BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ- On Saturday, members of the Berkeley Heights Boy Scouts of America Troop 68 held a garage sale- style fundraiser at Thomas P. Hughes Elementary School. The troop was raising funds to use in purchasing new camping equipment.
The event, organized by Troop 368 Scoutmaster Peter Richardson, took place instead of the troop’s annual Rubber Ducky race that was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Richardson said camping is a staple within the boy scouts activities, allowing the scouts to work on nature skills along with organization and space management building. Richardson said, “When you go camping you need cooking equipment, pots, pans, and everything else. The stuff we have at the moment is really old and almost impossible to clean and even work,” which led to the fundraiser.
Patrick Nohilly, a scout of Troop 68 and sophomore at Governor Livingston High School said, “Most of our camping trips -- it’s the scouts that organize them, it's the scouts that plan out what we're going to do, and it teaches us how to organize events, and at the same time, you have fun and you learn outdoor skills.” Nohilly added, “They're fun, it's a time to just bond with friends and learn new important life skills.”
Being that the nature of the scouts training is normally hands-on, Richardson noted the challenges first brought to the troop at the beginning of the pandemic. “A lot of what we would teach visually was changed into a Jeopardy question. They learned through their scout books, and then we would test them.” He went on to say, “The Boy Scouts is scout lead, so they made up the questions themselves, and they'd run all these games -- it was quite impressive.”
At the event, members from both the Berkeley Heights Girl Scouts and Cub Scout Pack 368 were present to recruit and promote their organizations, respectively.
Michael Leblond, a representative and leader for the Cub Scouts, said the cubs weren’t only at the event to recruit more members, but because it's “part of supporting the Boy Scouts. We've spent some money here on stuff to help support them because they support us with our events. It's a reciprocal relationship because we hope that when our kids go from Cub Scouts they become a scout to one of the troops in the town.”
Along with Leblond, Viviana Cooper, a cub scout representative, said it’s all about “character building.” Cooper went on to speak of working together with the scouts to support their group and assist the young kids in finding the best path for them, whether it be through scouts or not.
All item for sale were donated to the scouts from members of the community. The scouts appreciate all the support of the community.