It started out as a discussion between Ron Garofalo, president of New Jersey Land Improvement Contractors (NJLICA) and Tom Gingerelli, camp ranger of Cub Scout Camp Lewis, Rockaway, N.J. Gingerelli, new to the position of ranger and eager to make a difference, explained that the 75-year-old camp was in bad shape.
Roads and parking lots needed to be rebuilt and widened; the lake beach replenished; fields cleared; at least 80 tree stumps removed; the maintenance yard rebuilt; and trenches dug for new electric lines to the well house.
The idea of helping appealed to Garofalo, whose son had become an Eagle Scout and whose grandson is just starting out as a Cub Scout. In addition, the NJLICA had been looking for a project to present as a field day so he, along with NJLICA members John Rothberg and Joe Mayers, met with Gingerelli at the camp to discuss the idea. The scope of the work was much more than anticipated, but the men decided to pitch it to the NJLICA membership anyway.
Initially, many thought it would be too much to accomplish in one day. However, on June 23, approximately 25 excavating and site work companies worked together to complete LICA's one day “Revamp the Camp” challenge.
According to Chris Wagner, NJLICA Region 1 vice president, “There were 51 NJLICA contractors and associates; 45 pieces of equipment; and 110 NJLICA volunteers that all came together to make this incredible day happen. The cost to the Boy Scouts: $0. The cost to NJLICA: $0. This is what NJLICA is about. This is what our industry is about. We work not just for profit but for the benefit of life, of our communities, of our family and friends, and of the world at large as we work to improve the earth with which we have been entrusted.”
In addition to benefiting the Boy Scouts, contractors had a chance to demo various types of equipment all in one place. The dealers had sales experts on hand to show all the new technology on the latest equipment.
Participant Bob Hibler, Gamka Sales Co. Inc. Edison, N.J., said, “As an associate member [of NJLICA] we were given ample opportunity to expose those present to our two donated pieces of equipment and to get them into the hands of potential buyers to experience them for themselves.”
The Boy Scouts also enjoyed the day. There were programs for the younger scouts teaching them responsibility, work ethics, teamwork and science while improving their camp. The older scouts worked alongside the contractors.
“The day introduced what the industry is about to the many young Scouts and to our own kids and grandkids,” Wagner said. “They witnessed firsthand how we shape the land, conserve the land and its resources and honor the land. This new generation saw an entire new field to enter. They climbed on equipment and jumped in, eager to operate each machine. They left the site in awe of what could be accomplished by these machines and the incredible people who operate them. They are our future and we are their teachers.”
Garofalo said, “The day went without a hitch and surprisingly the project was completed by about 3:00 p.m., leaving the rest of the afternoon and evening for networking, good food and fellowship between contractors, associate members and scouts. I would like to thank Executive Director Buddy Freund and all the volunteers who gave so much of themselves to accomplish such a massive undertaking for a great cause, our youth. This will ensure Camp Lewis has many more years of service to our Scouts.”
Wagner added his thoughts on the success of the endeavor saying, “As the steaks were pulled off the grills at 5:00 p.m., 750 tons of stone and sand had been spread and rolled. More roads and parking lots were expanded than planned. The beach was replenished and enlarged. 100 stumps were removed from the site. More fields than expected were cleared. The trenches were excavated, pipes laid and the trenches filled. The maintenance yard was turned into a 2018 state of the art yard. Congratulations NJLICA on a job well done.”
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