During his time in Scouting he has earned 107 merit badges and 23 various other Scout awards. He has accrued over 400 individual service hours.    

Thacker began his Boy Scout journey in October 2015 when he was 11 years old and in the fifth grade. He said he had always heard good stories about being in Boy Scouts and so when a representative visited his school that year, he knew he wanted to join. 

He said Boy Scouts has been one of the best things he has participated in and that he had met two of his closest friends in Scouts as well. Thacker said he felt being in Scouts over the years had made him “better” in multiple areas. “A lot of stuff has been brought out in myself because of Boy Scouts. I’m a better student, a better athlete and just a better individual all around because of Scouts,” Thacker said. He said he really enjoyed the “fitness challenges” that were part of Boy Scouts.    

From age 11 to now, Stewart Thacker has grown into an impressive young man.

His most challenging task has been his Eagle Scout project, which was to build an outdoor sanctuary for Cedar Hill Baptist Church. 

He picked it as his Eagle Scout project because he said he wanted to “give back to the church” and to his pastor, the late Ronnie Arnold. “I wanted to show my appreciation to the church and my reverence to God,” Thacker said. The project consisted of a 10 foot tall cross with landscaping, as well as six rough cut cedar benches.  Thacker started the project before Christmas 2019 and finished it in July 2020. “The great thing about the project is it didn’t cost hardly anything. Most of everything was generously donated,” Thacker said. 

He said he was inspired to build an outside sanctuary from his time at summer camp at Boy Scout Camp Buck Tom’s.”I wanted to bring that feeling back home,” Thacker said. 

Both of Stewart’s parents are “very proud of him” and all his hard work to attain the rank of Eagle Scout.  Boy Scouts is a part of their family life as his dad Chris Thacker is the Scoutmaster for Troop 310, and his mom Crystal Thacker is the committee chairman.

Stewart Thacker at an event last year.

Stewart said he wanted to say a “huge thank you” to his mom and dad, his former pastor Ronnie Arnold and especially his grandmother Wanda Cooper, who “is a big part of his life”.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me to get to where I am at,” Thacker said. Thacker plans to continue with the troop and “help other guys advance in their scouting careers.”

He also said he wanted to encourage any area youth to get involved in Boy Scouts of America.

“It is well worth the commitment and it’s a lot of fun,” Thacker said.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 02/16/2021-6AM)

The 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts’ LaFollette Council:

Founded in 1921, Celebrating 100 Years of Leadership

 This article is the first part of an ongoing series of features on Scouting in LaFollette / Campbell County. 

The Boy Scouts of America’s LaFollette Council was established in 1921, just 11 years after the BSA was founded in 1910.  The nearby and larger Knox County Council had formed in 1915, and later became the Great Smoky Mountain Council (based in Knoxville), which today includes Scouts and leaders in Campbell County.  Future articles in this series will include stories of the people and places that are part of Scouting’s history in LaFollette / Campbell County.

History & The Future

The LaFollette Council was officially “chartered” (registered with the National Office of the Boy Scouts) from 1921 to 1923.  Certainly, Scouting grew and stayed active in LaFollette / Campbell County since then, but the LaFollette Council group did not renew its registration with the National Office at that time. It was fairly common at the time for councils in small cities to form briefly, being chartered/sponsored by local businesses, churches, and civic groups, and then later merging into a larger council.   

The 100th anniversary of the LaFollette Council will be celebrated in a number of ways throughout 2021. The goal is to honor the many Boy Scouts and Scout Leaders from LaFollette / Campbell County in these past 100 years.

LaFollette Boy Scouts Today

Troop 310 in LaFollette, sponsored by Cedar Hill Baptist Church, started in 2015, and Chris Thacker has been Scoutmaster from the beginning.  The Troop will be supporting the activities during the LaFollette Council’s 100-year celebration throughout 2021.  Others volunteer leaders serving the Troop include Assistant Scoutmasters Jack White and Claude Roberts, along with Crystal Thacker, the vice chair of the Troop Committee.  Former Assistant Scoutmasters are: Bill Mathias, Paul Harmon, and Chris Perry (who earned his Eagle Scout as a youth, and still serves on the Troop’s Eagle Scout review board).  Logan Hickman, also an Eagle Scout, helped guide the Troop in its early days.  Today Hickman serves as the 2021 President of the Great Smoky Mountain Council, to which the LaFollette Troop belongs.   

 About the Great Smoky Mountain Council 

In 1963, LaFollette / Campbell County Scouts and their leaders became part of the Great Smoky Mountain Council, based in Knoxville. Today the Council serves 10,000 young people via its 3,300 registered and trained adult volunteers, who work with 393 Cub Scout Packs, Scout BSA Troops, STEM Scout Labs, Explorer Posts, and Venture Crews chartered to neighborhood churches, community organizations, and civic clubs in East Tennessee.  The Council’s goal is to prepare our youth to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime by instilling in them the values of Scout Oath and Law. Connect HERE and HERE for more info.

About Scouting

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be “Prepared. For Life.®” The Scouting organization includes approximately 2.2 million youth members between the ages of 5 and 21 and approximately 800,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 02/16/2021-6AM)

Eagle Scout Logan Hickman shares some newspaper clippings from the Knoxville Sentinel when scouting began in Campbell County. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 02/05/2021-4PM)