Staff Sgt. Jonathan Suydam watches as Boy Scouts prepare to fire at the Joint Training and Training Development Center's indoor firing range.
No, these weren't deploying Soldiers undergoing mobilization training or National Guard troops conducting Annual Training - they were Boy Scouts participating in their annual Order of the Arrow convention or Conclave.
More than 300 Scouts from local troops attended the three-day Conclave, which was sponsored by the Boy Scouts' honor society, also known as the Order of the Arrow. The event had been scheduled to take place at the Joint Training and Training Development Center (JT2DC) since this past July.
"The Joint Training and Training Development Center allows young men to be exposed to the virtual-training side of the Army," explained Col. James Grant, Commander, JT2DC.
During the Conclave, the Scouts rotated through training stations dedicated to first aid, weapons, GPS land navigation, counter-drug education, physical training, recruiting, vehicles and aviation. They also had a chance to try out the latest in training aids, such as the convoy simulator. They participated in Native-American dance and ceremonies competitions, and took part in activities such as a football toss, rock-climbing wall and dunk tank.
The Scouts also got to learn much about the New Jersey Army National Guard and its Soldiers, a unique aspect of this Conclave.
"They're exposed to a profession that they may consider for their own future, and to the opportunities that the Guard offers," said Grant.