On the evening of June 19th, Boy Scout Troop 109 of Londonderry will be saying goodbye to their Scoutmaster of the past 10 years, Stephen D’Esopo, in a way fitting his tenure as leader: with humor, honor and respect. Welcome to join the troop at Steve’s Scoutmaster Retirement Ceremony are all former scouts and their families, as well as scout leaders who know and wish to honor him.
Steve D’Esopo came to troop 109 when his son, Dana, crossed over from cub scouts in the late 90s. Becoming part of a revitalized troop lead by Bob Loring and Don York, (two retired gentlemen who didn’t want to see Troop 109, the oldest troop in Londonderry, die out), as well as Steve McCarter, Steve threw himself into the role of assistant Scoutmaster and reveled in the campouts, hikes, pow-wows and jamborees as his son and the troop continued to grow. When, within a year of Steve and his son joining the troop, the scoutmaster unexpectedly was no longer able to serve, Steve stepped up to the post. He brought his own brand of fun to the troop, instigating a yearly bike trip which has taken boys (and often Steve’s wife, Dorothy as well as assistant scout masters and parents) from the Allenstown, NH to Martha’s Vineyard to New York City and beyond, while continuing on with the established white water rafting or kayaking trips, mystery and ice breaker camp outs.
Like Batten Powell, the co-founder of boy scouts, Steve’s philosophy has always been that the program should be what is best for the individual boy. If a boy is interested in moving through the ranks, Steve was there to guide and encourage; there have been 16 Eagle scouts under his watch, but if a boy just wanted a place to camp, fish, ski, bike, hike, or partake in a myriad of other activities available under his support, Steve was there to have as much fun as the boys.
Yet, he has taken the job of Scoutmaster seriously. It was important for him to be there with the troop, insisting on two-deep leadership, so that the boys always had a choice of someone to go to for advice, to learn the nuances of cooking on a grill or how to pitch a tent. He encouraged all the boys in the troop to become independent thinkers and saw many of them grow into young adults who stayed with the troop to mentor others. When boys entered the troop, Steve was at their crossover ceremonies along with a contingent of scouts from the troop, to welcome the boys to the troop and encourage their parents to become involved. Summer camp became a rite of passage, with Steve not missing any opening or closing ceremonies, even when one summer it was an unexpected physical hardship.
Past scouts have been heard to say, “If it hadn’t been for Mr. D’Esopo, I’d have quit scouts. And I’d have regreted it.” He was the Scoutmaster.
The troop will hold a farewell celebration on Tuesday, June 19 from 6 to 8:30 at the Londonderry United Methodist Church, the scene of the troop meetings every Tuesday night during the school year. Former scouts, scout leaders who know Steve and would like to honor him are welcome to join us. Please RSVP to Troop Representative, Laurie Renke at Laurie@accessp.com or 603-537-0592