FALMOUTH — Local Boy Scouts are doing their best to keep the Stars and Stripes waving around town.
Displaying the American flag can help dress up a local business on days of remembrance, in addition to being “a nice patriotic gesture,” say the leaders of Boy Scout Troop 93.
The troop offers a flag service during 10 holidays throughout the year from Patriots’ Day, which this year will be celebrated April 17, to Veterans Day in November.
For a $75 subscription fee, businesses and private homes along or adjacent to the commercial areas on U.S. Route 1 and Route 100 can have flags placed from sunrise to sunset each holiday.
The flag service provides more than half the annual budget for the troop, according to parent volunteer Chris Meyers.
It also represents a unique alternative to other Scout fundraisers, from popcorn sales by the Cub Scouts to cookie sales by the Girl Scouts, said another parent volunteer, J.D. Peters, who is in charge of the flag service fundraiser.
Right now about 40 businesses in Falmouth participate and, Meyers said, “We have a really good renewal rate.” Even so, the troop would like to add another 15 to 20 subscribers this year.
Anyone interested in subscribing should send Peters an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the boys in the troop, Meyers and Peters said, the flag service provides a sense of the importance of the various holidays, which are so often more about sleeping in and enjoying a day off from work or school than about remembering the sacrifices made.
Patriots’ Day, for instance, which is only celebrated in Maine and Massachusetts, commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts, which represented the opening salvos of the Revolutionary War in April 1775.
Armed Forces Day, which is the third Saturday in May, is designed to honor and pay tribute to all the men and women who have served in the various branches of the armed forces.
Flag Day is held June 14 to commemorate the adoption of the official flag of the United States by the Second Continental Congress in 1777. Veterans Day is held each November to commemorate the end of WWI, but also to honor veterans of every war.
Billy Meyers, 14 and a freshman at Falmouth High School, said the flag service “means a lot to the troop.” Peters said it’s also a way of building community.
Meyers admits it can be difficult to get up at 5:30 a.m. or so, when everyone else has the day off, to go out and put up flags, but the effort is worth it. For Logan Peters, 10, putting up the flags last Fourth of July also led to a special father-son fishing trip.
Troop 93 has been offering the flag service for more than 15 years, and has about 80 flags that are “still in beautiful condition,” according to Peters. He said the flags are also weather proof, although putting the flags up is weather dependent.
The participating businesses in town are “all across the board,” from F.O. Bailey Real Estate to the European Bakery and Tea Room, said Chris Meyers.
Putting up a flag each holiday could be difficult for local businesses, some of which are closed, “so this is something we can do for them,” Meyers added.
The money from the flag service helps the troop pay for a variety of things, such as camping gear, outing fees, scholarships, advancement ceremonies and Eagle Scout service projects.
In all, Troop 93 contributes more than 500 hours of community service each year to organizations in town. Projects include Scouting for Food, which benefits the Falmouth Food Pantry, the annual Easter egg hunt at the Falmouth Congregational Church and an auction sponsored by the local Lions Club, among others.
Max Peters, 13, an eighth-grader at Falmouth Middle School, said what he most enjoys about belonging to the Boy Scouts are the camping trips which, he said, “are a lot of fun.” He also enjoys learning outdoor skills.
For Billy Meyers, the joy of being a Scout lies in the social aspect. “I’ve made some really good friends I would not have met or talked to otherwise,” he said.
And Logan Peters likes participating in the community service projects. “You get to meet cool people, do interesting things and make people happy,” he said.
Members of Boy Scout Troop 93 in Falmouth show off an American flag outside F.O. Bailey Real Estate on U.S. Route 1. From left are Billy Meyers, 14, Logan Peters, 10, and Max Peters, 13.