Troop History

A Brief History:   Shown below is the Troop 273 History reproduced from the 50th Anniversary Program. Since the history ended in 1992 at the time of the 50th Anniversary Dinner, we will add more recent detail as we continue to build out the website. Enjoy! (If the scanned image is hard to read, mouse over the page below and left click. It will bring up a larger image. You can then left click again on the document image and it will magnify.)

Troop History Page 1 here,  Page 2 here,   Page 3 here

Original Troop 273 Charter Organization here

Author's Note here

Troop History after 1992

Mike Trietsch was kind enough to provide some documents and comments about the Troop after 1992. Mike was the Scouting Coordinator from 1985 through 2002 when the Troop finally closed shop. At the time of the 50th Anniversary in 1992, there were only 13 scouts remaining in Troop 273. This was down from a high of 38 Scouts when Mike took over as Scouting Coordinator in 1985. As the years went on, there were fewer Scouts to keep the Troop going. After an unsuccessful attempt to revitalize the Troop and name a new Scoutmaster in 2001, the Troop Leadership decided not to renew the charter and the Troop ceased operations during February 2002.

Mike and Frank Malane visited SBJL several years after the Troop closure and before SBJL closed their doors in 2009. They were able to rescue some files, flags and some camping equipment. Much of the old Troop 273 gear was unsalvageable. Fortunately, they were able to collect some camping items and distribute them to other active Troops where Mike, Frank and Curtis Marz had some involvement. It is good to know that Troop 273 lives on in other Scout programs through the use of this equipment.

Author's Note

Troop 273 was affiliated with St Benedict Joseph Labre Roman Catholic (RC) Parish and School in Richmond Hill, New York.  As was the custom for Scouting units sponsored by RC parishes, there was also a Cub Pack (Pack 273) and an Explorer Post (Post 273) associated with the Troop and the parish. It was a Catholic package deal, covering all boys, and young men from 2nd Grade through High School.

During the time that I was a Scout, the Troop had a healthy enrollment. Based upon a yearly Troop Bulletin, it appears that there were 35 to 40 Boy Scouts, on the average, from 1958 through 1965. It was my experience that during my time as a Scout, we probably also had 35 to 40 from 1964 through 1968. Then, the numbers dropped after this time. This downward enrollment trend was felt locally and nationally, as Scout enrollments dropped towards the end of the 60’s. There are probably many reasons for this, the top two being the natural demographic trend of the baby boomers (there were fewer baby boomers of Scouting age at the end of the 60’s). This was also a time of dramatic cultural change: disenchantment with the military, government and traditional organizations at large probably added to the decreased enrollments.

At the time that I was a Scout, we had the “Big 3” of Scout leadership. First, we had Bill Welsch as Scoutmaster. Bill was the Troop's first Eagle Scout, attaining that prestigious rank in 1956. He took over as Scoutmaster from Tom Costigan in 1963. Bill continued for 20 years in that position. After he gave up the reins of Scoutmaster, he remained Scoutmaster Emeritus for many years. (I know Bill won the New York State Lottery sometime at the end of the 70’s, and then moved to Florida in 1983.) Unfortunately, Bill passed away in 1998 well before his time.

The other two members of the Big 3 were Uncle Al Moser and Tom Costigan. They were there for the entire time that I was a Boy Scout. And they attended a party for me that the Troop held in my honor, along with the Joe Sullivan family, at the Sullivan's home on 129th St, when I graduated from West Point in 1975. They, like Bill, were outstanding leaders who gave their hearts and souls to Boy Scouting and to Troop 273. I know that Tom Costigan had been with the Troop first as a Charter Scout in 1942. Then he became Scoutmaster in 1952. When Bill Welsch took over in 1963, Tom remained on as an Advisor Emeritus for many more years. I will research when his active involvement with Troop 273 ceased and update the site accordingly. However, as with Bill Welsch, Tom Costigan is no longer with us.

As far as Uncle Al, I know very little about him. I know he ran the finances for the Troop collecting dues and Camping money at every Scout meeting. And, he was always there to provide adult leadership during our camp-outs and summer camp. He, like Bill, was a Committee Chairman before I joined the Troop in 1964 and was still serving in a leadership capacity through 1975. He had a thick German accent, and all the Scouts will always remember Uncle Al saying “Dues, Dues” as we walked into our weekly Scout meetings. As I look back, I wished I had talked more to him, to Tom Costigan and to Bill Welsch, when I could have in the 70’s, to find out more about these great Scouting leaders. Generations of Scouts thank all three of them for their selfless service to Scouting. Unfortunately, Uncle Al passed away in 1977.

In Parish Troops in Queens New York, the history of a Troop is often defined by one or two scoutmasters that have led a Troop for an extended period of time. I have been an adult Scout leader for many councils, from the Trans Atlantic Council in Germany to the Heart of America Council in Kansas City back to Queens Council in the late 90’s. It is the exception and not the norm to have Scoutmasters who lead a Troop beyond 4 or 5 years. So, although we didn’t know it at the time, we were blessed to have Scoutmasters and Senior Advisors in Troop 273 who led the Troop for many, many years. I have been a Scoutmaster myself for 2 separate Troops: one for 3 years and one for 4 years and it is a lot of work. How these 3 gentlemen could lead and guide our Troop for many long years is absolutely beyond me. It is a testament to their dedication and love of Scouting.

Unfortunately, the Troop is no longer in existence. The Troop officially folded its colors in 2002. This is very sad in many ways.