The Woodward News

March 13, 2014

Plans made for Troop 251 reunion

Cathy Johnston
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — When D. L. "Ferd" Waddell, retired veterinarian, left Woodward approximately 12 years ago, his friend Linda Meyer promised she would plan a reunion of Boy Scout Troop 251, over which Dr. Waddell was scoutmaster for nearly 13 years.

She is keeping that promise, tentatively planning the reunion for July 19 to coincide with the Woodward Elks Rodeo Parade and all former area scouts and leaders are invited to attend. It will be held at one of the Boiling Springs State Park cabins, but the reunion will start with the Scouts riding in the parade during the morning. There will also be a fish fry and plans to attend the rodeo that evening.

Dr. Waddell, or "Doc" as the scouts called him, had been a Boy Scout himself and says scouting has always held a special place in his heart.

He shared his experience in scouting in a book titled, "There They Go! I Must Hasten to Join Them for I am Their Leader."

Dr. Waddell became an assistant cub master after his son Cliff entered Cub Scouts. When Cliff was ready for Webelos, Dr. Waddell filled a vacancy and became a Webelo leader.

As the troop members readied to become Boy Scouts, Dr. Waddell decided to help out by volunteering as assistant scoutmaster. It was not long before the scoutmaster moved to another state and he inherited that position for Troop 251.

During his time as scoutmaster, Dr. Waddell awarded the Eagle Scout badge to 32 young men.

Included in his book are stories of the adventures enjoyed over the years by him and the troop he led. Some of their most memorable experiences involved canoe trips into the Canadian wilderness and the attendance of 32 scouts from Oklahoma at the 13th World Jamboree in Japan.

In 1969, a time when there were no cell phones or gps tracking devices, 15 young men and 3 leaders headed out of Woodward for a wilderness adventure in the Canadian Quetico Provincial Park, where they traveled by canoe for many miles and portaged between lakes. There were no motorized boats allowed in the area, which was reserved as a primitive wilderness.

In their heavy packs, the scouts carried everything they would need for their journey, including food, clothing and cooking and camping equipment. They ate a lot of fish, as fishing was something they did on an almost daily basis.

In 1971, a Woodward group joined scouts from all over the world at the World Jamboree in Japan. Not allowing their differences in language and culture to stop them, they played games, sang and performed skits together. The theme of the Jamboree was "For Understanding," and in his book Doc says, "It did not take long to realize how appropriate that theme was."

Three days into the Jamboree, Typhoon Olive moved in off shore dumping 30 inches of water on the site.

The scouts moved to higher ground and spent the night in a gymnasium, where they worked on drying out the belongings they were able to save from the flood. The next day, they were able to rebuild their campsites.

"Doc loved the outdoors and shared that love with the scouts," said Mike Austin, a former Troop 215 member. "We would go camping on Sutter's Ranch just outside of Fargo on weekends. I was able to participate in 2 trips to the boundary waters of southwest Ontario with Doc. He loved to camp and fish and I came to share that passion. I've been up there 25-plus times since and often remember some incredible fishing days.

"On the second trip in 1976, we went to Camel Lake in the interior part of Quetico Provincial Park. Doc made sure everyone caught a fish - there were 21 in the group. We would divide the work when cooking dinner. Some guys would be cleaning fish, some gathered wood for the cooking fire, some cooked, some cleaned up afterwards.

"On that last night in Camel, every canoe brought in stringers of fish. There must have been in excess of 100 fish. Doc first said to led all the northern pike go back into the water, then the bass. then release any that were alive. We cooked and ate fish until the stars were out. It was an incredible day."

Victor Austin, who was also in Troop 251, added, "I remember one camping trip - a great thing about Doc was that he took us on weekend camping trips almost every month - when my group built a table of sorts out of tree branches we had lashed together and propped up on one end. The other end was attached to a tree. We were pretty much done with it and we were rather proud of ourselves. He commented, very calmly, that it was good work, and then he asked if any of us had notched the tree (to which the thing was attached) was covered with poison ivy?"

"We did scouting the way it ought to be done and the subject was dear to my heart," said Dr. Waddell. "I invested a lot of time and energy into it and I feel like we accomplished a whole lot. I would love to have a reunion, I would be tickled to death!"

For more information about the reunion call Linda Meyer at 580-256-5726, email or write her at PO  Box 1986, Woodward, OK 73802.