Cotton Candy Scouts

Boy Scout Troop 35 has been an important part of the Park Cities Community for more than 82 years. Founded in 1937 at Armstrong Elementary, this smaller, boy-led troop has now produced more than 150 Eagle Scouts.

(ABOVE: The boys serve cotton candy at so many events, Troop 35 decided to buy, instead of rent, a machine. Photo by Jessie O’Brien)

But earning its nickname is a more recent achievement.

The troop has become known as the “The Cotton Candy Scouts” in recent years through participation in such events as Highland Park’s annual National Night Out.

At National Night Out, which promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood involvement in making the communities safer, the Scouts were tasked with working the cotton candy and popcorn station.

The boys had no idea what they were doing at first but loved working the booth and have been doing it every year since.

“It’s a great way to understand, at an early age, what it will be like to have your own business.” -Jessie O’Brien

“Word has really gotten out about our cotton candy talents, and we’ve been asked to bring it to events often enough that, financially, it only made sense for us to invest in purchasing our very own cotton candy machine, rather than continuing to rent one,” volunteer mom Jessie O’Brien said.

The troop now has half a dozen events on the calendar where Scouts bring the cotton candy machine. Those also include Snider Plaza’s annual tree lighting and Goar Park’s annual movie night.

O’Brien explains how the Scouts must put plenty of effort into preparing for those events.

“They have to access inventory and make a list of what to purchase and the costs involved, as well as the number of Scouts required to keep things running smoothly, sometime in shifts,” she said, adding they get more than just the Merit Badges for participating. “It’s a great way to understand, at an early age, what it will be like to have your own business.”

Soon, Troop 35 will attend the annual Park Cities Fourth of July Parade and Picnic, their biggest event. They will walk in the parade with the Garrison Flag and be at the Boy Scouts of America Tent passing out Cotton Candy to the 10,000 people that attend.

O’Brien explained why it is more important than ever for children to be a part of a troop.

“Scouting can be a great place,” she said. “Whether your child is athletic, scholastic, or both, Troop 35 is a great place to build friendships, learn valuable lifelong lessons, and have lots of fun.

“Campouts are both fun and educational, but our weekly meetings are where our community and Scout-building begins. Seeing these young boys (A girl troop is forming in the Park Cities now, too.) grow into fine young men is such a blessing. The hope is that you are making a positive impact along the way.”

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