The Boy Scout Movement in
Pennington, NJ

Excerpted from the 1958 Kleio Club publication:
Pennington Sesquibicentenial 1708-1958
Written by John T. Huddleson
From the collection of Jack Koppel

The Boy Scout movement began in the United States in 1910. Earl Teel, realizing the values of Scouting, organized and served as Pennington's first Scoutmaster in 1915. This was Pennington's first youth organization on a community level and thus it has a proud heritage in common with Pennington in its 250th year. This troop seems to have disbanded in 1918, but during its short life the troop co-operated in the Liberty Loan drive and sold $28,000 worth of War bonds. It appears that this group functioned as an independent troop, was not affiliated with a district organization, rather the troop received its charter and current information directly from the National Council.

From 1918 to 1933 Pennington did not have the benefit of an active local troop, although boys joined troops in neighboring towns. Then Charles Cook assembled a committee to sponsor a new troop, which was chartered as a unit in the George Washington Council. Raymond Hill was the Scoutmaster, and with the exception of 1939, continued as Scoutmaster until he turned his position over to his son Alfred P. Hill. Thus the Hill family, for an extended period, contributed a great deal toward the Scouting movement in Pennington.

Obviously a regular meeting place is necessary for the proper functioning of an activity such as Scouting. The Presbyterian Church provided such a place at first and when the troop was reformed in 1933 they met at the Hill home. In later years they met in such places as Borough Hall and the Pennington Prep School. On the invitation of Herbert Rockwell, during 1953, the troop began meeting in his barn. This was preceded by extensive activity preparing the barn for its new purpose. In the Fall of 1955, since Mr. Rockwell had other uses for the building, it became necessary for the troop to seek another meeting place. Such a place was found at first in the Pennington Prep School and later in the Public Schools. Realizing the inconveniences of meeting in the schools the Troop committee, along with the Lions Club, set about getting a more appropriate meeting place. The Borough Council was approached and agreed to provide land for suitable meeting place for youth organizations of Pennington. The Lions Club donated funds for the construction and many persons stepped forward with materials, time and labor. So many persons assisted that it would be impossible to list all of them here. It is with pride that the Troop Committee looks forward to the dedication of this building during this anniversary celebration year.

The Scouting movement has diversified activities. There are the regular weekly meetings held each Wednesday evening at the new building on Reading Street, devoted to demonstrations of the various arts of Scouting, scout games and discussions of coming outdoor activities that are the backbone of Scouting.

Some local boys have attended National Jamborees held every 4 years. In 1953, 4 boys attended the National Jamboree held in California, and recently, in 1957, a much larger contingent attended the Jamboree held at Valley Forge.

About 10 or 20 boys annually attend summer camp at Pahaquarra, a scout camp run by George Washington Council. In addition to this summer camp experience, the troop has also gone to Pahaquarra during the Winter and Spring, either on its own or along with other troops. During the Fall and Spring, there are council and district camporees that afford another opportunity for outdoor life and an exchange of ideas and experiences with other troops in this area.

Of course, there would be no opportunity for boys to enjoy scouting experience without adult sponsorship. In the past, various local committees and the Pennington Prep School have acted as sponsors. At present the troop is sponsored by the Lions Club. Parents also assist in many ways, chiefly by transporting boys to distant activities and acting as patrol fathers. There are also many local residents who act as merit badge counselors, training and testing the boys who wish to advance further along the Scouting trail.

ask jos
The above history was written by Mr. John T. Huddleson as part of the 1958 Kleio Club publication, "Pennington Sesquibicentennial 1708 - 1958", celebrating the 250th anniversary of Pennington. This was given to me, by Mr. Huddleson, at a Boy Scout Court of Honor celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Troop 41, in March 1995. A second copy was given to me by Jack Koeppel of the Hopewell Historical Society in April 2004.

Time Line
Brief History 1958

Brief History 1940, page 1
Brief History 1940, page 2

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September 2, 1999