When the New Jersey State Police
hosted a statewide Boy Scout
camporee in 2004, the agency
convinced many Scouts to think about
careers in law enforcement. Last fall,
the camporee was held again, and the
Boy Scouts returned the favor. The
Jersey Shore Council-the lead
council of seven that participated-
used the event to recognize and
reengage adult Eagle Scouts.
The effort culminated in an Eagle
Scout reception hosted by Major
General Glenn Rieth, adjutant general
of New Jersey, commanding the New
Jersey Army and Air National Guard,
which co-hosted the camporee. More
than 500 Eagle Scouts attended the
reception, including 70 newly
identified Eagle Scouts within the
ranks of the New Jersey State Police.
Each Eagle Scout received General
Reith’s challenge coin, a tangible
reminder of their special status as
“marked men” in their communities.
“It’s a tool we can use to recruit merit
badge counselors, unit leaders,
assistant leaders, and committee
members,” said Council Commissioner
Many of the Eagle Scouts within the
State Police have joined the recently
formed New Jersey State Troopers
Eagle Scout Association, a group
whose goal is to support the Scouting
program while enhancing the police
agency’s image. “They were
instrumental in helping make this
event the success that it was. Their
enthusiasm was so evident,” said
Council President Robert Warner.
The troopers’ enthusiasm has already
extended beyond the camporee.
Recently, they’ve helped with such
projects as teaching members of an
inner-city Trenton troop to swim-
an important step toward becoming
The road to the Eagle Scout Award
often begins at a Cub Scout school
night, the first encounter many
boys-and their parents-have with
Scouting. Parents who attend school
nights in the Quivira Council in Kansas
hear a simple message: We expect you
“Each one of them is essentially
required to register and do something
for that unit,” said Scout Executive Fred
Meijering. “We don’t start off by
begging. We start off by expecting.” As
a result, the council has nearly doubled
its volunteer base in three years.
According to Vice President for
Membership Brad Bechtel, it’s critical
to recruit volunteers at school night.
“Parents are rarely more excited about
the program than they are that night,”
But it’s just as important to use the
right language. Presenters avoid the
L-word-“leader”-and talk instead about being a volunteer. “The word
‘leader’ scares people,” Bechtel said.
Of course, the council does need
up-front leaders-men and women
who can run district committees, serve
on the council executive board, and
coordinate financial campaigns.
Through a renewed emphasis on the
nominating process, the council has
significantly raised the caliber of its
board-level volunteers in recent years.
According to Council President Sam
Williams, the board is quickly
becoming a “board of choice” in the
Wichita area. “We are able to go right
to the top of any company in this town
and ask for their support,” he said.
That support has helped the council
nearly double its Friends of Scouting
giving while raising more than $5
million for its capital campaign. Much
of that money was solicited by Jack
Pelton, a volunteer identified through
the nominating process. When he’s
not raising money for Scouting, Pelton
serves as chairman, president, and
CEO of Cessna Aircraft Company.