by Capt. Ron Trenum • TSG Troop 1819 • September 4, 2016
When I made the decision to dedicate myself to initiating the first Troops of Saint George in Washington Parish, little did I know that not only was it was going to be the first Troop in Washington Parish, but in the state of Louisiana. By no means am I ignorant to the teachings of the Catholic Church, outdoor activities, nor have I ever had an issue with leadership. I was fortunate enough to have work under an amazing Camp Director as a volunteer with Camp Te Ca Towazi for three years. The bar was set high observing her enthusiasm towards the children and activities, flawlessly making it look effortless, although I knew the work she put into the program was incredibly demanding. The program was so good, that people still talk about it seven years later, and I wish everyday that she was an adult male so I could make her my 1st Lieutenant. Nonetheless, the skills I learned during that time period did NOT include initiating a program like Troops of Saint George from nothing more than a manual.
Luckily for myself, the Officers Manual for the Troops of Saint George was not written over night, it definitely had some thought put into it and gave specific guidelines to cover the roles, responsibilities, and requirements of both cadets and adult members. The only section that was missing from the manual was how to recruit cadets, and how to do it in an efficient manner. From the time I made the decision to devout myself as Captain to the Troops of Saint George to the beginning of the 2016-2017 charter year is exactly four months. I immersed myself in the Officers Manual, studying the Troops of Saint George Oath, Laws, Motto. I studied the regulations, the safety rules, and the requirements of each patrol. I personally butchered the section covering Latin! I began researching the local State Parks and the amenities they could offer such a program. I went as far as sending Bear Archery an email inquiring about bulk discounts on compound youth bows, praying they would read my email, and suddenly twenty compound bows would arrive on my door step – with targets. Now that I think about it, all this probably happened within the first 48 hours of making my decision.
After checking my front porch daily, for a week, for ten (10) Warrior Youth Bows and ten (10) Brave Youth Bows from Bear Archery (yes Bear Archery, I am trying to hint something) I realized that I needed to step back, slow down, and focus on establishing a solid program that would NOT lose momentum after a year. Besides, the only two cadets I had at this time was my sons, both of whom would be in the St. Matthew’s Angels Patrol, and their main concern was getting a pocket knife so they could cut birthday cake (we have a big family, and cake often). With a clear mindset and a primary goal of setting a solid foundation for Troop 1819 of Annunciation Parish, I began sending out emails, promoting the troop on Facebook and within the forum of the Roman Catholic Home School Association of Louisiana.
A week or so had passed since trying my hand at the advertisement industry, and to be completely honest, Troop 1819 appeared as if it was going to be nothing more than a Captain sitting around a campfire with his two cadets cutting birthday cake. Oddly enough, one day I got several likes on Facebook (not counting my wife) from the surrounding parishes. After a few likes, I started getting emails. Emails turned into phone calls. Speaking with parents, I could hear the same enthusiasm in their voice that I had in my heart with regards to the Troops of Saint George. During this time I began corresponding with Mr. Squibbs, the National Director of Communications and Recruitment for the Troops of Saint George in Keller, Texas. To say that Mr. Squibbs was passionate about the Troops of Saint George would be an understatement. As a member of Troop 5, he has seen first hand what a successful troop and dedicated leaders can accomplish. Through prayer, and his testimony, I realized that I made the right decision, and this decision was accompanied by work. Lots of work!
With the assistance of my two cake eating cadets, we set out on what was to be our most demanding adventure yet; The beginning of the Troops of Saint George – Troop 1819. I mentally prepared myself for any potential roadblocks I could foresee. Representing Troop 1819, my sons and I navigated our way to Bogue Chitto State Park located in Franklinton, Louisiana, and best of all it was centrally located between all the parishes that surrounded Annunciation. As we arrived to the Ranger Station, I prepared myself for what I was going to say to whomever was lucky enough to hear my pitch.
Hello! My name is Ron, I represent the Troops of Saint George – Troop 1819 as Captain and these are my cadets (sons), “they call us the rough and rowdy boys” my son yells out. The Troops of Saint George is an outdoor program designed for fathers/sons[…] “that sounds like a wonderful program” the attending Ranger stated as she interrupted my potentially epic speech. She went on to say “we don’t have enough programs dedicated solely to father & sons, tell me more! And how can we assist you with the program.” We spoke for a while, before setting out to explore the land, as she explained the amenities the park had to offer. The Ranger offered Troop 1819 the opportunity to utilize their staff to conduct nature courses, full availability to canoes, compasses for navigation, and any other service they could provide to make Troop 1819 a success. I was stunned! I did not anticipate this going so well!
With success in the rear view mirror, the boys and I set out to explore the park. First we started at the interpretive campground, this lead us onto the nature trails were we had an enjoyable hike, reciting the rosary along the way, stopping between decades to read about the trees native to this area. After a few hours of hiking, I issued my first official command as Captain of Troop 1819.
It was time to explore the river and cool off from this Louisiana heat! We swam and prayed! Skipped rocks and prayed! Scoured for seashells and prayed! We even scouted for gators and I prayed – the boys didn’t find one!
After a full day of scouting locations for Troop 1819 outings, it was time to depart Bogue Chitto State Park and make our way back to headquarters. We were no more than 5 miles from the front gate when my boys began to ask if we could come back tomorrow and do some more “troop stuff”. I set out that day to achieve an objective. I was to find a suitable location to gather troops. Not only did I find that, but I also found out just how powerful prayer and the outdoors can be for a father and his son(s).
If you’re wondering how Troop 1819 is doing, we officially kick off October 1, 2016. Follow our journey!
Saint George Pray for Us!
Capt. Ron Trenum, TSG Troop 1819