The following article was submitted by Scoutmaster Dan Perenick, Troop 519, and Scoutmaster Joe Gibbons, Troop 502.
On Friday November 30, 2012, a group of local scouts and leaders joined a contingent of sixty from the Boston Minuteman Council to travel to New Jersey to offer relief after Hurricane Sandy. Scouts and adult leaders from both Woburn Boy Scout Troops 502 & 519 joined forces and gathered well needed supplies from the generous citizens of Woburn. All of the cleaning supplies, warm jackets, hats, gloves, water, pet food and school supplies donated were added to all of the other supplies that scouts throughout the Boston area collected and filled a rental box truck for the trip south. On Friday evening the scouts and leaders boarded a motor coach, a 15 seat van, a truck with wood chipper in toe and the box truck for a convoy to Scout Camp Joseph A. Citti in Barnegat, NJ. The scouts provided a day of service to the camp on Saturday. The camp was hit heavily with high winds, a tornado and heavy rains from Hurricane Sandy. Scouting groups from the eastern seaboard have been volunteering to assist clear the damage over the past month so that the camp could re open for the many scouts and families it serves in the Jersey Shores Council area.
The scouts and adults from Boston Minuteman Council chipped large piles of brush, cut wood from downed trees and split cords of firewood from all of the tree damage. On Saturday evening the Boston Minuteman Council Cook Team provided a pasta and meatball dinner for all New Jersey scouts and leaders in camp for the evening. On Sunday morning December 2, 2012 the convoy loaded up and said their goodbyes to new found friends and drove to the town of Tuckerton, NJ and met a Cub Scout leader and her husband who are instrumental in coordinating and providing relief supplies to the heaviest hit areas in this coastal town. To date, over 700 buckets of cleaning supplies had been distributed to these areas where either homes were completely swept away, heavily damaged or flooded by the storm and ocean water. The supplies that were brought with the Boston Minuteman scouts assisted in resupplying their efforts and would be put to use by many. The scouts and adults then had an opportunity to travel to the toughest hit sections of Tuckerton, NJ and actually witness the damage and destruction first hand. They were also able to hand deliver 60 additional buckets to families who were on site working to salvage and rebuild their homes. The scouts and adult leaders were greeted by very appreciative residents and many handshakes, photographs and words of thanks and support were exchanged. The scouts were pleased that they were able to “Do a Good Turn” and make a difference in the lives of those affected by this natural disaster. The scouts and adult leaders wish to thank all those who donated items or funds especially the citizens of Woburn and ask that you keep these families in your thoughts and prayers over the holiday season and the future while they rebuild their homes and their lives.
As adults we were humbled by, and grateful for, the opportunity to serve others in their time of need.
Sometimes we wonder if our message is getting through to the boys. After hearing the scouts’ comments about this trip, it is clear to us that these scouts learned a lot. Some of their thoughts have been included here. One scout told us that he was “shocked by the devastation at the seacoast”. He went on to say that he felt good about helping those that needed help. Another scout wrote “When we got to the scout camp in Jersey it was pretty bad; trees had fallen and there were huge piles of brush all over the camp. If we hadn't chopped up the branches and put them in the chipper, the camp wouldn't be open right now. On the ride home we stopped by a local church to drop off donations that we collected to help the victims. We were invited to help go around and hand out the donations. When we got to one of the neighborhoods that were affected, it was heart breaking. All of the houses were destroyed and falling apart, some already just piles of rubble and debris. The last day when we actually saw how much this community needed us and seeing them and talking to them in person made it all worth it.” A third scout added these thoughts: “This trip fully encompassed the principles and ideas of Scouting. A Scout is Helpful. I am 15, and a Life Scout from Troop 502. This point of the Scout Law took on a whole new meaning for me. Seeing how appreciative the people in NJ were really made me feel as though I had made an impact. The Scout Motto is "Be prepared." There was no way for people to fully prepare for this tragedy. We helped prepare them for the weeks to come. The Scout Slogan is "Do a good turn daily." That is exactly why we went to NJ in the first place. It was the right thing to do. I will forever remember this trip and these experiences will affect me for the rest of my life. Seeing the smiles on the people in a time of need really showed how grateful they were for our support. That feeling is the best feeling in the world. The most important thing I took away from this trip is the need for help. While we made an impact, many people down there will be suffering for months to come. I feel as though the damage is not common knowledge. If you could lend a hand in any way, I strongly encourage you to do so. Please keep the victims of Hurricane Sandy in your thoughts.” This scout went on to say: “I really feel as though this trip has affected me more than any other trip I have attended through Scouting. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to come on this trip.”
The following was provided by Life Scout Alex Brodeur, Troop 502.
The past weekend I, Alex Brodeur, joined about 70 other Boy Scouts / Scouters from the Boston area in helping NJ recover from Hurricane Sandy. I am the Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 502. This trip was put together very quickly, in about a week. In that time, all Woburn Public Schools had drop boxes for goods to bring with us, like soap, food, bottles of water, clothes, and other necessities of life. On Friday, after being dismissed from school, I left Woburn by one o'clock to go to Milton, where 502 met up with the other local troops. We left Milton at 4 and didn't arrive to camp Citti in NJ until midnight. If you have never set up a tent at midnight, I can assure you, it is not an experience that I would recommend to anyone.
Saturday was a day of work at the camp. Scouts split logs, moved heavy tree stumps, organized piles of smaller wood to be chipped, and chipped the wood. All of this work was done by energetic Scouts/Scouters with smiles on their faces (when possible). A Scout is Cheerful. There were a few troops from NJ at the camp as well. We got to meet some of the people and hear their stories. Everyone was thankful. We shared a wonderful pasta and meatball dinner with them as well. As tradition to any Scouting trip, the night was finished with a campfire. Finding wood was not a problem because we had split multiple cords of wood that day. The work done by Boston Minuteman Council allowed the camp to be available for use the following weekend, while other camps may not be open for months.
On Sunday, we left camp and travelled to a Methodist Church that was a center for relief distribution and delivered our box truck full of relief goods. Then, the kind woman organizing the effort showed us where she had made hundreds of what she called flood buckets. These buckets had soap, sponges, bleach, pine sol, and laundry detergent (graciously donated by Arm & Hammer). She then led us to one of the most devastated towns, Tuckerton. We brought these buckets along with us and gave them out door to door. The devastation was unbelievable. Houses were flattened. One house looked as though someone had started to cut through it with an axe that only Hercules could lift. One half was still standing and the other half was hanging on by a thread and was floating in the ocean. Pictures do not do it justice. Looking around really made me thankful for what I have at home in Woburn. As we drove by, everyone waved to us or gave us thumbs up or smiled. One woman broke into tears and asked for a picture of us to thanks us for our help. We then made our way home, returning to Woburn at 8 pm. One Scout from our troop who was on the trip had his Eagle Scout Board of Review (this evening) and passed with flying colors and a few blisters from all the wood he split with an axe. We also had one other Scout pass his Eagle Board as well.
This trip fully encompassed the principles and ideals of Scouting. A Scout is Helpful. I am 15, and a Life Scout from Troop 502. This point of the Scout Law took on a whole new meaning for me. Seeing how appreciative the people in NJ were really made me feel as though I had made an impact. The Scout Motto is "Be Prepared." There was no way for people to fully prepare for this tragedy. We helped prepare them for the weeks to come. The Scout Slogan is "Do a Good Turn Daily." That is exactly why we went to NJ in the first place. It was the right thing to do. I will forever remember this trip and these experiences will affect me for the rest of my life. Seeing the smiles on the people in a time of need really showed how grateful they were for our support. That feeling is the best feeling in the world. The most important thing I took away from this trip is the need for help. While we made and impact, many people down there will be suffering for months to come. I feel as though the damage is not common knowledge. If you could lend a hand in any way, I strongly encourage you to do so. Please keep the victims of Hurricane Sandy in your thoughts.
The following was submitted by First Class Scout Jacob Stoico, Troop 519.
The weekend of November 30th, December 1st and 2nd seventy Boy Scouts and leaders from the Boston Minuteman Council went to New Jersey. Three Scouts and two leaders from Troop 519 and eight scouts and three leaders from Troop 502. Both Troops from the proud city of Woburn. These Scouts volunteered their time to take a 6 hour bus ride to NJ and provide aid to Scout Camp Citti. This camp was ravished by Hurricane Sandy as well as the Nor’easter soon after. They were in dire need of help. Troops from all over the east coast came to NJ and helped weekends before. With the help from the Boston Minuteman Council, we were able to finish most everything up.
The Woburn Troops helped clear brush and chop it up so it could fit in the chipper that was brought down with us. The camp staff was so happy that we could come down and help and we were happy that we could help.
On the way back home we stopped at a church that was accepting donations. We brought a box truck that was stack filled with donated items. The truck included items from the drop boxes that were collected from the Woburn Public Schools. After that we brought buckets filled with soap, sponges, and trash bags into the affected areas. Anything a person would need to help clean up their house was included in the buckets. They were so happy that we were there. A lady even broke down in tears. These people were in such need of help even the little things made them so happy. I am so glad I had the chance to go on this relief trip and help people in need.
For more information on scouting in Woburn, please visit beascout.org.