Giving Back

Celebrate 100 Years of Scouting at Upcoming Middlesex County Fair

The Monmouth Council Boy Scouts of America will be celebrating 100 years of scouting at the Middlesex County Fair in August. Credits: John Chludzinski

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Monmouth Council Boys Scouts of America will be marking 100 years of scouting in the area, which includes the Middlesex County towns of Spotswood, Helmetta, Milltown, East Brunswick, Jamesburg, Monroe as well as others who are members of the Middlesex District. As a part of their centennial, the Monmouth Council will be partnering up with the Fair Board of Directors, the Middlesex District, TCIS and others to give scouting a huge shout out for scouting at the upcoming Middlesex County Fair. The fair will be held at the Middlesex County Fair Grounds on Cranbury Road in East Brunswick from August 7 through August 13.

As a part of the week-long scouting attractions at the fair, the Monmouth Council will highlight the launch of their STEM/STEAM Program in addition to their new kindergarten-centered Lions program, which will allow five-year-olds to begin their scouting experience at the Cub Scout Level earlier. Information will also be on hand for the summer day camp program that is available for both girls and boys at the Quail Hill Scout Reservation as well as the council's local scout camp in Manalapan.

"I've been involved in scouts since I became a cub scout back in 1976, with Pack 2 then Troop 2 out of Elizabeth", Spotswood resident Mark Lesniak said. "I earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1987, same year I received Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow in the Boys Scouts of America."

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Lesniak was a Cubmaster for Cub Scout Pack in Spotswood for the last three years before moving to a scout pack in Jamesburg. He is now a member of the Middlesex District Membership Committee and will be a part of the scouting celebration at the annual August Middlesex County Fair.

"I have seen boys who are shy, and keep to themselves really excel In scouting," Lesniak said, when asked about the benefits of scouting for youngsters. "They learn the value of working as a team to accomplish anything that is set in front of them. Scouts learn to be self sufficient, excellent leadership skills as well as how to handle emergency situations. Between work done with their scout leaders, attendance in scout camp and numerous other programs, what our scouts learn is virtually limitless. There is something for every boy or girl, not to mention the life long friendships we make. When you meet a new scout, it is like meeting an old friend."

Spotswood's Matthew Chludzinski was recently awarded scouting highest honor, Eagle Scout, in April. The Spotswood High School senior is a member of Boy Scout Troop 35 in the borough. Eagle Scout is the top rank a scout can achieve and since scouting's inception in 1912, only five percent of Boy Scouts have achieved that honor. Chludzinski is the ninth member of his family to earn the ranking of Eagle Scout.  

Scout troops are available in most Middlesex County towns though Lesniak does encourage parents to check out multiple units before deciding on one. While all scout troops work towards the same rank and goals, each one does have its own personality.

Parents interested in seeing what scouting is all about can stop by the Monmouth Council Boy Scouts of America's booth at the Middlesex County Fair. There will be hands-on activities for kids, including a gaga ball pit, STEAM activities, a lashed swing/go around and much more.

With the addition of the Lions, scouting can begin as young as five. Cub Scouts are for boys in grades one through five while Boys Scouts are for boys ranging in age from 11 through 17. There is also a co-educational Venturing program that is aimed at teens from 14 all the way up to age 20. Area scout packs and troops can also be found by visiting the Boys Scouts of America website. Simply, click on the appropriate age level for your child and put in your zip code.

The Middlesex County Fair will be open to the public from Monday, August 7 through Friday, August 11 from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. It will be open on Saturday, August 12 from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. and on Sunday, August 13 from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.

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