The Boy Scouts of America were founded in 1910 by a charter granted by Congress. Only seven years later, a group of Allendale men that consisted of Willard Alling, A.E. Atkinson, Harry Hartt, Arthur Tomalin, and led by the Reverend Charles Woodruff of the Archer Methodist Church founded Allendale Troop 1. Their distinction as Troop 1 signified them as the first troop in the area. The first scoutmaster was Robert A. Phair, with the first member scouts being William Buhlman, a future scoutmaster, Leon Kornhoff, Ray Scholz, Floyd Vanderbeck and Otto Vanderbeck. The troops main activities during its early years were the sale of bonds to support the American effort in World War I and the collection of old newspapers.
Prior to 1920, all Boy Scout troops were administered from the National Headquarters. As the Boy Scout movement grew, it became clear that lower levels of administration were needed, so the country was divided up into Regions and Councils, which eventually became Councils and Districts. In 1920, Troop 1 entered the North Bergen County Council, where it was reassigned the number 59.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Troop 59’s meetings were held in the old firehouse. It was at this time that the first troop highlight trips began with an overnight hike to the Ramapo River. In 1937, a great moment in the history of Allendale scouting occurred when Dan Beard, a pioneer of the scouting movement, visited a Parents’ night in Allendale. Around this time, Troop 59 attended their summer camp at No-Be-Bo-Sco, the official camp of the North Bergen Boy Scouts, near Blairstown, NJ. In 1939, the troop honored Norman Farrell as its first to reach the rank of Eagle Scout. The next year, a highlight trip for the Troop was a week of camping at the New York World’s Fair.
Troop 59’s meetings were switched to the American Legion Hall, or the old police station, in the early 1940s. In November 1941, the troop held its first paper drive, which have continuously been an integral part of the troop ever since. During World War II, the troop collected paper, metal, and rubber to support the American war effort. For this, twenty scouts earned the General Eisenhower Medal for outstanding service to their country. In the just five years between 1941 and 1946, an astounding eleven scouts reached the rank of Eagle under the leadership of scoutmaster William B. Buhlman, a charter member of the troop. Mr. “B” served several years as scoutmaster, and continued as an assistant right up until his death in 1979. Mr. Buhlman goes down as one of the greatest scouts and scoutmasters in Troop 59 history.
In the years immediately following World War II, the Troop’s highlight trip was the North Bergen Council Camporee in Mahwah. Also, the senior scouts of the Troop formed the first Explorer Post in the Council. It was at this time that the Troop dedicated the plaque in Archer Hall to its scouts lost in World War II. Eventually, in April 1952, the Hall became the permanent site of the troop meetings. It was around this time that many of the Troop’s camp outs took place at the troop campfire site on the Ho-Ho-Kus brook in town. Other highlight trips at the time included a trip to Slide Mountain in the Catskills and a hike along the Hudson in which groups on either side signaled Morse Code to each other.
Troop 59 grew with the town of Allendale in the mid-1950s as membership grew exponentially. A limit of fifty scouts was imposed, and Troop 252 was created for the other scouts in town. The explorer post was also reinstated for a trip to Philmont in New Mexico. Into the late 1950s, father and son dinners, overnights to Camps No-Be-Bo-Sco and Yaw Paw, and day hikes to Bear Mountain Park continued to be highlight events. It was at this time of great growth that the Troop paper drives also took off.
In 1959, Robert Turner began his tenure as Scoutmaster. Under his leadership, more scouts began achieving the rank of Eagle, monthly themes were instituted, and training overnights for the Green Bar of Patrol leaders and assistants took place. Highlight trips during this time began incorporating historical locations, with the first being camping at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania. The highlights of 1962 were hiking the historical trails of Morristown and Washington’s Crossing. That year, the Scout of the Year and Patrol of the Year contests began, following a points system.
1963 saw a big year for Troop 59. Their highlight trip for that year was a three-day trip to historical Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Also that year, the troop hosted in town a camporee for the entire Ramapo District, centered on scouting skills. That year, Troop 59 led the council with 59 rank advancements. The highlight trips for 1964 further pursued the military theme of Gettysburg, now with trips to Fort Dix, NJ, and the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. Another highlight for some scouts that year was a trip to the National Jamboree at Valley Forge, at which Mr. Turner was a scoutmaster. 1964 also happened to be New Jersey’s Tercentenary, and Troop 59 celebrated by placing first in Allendale’s float parade. In November, the troop took its biggest highlight trip yet with four days touring Washington, DC, over teacher’s convention weekend.
Troop 59 took their first trip to the Ten Mile River Scout Camps in 1965. They had a fun stay in a cabin known as “the Blockhouse.” Another trip later that year took the troop river rafting in the “Grand Canyon” of Pennsylvania. The trip turned out to be ‘memorable’ for all the wrong reasons, leading Troop 59 to wait twenty-five years before trying river rafting again. In 1965, Troop 59 was still using camp No-Be-Bo-Sco for summer camp, now with a two-week stay. By now, Troop 59 was the largest in the camp, as they earned an astonishing 130 merit badges over their stay. They year also saw the coming of the World’s Fair to New York, where the Troop took a day trip to see Mr. Turner, who was leading the BSA Service Corps in camping there. Troop 59 closed out the year with highlight hikes at High Point State Park and a bicycle trek to Campgaw.
1966 began with Troop 59 having a swim party at the Paterson Y in January. For Scout Week in February, the scouts displayed their skills with a “Scouts in Action” display in the center of town. That same month, Mr. Turner stepped down as scoutmaster. He was a remarkable leader of Troop 59, as he doubled enrollment by making scouting an ‘in thing’ for Allendale boys to do.
Though the written history is sublime, the stories are many from the period of 1966-1999 (a total of 33 years!) that John Cebak led Troop 59 as Scoutmaster. The man everyone knew as Knock (a childhood nickname resulting from his unique form of jumping jacks), saw over 65 young men reach Eagle during his years as Scoutmaster. During most of this period, Floodwood was utilized for the two (2) week summer camp excursion. One week would be a high adventure canoe trip (30 miles for the younger scouts and 50 miles for the older scouts) and during the second week the Troop would be in base camp working on merit badges, scout skills and advancement. Troop 59 was consistently the largest Troop in camp and won the annual "water festival" year after year. During his tenure, Knock led numerous treks to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. The scouting year would include numerous local backpacking and camping trips within the Ramapo and Harriman Mountain Region. Emergency preparedness and first aid drills would also take place within the town. In addition, the Troop would frequently head off on special trips to Washington, Gettysburg, Boston and Valley Forge. During the late 70's and early 80's the scouts thoroughly enjoyed the annual ski trip (often to Gore Mountain).
Following Knock's retirement in 1999, the Troop was lead for a year each by Bill Kempey and John Uryini until David Unger tool the helm as Scoutmaster in 2001, bringing Troop 59 into the twenty-first century as one of the premier troops in the area. Under scoutmaster David Unger, the troop had several great successes in the Council Iditarod sled race, which was held every winter in Crestwood Park. Scouts pulled sleds of supplies around to various skill-testing stations to earn ‘nuggets’ while also racing against other sled teams. Five top-three finishes in five years were highlighted by 1st and 2nd place Troop 59 sleds in 2004. With Ray Iannaccone as his Assistant Scoutmaster, Mr. Unger introduced Troop 59's Newbie Program, including establishing the "Mother Hen" position.
During Scoutmaster Unger's tenure, Scouts took an array of high adventure trips, from the usual Philmont and Floodwood treks to a new destination to B.S.A.'s Florida National High Adventure Sea Base in the summer of 2006. Scouts camped on isolated “Big Munson” island in the Keys for a week while participating in a number of water activities such as snorkeling and fishing. At Sea Base the senior Scouts learned the ever infamous "Baby Shark" song which they brought home to Troop 59. Soon after the trip, Mr. Unger stepped down as scoutmaster, but has remained active in the Troop as an Assistant Scoutmaster and most importantly as Eagle Coordinator. Mr. Unger will be remembered for making Troop 59 a place for all Allendale boys to come and participate in an active program and enjoy the outdoors.
Dr. Ray Iannaccone took the reins in 2006 and maintained the traditions of Troop 59 while growing the Troop to over 80 Scouts. With his unique combination of leadership skills and easy to hear voice, he reinforced the Patrol Method and instilled the true brotherhood of Scouting in each Troop member.
In 2006, six Scouts and Scouters from Troop 59 became the first in Troop 59 history to attend an international Scout camp overseas. The Scouts were invited to attend Chamboree International Scout Camp in Cheshire, England. They spent two weeks touring, camping and working together with Scouts representing 25 countries from WOSM (World Organization of the Scouting Movement).
After serving as Scoutmaster for three years, Dr. Iannaccone followed Mr. Unger's lead and returned to his long standing role of Assistant Scoutmaster, with Mr. Marc Dworkin now stepping into the Scoutmaster's role.
Mr. Dworkin continued to introduce the Troop to High Adventure. A trip to Florida’s Sea Base in 2006, co-leading the 2008 & 2012 Philmont Treks, as well as the Bahamas Tall Ship Adventures in 2009, 2011 & 2013. He has encouraged Scouts and participate in the 2005, 2010 and 2013 National Jamborees and the 2011 World Jamboree in Sweden. Twenty (20) Troop 59 Scouts, led by Mr. Dworkin celebrated the 100th anniversary of Scouting in the USA at the 2010 National Jamboree. Mr. Dworkin continued to guide the Scouts of Troop 59 into 2013, as they participated in a wide range of outdoor activities such as camping, backpacking, whitewater rafting, canoeing and engaging in the wider Scouting community by attending the West Point Camporee and Council based leadership training, along with mentoring Eagle Scout candidates to pursue exceptional Eagle Projects. Assisted by Mr. Steve Novak, Mr. Patrick Donahue, Ms. Lynn Novak, Mr. Tom Zambrotta, Mr. Chuck Zoeller, Mr. Dan Tengi, Mr. Dan Cunneen, Mr. Kevin DeNiear, Mr. Martin Masters, and Mr. Richard Brooke, Troop 59 continued to grow in numbers and activities. In September of 2013, Mr. Dworkin returned to his role as Assistant Scoutmaster as Mr. Tom Zambrotta stepped up to become Troop 59 Scoutmaster. Mr. Dworkin continues his involvement in the Troop as Eagle Coordinator and High Adventure Coordinator, along with increased involvement in the Northern New Jersey Council as a Board Member and Chair of the Council Advancement Committee.
Troop 59, under Mr. Zambrotta's leadership, continues to grow to more than 100 scouts, and participate in a range of activities, with canoeing trips to Adirondack's St. Regis area, Philmont (2014), Bahamas (2015), and ongoing camping and hiking trips each month. A few Scouts each year participate in the National Youth Leadership Training program, and in 2016 will be moving to a new Summer Camp location - Forestburg Scout Camp.