Troop 206 has its roots in the old Montclair (a section of Oakland, California) Troop 2. In 1949 Troop 2 had grown to 60 boys and divided, with half the boys remaining with Troop 2 and the other half forming the new Troop 6. On February 1, 1950, the new Troop 6 held its Charter night at the Montclair Presbyterian church. Led by Scoutmaster Wilson Young, the new Troop began its tradition of camping once a month.
In the mid-1950s, following Wilson Young and Leland Shay, John Beek became Scoutmaster of Troop 6. An amateur naturalist and teacher, Beek often discoursed about the flora along the trails while on the monthly camping trips. During his tenure, the Troop attended Dimond-O, the Scout camp near Yosemite. Every year, following a week at camp, the older boys hiked in the high country for a second week, stashing food for the return trip along the trail to lighten their packs. Having mastered outdoor skills and naturalist training from Scoutmaster Beek, many Scouts later became counselors at Dimond-O.
In the early 1960s, the new San Francisco Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts realigned its districts and formed a new Golden Acorn District. West District Troops took 100 series numbers. Lake District Troops took 200 series numbers. So Troop 6 became Troop 206. In the 1980s, Golden Acorn was consolidated into Peralta District.
When Bud Schaeffer became Scoutmaster in the early 1960s, he began to teach the Scouts to cook much better food on the trail. The Troop especially enjoyed Schaeffer's famous upside-down cake baked over an open fire after a few days on the trail. The Troop continued Dimond-O and high country hike traditions and grew in size to 45 Scouts.
One evening in 1968, shortly after his son Stuart joined Troop 206, Stan McPherson attended a Troop Committee meeting where he found that he had been delegated the job of Scoutmaster. "Mr. Mac" as he became known was a natural for the job. Affable, good with the boys, a great outdoorsman and fly fisherman and an Eagle Scout himself, he took to the job easily.
The essence of Mr. Mac's leadership was to include and to challenge. One of the first changes he made was to open the summer hike, which had been limited to older Scouts, to the whole Troop. He also started the out-of-state hikes to provide a variety of outdoor challenges. The first Super Hike was an excursion to Havasu at the Grand Canyon by a total of 100 hikers from Troop 206, a YMCA group and a Girl Scout Troop. Since then the Troop has taken Super Hikes in Canada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.
Under Mr. Mac's leadership, the Troop membership grew to nearly 70 Scouts. During his tenure, he allowed the boys to lead their own meetings and to plan their own outings, making Troop 206 truly a "boy run Troop." It is to his credit that he gave every boy opportunities to test his skills and character and more than 80 Scouts achieved the rank of Eagle with his encouragement and support.
It was also under the leadership of Mr. Mac that the parents were challenged as well, through a large Geriatric Patrol (being awarded a rocking chair patch was a moment of honor for parents) and an active Troop Parent Committee. In 1970 he instituted the coveted Scoutmaster's Gold Cup award. It was given once each year to recognize the many hard-working Assistant Scoutmasters who had make important contributions to the Troop with their time and effort.
Because of his continued commitment to the Troop as Scoutmaster for nearly 25 years, the MacPherson Tartan was adopted as the Troop's neckerchief. It is worn mainly at Eagle Courts of Honor and at bridging over ceremonies when Webelos Cub Scouts join the Troop.
In 1990, Mr. Mac was named the Peralta District's Scoutmaster of the Year for his long and distinguished service to young men. The same year he retired and turned over the duties of Scoutmaster to Dave Johnson. Despite being retired, Mr. Mac often can be found at Scout meetings, on campouts and working with Troops in the Peralta District.
In January 1993, Rex Weichhart took over as Scoutmaster after serving with distinction as Cubmaster of Cub Pack 210 and as an Assistant Scoutmaster in Troop 206.
In the spring of 1993, Taylor Miller became the Scoutmaster after serving as one of the Assistant Scoutmasters in Troop 206 for two years. Taylor's son Justin later earned the Eagle award with Troop 206. While Scoutmaster, Taylor was instrumental in gaining access to the Joaquin Miller Community Center as a permanent meeting place for Troop 206, acquiring a 40’ storage container for our equipment, and starting the North Face / Sierra Designs tent & equipment recycling fund raiser program for the troop.
In 1995, Don Morgan, a long-time assistant Scoutmaster in the Troop was selected to be the next Scoutmaster. Don's son Don Jr. earlier earned the Eagle award with Troop 206.
Following Don Morgan’s tenure as Scoutmaster, Neal Gutterson took over for four years, seeing his son Ryan achieve Eagle in his first year as Scoutmaster. Neal had the good fortune of receiving tutelage and guidance from Mr. Mac, who continued to follow the troop's progress. Like Mr. Mac, Neal worked to get everyone involved. The troop continued to emphasize backpacking, and even got into winter camping! Thanks to some very active parent leaders, the troop recommitted itself to service activities, with at least one every month. Neal received the Scoutmaster Award of Merit for his efforts.
As was the case with Neal Gutterson before him, Steve Spickard took over as Scoutmaster just as Steve’s son Greg attained Eagle rank. Steve had greatly enjoyed seven years of sharing high adventure activities with his son and the rest of the troop. Thus, after serving for years as an Assistant Scoutmaster, Steve felt it was time to step up to Scoutmaster in 2001, allowing Neal Gutterson to focus on the newly formed Venture Crew composed of Troop 206 senior Scouts. In 2006, Tim Bever took over a scoutmaster for three years. Tim had two sons who attained the rank of Eagle in the troop. In 2008, Tim moved to Texas, so Irving Willis took over as scoutmaster. Irving's son Kyle got his Eagle Scout in 2010. Irving Willis is the current scoutmaster of Troop 206.
Over the years, the Troop has participated in many community service projects such as Scouting for Food, the Boy Scouts of America's national food drive held annually during the Thanksgiving season. The Troop also has worked on special civic and conservation efforts, including flag ceremonies at the 1969 Oakland Museum dedication, the 1996 dedication of the Joaquin Miller Community Center, traffic control for the Highland Games, brush removal in Redwood Regional Park, trash removal from the Montclair Street Fair and as escorts for the Bicentennial Freedom Train in 1976. The Troop also has participated in the opening of trials, including a new section of the National Recreation Trail. Starting in Castro Valley at 5 a.m., the Troop completed the 14-mile hike to coincide with the 10 a.m. opening ceremonies at Skyline Gate in Oakland.
Troop 206 has many members who have earned the BSA's highest honor. At present, the Troop has more than 100 Eagle Scouts and five Silver Beavers (Scouting's highest award for adults who have given distinguished service to youth). The five Silver Beavers from Troop 206 are Bill Hamilton, Jim Uren, Russ Lawler, Ellis Myers (long-time Eagle adviser who has guided dozens of Eagle candidates over the years) and Stan McPherson.
For nearly 50 years, regardless of honor or rank, Troop 206 has consistently tried to produce young men well grounded in outdoor education, leadership and commitment to community service.