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Boy Scout Troop 462
(Little Canada, Minnesota)
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History of Troop 462

Scouting has been a part of the Little Canada community since the 1940's. During the 1950's, there were two Boy Scout troops and two Explorer Posts. In 1953, a meeting was held by Rev. Arthur Durand, pastor of St. John's, with the intention to establish a Boy Scout Troop. Troop 195 was established with Henry Huot, Sr., as the Scoutmaster, assisted by Lawrence Melchior and Thomas Poucher. 

The troop meetings were held in the school gymnasium or in the woods behind Scoutmaster Henry Huot's house. Community projects were done as part of the scouting program. The troop planted hundreds of seedlings at the Wilder Nature Center. They also cut and trimmed trees and brush from the St. John's Cemetery. The troop took many weekend camping trips, but canoeing the St. Croix River was considered quite a special weekend. The highlight of the year was the week-long summer camp on Long Lake in Wisconsin at the Tomahawk Scout Reservation. It offered many more scouting opportunities than the weekend campouts. 

Troop 195 grew between 1953 and 1956. In 1956, the Church was being rebuilt and services were held in the school gym. This left the scouts without a meeting place, so they had to suspend activities until November 1957. After this delay, the troop began to decrease in size and was reorganized with some new leadership in 1962. Between 1962 and 1966, Sylvester Warner served as Scoutmaster and had five assistants: Henry Huot, Sr., James Van Alstire, Jerome Schneider, Leonard Notto, and Albert Cernius. In 1967 Jerome Scheider became Scoutmaster. Finally, in 1969, Troop 195 became inactive because of a lack of leadership. Those scouts then joined Troop 462.

Troop 462 received its charter in 1958 with the Little Canada P.T.A. Clint Holter was the Scoutmaster from 1958 through 1963. His assistants were Orin DeCoursey, Don Mackin, and Bernard Loschy. The troop camped both in the summer and winter. Along with the regular scout camps, the troop often camped on an island in the Boundary Waters Area. There were usually just as many leaders and helpers as there were scouts. Chuck Sorenson became the Scoutmaster in 1964. He brought with him his carpentry skills. Between 1964 and 1968 the troop constructed two totem poles. Unfortunately, they have been vandalized and taken down. In 1968, Floyd Holzschuh took over as the Scoutmaster for two years and then was replaced by Dick Ague. The year of 1975 brought yet more new leadership from Joe Thul, Sandy Sybrant, Jack Anderson, Art Wells, and Paul Backes. The troop still enjoyed outdoor camping, canoeing, and skiing. The troop became inactive in 1978.  

In 1983, John Thuhler became the Scoutmaster. After three years as an assistant, Paul Kujawa took over and got the troop growing once again. He brought back the weekend canoeing tradition along the St. Croix, and took our first ever crew to Philmont. Paul Kujawa moved in 1993 and was replaced by Don Sinna. With help from Buck Huot, Dick Thomalla, Mike Shearen, Gregg Wilson, Mike Towle, Roy French, Len Richter, Bill Thomalla, Greg Huot, and Gabe Sinna the troop was running strong. 

Around this time we were trying to find a logo or moniker for the troop that would represent our city. It needed to be something special for our troop to identify with when we went to other scouting events. Little Canada is a community that dates back to the 1800's. As a small town north of downtown St. Paul, the community had been a resting place for travelers and a place to get fresh water. The people who settled there happened to come from the Province of Quebec in Canada. Over the years more and more relatives from Canada settled with their neighbors. The predominate religion is Roman Catholic. Alas, the name Little Canada was born. Since we are French Canadian in origin we thought it only fitting to use this as our tie to the past. It was decided to try to find the proper spelling for the scout motto "Be Prepared." This was not easy. There is not a direct translation for these words in French. Scouts Canada were able to provide the following words "SOIS PRET." We have since painted this on our scout trailer and we have it printed on our neckerchiefs.

Dick Thomalla and Don Sinna took over the District event called Wali-Ga-Zu and held the event at St Johns hosting the event which focuses on Scout skills (knot tying, first aid, map/compass, nature identification, and tripod building) This event has been around since the 1960 and was a great tradition to continue within the area.

In 2001 Don Sinna stepped down as Scoutmaster and Terry Peterson took the reins, with Paul Huot as the Committee Chair. Terry was instrumental in moving towards a boy-led Troop. It took a couple years for the scouts to fully grasp that they were in charge of the calendar and events. The Troop continued the Philmont New Mexico trips but began adding trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern MN and Isle Royale on Lake Superior. The Troop was camping over 30 nights per year which was supported by Paul Huot and Bob Goepel. Terry was also very active within the District, so the Troop benefited from his knowledge and insight as to what other Troops were doing and best practices. As Committee Chair, Paul Huot spearheaded the creation of Troop By-laws and Governing Policies, so everyone understood expectations and roles within the organization. Once approved by the committee they were shared with all members so there was a common understanding of how things work.

In 2006 Craig Miller took over as Scoutmaster and expanded on the scout run philosophy. Craig had property in Hayward Wisconsin, so the Troop spend a lot of time doing primitive camping and other scout related skills at that location. He also started a winter camping tradition where the scouts camped outside building quinzhee or using tents, in temperatures as low as -26 degrees Fahrenheit. The Troop found a sister Troop in Germany and made 2 trips there backpacking into the mountains and the German Troop has been to Minnesota and Tomahawk Scout Reservation a couple times as well. This partnership was great for both groups as learning about others culture really helped the scouts develop a broader understanding of the world in which we live.

In 2013 Paul Huot stepped into the Scoutmaster role, with his long tenure with the Troop, he continued the trips to Philmont, Boundary Waters, Isle Royale, Hayward WI, Tomahawk, Orr MN for the winter campout, and many State Parks in the area. Many of the adults continued to be active in the Troop even though their sons had aged out and moved away. This is a testament to the bond and shared vision developed when spending time together in the wilderness. Paul had great help from Mike Westemeier and Joe Collins to be able to maintain the weekend campouts and other events. This was the year we reached the milestone of having 50 scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout within the Troop.

In 2018 Charlie Crummy took over as Scoutmaster. Paul Huot took over being the Chair of the Wali-Ga-Zu event from Dick Thomalla and is keeping that scout skill event strong within the BSA District. Charlie fully supported the youth led philosophy and continued to allow the scouts to lead the program. The adult responsibility is to provide a safe environment for the scouts without providing too much guidance. Sometimes the scouts make mistakes in planning or execution but in doing so they quickly grow and learn how to do better next time. 

In 2020 the COVID Pandemic hit and the Troop was unable to meet in person; however, they continued to meet over video chats to maintain their bond and work on merit badges. The Troop was able to attend Tomahawk although social distancing and other precautions were in place to prevent illness. By fall things were beginning to get back to normal and campouts were being planned again. 

The Troop 462 traditions remain strong and our scouts have grown into wonderful adults and stewards of the community. Being around people with high moral standards and a passion for nature brings out the best in us all.