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Boy Scout Troop Ends Decades Long Paper Drive
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            For nearly 80 years, on the first Saturday of every month, members of the East Greenville Boy Scout Troop 108 gathered in the borough fire company's parking lot at 8 a.m., recited the Pledge of Allegiance, then collected newspaper bales throughout the municipality.

            Now that East Greenville Borough Council has ended its 28-year arrangement with the scouts to collect newspaper and cardboard, the organization will have to find another weekend activity.

            "We have a few ideas," said Mike Snyder, the troop's scout master. "I'd like to do something once a month. Everyone has that time set aside."

            Beginning in January, Whitetail Disposal - the municipality's trash hauler - will dispose of newspaper and cardboard. Since 1990, the East Greenville based troop completed that task in exchange for a $1,000 donation.

            Participating scouts received a $10 credit for each day of collection, according to Ron Rodenberger, a member of the troop's committee. He said they could utilize the credits for any purchases related to scouting, including a uniform, sleeping bag, hiking boots or pay their ways to summer camp.

            According to Rodenberger, members of the troop have been collecting paper in East Greenville since 1940. Initially, they started a paper drive to pay back a $400 loan, necessary to finish the construction of a log cabin along Soffa Road, provided by Pete Underkoffler.

            "The paper job was pretty steady," Snyder said. 

            The members sold their collections to a paper mill in East Greenville and later in Pennsburg. He said that by the late 1980s, the paper mill wanted the scouts to pay to dispose of their collections.

            Instead, the community service organization partnered with borough council. Rather than scouts going into people's homes to collect newspaper and cardboard, municipal officials directed residents to leave their waste along the street, according to Rodenberger. 

            He said the troop, currently with 25 boys between the age of 11 and 18, learned of the shift in paper collection last month. According to Snyder, several of the members were disappointed with the decision.

            On Monday, Mayor Keith Gerhart announced that he met with representatives of the troop to discuss alternative methods to earn the same contribution. During the council meeting, Gerhart said those options included painting fire hydrants, picking up trash and litter on the streets, stenciling stormwater inlets, passing out door hangers and collecting leaves next autumn.

            According to Snyder, his members are also prepared to clean up the municipality's nature center.

            "We have a good relationship with the borough," he said.





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