The Origin of Scouting at Saint Vincent DePaul R.C. Church
It all began with Father Henry Mackin. There had been some experiments with Scouting at St. Vincent's earlier but they had been short lived. The National Organization had chartered Bayonne as a Council in 1927; and there followed a sharp interest in the program in the City. But it never took hold in the parish until the arrival of Father Mackin.
Father Mackin had studied the Scout Program during courses conducted by the national organization at the Schiff Scout Reservation in Mendham, New Jersey. He became deeply convinced of the program's secular and spiritual values for Catholic boys. In 1935 Father Mackin gathered together a group of interested parishioners. They then invited all boys in the parish to a meeting in the auditorium on April 4, 1935. And Scouting in St. Vincent's was on its way!  The large number of Scouts attending dictated that three troops be formed:
  -  Troop 25, under Scoutmaster Ed Bredehoft, with 27 boys 
-  Troop 26, under Scoutmaster Hugh Malloy, with 27 boys
-  Troop 27, under Scoutmaster N.F. Connor, with 26 boys.
The three troops met every Friday night: one in the auditorium, one in the front basement, and one in the rear basement.  Besides the regular indoor program, in those early days, the boys participated in day hikes and camped overnight at Willow Brook in Staten Island. They had to hike to the Bergen Point ferry to cross the Kill Von Kull and then hike on to the campsite. In the summer they were transported in trucks to Camp Mohegan courtesy of the City Commissioners. Some also attended sessions at the Schiff Scout Reservation in Mendham, New Jersey.
A number of the original Scouts were able to attend the National Jamboree in Washington in 1937.
  1. President Franklin D. Roosevelt reviews the Boy Scouts at the 1937 National Jamboree Washington, D.C.
  2. Troop 25 Scouts participate in the 1937 National Boy Scout Jamboree in Washington, D.C.
  3. Troop 25 Scout photo of the Washington Monument. What an experience!

Troop Leadership Transitions

Ed Bredehoft remained as Scoutmaster throughout the 1930s, turning over the unit to John Meltreiter in 1940. The following year Father Mackin was transferred, but by that time Scouting had a firm foot hold in the parish. Father Edward Wojtycha became Scout Moderator and began to oversee the activities of all three troops. In 1941 Troop 25 awarded its first Eagle to John Prinzendorf (the family name was later shortened to Price).
In 1941 Ed Verenault and John Mehltretter approached Father Wojtycha and discussed the forming of a drum and bugle corps as an adjunct to Troop 25. Monsignor Dolan approved the project. The Troop then searched the City for all available drums and brass instruments. They obtained some from the old Bayonne Council Band. These were repaired with the expenditure of thirty-five dollars and the unit was "in business".
By Memorial Day of 1941, Troop 25 "Drum and Bugle Corps", trained and drilled by Arthur Schweder and Arthur Brymer, could only play one refrain, the "Thunderer". But they proudly marched in the parade, arrayed in their Boy Scout uniforms and equipped with four snare drums, fourteen bugles, and one broken set of symbols.
During the Winter of I941-I942 the "Corps" continued to trained and rehearse and grow. It became an independent unit from the Troop and developed into the nationally renowned, national title winning St. Vincent's Cadets. After rehearsing during the summer, in October they marched in the Holy Name Parade of 1941.
Scouting Citywide 
During World War II only Troop 25 remained of the three troops formed by Father Mackin. However, with the conclusion of the War several factors helped to move the Parish Scout program forward again: Father Joseph Nealon was appointed Scout Chaplain for the whole City of Bayonne. John Mehltretter, Sr, the Troop's Scoutmaster, was elected President of Bayonne Scout Council in 1945 and 1946. The Bayonne Catholic Committee on Scouting was formed.
Initially, the prime duty of the Catholic Committee was the promotion of the Catholic Scouting Award known as the "Ad Altare Dei Award", for which the requirements were strict. The first scout in the City to qualify for this was John Bouton, who went on to become Father John Bouton. The first citywide presentation was made in St. Andrew's Church on February 9, 1947. Late the location was moved to the Cathedral at Newark where the Archbishop presents the medals.
Beginning in June 1946, the Annual Scout Field Mass was said in County Park, on a portable altar at the top of "Double Hill". For many years, the St. Vincent's organist and Boys' Choir assisted, and, on the rare occasion when it rained, this mass was held in St. Vincent's Church.
In February 1946, the Catholic Committee also initiated a city-wide "Father-and-Son" Communion Breakfast which was held at St. Joseph's Church and Hall. St. Vincent's always sent more than its share of boys and fathers. By 1959, however, the number attending had swollen to 600, the limit of the hall. Beginning in 1960, each parish sponsored its own Communion Breakfast.
The Ad Altare Dei Award the applicant to participate in a "retreat". At first, the Catholic Committee conducted these retreats at Camp Lewis, in late August, after summer camp. But later it was found better to hold it in June, after school and before summer camp.
Volunteers foster growth
The Catholic Committee provided Mass during summer camp and the retreats. In 1955 the Archdiocesan Committee on Scouting was formed and Walter Robinson of St. Vincent's was named chairman. In 1959, at the annual dinner in Newark, Dr. Robinson received the Archdiocesan St. George Award.
With his election to the Council Executive Board and later as Council President Jack Mehltretter resigned as Scoutmaster and Francis X. Dreher assumed the leadership position from 1941 through 1944. In 1945 Robert Whiteford took over the position and in 1946 the Scoutmaster was Barney Monteleone as the Troop continued a full and progressive program.
Also in our Parish, the Pelican Award was given by the Bayonne Catholic Committee to Harold Harter, David Williams, Thomas Zito, Charles Lucania and Dr. Robinson.
The highest council volunteer award, the Silver Beaver, was bestowed upon troop leaders through the years.  Recipients of the Silver Beaver include Joseph Lucania, Charles Lucania, Thomas Zito, Dr. Robinson. Arthur Bredehoft, Betty Bredehoft, Andy Merkowsky, John J. Hughes, Dr. Gary Maita, Fred Creswick, William Gary, Richard Geis and MaryKay Tokar. 

In 1959 and 1960 the Parish was again honored when Thomas Zito was elected President of the Bayonne Council. Throughout these years the boys of Troop 25 took part in a full range of outdoor Scout activities, such as hikes, camporals, summer and weekend camping, excursions and projects. In 1947, a new era began at Troop 25 when Joseph Lucania became Scoutmaster. Joe remained in the position for 10 years and ushered in a period of growth and development for the entire scouting program . The Troop benefited from a strong committee  of fathers and other Scouters and had a functioning Mothers' Auxiliary to support the program. By September 1950 the mother's group raised the funds to send fifteen scouts to summer camp and two scouts to the National Jamboree in Valley Forge.
Cubs come to Bayonne
In 1930 the National Council had developed a new program for boys between the ages of 8 and 11 years of age. They called the program Cub Scouting. It was an ideal way to start young boys on the path of scouting.
In November 1948 Scoutmaster Joseph Lucania fulfilled his hope of having a cub pack in St. Vincent's to provide activities for boys below the minimum Scout age and to act as a feeder to his highly successful Troop 25. In that month the rush of applicants completely filled the quota and ten den mothers volunteered. At this point the Cub Scout program was taken over by the dynamic Charles Bradner. Bradner, however, was under the age of 21 required for Cubmaster. So an older member of the committee was listed as Cubmaster and Charles was listed as Assistant Cubmaster (but he was the actual driving force). By January 1949, after the Pack charter was awarded, he had a group of 45 boys supported by a committee of ten mothers. By April 1950 thirty of his Cubs had attained the rank of Little Wolf. Tragically Charles Brandner entered the armed service and was killed during the Korean War in 1951. But he should always be remembered as the founder of Cub Scouting at St. Vincent's.
Since its beginning our Parish Cub Scouting has offered a wide variety of activities in "dens" and outdoor hikes, excursions, games and contests. An annual feature is the Blue and­ Gold Dinner. During the sixties Cubmaster William Belinda supported John Doolan in the strenuous Webelos Den program. This provided a better transition from Cub Scouting (under zealous, patient den mothers) to Scouting under Scoutmasters.
In April 1950 Scoutmaster Joseph Lucania also faced the problem of having older boys who wished to continue in Scouting. That month St. Vincent's was given a charter for an Explorer Post, but the special activity of the unit was to be decided by the members.
The boys visited several Explorer units in Hudson County but were not impressed with their programs. Finally, in October 1950, they Visited Sea Scout Ship 39 in Weehawken and saw their unit maneuvers in full uniform. This settled the question. They decided to form Sea Scout Ship 25.  Fortunately men with naval experience were available: Michael Golembewski as Skipper, John Baker First Mate, and Michael Warshavy as Second Mate.
Under the leadership of Skipper Golembiewski, they acquired a 38-foot landing craft. On it they built a pilot house and installed bunks: forward, aft, and in the pilot house. They needed $1,000.00 to buy a suitable engine. Scoutmaster Lucania suggested collecting waste paper as a project. For two years our Sea Scouts gathered waste paper and stored it in a garage, until about 15 tons were accumulated. Then they hauled it to Staten Island and sold the load for $35 to $50. By the end of two years they had earned $1,500.00 for the engine.
In their first training cruise they sailed around Staten Island, then to Sandy Hook and later to river ports on the Hudson. When Charles M. Bradner was killed in Korea, our Sea Scouts asked permission of his father and mother to name their ship in his memory. In this ship our Sea Scouts made two amazing trips to Quebec, Canada by way of the Hudson River, Champlain Canal, Lake Champlain, and the Richilieu River. They proudly tied up at the docks along the St. Lawrence River in their ship bearing the stern lettering, “Charles M. Brander, Bayonne, NJ.”

Eventually the Sea Scouts under the leadership of Skipper Harold Harter had a "fleet" which consisted of a 40- foot Liberty boat, a 26- foot whaleboat, and a speed-boat. They took part in rescues, helped disabled boats, and saved people from drowning. At that time, Skipper Harder had become Flag Captain and Rear Commodore of the Elco Boat Club.
At the annual "Scouting in Action" show at the high school gym they joined with The Cubs and Sea Scouts to put on displays. All three units took part in the spiritual activities of The Catholic Committee.
Adjusting to change
In 1955 the number of boys seeking to join Troop 25 had increased. Father Francis McGuire who had been appointed as moderator reactivated Troop 26. Father McGuire made 50th Street the dividing line between Troops 25 and 26. All Scouts living north of that line joined Troop 26 and met at Woodrow Wilson School. For over a decade Troop 26 conducted a lively program, with the aid of an active parents' auxiliary. When Father Robert Svec became the moderator, Troop 25 was meeting at Washington School and Troop 26 at Woodrow Wilson under the leadership of Frank Drozd. Unfortunately conditions changed; Troop 26 again disbanded and its remaining members were absorbed into Troop 25.
In 1956 Joe Lucania retired as Scoutmaster. The Troop however continued to flourish under the leadership of some strong and generous volunteers who built upon the foundation left by Scoutmaster Lucania. John Mattaliano was Scoutmaster in 1956 and 1957; Edward Mulvaney, in 1958 and 1959; Bob Hansson, in 1960; Domenic Romeo, in 1961 and 1962; Mike Kennelly, in 1963 and 1964; William Harris, in 1965; Walter Wilkes, in 1966-1968; and Charles Parlock, in 1969. Although there were changes in leadership during this time period.
Throughout the years the Troop and its members have provided leadership, guidance and service to the community at large. Such was the opportunity on December 28, 1960. Troop 25 was on an overnight trip to Camp Lewis when a state trooper approached Committeeman Mike Quenelle's tent in the middle of the night.
The trooper was looking for Fire Chief John Brennan who was needed back in Bayonne to fight a major fire at the Sun Gas Products Co. John Brennan had been a 12 year old Scout in 1935 on the first charter of Troop 25. Now he was the respected Chief of our fire department. Chief Brennan returned to Bayonne and risked his life running through an inferno of flames when a propane storage plant exploded. He managed to reach the gas valve that was feeding the fire while his firefighters were using high powered hoses to water him down. Chief Brennan was not only a hero to the Troop and the City of Bayonne, but also received a citation for a Medal of Valor from the State of New Jersey. He was also honored by having the Bayonne Fire Museum named in his honor. 
John Hughes Becomes Scoutmaster
In 1970 the Troop committee faced a crisis. Scoutmaster William McCabe had finished his term and there was no replacement. There were a group of young Eagle Scouts including Chet Kuchinski, Art Bredehoft Jr., and Mike Allen, but they were all under 21 years old. Committee Chairman Rich Coughlin and Committeeman Bill Belinda were doing their best to keep the program going; but they needed a permanent scoutmaster. Committeemen Larry White and Carmen DeMaria had a plan to recruit a new scoutmaster by the name of John Hughes. They knew that John was an Eagle Scout and prominent attorney from Bayonne but more importantly, John was Carmen's son in-law, which convinced them they had the inside track. They visited with John on a Sunday afternoon in September 1970 and convinced him to take the position "temporarily" until the young Assistant Scoutmasters became of age. They stayed on and so did he. Thus, began a love affair between Scouting and John that continues to this day.

Since then John has not only made his mark with Troop 25 and Scouting in Bayonne, but he has also impacted Scouting at the Council and National level. He is the former Commissioner for the Northern New Jersey Council, having completed a five year term in 2005, and recently received its Distinguished Citizen Award. He is presently its Representative to the National Council. Once John became Scoutmaster, interest in Scouting at St.Vincent's continued to grow. Since 1970 Troop 25 has continuously been involved in an ambitious camping routine which sees their outdoor program run year long. The Troop has camped throughout New Jersey and has visited Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, New York, and West Virginia as well. During the 70s and 80s John could always count on his core committee men to accompany the troop on their camping trips no matter where or what the weather was like. Mike Milan, Mike Kennelly, Jack Malia, Bill Lane, Quentin Doyle, Bart Dellabella, Ted Theobald, Walter Schneider, Jack Lavin and Bill Garry were always there to transport the boys and equipment.
True Dedication
Whether at Camp Lewis, Rock Hill, or NoBeBosco, John has accompanied the scouts to summer camp for the last 38 years. When his children were young, John and his wife, Margaret, brought them to summer camp and made it a family affair. John has served as a volunteer to staff Camp Lewis as program director, waterfront director, and commissioner, while Margaret volunteered to staff the camp trading post. Their son John, an Eagle Scout, grew up in camp, and their daughter Meghan spent the first July of her life in a cabin tent behind Frontier Campsite.
Who hath smelt wood-smoke at twilight ?
Who hath heard the birch-log burning?
Who is quick to read the noises of the night? Let him follow with the others,
For the young men's feet are turning to the camps of proved Desire and known delight!
Rudyard Kipling
During the late 80s and the 90's, the Troop's program adopted more and more ambitious activities. A major part of the program had always involved a long term trip along the Appalachian Trail during the Easter school break. 25 visited some exotic locales like St. Croix and Sanibel Island. In 1990 they decided to return to the birth place of scouting, Gilwell Park, England. The Troop visited England in 1990, 1992, and 1995. After stopping at the Baden Powell house in London they toured the Lake District, the Cornish Coast Brighton and Calais. In addition, they visited many famous locations in London and the countryside. Just to mention a few: the Tower of London, Westminster, Stratford on Avon, Cambridge University, and St. James Cathedral. The scouts didn't get to see the Queen, but they did receive an extended visit with Lord Levan on the isle of Mount St. Michael and a tour of his island home at Land's End on the Cornish Coast.
...And so it stands
The real highlight of the trip of course was staying at Gilwell where Lord Baden Powell first started the Scouting movement. Here Troop 25 met Scouters from all over the world and were able to swap stories and patches with their new found friends.
Troop 25 today is fortunate to have the perhaps the most active and efficient committee it has ever had. But while we are acknowledging the great contributions of current and previous committees let's not forget the contributions of Margaret Hughes who has been a`defacto' committee member for all these years. Margaret has always been involved in Troop activities, from fund raising and transporting scouts to camp, to spending summers at Camp Lewis with the boys. Margaret has not only hiked with Troop 25 on the Appalachian Trail, but was also called upon to rescue them from the Taconic Parkway during a trip cut short by a storm.
So, after 38 years nothing has changed and everything has changed. The Troop still follows the Scout Oath and Law as it always has, but the lives of thousands of boys have touched by John Hughes and Troop 25.