Scouting the past

Charles Kapner's photos to become part of museum's collection

The centennial of the Boy Scouts of America this year is shining a new light on the organization's past and present, and Delmar resident Charles Kapner is taking part in that revival by sharing his memories of scouting's fledgling years.

Kapner joined the scouts when he was 10 after moving to Albany from Massachusetts. He and his brother, Arthur, were introduced the then less well-known group by a neighbor, and he spent several summers at scout camps.

Though he didn't stay involved for life, Kapner, now 92, recalls his scouting days fondly.

I feel that through scouts that I met a lot of nice people, and I had some good friends that I kept up with afterwards, he said. "I felt that it gave me something to do and to be."

He's donating his collection of photographs taken during this time to the Twin Rivers Council, headquartered in Albany, which has struck a deal with the New York State Museum for storage of the organization's extensive collection of memorabilia, and also a display this year to commemorate the BSA centennial.

"We will catalogue them, they are working on putting a display together for us, and they're going to put it together so it's a rotating display," said Steve Silverman, Director of Support Services for the Twin Rivers Council.

Kapner's photos will be donated to the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas when the display in Albany ends. He also recorded an oral account of his time in the scouts for the museum recently, which will be archived for posterity.

This won't be the first time Kapner has been involved in a BSA anniversary. In 1931, he and a number of other Eagle Scouts met then Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt to present him with a ceremonial award to commemorate the club's 21st anniversary.

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