1929 to Present
In June 1927 attempts were made to organize Boy Scout Troop 17 under the sponsorship of the Denville Community Church. Many of the interested boys were from Mt. Tabor or Rainbow Lakes. Numerous adult meetings were held and, on October 31, 1929 under the sponsorship of the Denville PTA, Troop 17 was born.
Ida S. Naulsiesen, President of the PTA, signed the first charter application as head of the institution. Gordon M. Taylor, eight-grade teacher at Denville School, was Chairman of the Troop Committee. Fred S. Meyers and Art Wiedman Sr. were the other members of the Troop Committee.
Sam C. Morris Sr. was Scoutmaster. Working with Mr. Morris were two Assistant Scoutmasters, Rudolf Rengetter of Indian Lake, and Harry Doll. The 18 charter members of Troop 17 were:
During the first year, 14 more boys joined the Troop bringing it to full strength.
Meetings were held each Friday evening, on the second floor of the old schoolhouse in the room over the library. This room was kept exclusively for Troop use and was heated by a pot-bellied stove. At first each boy brought wood to the meeting. Later, wood was hauled in and stacked in the basement for the winter.
The Troop's equipment consisted of blackboards, a phonograph, benches, bulletin boards and other necessary scout equipment. Patrols were allowed to use the room during the week. Most of the adult meetings were also held at the schoolhouse.
Early records indicate that the PTA kept a close grip on the Troop requiring many reports on activities and progress. These reports were in addition to those already required by the Boy Scouts of America.
Time devoted by adults in steering and administering the Troop in those early years was tremendous. Mr. Taylor found it necessary to step down during 1930. Art Wiedman, Sr. became Chairman, and David Griffiths was added to the Committee. Special permission was obtained to add another patrol to the Troop, and seven new boys were admitted.
1931 found more changes in the Troop Committee. Mr. Taylor resumed the role of Committee Chairman, and George Robinson was added as a member. Rodman Schmidt assumed the role of Assistant Scoutmaster. The Troop was very active both at home and in events organized by the Council.
In 1932 J. Elmer Vanderhoof became Chairman. Police Chief Benjamin Kinsey, George M. Demey and J.P. Hughes made up the Committee. Mr. Vanderhoof remained Committee Chairman in 1933, with George H. Baldwin and Rev. J.M. Blessing serving with him on the Committee. The razing of the old schoolhouse in 1933 made it necessary to find a new home. This is the year that the Troop meeting place moved to the Denville Community Church and the reason Rev. Blessing joined the Committee.
Since the Troop had begun meeting in the church, and the PTA had much to do with an increase in activities at the school, the Troop's sponsoring organization was changed to the Denville Community Church in 1934. David Griffiths signed the charter application as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and head of the Church. Corey Chambers became Chairman of the Troop Committee. Mr. Vanderhoof, Kenneth Seath and Griffiths joined Mr. Chambers as Committee members. Clinton Schmidt, Robert Lee, and Sam Morris, Jr. were appointed as Assistant Scoutmasters.
In 1926 Sam Morris, Sr. retired from active scouting and Clarence Schreur became the new Scoutmaster.
Mr. Griffiths became Chairman on the Troop Committee in 1935. In 1937 Clinton Schmidt became the Scoutmaster. Mr. Schreur continued to serve as Committee Chairman with David Griffiths and Arthur Larson assisting as Committee Members. David Griffiths assumed responsibility as the Chairman of the Committee again in 1938 with Ken Seath, Mr. Dangerfield and Rev. Cutlip serving as Committee members. William Mack was appointed Scoutmaster. In 1939 Mr. H. Lookingbill was placed on the Committee when Ken Seath and Rev. Cutlip stepped down.
In 1940 Charles Geiser became Assistant Scoutmaster. In 1941 K.F. Howell became Scoutmaster. In 1943 Ernest Scofield became Scoutmaster. In 1944 Paul Lynch became Scoutmaster and there were no changes in the Troop leadership until 1945. In 1946 James F. Vanderhoof became Scoutmaster and Frank Vanderhoof became Committee Chariman. In 1947 Henry Patterson became Scoutmaster. In 1948 Farnham Vanderhoof became Scoutmaster. At this point Jim, Henry and Farnham each agreed to guide the Troop for one year while the others served as Assistant Scoutmasters. This proved to be a good method of getting the best out of each man and rebuilding the Troop from the low cycle of the war years.
In 1949 W. Kershaw became Scoutmaster and in 1950 Joe Skok became the Scoutmaster. In 1950 Fred Bowers became Committee Chairman. Robert Hagen became Scoutmaster in 1951. With Bob Hagen as Scoutmaster and assistance from George Cashen and George Collins as Assistant Scoutmasters and assistance from very able members of the Troop Committee, Troop 17 saw much improvement.
In 1956 Frank Hein became Committee Chairman. Frank was the first Chairman that was an outdoorsman and camper to hold this position. His leadership molded the committee to be the working group it is today.
In 1957 Albert Green, an Eagle Scout in the Troop, became an Assistant Scoutmaster and adviser to the Explorer Crew, those scouts 14-18 years old. In 1959. Al Green became Scoutmaster with Bob Hagen, George Cashen, and Ray Lariviere as Assistant Scoutmasters. Through the following years Jeff Biggs, Rod Ayres, Bob Rush, Rich Rosencrans, Don Cordell, Jim Wachue and Jerry Sacken have served as Assistant Scoutmasters. George Cashen stayed as Assistant Scoutmaster until he moved down south.
In 1960 George Eggert became Committee Chairman. In 1965 Don Cordell became Committee Chairman. Don like Frank Hein was an outdoorsman. Don was with us until he moved South. There he continued with Scouting.
In 1970 Ernie Biron became Committee Chairman and followed right in Don's footsteps. In 1992 Ron DeMeo a Committee member for 2 years served as Committee Chairman until 1994. In 1994 Frank Brescher became Committee Chairman. In 1994 Ernie Biron a Committee member since 1961 assumed to Chairmanship. Mr. Biron gave up the Chairmanship to Alan Fedor in 1995 who held it till 1997. Mr. Biron remained on the Committee as Vice Chairman.
In June 1997 the Troop celebrated the 50th anniversary of Al Green's participation is the Boy Scouts of America.
In December 1997 David Ward who was also on the Committee for 2 years prior to becoming the Chairman assumed the Chairmanship.
Through the years Troop 17 has been fortunate to have adult Scouters of high ideals serve as leaders and Committee member for long periods of time. Many have served for over 20 years. Included on this list are: Ernie Biron, Dick Heilman, Larry Casey, Rod Ayres and Don Van Winkle.
Don Cordell and George Cashen moved south but have stayed with Scouting. Both Don and George along with Al Green and Frank Brescher have received Scouting's highest Council level award, the Silver Beaver.
Troop 17 has been serving the youth of Denville for 70 years. The town and the troop have been well served by the youth and adults that have been members through the years. With the work together attitude, the Troop has been able to provide a well-rounded Scouting Program.
In the year 2000 and 2001 scouts of the troop were invited to join the local council Junior Leader Training course as instructors. Three scouts were also invited to go to Philmont to attend the National Junior Leader Training Course.
In 2001 several scouts and adults attended the National Jamboree as staff members working in various areas of the Jamboree. During 2002 Summer a scout from the troop has gone to Philmont to attend the National Junior Leader Training course as a staff member. Also this summer we had 2 scouts who staffed the local Junior Leader Training Conference for the third time in a row.
At the annual committee meeting Thomas Andes was elected as chairman and David Ward stayed on as Vice Committee Chairman.
In May 2004 the Troop held its 75th Anniversary event. Guests from all over the USA have attended, including one charter troop member. Memories were relived by all in attendance. On thing that has stayed constant and noted by all that Al Green is still our Scoutmaster.