Boy Scouting in Lincroft
by Andrew Lennert
Troop 110 had existed in Lincroft, sponsored by the Lincroft and Holmdel Kiwanis Club.
In the fall of 1957, they found themselves without a scoutmaster.
A member of the club was aware of my background in Scouting, and in October, 1957 he approached MaryAlice and me with a request for my help. Our son, Drew, was one year old at the time. After some discussion I agreed to come to a meeting and look things over. The rest is history.
At this time, there were only about ten scouts in the troop, one a sixteen year old, but no adult assistants. I was given an envelope with less than ten dollars in it; “The Troop Treasury,” and a bill for $100.00 that was owed to the Kiwanis Club. Meetings were held in the basement of the then non-denominational Protestant Church, which is now the Chinese Restaurant.
Within a few months the construction of the new Lincroft Public School was completed. Through the efforts of Frank Braun, a school board member, we immediately moved our meetings to Wednesday nights at the school. We have been there ever since.
We soon paid off the debt, and began to grow in numbers. A strong group of Assistant Scoutmasters was recruited, as well as other dads for the Troop Committee. J. Fred Billett, Scout Executive of Monmouth Council, proved to be a wonderful mentor for us all.
Eventually, the Kiwanis Club disbanded, and we needed a new sponsor. One of the Kiwanis members, Jack Kay, was the manager of the United Counties Trust Bank branch in Lincroft. With no hesitation, they agreed to become our sponsor. The bank changed names and ownership so many times afterward, that we never bothered to put the new names on our troop flag. We are now sponsored by the Lincroft School PTA.
Lincroft, back in the 1950’s and 60’s, was a different place than it is now. We could hike out of town, and camp on many very satisfactory sites. Lovett nursery owned a lot of land in the area, upon which we were permitted to camp. We had a great campsite on the Swimming River Reservoir, which at the time, was much smaller. Mrs. Thompson gave us a site in a fine hemlock tree grove, at the back of her property, again on the Reservoir. It was not unusual to have her drive up and sit on a log, visiting with the scouts. She had no time for the adults.
Older scouts will remember weekend overnights at Camp Hausman in Farmingdale, Fort Dix, Princeton Nursery locations in Allentown, Collier’s Mill Game Preserve, and the Grampp Nursery in Colts Neck, the Farm Labor Camp in Holmdel; in addition to winter weekends in the snow at Forestburg.
Our camping now is done primarily at county and state parks, as well as Scout properties. They work out great, but choices have become limited. We continue to spend a week each summer at the Forestburg Scout Reservation. A plaque on the dining hall wall provides evidence that Troop 110 was in camp the second year it was open, 1956. We evolved a plan of having the new scouts spend two years in Central (now the Billett Campsite), and then go out to Dan Beard. The scouts look up to Dan Beard as a graduation, and welcome the change. Many of our scouts have served on the staff of Forestburg Scout Reservation.
We developed a High Adventure Program for our older scouts. Many of you were part of the crews that went to Philmont, as members of our own contingents or with the Council. Trips were also made to canoe bases in Maine; kayaking in Cisco Bay in Maine; biking the length of the C. & O. Barge Canal from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington, D.C.; and an Adirondack canoe trip. The troop attended the 1973 National Jamboree in Morraine State Park in Pennsylvania, as our own unit.
There were, and still are, day and weekend trips to historic sites. They include Valley Forge, Monmouth Battlefield, Jockey Hollow, New York City, Gettysburg, Antietam, and Washington Crossing Park.
Our troop equipment has seen some changes, too. We are in the third cycle of overnight tents. The present ones even have floors and mosquito net doors! No longer is the equipment stored in the basement of our house and overhead in the carport. No more passing the equipment up the stairs, or sending the smallest Scout up the ladder into the overhead to pass things down… We now keep everything in a local storage unit, and transport it in a trailer made available to us by Bill Siebert. Along with the rest of us, this new arrangement is appreciated by Mrs. Lennert, who now does not have Scouts tramping up and down the stairs with dusty and muddy boots.
There have been changes in our uniforming, too. We replaced the original black and red neckerchief with an orange one, and adopted an originally designed patch. The patch was designed by our Troop Committeeman, Lincoln Davis. As an artist, he was attached to General Eisenhower’s Command in Europe during World War II. The patch has a number of segments: the Colonial Flag, designating the history of our area; the Scout emblem; the head of a horse, recognizing the horse breeding and training activities of Lincroft’s past; and finally, a skull and crossbones. Local history tells us that one of the original landowners in the Lincroft Area was a Captain Leeds, supposedly a retired pirate associated with Captain Kidd. How much of this is true, we don’t know, but on our neckerchief it always necessitates some explanation. A gift from Mrs. Thompson made this project possible
Some years back, we replaced the neckerchief with a bolo tie. We are now going back to a neckerchief, royal blue in color, with the fiftieth anniversary patch.
Forty-six years have gone by, with over seven hundred and ninety Scouts having been members of this troop. One hundred and fifty-eight have become Eagle Scouts to this date.
The success of our troop has been made possible by the unselfish support of many people. How can we possibly show our appreciation those hundreds of Assistant Scoutmasters, Troop Committeemen, Dads, and others who just pitched in and helped whenever needed? In addition, how could any of us have been able to take the time away from our families without the understanding of our wives, as we go off and leave them in order to be with our Scouts? Thank you, for them and for ourselves.
What is the reward for all of our participation in this Scouting program?
Watching boys growing into men!