Brauchli honored for 62 years with Boy Scouts

Photo Courtesy of Roger Brauchli
Roger Brauchli has retired as the scoutmaster of Maplewood’s Scout Troop 5 after 62 years as a member. He decided it was time to spend more time with his family.

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Roger Brauchli joined Maplewood’s Scout Troop 5 in 1960 as an 11-year-old and stayed a member of the troop for as long as he could: 62 years.

Brauchli retired as the scoutmaster of the troop three weeks ago, having served in the role for the last 40 years. A lifelong resident of Maplewood and former township director of Recreation and Cultural Affairs, Brauchli decided it was time to spend more time with his family.

“I thought it was time to go before someone told me to leave,” he joked in a phone interview with the News-Record on Jan. 14. “It was time for a new face to take over. I always thought of being a scoutmaster as another full-time job, and I’ve missed family stuff in the past.”

His impact was certainly felt. Brauchli estimates he’s seen about 1,500 Scouts rise through the troop’s ranks, from when the youngest members join at 11 years old to when they graduate high school and turn 18. His son, Daniel, was a member, eventually becoming an Eagle Scout, as were his two brothers growing up. Around 104 of Brauchli’s Scouts eventually reached the rank of Eagle Scout, which is a higher percentage than the national average per troop.

“There weren’t as many sports programs and things like that, so it was an opportunity to be with your friends and make new friends,” he said about joining the troop when he was a child. “We got to go camping, and prior to that I’d never been camping.”

Brauchli reached the Eagle Scout rank a year before the service project requirement went into effect in 1965, but he still had to participate in

some kind of public service; he helped with the distribution of polio vaccines. He stuck around Maplewood while
he was a student at Rutgers University–Newark and became an assistant scoutmaster. When Brauchli was a junior in college, the scoutmaster position opened up.

“I was wet behind the ears and thought, ‘Sure, I’ll do this for a few years,’” Brauchli said. “Then 62 years later, I hung it up.”
Troop 5 has long focused on outdoor activities such as camping and hiking, which many of its members would never otherwise have had the opportunity to do. They spend two weeks at a Scout camp in the Adirondacks every summer, and Brauchli has taken his Scouts on weeklong camping trips to St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and to a Scouting ranch in New Mexico.

“We’ve taken the Scouts to all different places,” Brauchli said. “We’ve gone to Washington, D.C.; Boston; and Philadelphia. We try to weave in history on trips, too.”
He was the head of the troop, along with the assistant scoutmasters, but Brauchli took pride in the Scouts running their own meetings and programs.

“We weave in leadership,” he said. “The troop is a boy-run troop, which is how it’s supposed to be. They pick the programs; they run the meetings. By the time they age out and go off to college, I have no concerns about them being adults.”

With a lot of free time now on his calendar, Brauchli is planning on traveling more with his wife and spending time with his two grandchildren, who are 1 and 3 years old. But he’s not straying too far from Troop 5: he was named scoutmaster emeritus upon his retirement.

“I’ll still stay in touch, and I’ll be there to help out,” Brauchli said. “I’ll miss meeting the new Scouts every year.”
He still keeps in touch with many of his former Scouts and people who were Scouts alongside him back in the day.
“My best friends in life have come as a result of Scouting,” Brauchli said. “It’s been a fantastic 62 years. I wouldn’t trade any of it. Troop 5 has always been a second family to me, and there’s been great family memories.”

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