The Montclair Boy Scouts have been teaching preparedness and personal resilience since 1909.
In an autumn season during which many Montclair residents remember very personally the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, we can also refresh our commitment to doing our best to be prepared for what life hands to us, whether with supplies, skills, relationships, positive attitude or personal resilience. ‘Be Prepared’ has been the motto of the Boy Scouts of America since its inception.
One of the best programs for developing these competencies – preparedness for good and for bad – comes through the education-disguised-as-adventure programs of the Boy Scouts of America. Throughout Montclair this month, families will be joining or reconnecting their children and themselves with their Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, or perhaps starting a Venturing (co-ed, high school – aged) Crew.
With most Montclair residents many generations removed from pragmatic lives on farms and fields, parents often express concern about developing their children’s resilience, increasing their socialization, exposing them to the lessons and beauties of the outdoors, and having good male role models. These are part and parcel of the Scouting programs that have been delivered continuously by Montclair volunteers since 1909.
In 1909, Troop 4 Montclair was founded at Nishuane (then Cedar Street) School, commencing Montclair’s dynamic Scouting movement. Troop 13 (1911), Troop 8 (1915), Troop 12 (1926), Troop 20 (1927) and other neighborhood-focused Boy Scout troops followed with strong programs that trained young men in individual and group skills, citizenship and leadership, ultimately serving family, country, the economy and community well. Veterans of World Wars 1 and 2, an astronaut, business and government leaders, and about a half-dozen Tuskegee Airmen developed their skills and resilience, teamwork and leadership, as youth in these early Montclair Scout troops.
There are no guarantees in life: Montclair Scouting includes one man who was lost in the attack on the World Trade Center (Ron Ruben, Troop 13), and another who led his team to safety that day. Each, for his own destiny, was prepared in part through Scouting.
On that September day 16 years ago, after watching the second of the towers attacked, I went to the bank to withdraw money, filled the family minivan gas tank, and drove to Glenfield Middle and Montclair High schools to bring my sons back to the security of home. With two years each of Scouting under their belts, I had confidence that they were as well prepared for any eventuality as young adolescents could be. Over the next few years, their skills, experience and cool heads gained through Scouting provided me and their father with extra reassurance as they went off to college during Hurricane Katrina, off to cross-country road trips and music festivals like Bonnaroo, and on toward their lives’ journeys.
If you would like to help prepare Montclair’s children for the adventures of life and the future of the community and nation, become a Scout volunteer. If you would like to provide life skills cleverly disguised as fun and adventure for your child, consider signing them up for Scouting. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Montclair Scout Institute on the web and on Facebook for more information.
Editors note: We reached out to one of Montclair’s own Eagle Scouts and Montclair High School Alumni, Ben Hadley, in California where he is now settled. We asked for his perspective on the preparation the Scouts provided him.
“I learned a lot from my time in the scouts, from first aid to personal finance to how to plan and cook food for 6 for a weekend. More than anything else though, the experience gave me the confidence that I could step into new situations and adapt to them, that I could learn to live and work independently, not having to fear big changes in my life. The Scouts didn’t give me all the tools to adapt to my adult life, but it helped give me the fortitude to meet new circumstances head-on.”-Ben Hadley
Always needed and appreciated, Donations can be made by visiting this link: https://montclairscoutinstitute.wordpress.com/donate/
-Maureen Edelson, Scoutmaster, Troop 4
Founder, Montclair Scout Institute
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