In what is bound to become an eye-opening for everyone, the town of Secaucus will be hosting Boy Scout Day on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. at the town Performing Arts Center.
The event is designed to salute the history of Secaucus Scouts, in particular, the large number of Eagle Scouts local troops have managed to cultivate over the years.
“Just over the last year we must have had four or five new Eagle Scouts here in town,” said Councilman Jim Clancy.
Mayor Gonnelli said that those earning Eagle Scout distinctions have been responsible for a number of public service projects throughout the town.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank a scout can achieve. To earn the rank of Eagle Scout, a scout must be active in the troop, demonstrate that he lives by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in his daily life, earn a total of more than 21 merit badges in specific areas, and demonstrate leadership by organizing a community service project.
According to the Boy Scouts of America, only about 5 percent of all scouts attain the Eagle Scout rank.
“These young men contribute so much to the community on so many levels. Their service projects throughout their scouting career, in addition to the Eagle project, make such a difference,” said Judy Geier Kennelly, one of the organizers of the event. “They attend all patriotic ceremonies and parades.”
“These young men contribute so much to the community on so many levels.” -- Judy Geier Kennelly
“They do a great job in our community and it is a surprise just how many there are in a community of our size,” Gonnelli said.
That total number is still being calculated, and will likely prove a surprise to many of those who attend the event.
“I’m trying to find them all,” said Kennelly. She said the event will also provide an opportunity for new people to join. “There will be open enrollment for new members, presentation of merit badges, any awards they earned over the summer, rank advancement, parents’ night, slide show of scouting through the years, light refreshments, and guest speakers. The guest list includes all Boy Scouts from Tiger Cubs on up, sponsors, supporters, government officials, local, county, district and state levels, Boy Scout District council members, environmental agencies, school officials, veteran associations such as VFW, Legion, service groups including Kiwanis, Unico, PTPI.”
“Beside working on badges or selling popcorn and going camping, Boy Scouts participate in a lot of town functions,” said Justin Addevensky. “In our uniforms, we proudly represent scouting during ceremonies for Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day and all the other ceremonies and functions the town asks us to participate in. We also work with the American Legion, the VFW and other organizations for events.”
In 2009 as a Life Scout, Addevensky announced that he would be cleaning a stretch of the Hackensack River in his bid to become an Eagle Scout. He thought a handful of volunteers, maybe 40 people, would lend a helping hand. He ended up with nearly 80.
They were confronted with an area littered with old tires, plastic and Styrofoam cups, bottle caps, paper, wood, even syringes (which police officers removed, not the scouts).
The idea behind this effort was to improve the environment and also make this a better experience for people who walked around the riverfront walkway.
In 2012, Joseph Wraga attained the Eagle Scout badge and oversaw the cleanup and the planting of trees in Schmitt’s Woods, a 14-acre multi-use park which is home to some of the oldest trees in the state and is one of the last untouched forest areas in the Meadowlands District. Residents
and visitors enjoy or recreation in this natural setting and can also observe a wide variety of
birds, plants and wildlife; and demonstrated leadership skills by networking with state, county, and local environmental agencies, public officials, the county sheriff, services organizations, his troop members, friends school clubs and family to accomplish the clean-up and tree planting.
Scouts on every level are routinely honored before Town Council meetings, and recently and often lead the Pledge of Allegiance opening these meetings. Perhaps very relevant this week, local scouts were also involved in helping receive a piece of the World Trade Center steel in 2012 from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.