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Troop Dinner and Honoring John Hartinger’s 20 Years of Service

St. James Church

Getting to know our fellow Scout Families better, Fun Times, a Great Meal,  and the Privilege of Honoring one of our own was had by one and all this past Sunday, January 8th, 2017 at our Annual Pot Luck Scout Dinner.

Thanks to everyone on the Committee who helped to organize this (I’m not going to embarrass myself by omitting anyone, you all know who you are!). It takes a Village to get everything lined up months ahead of time, then phone calls and emails weeks ahead of the dinner (and a lot of scrambling the day of). We’d like to thank Reverend Melissa and St. James Church again for their generosity for providing us with this wonderful venue, and the use of their kitchen facilities.

At this year’s dinner, we honored 20 years of service to the Scouts by our Troop Chairperson John Hartinger who attended with his wife Carol, daughter Kate and younger son Joey. Older son Dan could not attend but wrote a wonderful tribute (read by Scoutmaster Carl), relating how his Dad’s dogged determination and love of nature, and the Scouts directly influenced his own career choices. Dan is currently the National Monuments Campaign Manager of the Wilderness Society In Washington DC.

John was the Cub Master for Pack 5 in Montclair operating out of Hillside Middle School and moved over to Troop 12 when Dan and then Joey became Boy Scouts there. He became the third leg of the Troop’s Triumvirate, (with Scoutmaster Jeff Gaskin and Greg Spinelli), that replaced “Doc” Norman Leard when he retired after decades as Troop 12’s 2nd  Scout Leader. While Jeff and Greg handled the tactical operations of the Troop, John became the Chairperson managing the charter, hosting committee meetings, and making sure the Troop ran a good program amongst other things.

Along the way, John just happened to save Camp Glen Gray from getting bulldozed and turned into mini-mansions, when it was going to be sold by the newly formed Northern NJ Council of the Boy Scouts to developers. (You can read an interesting history of Glen Gray and of the story to save it in this great New York Times Article: “Breaking Camp” from April 2001).

While Dan and Joey both officially left the Boy Scouts years ago, John remained Committee Chair and filled in when either Greg or Jeff couldn’t.

Thanks John! and here’s to many more years of service and friendship! Congratulations!



Scout Jack Brandon’s Eagle Project at Brookdale Park — Mission Accomplished!

Eagle Rank Badge And Medal
The Highest Honor Rank for a Scout is the coveted Eagle Rank that boys have to complete before their 18th birthday.

Congratulations to Jack Brandon, our latest Scout to complete his community project for his Eagle Rank! This past Saturday, 9/17/2016 he and his fellow Scouts worked with the Brookdale Park Conservancy to beautify the entrance to Brookdale Park’s Bellevue Avenue entrance.

Brookdale Park Entrance before Jack Brandon's Eagle Project
This is what the Bellevue Avenue Entrance of Brookdale Park looked like before Jack Brandon’s Eagle Project.

Project Participants:

  1. Jack Brandon (Eagle Candidate)
  2. Joe B.
  3. Jake S.
  4. Micheal D.
  5. Thomas D.
  6. Justin L.
  7. Arjun N.
  8. Armaan N.
  9. Eron E.
  10. Jackson K.
  11. Marcos P.
  12. Charles M.
  13. Max F.
  14. Peter B.

The project beautified the ground cover around the entrance signage, and cleared away a lot of the overgrown foliage and canopy around it so that the pathways around that area could get more light.

Pile of trees and limbs on the side of a pathway
Though it’s hard to tell the scale of the effort by this picture, the pile of branches and tree trunks removed for Jack Brandon’s Eagle Project was quite sizeable. (For comparison, look at the benches on the left side of the picture).
Panoramic shot of Brookdale Park Bellevue Avenue entrance from the street
In this shot, you can see the boys clearing up after the project, and how clear the area is right behind the signage, where much of the effort for this project went. (Click on image to see/download a larger version of it.)
Panoramic shot of the Brookdale Park Bellevue Avenue entrance looking from the park to the street
The magic behind the scenes! This is a picture of the Project almost completed, showing most of the equipment used behind the entrance signage, with the boys winding it down and starting to clear up the area. (Click on the image to see/download a larger version of the image).
Boy Scouts finishing Eagle Project outside Brookdale Park's Bellevue Avenue entrance.
Jack watering the new plants they laid down for the project after mulching the area. (Other boys in the back can be seen “supervising”)
Brookdale Park Bellevue Avenue entrance
Here’s the most prominent part of Jack’s project after the completion of his Eagle Project at the Brookdale Park Bellevue Avenue entrance.

Congratulations Jack and great job from you and all your volunteers and Adult Advisors. (Now onto the paperwork!)

~Sean Leong
ASM, Troop 12