Troop 44 Pennington NJ page 2
Donald Wright, Former Scoutmaster
George Washington Council
Some Troop Highlights
In 1973, the BSA National Jamboree was held at Moraine State Park in western Pennsylvania. For the first, and only, time Scouts were allowed to go under their own troop leadership, rather then forming the more traditional council troop. Troop 44, with two patrols, was joined by Troop 41, with one patrol, and a patrol from Troop 88, Princeton under our leadership.
In the mid 1970's, many members of the troop became licensed amateur radio operators, including eight scouts and three of the leaders. We often traveled to the Boy Scout National Headquarters, located at that time near the traffic circle on US Route 1 in New Bruswick, to spend the weekend operationg the official BSA radio station, K2BSA. It was exciting and educational to be in contact with many stations from around the world. In 1975, we set up an amateur radio station with the special call sign KG2BSA for the annual Scout Show in the Lawrenceville Armory. We received Best in Show for this operation.
In 1976, for the Bicentennial Year, the troop put together an electric map of the battles of Trenton and Princeton in the Revolutionary War. This was an eight foot square map of the area. A team of boys put together the topography and marked in the towns and colonial roads. A second team put together the electrical wiring that entailed 92 red roads. The wiring team also built a 92-switch control panel for the lights. A third team put together the 17-minut script and several scouts learned how to switch the proper lights on and off as the script tape was played. We again received Best in Show at the Council Scout Show at the Armory in Lawrenceville. A prominent Colonial Historian commented that our version of the events was outstandingly correct. This map was subsequently shown at the Pennington Presbyterian Church and at the Hopewell Valley Central High School.
In 1975, the troop became interested in backpacking on the Appalachian Trail during the summer. This was offered as a challenge for the older boys who had been to summer camp several times. We would do a five-day 50-mile hike from High Point, NJ, to the Delaware Watergap, during November, to prepare the newly registered young scouts for the next summer hike. In the summer of 1976, we hiked for a week in Shenandoah Park, Virginia in continuous rain for the first five days. In 1977, we hiked for two weeks from Bennington, Vermont to Dartmouth, New Hampshire. During the period of 1978 to 1980, we hiked the Appalachian Trail through Massachusetts (1978), Connecticut (1979), and the Delaware Watergap in Pennsylvania (19800).
For many years, the troop hiked in a yearly cycle to Gettysburg one year, to Valley Forge the next, and finally to Jockey Hollow the third year. We have always gone to summer camp, Camp Pahaquarra from 1964 to 1971. After Camp Pahaquarra closed, we attended camp at Yards Creek Scout Resevation from 1972 to 1989. After Yards Creek Scout Reservation closed in 1996, we have attended several out-of-council camps, including Camp Forestburg, Camp Sommers, NoBeBosco.
In 2002, the George Washington Council merged with the Thomas A. Edison Council to form the Central New Jersey Council. One of the benefits of the merger is that the council, once again, has its own summer camp, Kittatinny Mountain Scout Reservation, at Branchville, NJ.
(This is the second of two pages written by Mr. Donald Wright. Don served as Troop 44 Scoutmaster from 1969 to 1989. . . jos)