"Scouting has been a huge part of my life for so long," said the North Bergen High School senior who will turn 18 next month. "I consider a lot of what I know now from being in the Boy Scouts. I think my personal values on everything can be attributed to scouting. I have a strong value on independence now. I learned independence from being a Boy Scout. I had a lot to do on my own and that helped me."
Ferrer earned 38 merit badges during his stint as a Boy Scout, but still had to finish one major community project to earn the premier rank of all scouting, the Eagle Scout.
So on his own, Ferrer called the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and asked if he could build an information kiosk in the Skeet Kill Marsh in Secaucus.
Part of Ferrer's commitment of becoming an Eagle Scout included a community-related special project with an environmental theme.
"I was looking around for a project to do and I knew that the Meadowlands Commission always has seasonal projects," Ferrer said. "So I called them and they supplied me with the blueprints of how to build the kiosk."
Eagle Scout rank
On his own, Ferrer went out and bought the materials to build the information area. In the matter of weeks, the kiosk was completed and was presented to the Meadowlands Commission, which put it in place in the marsh area to post information and bulletins for those who hike through the preservation area.
With the completion of the kiosk, Ferrer had enough merits to earn the Eagle Scout rank.
"I'm actually pretty excited about it," Ferrer said. "By turning 18 and getting the Eagle Scout rank, it's pretty much coming to the end of the line for me. It's the beginning of a new life for me as well."
Ferrer, who will graduate from North Bergen High in June, plans to attend college next fall and take pre-law courses with the hopes of eventually studying business or corporate law in the future.
But scouting will always be a part of his life. Scouts are asked to move on to become adult leaders once they turn 18, so Ferrer will look to assist his father and scoutmaster, Tony, with future scouting endeavors.
"I'd like to become a leader and go help out, especially when they go camping," Ferrer said.
A dwindling breed
However, it could very well be that Ferrer is one of a dying breed. Participation in scouting in Hudson County is waning and dwindling with every passing day. There are only a handful of active troops still in existence. With the exception of a flourishing Boy Scout program in Bayonne, many of the local troops have only a limited number of Boy Scouts, an average of perhaps eight per troop.
"When I was little, Boy Scouts was a big thing," Ferrer said. "We had at least 100 people involved in scouting at Our Lady of Fatima [in North Bergen]. Ever since then, it's dwindled down. I'd like to see more people get involved in scouting, because the more people we have, the better it is."
Ferrer now operates out of Troop 114, which holds its meetings at St. Mary's Church in West New York.
Ferrer said that he truly appreciates what scouting has meant to him.
"I'd say it's a lifetime experience than never goes away," Ferrer said. "It's something I'll never forget and if others got involved in scouting as well, I know they'd enjoy it and do things that they would never forget." Like perhaps becoming an Eagle Scout. If more North Hudson youngsters don't get involved in the Boy Scouts program, it could very well be that Nicolas Ferrer is the last Eagle Scout from this area.
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org