Norwich University Hosts Scouting Association (NUSA) Camporee

By Jon Allen '94, Crew 1819 Advisor

Since 1987, the Norwich University Scouting Association (NUSA) has hosted a yearly camporee for Scouts across New England. This year featured rapelling, scout skills, working with the Corps of Cadets, and building troop/scout relationships across New England.

NU Scouting Association

From Friday, September 29 through Sunday, October 1, the Norwich University Scouting Association (NUSA) hosted the 22nd NUSA Camporee. 147 scouts representing six states from Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, and Kentucky were in attendance in Northfield, VT.

Scouts camped for the two nights behind Shapiro Field House. They experienced Saturday morning PT with Norwich's Ranger Challenge Team, then rotated through stations such as rappelling with Norwich's Mountain Cold Weather Team. They also participated in soft gun, pellet, and archery ranges, ran the obstacle course and the Field Leadership Reaction Course, all followed by a campus tour. That evening culminated with a night hike to an evening campfire. On Sunday morning, the Ranger Company and the Norwich Artillery Battery supported demonstrations that ended the weekend on a high note. The NUSA and the Center for Civic Engagement students planned and executed the entire weekend – truly student/cadet led.  

This year, NUSA had four main goals:

  1. Have the camporee sanctioned and promoted by ScoutsBSA;
  2. Increase participation to 140 scouts; 
  3. Have the NUSA be a recognized scouting organization by creating a Norwich Venturing Crew; 
  4. Further showcase Norwich to the scouts attending the camporee. 

The team achieved or exceeded their goals. The outcomes were: 

  1. The camporee had the full support of the Green Mountain Council who provided the registration platform, reviewed the activities to ensure the camporee aligned to the Guide to Safe Scouting, promoted the event to troops in MA and VT, and provided the Certificate of Liability (insurance). 
  2. The attendance increased from 80 scouts in 2022 to 147 scouts in 2023 (88% increase, 101% target). Total attendance was 214 counting adults. 
  3. On Saturday, Mark Saxon, the Green Mountain Council Scout Executive, presented the charter to the NUSA cadet leadership that established Venturing Crew 1819. NUSA is now an officially recognized scouting unit, chartered by American Legion 1819. This opens new possibilities for the students and Cadets to support scouting effort in Vermont and nationally with access to additional scouting resources. 
  4. Scouts had an opportunity to interact with cadets and students by assigning Rooks and Sophomores to each troop.

Norwich’s Future Leaders Camp recruited future campers. Many older scouts and adults shared they will be attending the Veterans Day Open House, and we’ve encouraged the Crew to consider setting up a table.  

The NUSA/Crew 1819 will be hosting an After-Action Review (AAR) and will create a Camporee CONOPS to serve as a baseline for future camporees. NUSA is working on setting the 2024 Camporee on the master schedule and will likely need some help internally to schedule. Having it in September as opposed to the end of October, as in past years, was a big improvement. 

The University of Scouting will be on campus on October 28 training adults across the Green Mountain Council, and the NUSA is setting a date for the Merit Badge Workshop in February/March – again they may need some assistance to schedule. 

The Green Mountain Council is interested in using the Crew Members for the annual Winter Trek at Camp Norris in Eden, Vermont, and we are scheduling Zoom meetings with the high adventure bases Philmont and Seabase to have our students join their staff (all the service academies send students each summer). The West Point Scoutmaster’s Roundtable, who host their own camporee with 3500 scouts in the Spring, are interested in having Norwich’s support and finding other ways to connected with the NUSA. 

I am excited to see what the NUSA is going to do the remainder of the year and in the future. The NUSA is a hidden gem, and I am so impressed with the number of Eagle and Gold Award scouts Norwich has on campus – and of those in the NUSA who had zero connection to scouting before arriving at Norwich. It’s truly a differentiator. - Jon Allen NU ’94 Crew 1819 Advisor

The activity brought together many leaders, alumni, friends of Norwich, and staff Mark Ciaglia NU ’96 produced the event swag and developed an online store (here). Mark has given all the profits back to NUSA ($430 with online alone). The Crew Committee Chair, Dean Desautels NU ’95, and Committee Member Mike Josti (P21), drove up from MA to provide logistical and oversight on Saturday.

The Commandant’s staff helped promote the event through the Corps of Cadets leadership and Col. Bill Passalacqua and CSM Joseph Bosley helped ensure the tower was safe and in operation. CSM Bosley spent all of Saturday at the tower ensuring the team maintained a safe operation.

Thanks to both MG Anarumo and BG McCullough for their support since our first meeting with Mark Saxon in May. The entire Norwich team made us proud, and it was wonderful to have BG McCullough meet the scouts on Saturday. Thanks to Mark Saxon, the Green Mountain Scout Executive/CEO, who visited on Saturday brining along his father who is a retired Navy Commander.

A special thanks to LTC Neil Jullian who spent countless hours with texts, emails, phone calls, and the mentoring these past few months to pull off a safe, sustainable, and memorable event. This event would not have happened without Neil’s support and leadership.

Additional thanks to Nicole DiDomenico, Director of Civic Engagement, who has helped from years and maintained a close connection with the NUSA throughout her transition, and to Eli Barrett, Director of Student Activities, who jumped in over the last month to help the NUSA from understanding their budget to helping with finding resources for the stations. Thanks to our photographer Mark Collier who helped at the last minute and will have some amazing photos to share.   

Thanks to Cadets Harry Murphy and Collin Moss, and the over 40 cadets and students who volunteered this weekend. Their professionalism and how they represented Norwich made me and other alumni who attended proud. I do want to highlight Cadets Colin Riordan and Gene Nyaberi who worked directly with me prior to the event – two emerging leaders of the NUSA – along with civilian student Rose Murphy.

Finally, thanks to the Corps of Cadets leadership for not only supporting but also encouraging the Rooks to support the camporee.

Norwich Forever and In Scouting,

Jon Allen NU '94)  
Crew 1819 Advisor

 

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