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Troop 3 – Providing 100 years of Awesome and Exciting Outdoor Adventures

If you’re interested in Scouting, take a close look at Troop 3, because we provide the true “Out” in Scouting, through a year-round program filled with exciting outdoor adventures.

First we’d like to tell you how we are organized and, then, some details about what we do!

Troop 3 is sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church, and occupies a separate Scout Meeting House on the church grounds at 13th and Juliana Streets.

The troop was founded on March 29, 1917, is 100 years old, one of the oldest Boy Scout troops in the United States, the oldest continually active troop in the Greater Parkersburg Area, and the second oldest in the State of West Virginia.

During the troop’s rich history, which includes 99 summer camps, over 1,100 young men have been members, with 132 having achieved the Eagle award, the highest rank in Scouting.  Troop 3 also has the distinction of having produced the first Eagle Scout in the State of West Virginia, in 1919.

Tom Dukas has been Scoutmaster for the past 31 years, only the fourth in the troop’s history. Scoutmaster Dukas says, that the “Troop 3 Experience”, with the Scout Oath and Law as it’s foundation, is designed to develop confidence, self-esteem and strong personal values through an adventurous outdoor program, community service, and leadership in the troop.”

Continuity of troop leadership is supported by an active Alumni organization, which owns a stone cabin, known as "the Base", located on the beautiful Ohio River in Belpre, Ohio, plus, a 152-acre wooded wilderness area called “Camp Smitty”, which is situated in a remote and rugged area on the Hughes River, in Wirt County, WV.

Over the years, the Alumni group has helped sustain the troop’s distinctive mission and camping style. Many former members often return to provide adult leadership during summer, fall, and winter outings.

In Troop 3, we mix achievement, friendships, and an active outdoor program with supportive adult leadership. Then, we watch the learning produce skills that are important for a lifetime.

Let’s now discuss the true “out” in Scouting that keeps our members constantly energized, and on the go!

In 2011, unlike all the other troops, the Scouts in Troop 3 chose to paddle their canoes and kayaks, 31 miles by river, from the Base in Belpre, Ohio to their summer wilderness camp, on the Hughes River, at Camp Smitty.

A key part of a vibrant outdoor program of exciting adventures for every season, and for Scouts and leaders of every age, is the true wilderness experience that Camp Smitty provides. A typical day at our summer camp might include one, or more of the following events;

* A scenic river trip using the troop’s 4 canoes and 6 kayaks. Canoeing and kayaking with confidence provides each of our Scouts with a unique sense of adventure and freedom. Around every bend the Hughes River provides ample opportunities to observe an abundance of wildlife in its native habitat.

* A hike to one of the areas known for interesting rock overhangs and caves. It’s always fun to cool off in a cave.

* Rappelling on one of the nearby rock faces with a certified guide. The security of a belay rope gives Scouts the confidence to challenge their limits and reach beyond what they thought was possible.

* Skeet shooting and marksmanship contests.

* A wildlife hike provides Scouts the opportunity to appreciate nature, and understand their surroundings.

* Construction of a monkey bridge always presents a unique challenge to test the Scout’s wilderness engineering ability and teamwork.

* An occasional 20-mile hike, just to get the blood flowing provides a pathway to adventure and physical fitness.

* Treasure hunts, orienteering, an adventure trail, knot trying competitions, or an athletic meet.

* Mixing good friends with a cool, refreshing swim in our beautiful and tranquil swimming area is a recipe for magnificent fun on a hot summer day.

* Watermelon scrambles in the river promote competition and fellowship. And, best of all, the winners get to snack on their “hard won” prize!

*  Homemade boat races create lasting memories. Ingenuity, lashings, and a few odd parts go into these watercraft wonders constructed at camp.

* Building a diving tower in the river always provides a challenge, plus excitement and fun for all.

* Morning and evening flag ceremonies. These are colorful affairs that demonstrate our solemn respect for the flag of the United States, and for what it represents.

* Pancake flipping and string-burning contests can really get the competitive juices flowing in the evening. They’re a great way to burn off excess energy.

* Then there’s the nightly campfire that shines the light of fellowship on the Scouts with laughter, singing, skits, and story telling, thoroughly enjoyed, by one and all!

While summer camp is really fun, Troop 3’s energetic outdoor activity program keeps everyone mighty busy during the remaining 51 weeks of the year.

For instance:

* Our weekend backpack trek to the High Falls of the Cheat River in West Virginia.

* There’s a fall camp weekend, where the program is more laid back as we enjoy the beautiful foliage, nice weather, and some mighty tasty food.

* Then, there’s the annual ski, and sledding, weekend where we “camp out” during January in “heated” cabins at Black Water Falls State Park. The elevation of this park always provides plenty snow for outdoor activities.

* You can always count on a couple of weekend hikes in the mountains of WV. Recent destinations have included: Cranberry Glades, High Falls of the Cheat River, and North Fork Mountain.

* Year round camping enlivens Troop 3’s outdoor program with adventures for every season.

* Since Scout meeting is held during June-August at the Base in Belpre, the Ohio River always presents a ready opportunity for canoeing, kayaking, or water skiing.

* Organizing community service projects and matching tools to the tasks at hand teaches Scouts the important skills of planning and leadership.

* Weekend overnight campouts at the Base are always encouraged.

* Practice in planning and carrying out the steps for reaching goals translates to success on a climbing wall and beyond.

* Hikes on the Appalachian Trail consistently provide a solid test of the troop’s back packing and wilderness camping skills.

* One of the highlights in the past few years was a trip to a High Adventure Base known as the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, NM, where the troop hiked 76 miles though breath-taking scenery at elevations up to 12,300’.

*  During this trip the Scouts: sat at the controls of a 727 jet, visited a historic fort, demonstrated their superior ability to win every donkey race at Philmont, and passed the ultimate test of backpacking and camping skills with “flying colors!

* The Philmont Trip was capped off with a “victory” dinner at the High Finance restaurant atop 10,378’ Sandia Peak, overlooking the beautiful lights of Albuquerque, NM, over a mile below.

I could go on, but the previous examples should give you a good idea of how Troop 3 combines adventure and excitement to produce the true “Out” in Scouting that our program so richly demonstrates.

The troop’s ability to promote thrilling, outdoor adventures is virtually endless, and only limited by our imagination and the kind of things that our members like to do.

For over 98 years, our members have been part of a very unique family, a family, known for it’s strong bonds, enthusiastic support for each other, and interesting, fun-filled, learning activities.

If the unique “Troop 3 Experience” we offer appeals to you, there are two ways that boys 11 years, or older, can “check us out!

1. The troop meets at 7:00 PM on Thursday night, June through August, at the Base on Beach Drive in Belpre, Ohio. The rest of the year meetings are held at the Don B. Lowe Scout House on the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church, at 13th and Juliana Streets. We invite you to visit one of these weekly meetings.

2. You can contact Scoutmaster Tom Dukas at

Don’t delay! A program of exciting adventures awaits those who join now!!!