They have built fires, caught fish and hiked trails.
They have collected food for area pantries, learned first aid and beautified parks.
They have built a brotherhood.
These are the members of Boy Scout Troop 677 and they are a unique troop in Lake County.
Troop 677 holds the distinction as one of the oldest continuous troops in the state, staying together within the Gurnee community for 100 years.
"Someone believed in a program that had just started in 1910. Someone had a vision and asked 'where can this take us?' said Brad Carlson, who has served as Scoutmaster since 2004.
The Rev. Harry W. Cordell first organized the troop with the assistance of Ray B. Dixon in April 1913. The troop was sponsored by the then-Disciples of Christ Church, which became Gurnee Community Church in 1919. Cordell, who realized the benefits of the Scouting program, encouraged the church to sponsor the troop.
When the troop started, Gurnee had fewer than 21 homes and a population under 200 people, Carlson said. The troop had nine Scouts, who attended troop meetings in overalls. The first meetings were held in troop members' homes.
The Rev. Christopher Stephens, senior pastor at Gurnee Community Church, said the troop was the primary way the church connected with area youth. Watching the troop grow and represent the church through all their work brings a sense of pride.
"Different members of the church may not have boys in the program, but there is a sense of pride that we're a part of the program," he said.
The troop celebrated its 100th year with a special ceremony June 9 at Gurnee Community Church. The program was attended by current and past members.
Through its 100 years, almost 900 boys have belonged to Troop 677. During that time, the boys have participated in activities that have taught them team building and to grow as an individual. Twelve-year-old Josh Smoron of Gurnee said he's enjoyed weeklong camps where he recently learned the physics of canoeing. They've gone skiing in Green Lake, Wis. and canoeing down the Escanaba River in Michigan.
James Carlson, Brad's son, joined the troop as a Cub Scout and recalls memories of survival programs, sleeping on a bed of pine needles and using a rock as a pillow. He remembers meeting Scouts from around the world at the national jamboree. And, he recalls the brotherhood.
"We've been close to each other. We helped each other and had our ups and downs with each other," said James Carlson of Gurnee, a former member of Troop 677. "Through everything, we were brothers."
Lee Angelo, 12, of Gurnee, said boys from various backgrounds and nationalities build friendships.
"It feels like a family to me," Angelo said. "From the first day of Scouting, I felt so lost. But five weeks later, I felt like I was friends with everybody."
Troop 677 also has worked to give back through service. Brad Carlson said their focus is to serve others with a smile. This has included highway cleanups, collecting food for the church food pantry and filling sandbags or making meals when floodwaters have filled the village.
"I realized as I was doing the work how important the work was and how important it is to help others," Smoron said. "That gave me a motive beyond Scouting to continue to serve others."
No clearer has the troop's community service been demonstrated than by looking to the plaque within Gurnee Community Church to see the boys' names who earned the prestigious Eagle Scout rank. Since 1938, 66 members of Troop 677 have achieved Eagle Scout rank by creating and leading a service project to better their community.
"You are giving back to someone who may not ever have a chance at life," Brad Carlson said.
Within Gurnee Community Church near the children's ministry, a display case showcases mementos that help represent Troop 677. There are trophies earned at first aid meets and a letter from former President George W. Bush. James Carlson said their troop has become known in the Gurnee community for all they've accomplished and can be proud to represent Gurnee for so many years that not many can claim.
"How many men can say they were part of a troop that's been together for 100 years," he said.