Eagle Scouts honored
The Boy Scouts of America, Minsi Trails Council, held a recognition dinner for the new Eagle Scouts of 2011, the 100th anniversary of Eagle Scouting, at Holiday Inn, Fogelsville.
That first Eagle, 100 years ago, was Arthur Eldred, a member of Troop 1, Long Island. He had the required 21 merit badges and applied for Eagle in April 1912.
Jim Roberts, the unofficial bugler of Minsi Trail, blew "First Call" on his trumpet. The call was for the scouts to form a double line with the first person in each line carrying a flag. One line went in each side of the ballroom and crossed in front of the stage so they posted their flag on the opposite side of the stage from where they entered.
Board member Platte Moring gave the welcome. "Becoming an Eagle Scout is the crowning achievement of years of hard work and dedication. Congratulations. You have shown that you have the determination and drive that it takes to achieve your goals." He introduced the emcee for the evening, Zachary Weidner of Forks of the Delaware District Troop 31.
"As you look back on your journey to the rank of Eagle Scout, you will remember it being fun, exciting, challenging and rewarding. … You worked hard to obtain this rank and should be recognized for your accomplishment. You, your family, friends and scout leaders should be proud," Weidner said.
Kevin Weber, Trexler District, Troop 431 Eagle, led the Pledge of Allegiance and Troop 18 Pocono District Eagle Daniel O'Connell gave the invocation.
He asked God to "Allow us to do great things, for you have provided us with the stepping stones, encouragement and friends to be great men."
Weidner introduced Council President Joe Brake, vice president of Coca-Cola of the Lehigh Valley.
Brake asked Don Walp to stand. He is, at age 95, the most senior Eagle in Minsi Trails, a rank he obtained in 1932. He is still active on the council advisory committee. At the time there were only five Eagles in the area, said Walp. The headquarters was on Hamilton Street, with only one scout executive and a helper. He considered the 94 Eagles being honored "unbelievable."
Keynote speaker Rob Brooks, co-president of the Phantoms minor league hockey team, has operated several businesses around the country. He said his brother Jim and he are third generation Eagles. They have been involved in several sports and will bring the Phantoms to Allentown as soon as an arena is built. He said they bought the team for the Lehigh Valley.
"Our father instilled in us much of the spirit of scouting, with community service being stressed. Look at all the great things that happened because of scouting," Brooks said.
He said he and Jim love minor league sports because they can do so much to support the community. He was in the office one day and heard noise in the arena. When he went out he found 12 players teaching hockey to 15 little guys. The team captain had rented 15 pairs of skates.
They visit schools, work with athletes, nutritionists and anti-obesity programs.
"I attended Jim's Court of Honor. It makes you feel good to see the support. In the minds of my peers, scouting wasn't great, so they invited three kids to Jim's dinner. Afterward they said, 'I had no idea.'"
Scouting principles will prepare you for life, Brooks concluded.
Weidner introduced the winners of two Eagle Scout scholarships, who each received $1,000. They are Zachary Schoener, Troop 131 and Dennis Sell III, Troop 431, both of Trexler District. The scholarships were a gift by Mike Grabarits, president of Step by Step Learning, who made the presentations.
Weidner said the keys to receiving the scholarship award are a well-rounded participation in scouting, school and community, plus writing an essay.
Schoener read from his essay. "Every Scout is obligated to follow the scout oath and law. Eagle Scouts have the responsibility to help younger Scouts, and while helping others you continue to improve yourself. Eagle Scouts are obligated to direct actions of others by being first to take action. Lead by example."
Sell said the scout law requires duty to God and country. The law focuses on duties. Scouts correct wrongs if they can. A Scout does not shy away from leading but knows its important and will work with peers in any situation. An Eagle Scout cares about others, which may lead to profound changes.
Grabarits asked the parents and grandparents to stand, since Eagles become Eagles because of their effort. He provided two IronPigs tickets for each of the 94 Eagles on a date of their choice.
The Honorable James Knoll Gardner gave the scout charge, for which the scouts lined up across the front of the stage. It concluded with, "When you pledge yourself on your sacred honor, you will be sealing your eternal loyalty to the code of the Eagle Scout with the words that closed the Declaration of Independence : "We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
Scouts gave the scout sign as they reaffirmed their allegiance to the promises of the Scout Oath.
Scout Executive Craig Poland was asked to help with a scout camp when the leadership had to leave. He went out the next morning and worked hard to start a fire in a pouring rain. When he got it going he told the scouts to get out of their tents and make breakfast. But the scout leaders had remembered, "Be prepared," and planned Pop-Tarts for breakfast.
It was a learning experience for Polcand.
Weidner said, "All of you in the Class of 2011 – it will be your job to be the leaders."
Zachary Winchester of Troop 27, Easton, said "We just pump them out" when a comment was made about the number of Eagles from his troop.