TROOP HISTORY Chartered 1949
During Scout Anniversary week in February of 1949, 6 Boy Scouts were asked to leave class at Our Lady of Grace School. They were dismissed from class for wearing their scout uniforms to school as they have been doing since joining Troop 19 in Langhorne. The scouts were asked to leave by Rev. Daniel Gatens. He explained that the uniform was not appropriate in a Catholic School, and went on further to say that he never wanted to see it in the halls of the school again. Scouts like Jim Klein, Mike Crowley, and Jim Houston left class to change. When they explained to their parents what had happened, the boy’s parents were shocked and angry. They asked to meet with Rev. Gatens for an explanation of his actions. He refused to talk to the parents over the phone, but agreed to a meeting at the rectory. Rev. Gatens had his own secret agenda. At the meeting, the parents voiced their dissatisfaction with the Reverend’s actions. Finally, Rev. Gatens revealed his plan to the parents. He wanted to start a scout troop, but didn’t know where to get leaders or boys; this seemed to be a good opportunity to reach a captive audience. This statement set the wheels in motion for these fathers to lay the foundation of scouting for Troop 82 in Penndel. James Klein of Penndel, Charles Walsh of Penndel enlisted a scouter from Hulmeville named Danny Laino who had been involved in scouting since the 1930’s, to charter Boy Scouts of America Troop 82 on May 14, 1949.
The first troop contained 10 boys and 9 adults. In 1950, still under the leadership of Mr. Charles Walsh the troop was bursting with 43 boys. Troop numbers hovered between 40-56 scouts through the 1950’s. As the troop grew so did troop its quest for adventure. In 1953, Explorer Post 82 was started with Richard W. Fowler as its first advisor. The post only lasted until 1956; its last advisor was William Oettinger.
Although the troop was flourishing, it did not produce its first Eagle Scout until 1961. Richard Reale became the first Eagle Scout, Scouting’s highest award, of the troop. Charles Walsh quickly followed him in March of 1962. Bill Fowler became Scoutmaster (SM) in 1963. Bill had started as a new scout in 1952. It was the first time a boy in the troop became SM. In Mr. Fowler’s 10 Years as SM, the troop became very adventurous with canoeing trips to Canada and New York, hiking hundreds of miles on the Appalachian Trail through PA, NJ and MD. During this same time, the Troop produced 5 more Eagle Scouts.
With the declining numbers of scouts in the 1970’s, men and women like Al Boeres, Ralph Moser, Joan Roeder, Charles Walsh, Frank Orfe, Jo Preston, and Ken Walsh struggled to keep the Troop functioning. At the end of the Troop’s 30 Years, with just 8 boys, Ralph Moser became Scoutmaster. Mr. Moser and Mr. Orfe may have saved the troop from folding by showing new scouts Lord Baden-Powell’s original ideas. Ralph knew that leadership training for the scouts was very important, so he sent John Allen, Ed Preston and Ralph Moser, Jr. to Brown Sea 22 Training. Here, lessons learned from Lord Baden-Powell, Boy Scouting’s founder, were used to teach the skills used to run a successful troop program. These lessons helped build a new program and promoted leadership, citizenship, and a great time.
Where Mr. Moser, SM left off Dennis Hegarty, SM took over. Mr. Hegarty, an Eagle Scout, from Troop 316 in Philadelphia, moved to Parkland. He brought new ideas, which helped the Troop’s Eagle count rise to 13. From these Eagles came Ed Preston who followed in the footsteps of Bill Fowler. In 1985, at the age of 21, Ed took over as SM. With the number of scouts rising again, they became very active again, camping everywhere fromAnnapolis, MD to Fort AP Hill VA. High Adventure trips like canoeing and hiking became the basis for the outdoor program. Community service was also a large part of the program. Heritage Park in Hulmeville was designed and built by Troop 82.
In 1991, Joe Comisky took over as SM. While SM, Joe wanted the troop to hike the Appalachian Trail from one end of PA to the other. At the end of his tenure, we had completed about half, 168 miles. In 1997, with John Allen as SM he took the troop to the National Jamboree in Fort AP Hill, VA. This was the fourth jamboree the Troop had attended since 1977.
In 1999, Ed Preston was once again SM. Ed assembled a committee and organized a 50th Anniversary celebration held on June 12, 1999, inviting every surviving chartered member in troop history.
Since March of 2000, Troop 82 has doubled in size from 18 to 36 scouts. While Troop 82 has lost many great scouts recently to adulthood, many of those scouts are now taking an active role as leaders, returning to the program what they have gotten out of it. The boys that moved on to adulthood have been replaced by a new bunch of scouts eagerly setting out on their own trail to Eagle. Along with the new scouts, an influx of dedicated leaders has also come aboard. The new leadership has brought with them fresh ideas to inspire the scouts of Troop 82. The junior leaders have been entrusted with Troop 82’s program, with the Patrol Leaders Council setting the agenda and determining the troop’s direction. The junior leaders of Troop 82 have stepped up to the plate, accepted the responsibility and flourished thanks in part to the trust put in them by the adult leadership. In 2002, Troop 82 attended summer camp at Camp Keowa on Ten Mile River Scout Reserve in Narrowsburg NY. While at camp Troop 82 was given the honor of retiring a 20’x30’ US flag that flew at the heart of “Ground Zero” during the rescue & recovery efforts in the aftermath of World Trade Center tragedy. Thanks to our many dedicated leaders, in summer 2005 Troop 82 once again attended the National Scout Jamboree, but for the first time in our history we attended a traditional week long resident summer camp in addition to the special trip to the jamboree. Continuing this trend, in 2006, we attended both a resident summer canp and a trip to Maine High Adventure Camp. During this period, the troop was under the Leadership of Jeff Wible working as the Scoutmaster and Chuck Zerambo serving as Committee Chairman.
Troop 82 is still going strong with several dozen scouts on the roster. Fall of 2006 brought some new changes in the troop’s leadership, Chuck Zerambo is now serving as Scoutmaster and Joe Sebrowski Sr as Committee Chairman. Since the formation of the Troop in 1949, Troop 82 has advanced more than 30 scouts to the rank of Eagle, and we look forward to another 50 plus years as a significant unit in the Scouting program.
In the Fall of 2009 there were some additional changes in leadership. Mr. Sean Gorman retired as Chartered Organization Representative (CORE). Joe Seborowski Sr. is replacing Sean as CORE with Chuck Zerambo taking Joe’s place as Committee Chair. Mr. Bill Plunkett is taking over as Scoutmaster. In the last few years yet even more scouts have advanced to the rank of Eagle from Troop 82. We wish them all the very best.