47 years of pancakes

Troop 25 serves up breakfast to learn lifelong skills and raise funds for future activities

Volunteers Mary Hames and Dana Oswald, (left and right) along with Boy Scout Dylan Kotten (center) pull out pancakes and serve them to attendees of the 47th Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast Sunday. Scout leader Dan Kotten said attendance usually sits at around 500 people each year.

NEW ULM — In Liefeld Hall underneath the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Church, New Ulm’s Boy Scout Troop 25 held its 47th Pancake Breakfast Sunday.

Attendees got a plate of sausage, ham, and the eponymous pancakes. Refills of pancakes and drinks were given out by Boy Scouts. Troop Leader Dan Kotten said Troop 25 has 17 boys in it, and working the event was a requirement.

Kotten said the scouts were assigned roles and responsibilities based on their age.

“All the ones in the patrols, the younger ones are out in front cleaning the tables and [dishing out coffee and] pancakes,” he said. “The older boys, the leadership patrol are in the back washing dishes.”

Including volunteers, around 40 people came together to help make the event possible and ensure it could meet the 8:30 a.m. opening time. Kotten said holding on to records from previous years has helped their preparations greatly.

Boy Scout Sawyer Luker refills the coffee of some patrons during the 47th Boy Scout Pancake Dinner Sunday. Roles like cleaning tables and handling refills were for the younger scouts, while the older scouts cleaned dishes and dished out food.

“We have good records from previous years, and we base that off on how many tickets scouts sell,” he said. “We can know what to order and we can get close. If we do run short of anything, we can go to the store and finish out the day.”

The event is back to running at full capacity, after 2020’s breakfast was canceled due to COVID-19 and the event continued to recover year after year. Kotten said attendance partially depends on troop numbers.

“It’s kind of based on boys in the troop,” he said. “They have to sell so many tickets. From the 80s to early 2000s, we served over 750 people. We’re averaging around 500 now. We’re building it back up.”

Kotten said this event helps benefit the scouts by raising funds for troop events, camping, and buying supplies for their adventures. In addition, the scouts learn lifelong skills.

“We teach them and we lead them with all the scout skills,” Kotten said. “They can earn the salesmanship merit badge by selling tickets. We’re all about service to mankind. This helps the young ones build that great work ethic and volunteerism that we’re known for.”

Boy Scout Anton Pyan hands off a heaping helping of pancakes at the 47th Boy Scout Pancake Dinner Sunday. Dan Kotten said scouting has evolved over the years, as there are now merit badges for skills such as gaming and computer science.

One scout who has benefited from the scouts and working in pancake breakfasts is Eagle Scout and troop leader’s son Joey Kotten. He said he’s greatly enjoyed spreading awareness and selling tickets for the event.

“Me personally, I sell tickets to people I know,” Joey Kotten said. “It’s good to see them all come and support the program I love. It might seem like hard work, but we have a lot of fun working.”

As someone who started when they were 11 and are in their last scouting year at 17, Kotten remembers what it was like pre-pandemic and how the community has re-embraced the scouts afterward.

“It’s good to have everything in general come back after COVID,” he said. “It’s good to see people starting to notice scouting more, making it more prominent in the community.”

Joey Kotten said working the same event every year for an organization he cares about has helped him see his progress and development from start to finish.

“At this point, I look backward and forward,” he said. “I see in the past I used to be a very short kid delivering pancakes to people. Now I’m running the dishwashing room, making sure the floor operation is looking good. I’m looking towards the future and seeing ‘How is this program going to do in the future?'”

Joey Kotten said he hopes to return to scouts soon as an adult volunteer. His current plans are to attend the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for a degree in Finance.


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