Dansville Scoutmasters mold future leaders

BSA Troop 38 Scoutmasters celebrate 96 years

By Jasmine Willis
The Express
A recent photo of BSA Troop 38 in Dansville at the Fish and Game Club. They are celebrating 96 years of service to the community.

DANSVILLE — As the local Boy Scouts continue to celebrate their 96-year anniversary, it is time to reflect on those who led them.   

Jacob Freas made history as the first Troop 38 Scoutmaster from 1925 to 1927. From that point onward the troop was unstoppable. Several chose to lead more than once in their lifetimes. Many took on other roles in the troop over the years.   

In 1948 there was three Troop 38 Scoutmasters in one year. Fred Scott began the year and resigned a couple months later after moving to New Jersey. Alba Palmer took over until April. Robert Conway finished the year strong taking on 1949 in the process.   

The longest lasting member of Troop 38 was Andrew Sauerbier. He began as a Scoutmaster in 1936 and after several terms ended officially in 1950. Sauerbier’s terms were 1936-39,1947-1950. He was in various positions until 1983. He was an Eagle Scout and spent most of his life in Troop 38. He has a grand total of 55 years dedicated to service.   

Charles McLane was the first Eagle Scout in 1927 and went on to be a scoutmaster in 1936-39, 1946,and 1953.   

John Rauber was a Troop 38 Scoutmaster for 25 years from 1965 to 1987, 1992-93.   

Chad Schuster, BSA Troop 38 Scoutmaster, said there are three key roles an adult scout can be in Troop 38. They can be a Charter Representative, Committee Chairperson, and Scoutmaster. Several will be many of these roles in their lifetime.   

“In the old days when the church was involved with the troop it was common for the pastors, clergy, and priests to be involved. Nowadays the parents need to step up and be involved in the leadership,” he said. "Now we are charted by the Fish and Game Club. Our Charter Organization Representative for Fish and Game is Mike VanDurme. Holley Smalt is our Troop 38 Committee Chair. They have had these positions since 2017.”  

Schuster took over being the scoutmaster after long-term Troop 38 Scoutmaster James Cotton stepped down. He had been part of the troop since 2012 as Troop 38 Assistant Scoutmaster.    

“I have turned to Jim for guidance since I took over being scoutmaster in 2020. I have learned a lot from him. He started being part of the troop in 2012. He became our scoutmaster in 2015. My son Adam and his son Jacob joined together in 2010. Jacob was a Webelo and Adam was a Tiger,” he said. “I saw a need for someone to step in after Jim. I wanted to make sure we made it to our 100 year anniversary. We do have several assistant scoutmasters. Jim Cotton, Eric Maine, and Damon Flick are all assistant scoutmasters. Devon Curtis is an assistant scoutmaster in training. I remember Jim had eight assistants who worked with him.”   

Schuster said he would love to get all the remaining scoutmasters together for a reunion photo. Those left are William Kramer, John Goho, John Holmes, Robert Reidel, Dan Wilson, David Knights, Marty Spoor, James Cotton and himself. He asks they contact him at cschuster2@stny.rr.com   

The role of scoutmaster and eagle scouts has been a generational thing within BSA Troop 38 since the birth of its history in 1924. Fathers and sons have gathered to take part in this family tradition of leadership.   

“I know our history has always been to lead by example and create future leaders. It is a scout led troop. I listen to my troop. I want to make sure they get what they need out of the troop. We share their achievements and merit badges with counselors as needed,” Schuster said. “I want to thank all of the scoutmasters who served and kept our troop going for nearly 100 years.”  

The Troop 38 Scoutmasters are: Jacob Freas (1925-27), Norbert Blum (1927-31,46), James Cox (1931-35,40,46), Charles McLane(1936,39,42-42), William Blum (1941), Earl Allyn (1943), Carl Gerber (1944), Fred Scott (1948), Alba Palmer (1948), Robert Conway (1948-49), Clyde Smith (1951-52), Anthony Amico (1953-56), Richard Kelly (1958), Ray Jacobs (1959), Phillip Cox (1960-61), John Rauber (1965-87,1992-93), William Kramer (1988,90-92,97-99), Thomas VanDurme (1989), John Goho (1991,93-96), John Holmes (199-2002), Robert Riedel (2003-04), Dan Wilson (2005-09), David Knights (2009-14), Marty Spoor (2014-15), James Cotton (2015-19) and Chad Schuster (2020-present).