94-year-old Boy Scout Leader to end troop after 80 years, 75 as its leader

NEWARK, New Jersey -- It's the Boy Scouts' motto: be prepared.

That's what one scout leader in Newark, NJ has been for the last 80 years, but now he's ready to hang up his badges.

"My father came home one evening and says, 'Julio, you, your brother, are going to join the Boy Scouts," said Julio Balde, Troop 102 Scout Leader.

And that's when Mr. Balde found his true passion, putting in 80 years as a Boy Scout, 75 of those years as a scout leader.

"Why do you love it so much?" Eyewitness News Reporter Darla Miles said.

"Because it's helped me," Julio said.

Believe it or not, the 94-year-old Portuguese native isn't the oldest scout leader on the books.

But it seems as if it's an art form only appreciated by older generations.

So at the end of June, he's shutting down the troop he founded and now operates out of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Newark.

"It's a shame, the electronics are great, but it's keeping a lot of these kids from getting a good education," Julio said.

When Balde first founded Troop 102 he had more than 100 boys. Today, there are only two.

"Dear Mr. Blade, it's been a while since we last saw you up at the cabin. We still go that way on a regular basis and still think back to all of the good times we have had there," said Anita Balde, Julio's daughter.

But make no mistake; Balde gets lots of love with a multitude of awards over the years and letters from his former scouts like these.

"I'd like to know how Troop 102 is doing, it owes a great debt of gratitude for keeping it going for so many years," Anita said.

"That is our reward, when you see boys like this become doctors, I've got three to my credit, several lawyers, and undertaker, and a couple of no-goods, but that's what made the troop," Julio said.