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Boy Scout Troop 228 builds hut, weathers economy
Boy Scout Troop 228 Committee Chairman Ken Cochran, center, points out what each space in this building will be used for after construction while Boy Scout Robert Stanley, 15, looks around recently in Flowery Branch. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

FLOWERY BRANCH — Boys Scout Troop 228 in Flowery Branch is getting a life lesson in roughing it through a deep recession.

The troop, which puts on spring and fall festivals for the city, has found out about limited financial resources while building its permanent headquarters, the John E. Runyon Memorial Scout Hut, on Masonic Lodge property off Gainesville Street.

"When the economy tanked, we had reached a certain amount of money that we had raised and nothing else was coming in and nothing else has come in," said Sandy Smith, who represents the lodge on the troop committee.

"To reach the budgeted amount we thought we needed to do this, the boys voted to move money out of the troop operating fund into the building fund to get it done."

The troop, which Smith helped start seven years ago, has kicked around the idea of a permanent home after chartering with the Masonic Lodge in 2004.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place in February and grading started in April. The troop, which has a photo diary at its Web site,, began putting up walls and framing the building in December.

"The outside may be completed and look nice, but we still need funds," Smith said.

The building needs siding and interior finishing, including plasterboard, insulation and electrical work.

The hut will feature several meeting/activity rooms, including a main one that will feature benches along the walls, a storage area and restrooms. It also will have an attic that can be used for more space.

The troop plans to build an outside stairwell to the second floor at the rear of the building.

In addition to housing the troop, the building also can serve "as a community area where youth can be exposed to the benefits of Scouting, especially in today’s times when youth need more structured character-building, community service-oriented type of programs," Smith said.

Troop membership has varied from 20 to 50 boys from area high schools through the years.

Senior patrol leader Robert Stanley, 15, said he eagerly awaits the completion of the hut.

"I think it’s going to be real good for us," he said. "... We’re going to get ourselves out in the community more."

Stanley is optimistic the work will be completed soon and the troop will have some new, comfortable digs.

He also expects the troop will hold some kind of dedication ceremony once it opens.

"We going to work on that closer to (the time), probably once we get the electrical and insulation in (the building)," he said.

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