CHAPTER FOUR: 1950-1965

The Golden Age

With the baby-boom and spirit of discipline and social responsibility in the fifties the Scouting movement boomed. Bill Braddock ran the Troop until 1954, when Carl Ostlund took over, serving as Scoutmaster until 1957. Kyle Cudworth, now with a son in the Troop and an executive at Pillsbury Company, once again became Scoutmaster of Troop 33 at that time.

At about this point there ceases to be any mention of Sea Scout ship 33; it can be assumed that it gradually went out of existence. Bill Braddock does mention that when Kyle returned from the war he ran it for a time. So it may have even continued up to the mid-fifties in some form.

The Cub Scout pack was still quite active and the Troop during this period was incredibly large. At one point, it had to further subdivide itself into three Troops: a, b, and c.

The stories of this era reflect the changing times:

  • I was a member of the Silver Fox Patrol. We always looked forward to the times when patrol meetings were at Rolf Larsen's house because his family had the only TV set in the neighborhood. After the patrol meeting was over, his parents would let us watch TV. The 7-inch TV was set on a buffet in the dining room and the chairs were set arranged like in a theater. We would stay until his parents sent us home.
  • -James Eriksson

  • We went on lots of campouts, but the most unique was an overnight on the First National Bank Plaza. The bank was a new structure then and I have no idea what sort of promotion was cooked up to have us camp there. But we pitched our tents, cooked our meals, and slept out just as though we were in the woods. We had a ball.

    -Hugh Strawn

    One thing I remember about the weekly meetings was I had my first car accident taking kids home from a Monday night meeting. In the 1950's one could get a driver's license at the age of 15. I was driving my mother's blue Chevrolet Belair four-door. I was, I believe, 16 years old and had dropped several boys off at the end of the dead-end street at 53rd and York where it stops because of Minnehaha Creek. At that time I wanted to see how fast my mother’s car would go in reverse. I learned the hard way that a car is very hard to control in reverse, as the result of my experiment was I put the trunk of the car around a large elm tree directly in front of the Moore family home at 5317 York Ave. South. Mrs. Moore was very kind and I was allowed to call my father who, as you can guess, was not pleased. While no one was hurt, I learned that one should not try to drive fast in reverse, especially if one has to call their father if the results of the experiment do not turn out as planned.

  • -Stuart Arey Jr.

    Another major change which occurred in the fifties is that Scouts ceased using the street car to get downtown to meetings and started organizing carpools or taking the bus. Dick Stone recalls an incident in which a Scout had a knife drawn at him on the streetcar, suggesting that they were becoming unsafe.

    During the fifties, Troop 33 also attended several National Jamborees. At the 1950 National jamboree at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 33 Scouts from Troop 33 attended. Allan Hesdorffer remembers Bill Teeter being seriously burned at the Jamboree and "we took turns treating burn, on the train ride back to Minneapolis."

  • As Senior Patrol Leader, I took 33 members of Troop 33 to the first world jamboree to be held after the war in the U.S. It was at Valley Forge PA and involved going by train via Chicago, with side visits to D.C. Philadelphia, and New York. It was a real leadership challenge and I very much appreciated the latitude given to me by the adult leaders. While I know they organized everything, they gave me the impression I was in charge to some degree.
  • -Bob Schuller

  • In 1964 the Troop went to the National Jamboree. It was a great experience. There were tents everywhere. We did a lot of patch and neckerchief trading. At night though, you had to put cotton in your ears because there were these ticks that would crawl in your ears. I remember they shipped us out in old WWII trains.
  • -John Sierck

    The ticks mentioned by Sierck are actually the best- remembered thing about the Jamboree. Everyone I talked to from this era remembered them.

    Back in Minnesota, camping went on as usual:

  • Cooking hamburger with vegetable soup in foil stands out. It usually was pretty good. I remember at least one cooking story when I was a counselor on the "Cub Line" at Ajawah. We were cooking baked potatoes in foil over coals of a campfire. One young boy was asked by another when take the potatoes out of the fire. His answer was

    "you take the potatoes out when you want the potatoes out!!" For years after that, in my family, that was known by all of us as the "potatoes philosophy of life."

  • -Stuart Arey Jr.

  • We did a lot of winter camping, at least that stands out. One winter camping, as one of the leaders, we took the group on an overnight ski and snowshoe hike to a county park that is located northeast of Camp Ajawah. The gear and provisions were taken by the camp truck. We set out from camp by foot. During the hike, the weather turned bad and into real blizzard. The boys were getting really cold and having lots of trouble getting tents set up. Fires were started, however, and that was part of the problem. The tents were close to the fires for warmth, and the embers were being blown by a strong wind. Three tents began smoldering although they did not burst into flame. We finally abandoned the camp and took everyone to a filling station on the edge of town by the county park to warm up. We returned to camp by truck.
  • -James Eriksson

  • I remember spending the night in a tent with a garden heater to pass one of my first class requirements. The temperature was below zero and I've never been so cold. I felt like I was like sleeping on an ice-cake. It was the second longest night of my life.
  • -Henry Kuehn

  • We set up camp on the edge of a muddy cow pasture in pitch dark light and discovered that somewhere along the way a canoe with two boys and all our food was missing. Bill Stanley decided to head up river searching for the kids and told us young leaders to get everyone bedded down and eat whatever we could scavenge up. He came back at about five in the morning with no news, exhausted from not sleeping the entire night and worrying about the lost kids. The next day we went to a farmers house, who called camp, the park service, and the police. A full-scale search and rescue mission was set up complete with search plane, police, rangers, farm-folk, and camp staff searching for the lost boys.

    I was on some little bridge when I spotted their canoe drifting down river towards me. Both were sound asleep, straddling the inside of the canoe, and covered with mosquito bites. The food packs floating in a puddle of water. They were exhausted and starved. I called on my walkie-talkie, telling the others that they were safe and sound, a little rough around the edges. We went back to camp another near disaster avoided.

  • -Tom McNally

  • I remember one year when "Capture the Fort" injuries required the staff to call my father, a Minneapolis physician, to drive up in the middle of the night to check the injured.
  • -Allan Hesdorffer

  • It seemed like every overnight had its share of disasters. Nothing major, just the usual— rain or bugs or getting lost or ruining dinner. I do remember that Ray Conover, who was the resident Troop electrical genius, would always have some fancy gimmick in his tent that he had constructed. Usually a wireless radio or some such device, so his tent was always busy. Mostly I remember the friendships and the smell of smoke and mud impregnated into your clothes, spending a lot of time looking for wood for fires, making your campsite up early, and through immersion and practice learning skills I still use today.
  • -Tom McNally

    The staff had time to have fun, too:

  • About 1952 or ‘53, when I was Beach Director, Craig Kissock and I and a couple of others went into Forest Lake for a night off. There had been a sort of running fun game between the beach staff and the quartermasters, so when we got back about 11:30 p.m. that night, we walked into the beach tent, and lo, it was completely empty. There was nothing left but the four screen walls, the pyramid tent on top of it, and the floor . . . after looking around, we found our beds, the desk, chairs, clothing, and everything else out on the diving raft.
  • -Joe Steen

    It was during the sixties that the annual Troop fundraiser, the wreath sale, began:

  • Jim Enquist started the wreath sale, the Troop was in debt and needed a good fundraiser. In the past we'd done paper sales, which consisted of truck being driven into the church parking lot and everyone would bring their paper and fill the truck. The wreath sale, however, was our first real good consistent fund raiser.
  • -George Jones

    In 1965 Kyle Cudworth, after 45 years with the Troop, decided to retire. He was replaced by Dave Moore, the present Scoutmaster of 33.

    During the seventies the Scouting movement declined nationally. There is no clear reason for this decline but it was due to a number factors including school sports, which started demanding more time and energy from their participants, as well as the end of the baby-boom which reduced the number of available boys. There was also the reaction against the Vietnam War, in which a pseudo-military organization like Scouts seemed out of place.

    Troop 33, however, stayed strong through the seventies, but experienced a fairly severe membership decline in the early eighties. There was a time when the Troop had only twelve members.

    During the nineties, however, Troop 33 was to make an incredible comeback.


    Troop 33 History