About Troop 53

Since 1924, Troop 53 has served the boys of the Castleton-Schodack community for over 80 years in the Scouting program.

The troop is part of the Yankee Doodle (formerly Mahikan) District of the Twin Rivers Council, Boy Scouts of America. The troop is chartered with the BSA through the Kiwanis Club of Castleton, and for the past three decades has gathered in a dedicated scout meeting room on the second floor of Castleton Village Hall. The troop is an IRS 501 (c) (3) organization.


Here is a brief history of the troop. Formed in 1924, as Castleton Troop 1, Fort Orange Council. Later designated as Troop 53, during a reorganization that took place approximately 1929.

Fort Orange Council merged with the Uncle Sam Council in 1963, to become the Fort Orange-Uncle Sam Council. At some point between 1971 and 1973, the council became known as the Gov. Clinton Council and after merging in 1989 with the Schenectady and Sir William Johnson Councils it took on a new name that continues until today, the Twin Rivers Council.

Troop #1, Castleton formed March 7, 1924. They were chartered through the “Troop Committee”. They were part of Fort Orange Council out of Albany. They met at the “Noyes Fire House”, on the corner of Green Avenue and First Street. In 1925, the meeting location was Castleton Union School. In 1927, the meeting location was Com. Hall, which is believed to be Village Hall.

On February 5, 1929, a new charter was granted for Troop 53. The chartering institution is listed as American Legion Post 738, however this was crossed out and a “Group of Citizens” was inserted. In March of 1929, Post 738 is listed as the chartering institution. In 1943, St Paul’s Methodist Church becomes the chartering institution. In June 1947, the Castleton Kiwanis Club becomes the chartering institution. For the first time, a district is listed on the charter. The troop was under the Eastern District of the Fort Orange Council. In July 1951, the troop meets at Castleton Union School. The troop is now under the Capitol District of Ft Orange Council. In 1958, Castleton Union School becomes Castleton Elementary School. In 1961, the troop meets at “Fire House”, believed to be the First Street Firehouse (Noyes Building, F.P. Harder Hose Co., John McKnight Hose Co.). In 1968, the troop starts to meet at “Garafalo’s” which was a bar/restaurant on the west side of Main Street, next to and just south of what is now the public parking lot. In 1969, the troop is again meeting at the firehouse.

From March 31 1970 to November 1970, the troop losses its leader and the few members of the troop decide to join Troop 253 in South Schodack. The remnants of the troop form a patrol known as “The Spirits of 53”. Reforming in November 1970, the troop is chartered through the Village of Castleton, and meets at the First Street Firehouse. In 1974, the troop moves its meeting location to Castleton Village Hall

In 2005, the troop committee is notified by Twin Rivers Council, that BSA National has decided, in response to American Civil Liberties Union lawsuits against BSA partner, the U.S. Department of Defense; that no municipal organization or government can serve as a chartering organization for a BSA unit. This ruling affects two scout units in Twin Rivers Council, including Troop 53. Effective December 16, 2005, Castleton Kiwanis has once again become the chartering organization for the troop.

Troop 53 spawned other scouting organizations in the Castleton/Schodack area. In 1944, Cub Scouting came to town with the creation of Pack 253. In the same era, a Sea Scout unit was founded. It was designated as Sea Scout Troop 153 and had a boat on the north dock in the Village of Castleton. In the 1960's, when Scouting was hugely popular, it became prudent to start a second boy scout troop in the area. This unit was designated Troop 253, and met in South Schodack.