by bob allen
And back then, in 1933, the troop already had had its own private "Scout shack" for meetings and overnight campouts for two years.
"At the time, we were the only Scout troop in our council that had its own private building, and we were very proud of that fact," said Costa, who was baptized at Hunts Memorial in 1922 and has been a member ever since.
Costa still grows nostalgic when recalling those idyllic days, when he and his fellow Scouts spent afternoons and evenings at the shack. He can even still sing, word for word, the songs they sang.
"Those were cherished times," he said.
Seventy-five years later, the Hunts Memorial Church's Scout shack, a small but impressive, if slightly dilapidated, cabin with a stately fieldstone fireplace and chimney, is still used for Scout meetings and campouts.
Today, there are even some church members who belonged to Boy Scout Troop 319 and now have children of their own in Cub Scout Pack 319, which replaced the Boy Scout troop some years ago.
And as far as anybody knows, the "shack" is still the only building in the county used exclusively for scouting activities.
Unfortunately, time has jarred the venerable old building, which was built by church member and local contractor L.R. Andrew and his brother, Clyde, who donated both materials and labor.
Stonework on the flagstone patio out front and the hearth and fireplace inside is beginning to crumble. The roof needs work; the original window frames, which are now covered with plywood, need replacing, and there is termite damage. The chimney also needs to be repaired before the fireplace can be used again.
So Cub Scout Pack 319 and its Scoutmasters, den mothers and adult sponsors have launched a fund drive to raise the $6,200 they estimate it will take to get the shack back in tip-top shape.
"The church has always maintained the shack, but it hasn't always had the funds for renovations," said Bennett "Rusty" Erdman, a former scoutmaster who now serves as the church's liaison to its Scout pack.
Marci and Dave Treece of Towson, who have a son in Troop 319, are heading the effort. They said they've already raised about $2,000 and have had some construction materials donated since launching the drive in May.
With Pack 319's membership now at 53 _ more than double the number five years ago _ the Treeces say renovations are overdue. Today's Scouts, they add, are every bit as proud and emotionally attached to the old shack as Charlie Costa and his fellow scouts.
"This place does get some wear and tear," Dave Treece, who is also scoutmaster for Pack 319, said as he and his wife gave an informal tour of the shack last week. "The boys love it."
"The Scout troops have been a big part of our church's youth ministry," added Erdman. "And we really want to make sure we preserve this shack for the next generation of scouts."
For more information on the Cub Scout Shack 2004 Capital Improvement Campaign, call Dave or Marci Treece at 410-321-1324.
E-mail Bob Allen at email@example.com.