On Saturday, Feb. 9, a contingent of 20 Boy Scouts from Troop 3 in Manchester, Mass. will join forces with Boy Scout Troop 148 in Long Branch to participate in a Hurricane Sandy related community clean-up project in Oceanport.
About one week after the Hurricane, Troop 3 of the Yankee Clipper Council, Boy Scouts of America, reached out to Monmouth Council, Boy Scouts of America, looking to support a New Jersey Troop affected by the Hurricane.
"We quickly realized that while FEMA type organizations would help families and businesses, who would help other organizations rebuild and restart? Helping another troop is what we are built to do," explained Troop 3 Scoutmaster Fred Rossi, whose troop adopted and re-equipped a Troop in Gulf Port Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. "We were proud to help but felt a bit detached from that Troop. We realized that to create a true bond and relationship we should meet and work directly with the recipients. This allows the Scouts to truly understand the value of their work."
Many homes in Long Branch were damaged or flooded during the hurricane and several Troop 148 Scouts lost their Scouting and camping equipment. Troop 3 will be donating dozens of items to Troop 148 Scouts including uniforms, handbooks, backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, compasses, water bottles, mess kits, head lamps and more.
“It blew me away when I got the call. I never even anticipated anything like that,” said Troop 148 Scoutmaster Maynard Burley. “It really is heartwarming that another troop would be willing to help us with this kind of project.”
He added, “Camping is vital part of our program and with the Scouts having experienced so much loss already, we weren’t sure if they could afford to replace the equipment. Some might have dropped out if they didn’t have the equipment to participate and stay involved.”
Scoutmaster Burley plans to take the visiting Scouts on a tour of Ocean Avenue from Long Branch to Sea Bright so they can see first-hand the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. The Scouts from both troops will be working with the Office of Emergency Management to help clean-up storm damage at the Olde Warf Park on East Main Street in Oceanport.
In addition to helping with the service project, Troop 3 Scouts will be preparing a fellowship dinner for the Troop 148, Scouting officials and a few community leaders at the Oceanport United Methodist Church, 50 Main Street, Oceanport, which is hosting the Troop over the weekend. After the dinner, Troop 3 will present Troop 148 with the new Scout equipment, and the Troop 148 and Monmouth Council will recognize the Troop 3 Scouts for their outstanding efforts and assistance.
On Sunday morning, both Scouting Troops will participate in a Scout Sunday Service in honor of the 103rd Anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America on Feb. 8, 1910. Troop 3 will participate in the Church fellowship breakfast and then depart for Massachusetts.
"It is our hope that the Scouts of both Troops begin to learn that Scouting extends far beyond their own towns,” Rossi said. “We want our boys to understand the power of scouting and the benefits it can provide beyond learning knot tying and camping skills. We strive to have the boys incorporate helping others into their daily lives.”
“I am hoping that the boys from Troop 148 will feel the true spirit of Scouting and experience that enthusiasm through their relationship with Troop 3," Burley said.
“When Scouts help Scouts we hope they realize that we are all part of the same community,” Rossi said. “Being part of a larger community helps us be thankful for what we have and generous when need exists.”