Glen Ridge’s Troop 55 welcomes potential Scouts at mock campsite

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GLEN RIDGE, NJ — Sept. 12 was Eagle Scout Day in Glen Ridge, as Troop 55 set up a mock campsite on the lawn of Glen Ridge Congregational Church to welcome new Cub Scouts into the fold. Eagle Scout projects done by troop members in the past were on display, as older Scouts taught potential Cubs how to build a fire, chop wood and pitch a tent.

“The troop is student led, which we really make sure of,” assistant Scout leader Charlie Breslin said in an interview with The Glen Ridge Paper at the event.

The COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on the Scouts program; meetings had to move to Zoom, and younger Scouts and their parents often didn’t want to meet on screens outside of what they already had to do for school. The older Scouts stuck around and are now encouraging new members to join their ranks.

“Zoom is the antithesis of scouting,” Breslin said. “Once vaccines were available to the older kids, they went on masked hikes and brought their own food. We don’t normally encourage sleeping in their own tents, but we made exceptions.”

Emmet Bushue, a sophomore at Glen Ridge High School and the troop guide of Troop 55, took the lead on organizing the event, a day that Mayor Stuart Patrick and the Borough Council officially declared “Eagle Scout Day.”

“I’m really proud of what we put together and the turnout,” Bushue said in an interview with The Glen Ridge Paper at the event. “It’s 100-percent kid led and Scout led.”

Troop 55’s sister troop, Troop 16 from Short Hills, was also at the campground to recruit. Troop 16 is an all-girls branch of the Scouts BSA organization, which has been open to girls since 2018.

“The girls have their own troop, but it’s no different other than it’s girls leading girls,” Breslin said. “Girls are inventing their own accent on scouting.”

The Glen Ridge Scouts go on camping trips about once a month, which Bushue said he didn’t realize was more often than most troops go until someone outside the organization mentioned it. He’s excited to see a new group of Cub Scouts join the troop and work their way up the ranks.

“It’s kind of like our farm system,” Bushue said. “I’m excited for a new generation of Scouts.”

Breslin is excited to be able to meet in person again.

“There’s tying knots and tents and campfires,” he said. “It’s about having fun and having friends outdoors.”

More information about how to join Troop 55 can be found at

Photos by Amanda Valentovic