By Margaret Mager, Bronxville Boy Scout Troop 5 Community Service Liaison
Mar. 29, 2017: On Sunday, March 19, Bronxville's Boy Scout Troop 5 awarded the Eagle Scout rank to four troop members: Anthony Crinieri, Michael Landy, Jack O'Neill, and Charlie Vorbach Jr.
These four young men join an elite group. Only 7% of all Scouts reach Eagle, the highest and most prestigious rank awarded in Scouting. The award is a performance-based achievement that these young men will be recognized for throughout their lives. As the saying goes, "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle."
National Boy Scouts of America Honors Troop 5
An Eagle Court of Honor ceremony is always a special event, but on this occasion, Troop 5 was honored with the presence of the highest-ranking executive in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh flew in from BSA headquarters in Irving, TX, to deliver the Eagle Scout Oath and the evening's keynote speech at St. Joseph's Church in Bronxville. Also in attendance was Bronxville's Mayor Mary Marvin, other BSA executives from both the national and the Westchester-Putnam councils, as well as 14 Eagle Scouts who had previously earned their awards.
The reason Mr. Surbaugh made the effort to attend is that, in his own words, "Bronxville Troop 5 is one of the leading troops in the nation and [he wanted] to personally deliver a message of thanks and congratulations to the troop and, more specifically, the four new Eagle Scouts." He does not do this as a matter of course and it was a huge day for Bronxville scouting, the Eagle Scouts and their families, and over 200 guests who packed the St. Joseph's gymnasium. The ceremony took place following the 5:00 pm mass at St. Joseph's, which honored the four Eagle Scout parishioners and their accomplishments.
Chief Scout Executive Delivers Message of Inclusiveness
Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh's main message was one of inclusion, leadership, and the demonstrated character development that today's youth experience and hone through participation in activities like Scouting and athletics. However, he pointed out, unlike high school athletics where many kids don't make "the cut" and are left behind at young ages, there is no cut in Scouting. Scouting is open to all youth who have the desire and motivation to join and persist.
The ultimate achievement of the rank of Eagle Scout is a lifelong honor that can be attained by any Scout who devotes himself to many years of hard work, social service, and demonstrated leadership. Studies show the significant positive impact Eagle Scouts have on society from holding leadership positions in their workplaces and communities, to voting and volunteering, to protecting the environment, and to being prepared for emergencies.
There are many famous Eagle Scouts, including current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; current U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon; Stephen G. Breyer, associate justice, United States Supreme Court; J. Willard Marriott Jr., chairman and CEO of Marriott International; Steven Spielberg, Academy Award-winning film director; John Tesh, recording artist and performer; Togo D. West Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and Dr. Robert M. Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and the BSA's 35th national president.
Troop 5 Among the Best in the U.S.
Troop 5 is considered among the top troops in the United States because of:
its notable outdoor adventure program, including numerous camping, hiking, and ski outings;
its record of advancement, having produced 26 Eagle Scouts in the last 5 years (66 since 1990). Notably, this is the troop's second Eagle Court of Honor in 2017; the first was on January 8 when Daniel Tucci and Will Rabsey were awarded Eagle;
its record of giving and national involvement. Troop 5 built the climbing wall and the Jack Coughlin outpost at Camp Read in the Adirondacks and was a leader in developing a national fundraiser around "Good Turn Daily" coffee promoted by the BSA; and
its leadership. Past Troop 5 Scoutmaster Joe Landy is the treasurer and an executive board member of the National Boys Scouts of America organization.
Becoming an Eagle Scout
In Scouting, the path to Eagle typically begins at the age of 10 or 11, usually takes 5 to 7 years to achieve, and must be completed before the age of 18. Supporting and encouraging each other for the past 12 years, Crinieri, Landy, O’Neill, and Vorbach began as Cub Scouts in first grade.
There are 325 requirements that must be completed to become an Eagle Scout, including completion of 21 merit badges and an Eagle Project. The Eagle Project is a service project helpful to any religious institution, school, or the community that is conceived, planned, funded, organized, and executed under the leadership of the Eagle Scout candidate.
An Eagle Scout service project can take months to plan and easily exceeds 200 man-hours of work with groups of 20 or more volunteers managed by the Scout. The primary purpose of the Eagle Scout service project is to develop and demonstrate leadership skills. Related to this are important lessons in project management and taking responsibility for a significant accomplishment.
The Eagle Projects
At the ceremony, a display area showcased each of the new Eagle Scouts' journey as a Scout as well as each Scout's impressive Eagle Project work. All four Scouts' Eagle Projects focused on facility and ground improvement projects at organizations that benefit the environment, low-income students, sheltered animals, and the general public. Anthony Crinieri's project benefitted the Beczak Environmental Education Center in Yonkers; Michael Landy's project transformed the eighth-grade classroom library at KIPP Infinity, a charter school in Harlem; Jack O’Neill'’s project benefitted the Mt. Vernon Animal Shelter; and Charlie Vorbach’s project benefitted the Untermyer Park and Gardens in Yonkers.
Court of Honor Ceremony
One of the highlights of the evening was Troop 5's gift to the new Eagle Scouts--a version of what the Scout Law's 12 points mean to their fellow Scouts in their own words. This was presented by twelve Troop 5 members: Sasha Capasso (trustworthy); Marco LaVecchia (loyal); Mack Layton (helpful); Karsten Schnier (friendly); Christian Kirchman (courteous); Billy Rizzo (kind); Hunter Denfeld (obedient); Andrew Mager (cheerful); Michael Krajniczyn (thrifty); Will Tinson (brave); Albert Van Ness (clean); and, JP Denfeld (reverent).
The well-attended and uplifting ceremony reflected the contributions of many Troop 5 Scouts and leaders. Peter Vorbach and Marco Crinieri acted as master of ceremonies, Tim Cushman conducted the Pledge of Allegiance, Xavier Layton, Giovanni LaVecchia, and Sebastian Proano performed Colors of the Flag candle lighting, Karsten Schnier led the Scout Oath, Father Raymond Rafferty shared an opening prayer, and Andrew Mager and James Rhee performed Color Guard duties for the ceremony.
Scoutmaster Kevin Taylor provided opening remarks and commendations to the Eagles and concluded with a reflection inspired by Women’s History Month on the importance of women, especially moms, in Scouting. Troop Committee Chair John Layton conducted the pinning ceremony and neckerchief presentation, always wonderful moments. Past Scoutmaster Joe Landy spoke about what it takes to become an Eagle.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Eagles were presented with a United States flag that had been flown over the US Capitol Building, a gift from the Troop via the office of U.S. Congressman Eliot Engel. Each Eagle also received written letters of recognition from past U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
Pictured here: At top (L to R): National BSA Treasurer Joe Landy, Eagle Scouts Charlie Vorbach Jr., Anthony Crinieri, Michael Landy, and Jack O'Neill, National BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh, and Troop 5 Scoutmaster Kevin Taylor; photos below the top: Anthony Crinieri; Michael Landy; Jack O'Neill; and Charlie Vorbach Jr.
Photo by Margaret Mager, Bronxville Boy Scout Troop 5 Community Service Liaison