Scouting in New Jersey

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Scouting in New Jersey has a long history, from the 1910s to the present day, serving thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live. The second Boy Scouts of America National Headquarters was in North Brunswick, although it was referred to in BSA publications as being in neighboring New Brunswick.

Early history (1910–1950)[edit]

Camp Glen Gray, located in Bergen County, New Jersey (Northern New Jersey Council) has been continually active since 1917, and was originally 150 acres (0.61 km2) located in a valley in the Ramapo Mountains in New Jersey. Camp Glen Gray is named after Frank Fellows Gray, (1869–1935) a well known early professional Scouter of that area. It was selected and developed by Gray to give a permanent summer camp for Scouts, and the camp is the first purpose-built Scout camp in New Jersey. Prior Scout summer camping experiments were typically temporary affairs at farm fields or church camps. Frank Gray was one of America's earliest Scoutmasters, having started Troop 4 in Montclair, New Jersey, known as the "Lord Baden-Powell Troop" in March 1909.[1] He also created an honor program that was used in New Jersey and in the Brooklyn Council called "Senior Division". The camp ultimately reached a size of about 840 acres (3.4 km2) and was operated by Eagle Rock Council, then Essex Council, and finally Northern New Jersey Council. In 2003, the camp was sold to the Bergen County Parks Commission and operated through a management agreement by the non-profit group Friends of Glen Gray, and is supported by a group of volunteers known as the "Old Guard". While no longer an "official" Boy Scout Camp, it does continue to host a large number of Scouting groups and activities throughout the year, as well as hosting a summer day camp for an area special-needs school.

Notable Scout Walter Marty Schirra, Jr. (March 12, 1923 – May 3, 2007) earned the rank of First Class in Troop 36 in Oradell, New Jersey. He was one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts. He was also the only person to fly in all of America's first three space programs (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo).

Cub Scouting Origins – To begin including younger boys to Scouting, James E. West approved the formation of the Boy Rangers of America, a separate organization for boys eight through twelve based on an American Indian theme. The Boy Rangers used the Scout Law and Chief Guide Emerson Brooks was a Boy Scout commissioner in Montclair, New Jersey. The BSA finally began some experimental Cubbing units in 1928 and in 1930 the BSA began registering the first Cubbing packs, and the Boy Rangers were absorbed. The Cub Scouting program used elements of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book series, with the Cubmaster taking the role of Akela and the assistant Cubmaster the role of Baloo. The American program also syncretized American Indian elements, with all Cub Scouts belonging to the Webelos tribe, symbolized by the Arrow of Light and led by Akela. Webelos was also an acronym meaning Wolf, Bear, Lion, Scout. The initial rank structure was Wolf, Bear and Lion, with ages of 9, 10 and 11. Dens of six to eight Cubs were entirely led by a Boy Scout holding the position of den chief.

Mortimer L. Schiff – After a long tenure as vice-president of the BSA beginning in 1910, during which he also appeared on the cover of Time magazine on February 14, 1927, Mortimer L. Schiff was elected as president in 1931, but died after serving one month and Walter Head returned until 1946. Schiff's mother purchased and donated 400 acres (1.6 km2) of land in New Jersey and donated it to the BSA, thus creating Mortimer L. Schiff Scout Reservation as a national training center. Both Mortimer and his son, John M. Schiff, received the Silver Buffalo Award from the BSA.

William "Green Bar Bill" HillcourtWilliam Hillcourt was one of the BSA's most prolific writers. He wrote numerous articles for Boys' Life and Scouting magazines, including a column aimed at patrol leaders under the by-line of "Patrol Leader Green Bar Bill". At least 12,610,000 copies of his three editions of the Boy Scout Handbook were printed. Hillcourt died in Europe while on a Scouting tour in 1992. He is buried with his wife Grace in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Mendham, New Jersey at Row 8, Block I, to be near Mortimer L. Schiff Scout Reservation as he had lived for so many years. His legacy in Scouting and his influence continue in the programs and training of Scouting. Consequently, his writings are still used within the Scouting movement and his material continues to be reprinted in Scouting magazine.[21] The Hiawatha Seaway Council operates the William Hillcourt Scout Museum at Camp Woodland in New York to "keep the traditions of Scouting alive" through the preservation of the history that is a foundation for today's Scouting movement

Order of the Arrow – The first Order of the Arrow ceremony for the Vigil Honor was held in New Jersey by E. Urner Goodman using Scouts from the Treasure Island Scout Reservation. The 1925 and 1936 National Order of the Arrow Lodge Meetings were held at Treasure Island, New Jersey.

Recent history (1950–1990)[edit]

In 1954, the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America moved its National Headquarters from New York City to a new site at the southwest corner of U.S. Route 1 and U.S. Route 130 in North Brunswick, New Jersey, although the location appeared in BSA publications as "New Brunswick".[2] The Johnston Historical Museum and a conservation education trail were also located there.[3] The national headquarters moved to Irving, Texas in 1979.[4]

Boy Scouting in New Jersey today[edit]

There are seven Boy Scouts of America (BSA) local councils active in New Jersey.

Washington Crossing Council[edit]

The Washington Crossing Council serves scouts in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and scouts in two districts located in Western New Jersey that were transferred from the former Central New Jersey Council: The Mercer Area District in Mercer County, New Jersey and the Hunterdon Arrowhead District in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

Garden State Council[edit]

Garden State Council (#690)
OwnerBoy Scouts of America
HeadquartersWestampton, NJ
 Scouting portal

Southern New Jersey Council and Burlington County Council merged to form this new council as of January 1, 2013.


  • Roosevelt Scout Reservation (Scouts BSA camp)
  • Camp Diller (Scouts BSA tent camp)
  • Camp Grice (Cub Scout camp and used for Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (IOLS)) [5]
  • Pine Hill Scout Reservation (Cub Scout camp)
  • Pine Tree Education and Environmental Center (Cub Scout Camp)
  • Camp Winnebago

Order of the Arrow Lodge[edit]

Lenape Lodge #8, a merger of Te'kening 37 (founded in 1999) and Hunnikick 76 (founded in 1935) [6]

Jersey Shore Council[edit]

The Jersey Shore Council serves all of Ocean County and Atlantic County, and part of Burlington and Cape May Counties.

Minsi Trails Council[edit]

The Minsi Trails Council serves Scouts of eastern Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley and Pocono, plus Warren County New Jersey.

Monmouth Council[edit]

Northern New Jersey Council[edit]

The Northern New Jersey Council serves Scouting in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties. The council is divided into three districts: Three Rivers (eastern Bergen County and Hudson County areas), Ramapo Valley (western Bergen and Passaic County areas), and Lenape Trail (Essex County towns). In 2013, this council served over 13,000 youths.

Patriots' Path Council[edit]

The Patriots' Path Council includes Morris, Sussex, Somerset, Middlesex, and Union counties.

Girl Scouting in New Jersey[edit]

Map of Girl Scout Councils in New Jersey

New Jersey is divided into four councils that were created by rearrangement of the previous eleven councils in 2007.

Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey[edit]

The Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ covers a bit more than nine counties (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Salem, and parts of Monmouth) and serves over 27,000 girls and 11,000 adults. The council includes 3 service centers, 6 camps and 2 mobile resource centers. It was formed by the merger of Camden, Delaware-Raritan, and South Jersey Pines Councils on October 1, 2007. Planned merger date was July 1, 2007, but due to Delaware-Raritan's changed vote, the councils merged on October 1, 2007.

Headquarters: Cherry Hill, NJ

Service Centers:


Past Camps:

Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey[edit]

Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey serves 25,000 plus girls in Hudson, Essex, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon, Southern Warren and parts of Middlesex counties. It was formed by the merger of Great Essex and Hudson Counties, Rolling Hills, and Washington Rock councils.

Headquarters: Montclair, NJ

Service Centers:


Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore[edit]

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore serves some 16,000 girls and has 6,000 adult volunteers in Ocean and most of Monmouth counties. Created in July 2007 by the merger of Monmouth and Ocean County Councils.

Headquarters: Farmingdale, New Jersey

Service Centers:

  • Toms River, NJ - Ocean Service Center, 1405 Old Freehold Road, Toms River, NJ 08753
  • Farmingdale, NJ - Monmouth Service Center, 242 Adelphia Road, Farmingdale, NJ 07727


Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey[edit]

Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey serves 20.5% of girls aged 5–17 in 160 municipalities including all of Bergen, Morris, Passaic, and Sussex counties and the northern half of Warren County. As of 2011 there were 33,795 girl members and 17,395 adult members.[7] It was formed on October 1, 2007 by the merger of Bergen, Leni-Lenape, and Morris Area Girl Scout Councils.

Headquarters: Riverdale, NJ

Service Centers:

Resource Center:

  • Paterson, NJ - Center City Mall, 301 Main Street, Upper Level, Paterson, N.J. 07505


Camp Mogisca was sold in 2010.

Discontinued Girl Scout Councils[edit]

The following New Jersey councils ceased to exist in 2007/2008 due to mergers.

  • Bergen Girl Scout Council - Became part of the new Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey in 2007
  • Camden Council - Became part of the new Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey in 2007
  • Delaware-Raritan Council - Became part of the new Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey in 2007
  • Great Essex and Hudson Counties Council - Became part of the new Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey in 2008
  • Leni-Lenape Girl Scout Council - Became part of the new Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey in 2007
  • Monmouth Girl Scout Council - Became part of the new Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore in 2007
  • Morris Area Girl Scout Council - Became part of the new Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey in 2007
  • Ocean County Girl Scout Council - Became part of the new Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore in 2007
  • Rolling Hills Council - Became part of the new Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey in 2008
  • South Jersey Pines Council - Became part of the new Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey in 2007
  • Washington Rock Council - Became part of the new Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey in 2008

International Scouting units in New Jersey[edit]

Külföldi Magyar Cserkészszövetség Hungarian Scouting maintains two troops each in Passaic, New Jersey and New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Scouting Museums in New Jersey[edit]

The New Jersey Scout Museum in Morganville was established as an independent non-profit in 2004 and concentrates on history of Scouting in New Jersey.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Price, Luther Edmonds (1941). Thirty Years of Scout Camping:History of Glen Gray and Other Camps in Northern New Jersey with Memoirs of Frank F. Gray. Glen Ridge, NJ: self-published. p. 112.
  2. ^ 40°27′38″N 74°27′27″W / 40.4605280°N 74.4575156°W / 40.4605280; -74.4575156 The building has been torn down and the intersection reveloped. The Shoppes at North Brunswick retail shopping center now occupies the site of the former BSA building.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-04. Retrieved 2013-07-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ For more information visit
  7. ^ GSNNJ 2011 press release

External links[edit]


Girl Scouts: