Troop 465 marks 50-year anniversary in Hempfield

| Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

John Millward of New Stanton joined Boy Scout Troop 465 in 1965.

He learned the same things then that Conor Lydic, 15, is learning today — leadership, life skills and how to build character.

The two joined with 30 current and many past members of Troop 465 Sunday for a celebration at Harrold Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hempfield to commemorate the troop's 50th anniversary.

The Rev. John Smaligo said the church has sponsored the troop for all 50 years and the church was proud to honor the troop for its many accomplishments.

“It's important for boys to get a sense of the history,” said Jeff Lydic, the assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 465 since 2008.

“A lot of troops don't make it this far.”

For Conor Lydic, his son, celebrating the milestone is “pretty cool.”

“It's cool to see people who have been in the troop before me ... see what they did in comparison to what we're doing now and how it has changed their lives,” said Conor, a sophomore at Hempfield Area High School.

Conor said he has been a Scout for the last five years because he enjoys being in the great outdoors and he enjoys the fellowship and camaraderie he has found through the troop.

His dad, a former Scout, doubts much has changed in the last 50 years as far as the main goal of forging better leaders for tomorrow.

Of course, technology has brought some adjustments.

“When I was a Scout, we carried an emergency dime in case we had to make a call,” Lydic said. “But computers, the Internet; it's changed everything.”

With the Scout slogan of “do a good turn daily,” Lydic said, it's important for the boys to remember that the focus is not on themselves, but on community service and helping others.

It's mottoes like that that helped to shape the man Millward is today. He is an electroneurodiagnostic technologist for a Greensburg neurologist and president of the Youngwood Lions Club.

He describes himself as a young, backward, introverted kid, who was afraid of everything, when he first joined the Boy Scouts.

As a result of his experience, Millward walked away with confidence, self-reliance and leadership skills that helped in his professional life, he said.

“There are so many character building skills that go along with Scouting,” said Millward, who has served on the Boy Scouts committee at Harrold Zion Church. “It went a long way to improve my life and get me to where I am now.”

Millward says in today's society it is common for fathers to be absent from the family.

“There is no better opportunity than the Boy Scouts to teach life skills, how to be a man, and how not to float around without any direction,” he said.

Lydic has found that many Scouts go on to join the military and find themselves at an advantage in basic training because they've already mastered many of the skills, including outdoor orientation and methods of loading and carrying a backpack,

Another Boy Scout motto is simply: “Be Prepared.”

For Millward, it's a lesson he's taken with him all his life.

Michele Stewardson is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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