John F. Gardner - Troop 56

Photo 1951
John F. Gardner's
Boy Scouting Web Site

Troop 56
1946 thru 1958

Troop ID

Order of the Arrow Jr Leader Training Scout Life Guard BSA National Camping School Student Notebook BSA National Camping School BSA National Camping School Notebook label Schiff home of BSA National Camping School JFG at scout meeting just before leavingfor Army Ass't Scoutmaster Committeeman
I joined the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 56, Brooklawn NJ in 1946 and I remained associated with them until 1958.

The Scoutmaster, for the entire time I was a member of the Troop, was Rudy Reese. He was assisted by Bob Cheesman, Archie Hall, and others who I can't remember any more. Our Scout meetings were held in the Scout Room which was located in the basement of the Brooklawn School.

As I recall the one thing our Troop was noted for was the number of Trophies we won in various camporees, overnights and summer camps.

Our Scoutmaster was also known for his coffee pot at campfires, thus our Troop neckerchief reflects that fact. Our neckerchief was designed by Henry Watson from Haddonfield. (A good friend and fellow scouter)

I recall my first year at Summer Camp. We went to the newly opened Pine Hill Scout Reservation. The old burnt out house was off limits, the bulldozers were working on the swimming area, and all kinds of projects were underway. I understand Camden County Council had owned a camp on a island in the Delaware River, but it was gone by the time I became a scout.

I really wasn't into advancement through the ranks when I was in Scouting. I guess I was just having too much fun enjoying the various Scouting activities my troop offered. However during Summer Camp in 1950 and very much to my surprise my fellow campers elected me to the Order of the Arrow, the Honor Society of the Boy Scouts That was the beginning of a whole new experience and opportunity.

At that point in time I took a greater interest in the training programs offered by both Council and National offices.

I began by taking the Jr Leader Training course offered by Council. I followed that up by becoming a Scout Lifeguard. I received my life guard accreditations from National and from the American Red Cross.

The highlight of my pursue for scout training was being accepted for Pine Hill Camp Staff in the Summer of 1952. To prepare for my job as nature counselor I attended the National Camping School at Schiff Scout Reservation. The class instructors were Ted Pettit and Mr Hornbeck.

In the Spring of 1953 I joined the Army (Signal Corps) but my interest in Scouting continued while stationed in Asmara, Eritera, Africa. While stationed at Kagnew Station (In Eritrean Kagnew means to bring into harmoney) I was scoutmaster of BSA Troop 1. In addition I started an Eriteran Boy Scout Troop at the Evangelica Primary School in Asmara. This resulted in my being commissioned as a Scoutmaster in the Eriterian Boy Scout Association. I have detailed this experience in another section of this web page series.

Upon returning from military service I resumed my association with Troop 56. I served as Assistant Scoutmaster and later as Troop Committeeman.

During this period I attended the 1957 National Jamboree at Valley Forge. Unfortunately I have no recollection of this event. I can only say I was there because I have a hand written receipt for the Jamboree neckerchief and patch. (I still have them) At the time I paid $ 1.40 for both.

It seems logical that I ceased my association with Troop 56 sometime in early 1958 when I began studies at Glassboro State College. At the time I was married, going to school during the day and working 4-12 at the New York Shipbuilding Company. Thus my time for any outside activity was limited.

As I remember things I will up date this material. Suffice to say I enjoyed my experiences in the Scounting movement.

Even today I have a collection of patches, neckerchiefts and books.

This is a work in progress. I appreciate any help anyone can give. ( I am now 83 years old and need to get things in order (even though I plan on reaching 100)
Some of the books in my collection are:
Scouting for Boys by Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell 1948 Edition Lord Baden-Powels Scouting for Boys 1950 Edition - used in Asmara Handbook for Boys January 1951 Edition
Scout Field Book 1948 Edition Explorer Manual 1955 Revision (Cost 75 ¢) Boy Scout Handbook 1965 Edition
Handbook for Patrol Leaders 1948 Edition Handbook for Scoutmasters 1920 Edition - Second Handbook First Imprint Handbook for Scoutmasters - Second Handbook - 11th Inprint
Handbook for Scoutmasters - Fourth Edition 1952 Seascout Manual - 1929 Edition How book of Scouting - 1942 Edition

Flag Raised at Opening of Scout Health Lodge.
Richard Groff, holding flags, and John Gardner, pulling line, both Second Class Scouts of Troop 56, Brooklawn, raising the American and Red Cross Flags at dedication of infirmary at Pine Hill Reservation, Camden county Scout camp. The Red Cross flag was presented by the Camden County Red Cross Chapter. Philadelphia Inquirer Monday Morning August 7, 1950

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