Joseph A. Citta Scout Reservation Marking 60 Years

Jun 07, 2017

The Joseph A. Citta Scout Reservation, located in the Brookville section of Barnegat Township, is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America’s Jersey Shore Council, the 550-acre site was originally called the Ocean County Scout Reservation, but then changed its name to the Brookville Scout Reservation. It was later renamed for Citta, who died in 2009 at the age of 100. He was a Toms River attorney and philanthropist who, with his wife, Regina, established the Citta Foundation, which was dedicated to helping local charities and educational institutions.

The reservation recently hired a new camp director, Bill Zinky, who has had more than 25 years’ experience in coordinating scout camps.

“During the summer, we expect to have around 1,000 scouts pass through,” he said. “We get new groups every week, and while most of them come from New Jersey, we also have troops from New York and Pennsylvania.”

Zinky said the camp is working on a 60th anniversary celebration.

“We’re looking at doing it on a Saturday in July,” he said. “We’ll invite a lot of people who attended the camp to come back for a day and join us.”

At scout camps, participants are often focused on earning merit badges. Because of the camp’s location in the Pinelands, scouts can learn about nature and the environment as well as the Earth’s ecosystem, their effect on it and how it affects them. Numerous merit badges are available to earn such as sustainability, space exploration, nuclear science, fishing, pulp and paper, environmental science, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, astronomy, weather, fish and wildlife management, geology, forestry, insect study, soil and water conservation and bird study.

“It’s important for us to take advantage of the resources around us,” said Zinky.

The lake area, known as the waterfront, offers merit badges in swimming, lifesaving, small boat sailing, rowing, canoeing and kayaking.

A scoutcraft program focuses on teaching outdoor skills such as camping, knot tying, hiking, cooking and wilderness survival. The camping, cooking, wilderness survival, pioneering, geocaching, orienteering, hiking and scout heritage merit badges are taught.

Another program, “CSI Brookville,” involves first aid-related merit badges, including emergency prep, first aid, search and rescue, medicine, public health, disability awareness, law, crime prevention, fire safety and safety.

It also has a COPE (Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience) program, which is based on developing teamwork, communication and problem solving, allowing scouts to form experiences outside troop activities. Together, groups of scouts must maneuver their way through various obstacles, strengthening the teamwork and trust among themselves. During the end of the week, scouts use their newfound trust to climb Citta’s rock wall, which feat can go toward earning a climbing merit badge.

“We have various programs for first-year campers who are working on a becoming a First Class Scout,” said Zinky. “We also have an Eagles Nest area where scouts work on their requirements to reach the rank of Eagle Scout.”

He said during the off-season, the reservation is available for weekend excursions. For more information, call Zinky at 609-698-2855.  

— Eric Englund

ericenglund@thesandpaper.net

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