Inaugural Camporee Is a Huge Undertaking
It's been in the planning for more than one year, and for an event of this
magnitude, that's not too long. The inaugural New Jersey State Police-Boy
Scouts of America Invitational Camporee is the biggest such event ever held in
New Jersey, and the largest collaboration in the country between a state police
agency and the Boy Scouts of America.
Registration closed months ago when the Jersey Shore Council, coordinator of the
event for the Scouts, neared the 6,000 mark.
The equipment rolled in and the program was finalized—and it wasn't just
ghost stories around the campfire. There were personal meetings with a NASA astronaut
and a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient; presentations on merit badges subjects
such as emergency preparedness and tactical demonstrations by troopers in boats,
helicopters, and armored cars; and Scouts speaking with real-life heroes and being
challenged to lives of community service and responsibility. Basically, it was an
event that was the antithesis of computer games and mindless videos.
From Friday evening, October 22, 2004, through Sunday morning, October 24, 2004,
6,000 Boy Scouts and their leaders participated in this inaugural event at the New
Jersey National Guard Training Center/New Jersey State Police Academy. Joining the
Scouts were more than 100 state troopers, including 50 who have earned the coveted
Eagle Scout badge; astronaut Mario Runco, NASA, and former New Jersey trooper; H.
C. "Barney" Barnum Jr., deputy assistant secretary of the Navy, and Congressional
Medal of Honor recipient; Colonel Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey
State Police; and Brigadier General Frank R. Carlini, deputy commander, New Jersey
Army National Guard Joint Force Headquarters.