NJ State Police Camporee - The Courier Post PDF Print E-mail
10,000 attend Boy Scout Camporee
Gannett New Jersey


SEA GIRT — About 10,000 people this weekend attended the nation's biggest scouting event this year, the second New Jersey State Police/Boy Scouts of America Camporee.

The weekend-long event, in which more than 400 troops from all the state's 21 counties participated, was the biggest Boy Scouts event in the history of New Jersey, said State Police Sgt. Stephen Jones, a former Boy Scout.

Robert C. Warner, board president for the Jersey Shore Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said the last time the Camporee was held in Sea Girt was in 2004, and this year's event took "years of planning."

State Police Capt. Harold Brigham said more than 50 Eagle Scouts who are now state troopers helped coordinate the event.

The police set up "the majority of the resources we have" as exhibits, Brigham said, including demonstrations from the K-9 and emergency response units, as well as a firearms simulation and a forensic laboratory.

Along with viewing police exhibits, Warner said, Scouts could also work their way toward earning six merit badges, including fingerprinting and citizenship.

"It's going to be something they'll remember all their lives," said Warner, 65, of Toms River. "They'll meet new people, meet new Scouts; they'll experience all the things the State Police do."

A former Eagle Scout, Brigham, 44, of White Township, referred to the Scouts and the State Police as "like organizations" with similar morals and values. Quoting the Boy Scout Promise, Brigham said, " "to help other people at all times,' that's what we live by."

Michael Tansey, a former Eagle Scout and now detective sergeant with the State Police who was at the Camporee, said, "We want to make the boys aware of not only career opportunities, but the type of character that, not only our organization, but other organizations are looking for, and the Boy Scouts of America help build that type of character."

That type of character includes trust, honesty and a willingness to do what is right, said Tansey, 41, of Blairstown.

Ryan Huttemann, 13, a first-class-ranked Scout with Troop 123 out of Glassboro, was near the fingerprinting station set up inside one the buildings on the site. "It looks cool seeing all the stuff (the police) have, (while) camping, meeting new people," Ryan said.

Scoutmaster Michael Verdesco with Troop 129 from Old Bridge said, "this is probably twice the size it was last time (in 2004), much more organized and it's probably one of the coolest events I've been to, and I've been to hundreds."

Verdesco, 47, of Old Bridge, called the weekend "a real eye-opener" for the Scouts in his troop because of all of the different aspects of State Police work, which were on display.

"Just like how merit badges can open their eyes to different career paths, this can open their eyes in the direction of new career paths," Verdesco said.

Dylan D'Entremont, 12, from Troop 33 in Brick, said it was "pretty exciting" to be at the largest Scouting event of the year. When asked Saturday afternoon what his favorite part of the weekend had been so far, the Brick resident said, "the whole thing."

John Mullholland, 17, a member of Freehold-based Troop 18, also noted the similarities between the police and the Scouts.

"It's all about the honor code, doing what's right. . . . It's pretty much the same thing, which is probably why a lot of Eagle Scouts go into the armed forces or the police," saidMullholland, of Freehold.

Mullholland, who plans to join the police or the military after high school, said: "It's pretty cool to come out here and see what I can be looking forward to."
[liPublished]: October 08. 2007 12:09PM



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