Snuffy Hollow Camporee
We would like to welcome you to the Snuffy Hollow Camporee web site. It is our hope that visitors here will have the opportunity to understand the purpose of this Camporee, as well as its history. This Camporee was established as an invitation only event to allow boys from select troops and packs an opportunity to come out on a weekend camping event to learn, compete, and grow. Take a few minutes, and learn about the Snuffy event in these pages.
How it all began. . .
The Legend of the Snuffy Hollow Camporee
One day, during a particularly strong thunderstorm, Dan Kerwin noticed a small man clinging tightly to a tree in his front yard, the wind threatening to blow the man away. The wind and rain was very strong, but Dan was determined and managed to make his way safely to the tree, and working together, they both made their way safely back into Dan's home. Sitting in Dan's kitchen, Dan noticed the man was clutching a large black hat and wore a patched pair of blue jeans over a somewhat ragged red checkered shirt. Under a rather large nose he sported a bushy moustache. They started talking.
As the legend has it, Dan had rescued Snuffy Smith himself. In the harsh storm, the cartoon character had been blown from the pages of the Sunday comics. As luck would have it, Snuffy managed to grab onto that tree and cling to it until Dan rescued him. Snuffy was very grateful, and he saw that Dan was a Boy Scout leader. He suggested that Dan create a Camporee where young men could gather to learn skills, and to compete against others in a safe and supporting environment. Dan was so impressed that he decided to try it out. In honor of from where he got the idea, Dan named it the Snuffy Hollow Camporee. At this point Snuffy announced that he had to leave. Even though it was still raining, the wind was less and Snuffy was able to safely make his soggy way back to the funny pages. Maybe this is why it always seems to rain at the Snuffy Hollow Camporee. Dan, stood at the window as the diminutive character left, and was never the same since.
That is the legend, but Dan Kerwin told a different tale. . .
The History of the Snuffy Hollow Camporee
The idea for the very first "Snuffy Hollow Camporee" was formulated by Dan Kerwin, then the Scoutmaster of Troop 81 in Helmetta, New Jersey. The idea came to him during the year 1963 after he noted that there was no District or Council gathering being planned. He decided to invite a few Scout troops to a get-together in October of 1964. In addition to his own Helmetta troop, invitees from Bayonne and Matawan attended the Camporee.
Although not yet named the Snuffy Hollow Camporee, the first one was held in a cleared area on the border of Helmetta and Monroe Township. The area was wooded, but a gas pipeline bisected the area into a perfect hollow providing a cleared space in which the event was held. The attending troops thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, and decided to return the next year.
During the ensuing months, it was noted that the Camporee should have a special name. Dan Kerwin and George Kokoska, a committeeman from Troop 81, decided to call it Snuffy Hollow. Snuffy, after the comic strip character and to show the connection to the local snuff mill located in Helmetta, and Hollow because the event was held in a man-made hollow. Thus was born the name.
It was also decided to commemorate the Camporee with an official patch. Each year since then, a different patch has be designed for each year's Camporee. Today, these patches are sought by Scouts and Scouters across the nation. They have become collectibles in their own right. One of these patches is even depicted in a wonderful painting by Sartini for a clock that was issued by the Boy Scouts of America.
The second Snuffy Hollow Camporee proved to be a greater success than the first, and due to that success, it was destined to become an annual event. The first weekend in May became the official date for the event. Various local troops were invited to participate. During the second Camporee, Troop 10 of Monmouth Junction, composed what has become the official Snuffy Hollow song which is sung to the tune of "Trail the Eagle."
As years passed, the Camporee grew by leaps and bounds. It became larger, more complicated, and famous. Today, by tradition, many local Troops, plus guest Scout units from more distant places are invited to attend. Units have come from all points within New jersey, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. In 1993, Snuffy Hollow became a truly international event. A Troop from Canada honored us by accepting an invitation and came down to join the competition. It was the first time that the flags of two nations flew over the Camporee.
Snuffy Hollow has become a tradition in central New Jersey, and many Scouting units look forward to receiving an invitation to what many consider to be "the Scouting event of the year." Whether it is by tradition or not, it always seems to rain at some point during the Camporee weekend. During the first 30 years, only two years can be said to have had no rain. Since then, the record shows similar instances of rain.
When the Thomas A. Edison Council, B.S.A. was first formed, it gave Snuffy Hollow the distinct honor of being the first event to fly its new flag in public for the first time.
In 1971, the Snuffy Hollow Camporee Committee was formed due to the size and involvement of the event. This precluded any one troop from hosting it any longer. It was felt that the formation of the committee would greatly expand the effectiveness of the Camporee, and it provided a greater opportunity for more Scouts and Scouters to participate.
One of the first changes brought in by the newly formed committee was the addition of a Camporee coffee mug each year. The addition of hat pins, special patches, and belt buckles have been implemented at various points over the successive years. Hat pins and coffee mugs feature the same annual design as that year's patch.
The success of Snuffy has spawned many other similar Scouting events. Although not all of these are still held, this list will give you an idea of just how large an impact was made. Some events include the Monkey Junction Camporee (Monmouth Junction, NJ), the NY Lake Regional Camporee (Monroe, NY), the Round-a-bout Camporee (Sayreville, NJ), the Wolfe Lake Camporee (Stanhope, NJ), the Muskrat Camporee (South River, NJ), and the Longhorn Camporee (Waco, TX).
The committee extended invitations to Weblos and their leaders in 1975. This gave the boys and their parents an opportunity to spend a night together at Snuffy. So successful was this concept that it was decided that a special area would be dedicated for them each year. In 1982, Tater Hollow was formed to provide the Cub Scouts an event within the larger Snuffy Hollow Camporee.
An invitation is extended annually to a local Explorer Post to act as a service unit. Begun in 1968, this has completed the inclusion of the entire Boy Scout family; Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Explorers.
The Camporee committee would love to allow many more troops to attend each year, but the physical size of the camping area and the nature of the competition requires that a size limit be placed on the event. A criteria has been formulated whereby invitations are extended to as many troops as can be accommodated. These are rotated across the many local troops to give all an opportunity to attend, and intermixed with those are invitation to guest troops from further away in NJ and other States.
While visiting the Camporee, you will notice the gateway which holds plaques depicting each of the patch designs of every past Camporee. Each design is unique, and will never be repeated for Snuffy Hollow. The photo that tops this page features the 2008 gateway.
The Snuffy Hollow Camporee Committee, the Boy Scouts of America, and all those who are affiliated with the Snuffy event sincerely hope that you will enjoy your stay at Snuffy Hollow. We look forward to your return in the future.
How to apply for an invitation.
To obtain an invitation to the Snuffy Hollow Camporee, please send an email to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be sure to include your name, a U.S. Mail address, and a phone number at which you can be reached. If you have any questions or wish other information, please let us know.