Called the “father of scouting on the Key Peninsula” by many, Bill Macaras, beloved scoutmaster of KP Boy Scout Troop 220, stepped down in September after 11 years. Macaras began his involvement with local scouting when his son, Matthew, became a Cub Scout. It wasn’t quite intentional, says Macaras, but he began volunteering more and more, until he became assistant den leader for Pack 220.
Eventually, Matthew became a Webelo, the highest rank a Cub Scout can achieve.
Without an existing Boy Scout troop on the Key Peninsula, Macaras decided to found one. Designated Troop 220 by the local Council of the Boy Scouts of America, it started out with just five boys, all former members of Matthew Macaras’ Cub Scout pack. However, Troop 220’s membership rolls quickly grew; at its high point, it had more than 30 active members.
Shortly after the troop started up, Macaras recruited his friend, Mark Burris, to join as an assistant scoutmaster. Burris is still with the troop today, as are many other parents of scouts who once were part of the troop but are now too old. Macaras noted it is this exceptional level of dedicated parental involvement that has made Troop 220 successful.
During Macaras’s tenure as scoutmaster, Troop 220 promoted 13 of its members, including Matthew in 2002, to the rank of Eagle Scout. Eagle Scout is one of the most difficult achievements for a scout to obtain, requiring long-term commitment, mastering skills in a number of different fields of study, demonstrated leadership abilities, and the completion of a major community service project.
Macaras says his greatest sense of accomplishment as a scoutmaster was helping so many boys make Eagle Scout. Macaras has many fond memories of his activities with scouting. Particularly noteworthy were the “High Adventures” that Troop 220 organized for some of its more experienced scouts, including a weeklong bicycle excursion through the San Juan Islands, several 50-mile wilderness backpacking expeditions, and two trips to the National Boy Scout Camp in Philmont, N.M. He’s also very proud of the many service projects Troop 220 has done throughout the Key Peninsula and the dedication the scouts continue to display in serving their community.
Macaras said his decision to step down as scoutmaster was a difficult one. However, after his son left scouting several years ago, he began to feel it was time to allow others, with boys who were still active in scouting, to make decisions about the direction of the troop.
Even though he’ll no longer be an official member of Troop 220, Macaras said he intends to remain involved with scouting, helping out when and where his talents can be most useful. “Once a scout, always a scout,” he says.
Macaras feels his involvement with scouting has been one of the most rewarding, high points of his life. He says he is thankful to the many members of the community who have provided such overwhelming support to the Boy Scouts and Troop 220 over the years.
John O’Dell, a former captain in the U.S. Coast Guard, is the new Troop 220 scoutmaster. Troop 220 continues to meet every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Key Peninsula Civic Center in Vaughn. Troop members encourage any boy interested in scouting to drop by and see what the adventure is all about.
Cameron McMillan is an eighth-grade student at Key Peninsula Middle School.