Thank you for your interest in learning about Troop 990’s history, the following interview was conducted in 2003, and provides some great insight into the early years of the history of Troop 990. This information is provided for historical  purposes and mentions previous charter organizations, meeting places, adult leadership, and other outdated information. The Troop is now chartered by St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church in Broken Arrow.  For complete current information, please see the About Us page

A Brief History of the Boy Scouts of America’s
Troop 990
Indian Nations Council

The following is a written interview between Tyler Shirk, Troop 990 Historian, and Mr. Dennis Bridgewater, Troop 990 Assistant Scoutmaster.   At the time of this writing, Tyler is a twelve year old Star Scout fulfilling a Patrol Leader Council’s assignment to record the history of Troop 990.  Mr. Bridgewater is one of the founding leaders of Troop 990, the Troop’s Scoutmaster Emeritus, and a Silver Beaver Award recipient.  His responses to Tyler’s questions provide insight into the Troop’s beginnings, its many accomplishments, and Mr. Bridgewater’s vision for the future of Troop 990 Scouts.

January 18, 2003

Question “When was the troop formed?”
Answer “Troop 990 in the Indian Nations Council of the Boy Scouts of America had its beginnings in June, 1985.  It has always been chartered to Grace Fellowship.  Grace Fellowship made the decision to incorporate a Boy Scout troop into its program for the purpose of a program for the young men of the church.”

Question “Who were the first leaders of Troop 990?”
Answer ”The person who is most responsible for having the troop started at the troop was Joe McGee, the Youth Director for the church.  In May, 1985 announcements were put in the church bulletin, requesting those that were interested in being a part of a new Boy Scout troop come to a special meeting and be interviewed for the positions available.  Three men showed up for the interviews on the available positions.  Dennis Foyil and Ron Zuschlag came for the position of Scoutmaster and Dennis Bridgewater for the position of Assistant Scoutmaster.  After the interviews, the church decided on Dennis Foyil as the Scoutmaster. Ron Zuschlag opted to remain at the troop he was already a part of and did not become a part of Troop 990.
Scoutmasters for the troop have included:  Dennis Foyil (06/85 – 07/86), Dennis Bridgewater (08/86 – 05/89), Butch Reed (05/89 – 05/90) , Eric Ross (05/90 – 07/91), David Clark, Daniel Berg, Dennis Bridgewater (1 year) ,  Barry Meyers, David Ritchey, and Steve Shirk.”

Question “When was Pack 990 created?”
Answer  “Pack 990 was formed in the same year as the troop with it beginning to operate in September 1985.  Many of the leaders that came to be leaders of the troop were leaders in the Pack while their sons were Cub Scouts.  Again, Pack 990 was started as a result of Joe McGee wanting to offer the Cub Scouting program as the program for the young men of the church.  Grace Fellowship has been the only sponsor of both the troop and pack.”

Question  “Have our meetings always been held at Grace Fellowship?”
Answer  “Troop 990 began troop meetings in June, 1985.  The troop met on Wednesday night in a room in the school wing.  After a few months, the school acquired computers and the troop changed locations for the troop meetings to the room that is presently occupied by Grace Fellowship Credit Union.  With the completion of the Maintenance Building on the West side of the main building, the troop moved out to the Southwest room of the building which was designated as the Scout Room.  After approximately six months, the troop was moved to the Art room of the Maintenance Building.  Later from there we moved to the Choir room.  At the present time, we meet in the education wing of the church.”

Question  “What were the names of the first patrols?”
Answer  “The names of the patrols have changed several times over the years.  The first two patrols of the troop were the Eagle and Hawk patrols.  Other names of patrols have included Thunderbirds, Grizzly Bear, Cobra, Sons of Thunder, Wolverine, Pedro, Scorpions, Dragons, and Vipers.”

Question  “Where was the first high adventure outing and when?”
Answer  “High Adventure has been a part of the troop from the beginning.  The troop has taken Philmont treks in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, and 2001.  The troop did a High Adventure trip to the Florida Sea Base in 1998, a trip to the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota in 1999, and a high adventure whitewater rafting trip to Colorado in 2000.”

Question  “Where was the first summer camp?”
Answer  “The troop has attended Summer Camp at Camp Garland (8 years), Camp Tom Hale (4 years), Camp Arrowhead (1 year), Camp Ben DeLatour (1 year), and Camp Pioneer (3 years).  The first summer camp attended was in 1986 at Camp Garland and was attended by 13 scouts and one adult.”

Question  “How has the Troop supported the Order of the Arrow?”
Answer  “The Order of the Arrow (National Honor Camping Society) has been a part of the troop as well.  Members of the troop have participated in the ceremonies teams.  Those that participated in the ceremonies teams included Robert Bridgewater, Timothy Berg, John Heffernan, Valoden Cash, Daniel Cash.  These members of the troop have participated in ceremonies not only at the lodge level, but also have competed at the regional Conclave level and at the national level during N.O.A.C. (National Order of the Arrow Conference) that is held every two years.  During these competitions, the members have brought home numerous honors and medals including the highest medals that can be won by both individuals and teams.  The highest level within the Order of the Arrow (the Vigil Honor) is given to select individuals based on service to the council lodge.  The individuals are nominated for the award and are voted on by the youth Vigil members.  The troop got its first Vigil member in 1996.  Youth members of the troop that have received this honor include:  Robert Bridgewater, John Heffernan, Timothy Berg, Valoden Cash, and Daniel Cash.  The only adult member of the troop to receive the honor is Dennis Bridgewater.”

Question  “Have any of our Scouts or leaders earned any prestigious BSA recognition’s?”
Answer  “Training is the key to good troop operations and program.  The youth and adults of the troop have understood this principle and have sought out the trainings that will better prepare them for their jobs.  On the youth side, the advanced youth training at the council level is Pine Tree.  To date, December, 2002, the troop has sent over 40 youth to this training.  At the end of the 4 day training, members of the patrols elect an Honorary Patrol Leader as their permanent Patrol Leader.  Jason Ross and Robert Bearden of this troop were selected for this honor.  At the end of the training course the staff of the Pine Tree select one Honor Scout for the course.  To date, the troop has not had an Honor Scout selected for the honor.  Youths that have been selected to return as a youth staff member of this training have included: Robert Bridgewater, Jeremiah Clark, Daniel Cash, Valoden Cash, Taran Groom, Philip Lasley, Robert Butler and Sean Giese.  Adults are also involved in this program, with adults participating in the training experience of the youth.  The troop has had the following adults selected to serve on the Pine Tree staff:  Dennis Bridgewater, David Clark, David Ritchey, and Andy Murphree.  Dennis Bridgewater has gone on in this training to be selected as the Scoutmaster for Pine Tree 89 in the Spring of 2000.  One additional honor can be bestowed on youth and adult staff members of the Pine Tree.  That honor is the Bernard T. Emery which is bestowed on individuals that provide outstanding service to the Pine Tree.  Their names are submitted for consideration by the Bernard T. Emery recipients to vote on once a year.  There are one adult and one youth per year selected for this honor.  The troop has had two recipients of this award during the history of the troop.  Those recipients have been Taran Groom and Valoden Cash, both as youth recipients.
The most advanced training that adults can receive is Wood Badge Training.  Over the years there have been a number of adults that have gone through and completed this Wood Badge training.  Once an adult has completed the training, he or she, can be selected to serve on staff for upcoming Wood badge staffs.  Adults in the troop that have been selected for Wood Badge staffs include:  Dennis Bridgewater, David Clark, and Mike Bohn.  Additionally, Dennis Bridgewater served on eight (8) Wood badge staffs culminating in the selection of him as the Scoutmaster of Wood Badge course SR-419 (which was the last completely Boy Scout Leader Wood Badge) conducted in the spring of 2001.
The District Award of Merit is the highest award that can be given by a district to a volunteer for outstanding service to the troop’s home district.  The troop has had two adults earn this award.  They are Dennis Bridgewater and David Clark.
The Silver Beaver award is the highest award that can be given by the council to a volunteer for outstanding service to the council.  The troop has had two adults (Charlie Groom and Dennis Bridgewater) who have earned this award.”

Question  “What is the story with the Troop owning all those 22 caliber rifles?”
Answer  “The troop has secured a number of equipment items over the years.  The troop has (14) 22 caliber rifles that were acquired through the Department of Civilian Marksmanship.  At first these rifles were on loan from the agency, but in approximately 1996, the government decided that these had to be bought by the groups that they were loaned to or returned.  The troop opted for and raised the money to purchase the rifles. “

Question  “What kinds of tents, cooking supplies, and backpacking equipment were used for early campouts?  Have we always had a troop trailer to haul our gear?”
Answer  “Initially, we did not have troop camping gear.  We acquired a load of troop gear from a defunct troop in Dalhart, Texas in November, 1985.  This then allowed us to begin camping the following month.  It included canvas wall tents, cooking pots, utensil sets, water jugs, and some bow saws. The small trailer that the troop owns was donated to the troop by Gary Houk (Grace Facility Manager).  The large trailer was acquired through donations made over a year by Dennis Bridgewater.  Since the purchase of the trailer, it has been re-painted once.”

Question  “Who and what were some of the ‘firsts’ for Troop 990?”
Answer Senior Patrol Leader – Adam Ross
First Campout – On top of Leonard Mountain (Dec. 1985)
First Honor Patrol Leader at Pine Tree – Jason C. Ross
First Summer Camp – Camp Garland – 1986
First Scoutmaster – Dennis Foyil
First youth to be on Summer Camp Staff – Robert Bearden
First Troop Philmont Trek – 1987
First Troop (Seven Feathers District) to win 1st place at the Dist. Camporee
First Eagle Scout – Adam Ross

Question  “Do you know of any of our Scouts that have gone on to serve in the Armed Forces or government or any other unusual jobs?”
Answer  “Each time a scout recites the Scout Oath, he promises to do his best to 1) God and Country, 2) Others, and 3) Self.  The scouts of Troop 990 have gone on to serve their country in the military services.  We have had at least 2 join the Navy, 3 join the Army, 1 join the Air Force, 2 join the Marines, and 1 join the U.S. Coast Guard.  Robert Bearden went off to college following high school and was awarded “The Outstanding ROTC Student of the Year” his senior year.  He was assigned to an Air Force base in North Pole, Alaska where he served his country as well as being the Scoutmaster of the troop on his base.  Following the end of his assignment there, he has served in Afghanistan, and is presently slated to be on staff at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.  Another scout, Josh Christensen, was a part of the elite Marine Recon group during the time that he was in the service and is presently a part of the U.S. Border Patrol.  One other scout, Taran Groom, did his commitment in the U.S. Coast Guard where he literally sailed around the world and saw action in the Persian Gulf where he led the boarding parties on ships that were stopped and searched to see that contraband was not entering or leaving Iraq.  At the present time he will be starting a career in the U.S. Federal Marshal Service beginning in either February or March of this year.”

Question  “Do you know of any acts-of-heroism from any of our Scouts that might have saved a life?”
Answer  “While some scouts stay in contact, most do not.  I am confident in my mind that we have produced scouts that have used the skills of scouting to save their own life or the lives of others.  I do not know of any specific instances where this has occurred, but feel confident that it has happened.”

Question  “What are some of the Troop’s favorite merit badges to earn, year after year?”
Answer  “Probably the most favorite merit badge year-after-year that the scouts of Troop 990 have a desire to earn is the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge.  I think in part the reason for this is that the merit badge challenges them individually, testing themselves to see whether they can survive under adverse situations.  After that merit badge, I would say that the troop has always enjoyed the Aquatics merit badges.”

Question  “What do you hope is the legacy or lasting purpose of our Troop?”
Answer  “The legacy that I always envisioned for Troop 990 has been that the troop, through the efforts of its adult leadership, produce exceptional young men of character; that these young men live and walk in the Scout Oath and Law, for these follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ; that they mature and take their place as the leaders of tomorrow and that they will make the United States an even better place to live.  We all have our time of leadership and then we must turn it over to those that come behind us, and I am proud of the fine record that the young men of Troop 990 have demonstrated in the past and present.  I look forward to all of the accomplishments that are left to be seen.  It has always been my hope that the young men of Troop 990 remember scouting and provide constant and continuous Cheerful Service to God, Country, Others, and to themselves.”