[South Euclid, OH] 

Troop 1684, based at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish on Cleveland’s eastside in South Euclid, had their first member advance from Junior Cadet status to Senior Cadet this past Saturday, April 25th. 

“We are encouraging the fathers and sons of our Troop to continue with their Junior Skill Requirement and Senior Achievement Course training at home during this time of isolation and physical distancing,” Chris, the Troop 1684 Captain said.  “Rather than focusing on what we are unable to do, let’s focus on what we can do.  The father and son component of TSG is at the very core of this organization.  There is still a tremendous amount that is able to be accomplished even in light of our limited capacity to gather,” he continued.  

Troop 1684 was chartered 18 months ago in October 2018, officially bringing the first of several TSG troops to the Northeast Ohio region.  While their troop has grown steadily during this time, drawing families from several parishes in the vicinity, the majority of their cadets are younger and remain within the Junior Patrol ranks.  Chris explained, “This is a major milestone for our Troop, graduating a cadet from the Junior to the Senior Patrol.  It’s a reminder that as the cadets continue to grow and advance, so we too are advancing as a troop, and becoming more confident and competent in how we function.”

For a cadet to transition from Junior to Senior Patrol, a number of mandatory skill requirements must be successfully attained as part of the ongoing rank promotion process.  This culminates during the 5th grade year when cadets entering the rank of St. George Dragon Slayer must demonstrate their mastery of the skills they have developed, consecrate themselves to our Blessed Mother, and make a pilgrimage to a Holy Site, thereby earning the Dragon Slayer patch and the privilege to don it as a permanent feature of their uniform. 

Speaking of the challenges he encountered, the 11 year old cadet named Gabriel said, “It was very difficult to complete my tasks, like reciting and explaining the legend of Saint George and the details of his martyrdom.  I had to take time to learn these things and understand them when I could have been doing other things instead, but when I consecrated myself to Mary, I felt very glad.”

Gabriel continued, “I went with my family members to the Servants of Mary Shrine in Windsor, OH.  My two younger brothers are in the troop too.  There’s a gigantic statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  My dad and I said the prayer of consecration to our Blessed Mother together.”  

Regarding what he learned from his experience, Gabriel said, “Consecrating yourself to Mary is wonderful and it helped me to grow closer to her.”  

Now that he has rightfully earned the Dragon Slayer patch and transitioned to the Senior Patrol, Gabriel beamed with enthusiasm, “I feel very proud of myself for becoming a part of the Senior Patrol. Now I look forward to working on the interesting achievement courses at the senior cadet level.”  His father is really impressed that Gabriel reached this goal too and for the motivation he showed getting there. 

The Troop Captain concluded, “During this time, we’ve tried to keep our calendar dates scheduled as planned, but with some changes to event scope, in order to remain in compliance with national and local health advisories.  One event was a group hike that turned into Solo-Hiking with Your Family while another event changed from an outdoor gathering to an online meeting where we worked on some basic skill requirements instead.  We will keep trying to make this work.  The cadets love seeing their friends and the adventure aspects, the dads love the fraternity with other solid, like-minded men and bonding with their sons, and the moms love seeing their husbands and sons becoming the virtuous men that God is calling them to be.  That hasn’t changed during challenging these times.”  

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