Scouting has been a part of the Little Canada community since the 1940's. During the 1950's, there were two Boy Scout troops and two Explorer Posts. In 1953, a meeting was held by Rev. Arthur Durand, pastor of St. John's, with the intention to establish a Boy Scout Troop. Troop 195 was established with Henry Huot, Sr., as the Scoutmaster, assisted by Lawrence Melchior and Thomas Poucher.
The troop meetings were held in the school gymnasium or in the woods behind Scoutmaster Henry Huot's house. Community projects were done as part of the scouting program. The troop planted hundreds of seedlings at the Wilder Nature Center. They also cut and trimmed trees and brush from the St. John's Cemetery. The troop took many weekend camping trips, but canoeing the St. Croix River was considered quite a special weekend. The highlight of the year was the week-long summer camp on Long Lake in Wisconsin at the Tomahawk Scout Reservation. It offered many more scouting opportunities than the weekend campouts.
Troop 195 grew between 1953 and 1956. In 1956, the Church was being rebuilt and services were held in the school gym. This left the scouts without a meeting place, so they had to suspend activities until November 1957. After this delay, the troop began to decrease in size and was reorganized with some new leadership in 1962. Between 1962 and 1966, Sylvester Warner served as Scoutmaster and had five assistants: Henry Huot, Sr., James Van Alstire, Jerome Schneider, Leonard Notto, and Albert Cernius. In 1967 Jerome Scheider became Scoutmaster. Finally, in 1969, Troop 195 became inactive because of a lack of leadership. Those scouts then joined Troop 462.
Troop 462 received its charter in 1958 with the Little Canada P.T.A. Clint Holter was the Scoutmaster from 1958 through 1963. His assistants were Orin DeCoursey, Don Mackin, and Bernard Loschy. The troop camped both in the summer and winter. Along with the regular scout camps, the troop often camped on an island in the Boundary Waters Area. There were usually just as many leaders and helpers as there were scouts. Chuck Sorenson became the Scoutmaster in 1964. He brought with him his carpentry skills. Between 1964 and 1968 the troop constructed two totem poles. Unfortunately, they have been vandalized and taken down. In 1968, Floyd Holzschuh took over as the Scoutmaster for two years and then was replaced by Dick Ague. The year of 1975 brought yet more new leadership from Joe Thul, Sandy Sybrant, Jack Anderson, Art Wells, and Paul Backes. The troop still enjoyed outdoor camping, canoeing, and skiing. The troop became inactive in 1978.
Then, in 1983, John Thuhler became the Scoutmaster. After three years as an assistant, Paul Kujawa took over and got the troop growing once again. He brought back the weekend canoeing tradition along the St. Croix, and took our first ever crew to Philmont. Paul Kujawa moved in 1993 and was replaced by Don Sinna. With help from Buck Huot, Dick Thomalla, Mike Shearen, Gregg Wilson, Mike Towle, Roy French, Len Richter, Bill Thomalla, Greg Huot, and Gabe Sinna the troop was running strong.
Recently, we were trying to find a logo or moniker for the troop that would represent our city. It needed to be something special for our troop to identify with when we went to other scouting events. Little Canada is a community that dates back to the 1800's. As a small town north of downtown St. Paul, the community had been a resting place for travelers and a place to get fresh water. The people who settled there happened to come from the Province of Quebec in Canada. Over the years more and more relatives from Canada settled with their neighbors. The predominate religion is Roman Catholic. Alas, the name Little Canada was born.
Since we are French Canadian in origin we thought it only fitting to use this as our tie to the past. After thinking hard we decided to try to find out the proper spelling for the scout motto "Be Prepared." This was not easy. There is not a direct translation for these words in French. We solicited the help of the Canadian consulate in Minneapolis. They called Scouts Canada who obliged with the following words "SOIS PRET." We have since painted this on our scout trailer and we have it printed on our neckerchiefs. We are proud of this connection and hope that this tradition will continue for years to come.
A special thanks to Henry Huot, Sr., Jean Donovan and Gregg Wilson for the information.