History of Community Service Projects
by Assistant Scoutmaster Joe Crownover
Incorporated in 1922
Since its incorporation in March of 1922, the young people (Scouts) and their leaders have contributed greatly to the community of Greater Miami, and more particularly to Coral Gables.
Some of the old Scouters that are still around, acknowledge some of the projects undertaken in their young days They included things such as:
Details Of More Recent Projects
Projects can be described in more detail since 1967.
Cleaning up the Miami River project. Working with other Scout Troops and other organizations, the clearing of debris, old tires, scrapped vehicles, scrapped boats and more. Project was weeks in progress. Eventually the Miami River water was tested as "very much less polluted" and the fish put back on the acceptable list.
Cleaning up the Coral Gables Waterways. Troop 7 Scouts and leaders put 12 canoes into the canal at Red Road (bridge between Coral Way and Bird Road). Using frog stickers, huge husky litter bags, fish nets and poles they collected all the visible litter. This included a lot of plastics, six pack holders, styrofoam cups, soiled baby diapers, soda cans, rotten pieces of wood, pieces of rope and fishing tackle. There were also a few large railroad ties that were floating just below the surface, constituting a serious danger to boats. These were roped and towed to the banks. The waterways included in the clean up were all through the Biltmore golf course, Gables by the Sea, Alhambra Circle, Riveria Drive and Granada Boulevard. This project was done one year and then repeated two years later. The City of Coral Gables issued a Certificate of Appreciation to the Eagle Scouts who supervised these projects.
Safety projects. Scouts of Troop 7, armed with city maps, cameras, notebooks and pencils went off on assigned areas in Coral Gables on their bicycles. They stopped at every intersection and studied the traffic safety problems, if any. They found, at some intersections, visual blockage that auto divers had, in trying to see if another car was coming from the right or left. Such things such as a hibiscus bush, tree limbs growing and hanging down over the intersection (such was the case at Granada and Bird Road) and other visual blockages. They listed the address of the problem, took pictures and proceeded to the next intersection. This total project was then written up in detail, map and photos included and sent to Department of Public Safety, Coral Gables Police Department and Mayor of Coral Gables.
Remedies were fast coming and some results can be seen to this day. Bushes and trees were trimmed or removed. Stop signs were put up (one in particular at Alhambra Circle and South Greenway Drive as Greenway Drive autos could not see cars coming around the curve or bend on Alhambra. This was especially hazardous at the prime traffic times.) Yield signs. At night, driving up Hernando, towards LeJune Road, the vehicle's lights reflected back into the drivers eyes from a store window on LeJune. The store owner was caused to shade, or coat the window to prevent this from happening.
Hurricane and your boat. A pamphlet published and distributed by the City of Coral Gables Police Department (Marine Patrol). Scouts from Troop 7 did all the printing, collating and stapling of hundreds of pamphlets. They were supervised by the Scoutmaster, who was an employee of the City and working in the City's print shop. The Scouts conversed the Chief of Police that they could deliver the pamphlets to Coral Gables boat owners and their neighbors better and more accurately than the postal system could. Deliveries were made to all homes along Gables waterways, whether they owned a boat or not. One elderly gentleman at a home on a waterway said, "I don't own a boat and I don't want your stupid book." The Scout replied, "You don't own a boat, but your neighbor does and in a hurricane it might blow into your property." The Homeowner then said, "Give me that book and thank you."
Easter Sunrise Services. Scouts from Troop 7 came early every Easter Sunday for many years to set up the stage, piano or organ, chairs on the stage and all around in the grass and sidewalks and on out into the street at City Hall. After the services, all chairs were folded and stacked into trucks, the organ was moved into City Hall and the whole area was policed for litter and cleaned up. This was done every year until the Sunrise Services were discontinued.
Historic Flag Presentations. At various gatherings throughout the years, Troop 7 would parade Historic American Flags, representing the history of our great country. A Scout would parade one particular flag to the front, while a speaker would describe that flag and tell the historic significance of it. Then, a second flag would come to the front and the procedure was repeated. Sometimes as many as 17 different flags would be displayed. the last being the present day 50 Star Flag, and then everyone would be asked to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance. This has been done at many places, such as Coral Gables Kiwanis Club, Elks Club, Chamber of Commerce, Senior Citizens Homes, Audubon Society, Lions Club, Air Force at Cape Canaveral, many Boy Scout and Cub Scout functions and once at the Commission Meeting of the City of Coral Gables. These flags were also displayed in many parades such as the Junior Orange Bowl for many years, the University of Miami Home Coming and Santa Claus parades.
Saint Sofie Orthodox Church. The parking lot was in disorder. The Scouts of Troop 7 cleaned weeds and debris. They marked off and repainted the parking stall lines.
Coral Gables Congregational Church. Right in front of the Biltmore Hotel, Troop 7 Scouts worked on building shelves in closets at the Youth Building of the Church. They repaired the torn and worn missals and song books. Distributed flyers from the Church, house to house, as directed by Rev. Baylor of the Church. Assisted in painting some of the rooms. We are told that this Church is one of the oldest buildings in Coral Gables and that is was ordinarily built by George Merrick for his father, who was a minister.
Good Will Bags. The Scouts of Troop 7 have, for several years, passed out, door to door, bags marked "Good Will," on a given Saturday. The following Saturday they went door to door with leaders following in vehicles, to collect items of clothing, kitchen ware, etc., for the Good Will Industries. In later years when this was discontinued, they did the same procedure with the Food Bank, collecting truck loads of canned and non-perishable food stuffs for the Food Bank.
Drugs and Dope. A good collection of literature, written and geared towards parents of school aged children, was accumulated by Troop 7 Scouts and leaders. All this literature was assembled and organized into little packages, suitable for distribution. The Police department was contacted and asked for the most needed area for this to be passed out. Following maps and police instructions, these packages were distributed by Scouts and Leaders driving vehicles, to areas described.
Disabled and Retarded Persons. Scouts of Troop 7 participated in a fund raising drive designed to assist the handicapped. The drive cumulated at the Hope Haven Center for disabled. An outdoor stage show, with country singing and clog dancing was put on. Scouts helped set up the performing area, chairs, portable toilets, passed out agendas and helped with the collection of donations. Scouts worked to establish a parking area for vehicles and directed drivers as they approached into the appropriate parking places. After all had gone, scouts cleaned up the area, assisted in tear down of the stage and took chairs back into the buildings.
Honor Guards at Library. Scouts of Troop 7 furnished Honor Guards and supervised the flag raising ceremonies at several new park or building dedications. One such event was the flag raising ceremony at the then new library building in the City of Coral Gables.
Food and Clothing Drives. At various times, food drives, Easter Baskets, toys, clothing, blankets, etc., were collected for the less fortunate. Outlets for these items were found at the Dade County Rehabilitation Center, St. Ann's Mission Church in Naranja (serving migrant families) and Camilis House of Miami. These drives occurred during the usual seasons for items needed; ie: toys at Christmas time, Easter Baskets for underprivileged children at Easter time, blankets when the cold weather sets in, etc.
Proper Disposal of American Flags. Troop 7 has always been, and still is, the until for the proper disposal of old American Flags. Old flags from all the City of Coral Gables units (Youth Center, Library, City Hall, others) as well as churches, schools, clubs, etc. The old flags are burned, ceremoniously, at the Troop's camp fires.
Outstanding Citizens were Troop 7 Scouts. Many outstanding citizens of our great country, were Scouts in Troop 7 as a boy. You will find on the list a Governor, three Mayors, Fire Chiefs, Service men, some of which were killed in action in the wars; others wounded. Many of the names engraved on the walls at the Coral Gables Youth Memorial Center were (and a couple still are) Scouts of Troop 7.
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George Merrick Troop 7 of Coral Gables
1107 South Greenway Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33134 USA
phone: 305-443-7973 ? e-mail:
meeting every Wednesday evening at 7:15 pm
sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Coral Gables and the George Merrick Foundation
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