History of the LDS Regional Scout Camp

The idea for the LDS Scout Camp was hatched at the dedication of the Morristown, New Jersey Stake Center in 1974. At that time Joe McNall (East Brunswick) worked with Ian Miller (Short Hills) to organize the camp at the Church's property in Somers, New York, Camp Liahona. Lyle Badger was a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster at that first camp - and has attended camp most years since that time. The camp was held at Camp Liahona during 1975 though 1980. Dave Brock, Rick Thorne, and Steve Young (yes, the quarterback) were Scouts who attended the LDS Scout Camp at Camp Liahona. At that time the camp encompassed Westchester and Connecticut as well as New Jersey.

Camp patches throughout the years. Click to enlarge.

In 1981 it was decided to move the camp to Camp Kittatinny in Stokes State Forest in New Jersey. Pete Thorne was camp director from 1981 though 1983. Romney Biddulph started attending in 1981, Steve Wood in 1982. As the camp grew we had to find increasingly larger facilities, moving to Yards Creek Scout Reservation, near Blairstown in 1984 and 1985. The Camp Directorship rotated among the Stake Scouting Coordinators of the Caldwell, Morristown, and East Brunswick Stakes (Pres. Kim Smith, Dave Groom, Romney Biddulph, and Bruce Wortmann were Camp Directors for a couple of years each). Pres. Dick DuBois, Frank McAllister, and Pres. Steve Wood provided ample entertainment and spiritual enrichment for the Scouts and Scoutmasters during those years. Some years, we would have all three Stake Presidents attend camp for the entire week. They were supportive by sponsoring Scouters to attend Philmont in New Mexico. President Harlan Clark encouraged Scouters to go to Wood Badge for advanced training.

Gary Stewart (Canoeing merit badge counselor) and Bob LeDuc (Whitewater) joined the camp in the mid 1980's. The kitchen was run for many years by Bro. Johnson (North Branch), Ken Nix (Freehold) and Jean Rygg (North Branch). Ferenc Petho and the Fardale Ward initiated the "Trail to First Class" program which prepared Blazer Scouts and 12-year-olds to achieve First Class Scout within one year. Some local council camps subsequently adopted similar programs.

The Stake Young Men's Presidencies sponsored regional Venturer camps. Scott Cannon (Short Hills) and George Jarvi (Morrisville, PA) were instrumental in organizing those camps.

Scout camp was held at Camp Winnebago in Marcella, New Jersey during 1986 through 1989, Camp Allamuchy (Waterloo Village) in 1990 and 1991, Rock Hill Scout Reservation in 1992, and then moved to Ten Mile River Scout Reservation in Narrowsburg, New York. The camp was held at Camp Ranachqua from 1993 through 1997, a camp operated by the Hudson Valley Council. In order to save costs, we went to Forestburg Scout Reservation in 1998, but returned (hungry) in 1999 to Camp Keowa. The Newburgh NY Stake joined us in 1999. Because of a scheduling conflict, we returned to Camp Ranachqua for one year in 2000. Pete ("jingles") Thorne retired in 2000, after 17 years of service as Treasurer. In 2001, we returned to Camp Keowa. Camp was moved to Trexler Scout Reservation in Pennsylvania in 2004 but returned to Camp Keowa in 2005, where it remained through 2015. The camp moved to Mt. Allamuchy Scout Reservation in New Jersey in 2016.

Camp Directors:

  • 2000/2001 Dave Brock
  • 2002/2003 Frenc Petho - Caldwell NJ Stake
  • 2004/2005 Barrie Campbell - Newburgh NY Stake
  • 2006/2007 John Roberts - Morristown NJ Stake
  • 2008/2009 Linden Slaugh - Scotch Plains NJ Stake
  • 2010/2011 Scott Michel - Caldwell NJ Stake
  • 2012/2013 William Hearn - Newburgh NY Stake
  • 2014/2015 Mark Hoglund - Morristown NJ Stake
  • 2016/2017 Jared Mathusek - Scotch Plains NJ Stake

In 2005 the name of the camp was changed from the New Jersey LDS Regional Scout Camp to the Hudson-Delaware LDS Regional Scout Camp to more accurately reflect the geographic area served by the camp, from the Hudson River valley to the Delaware River valley. Some Scouts and adult leaders have come to camp from as far away as Texas, Florida, Idaho, Utah and Washington state. 2014 marked the 40th anniversary of the LDS Regional Scout Camp.

Scouts and leaders have attended LDS Camp from across the country.

Larry Halisky (East Brunswick SM) began the second generation of LDS Scout Camp staff; his father was responsible for Environmental Science during the camp's early years. Merrill Clark is the son of President Harlan Clark (Mongolia Mission), who learned winter survival skills at camp. Larry Owens joined the staff in 1995 making significant contributions as Aquatics Director and to the overall logistics of the camp, including development of the camp's own website.

The camp is run by a volunteer staff fully certified by the BSA National Camping School. Many brethren have attended National Camping School over the years (some more than once for recertification) in the following areas: Management, Program, Aquatics, Scoutcraft, Ecology/Conservation, Climbing, COPE, Shooting Sports and Health Officer.

Several families have joined the Church as a result of their son's attendance at the LDS Regional Scout Camp, and we know of many cases where First Aid and Lifesaving training received at camp have saved lives. We look forward to another successful season in 2016.