Each time they meet, members of Indian Mills Boy Scout Troop 47 recite the Pledge of Allegiance, the Boy Scout oath and the Boy Scout law.
“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight,” reads the oath.
Since 1977, Shamong scouts have vowed to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful and more. Now in its 44th year, the troop boasts 45 Eagle scouts and a lifelong impact on every member.
“It’s taking young young people and turning them into good solid citizens,” said Bob Fay, a Shamong council member. His eldest son became an Eagle in 1988 and his youngest aged out of the troop in 2000. Despite not having any kids in the program, Fay believes in the troop’s values and has stayed a volunteer.
From the first Eagle Scout project in 1983, when John Hall created a glass recycling program in Shamong, to Patrick’s Worrell’s 2020 bridge repair at Camp Ockanickon, Troop 47’s impact on the area is undeniable.
When the pandemic forced the troop to meet online, the pledge, oath and laws continued on Zoom. Used to camping, exploring and being active, Scouts got creative, going on bike hikes and earning their golf badges while socially distancing.
“The Boy Scouts is a boy run organization,” Fay explained, noting that troop members choose the activities in which they participate.
In the past, Fay remembers going on long hiking and camping trips in New Mexico. The Scouts and adult volunteers would set out on a 50-to-60-mile hike, stopping each day to horseback ride, go shooting or do a service project. On one trip in the 1990s, Scouts rebuilt a trail washed away by a rainstorm.
Recently, they had a canoe adventure down Batsto River, gained a climbing badge at an indoor rock-climbing facility and continued Troop 47’s annual Christmas tree collection.
The troop typically funds its adventures by selling food annually at Atsion Flea Market. The fundraiser was canceled in 2020 and 2021, leaving the onus on Scout families to pay for the majority of trips.
“Our treasury is still okay. It’s not great, but it’s okay,” Fay noted.
Adult volunteers are determined to keep the tradition of service and learning alive. Of the troop committee’s nine members, six no longer have Scout age sons. Assistant Scoutmaster Paul Dudek earned his Eagle rank in 1988, but returned to the troop as an adult.
“That just shows the commitment that people had to the program,” Fay noted.
Interested in becoming a part of the long Scout history? Contact Troop 47 on its website at indianmillstroop47.com.