Historically the number of Scouts who achieve the Eagle rank is a very small percentage. This past weekend, Troop 79 had the opportunity to recognize 10 of our Scouts for doing so. What took place in a few hours at a formal Eagle Court of Honor in the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago was the culmination of some big numbers. Here are just a few combined stats from these outstanding young men:
- 120 YEARS of Scouting, from Cub Scouts through Webelos and on to Troop 79.
- 270 MERIT BADGES, each representing many hours of learning new skills.
- 32 LEADERSHIP POSITIONS held, contributing to our Scout-led troop.
- 360 DAYS at Camp Owasippe, earning merit badges and trying not to miss home cooked meals.
- 40 WEEKS of BSA high adventure, testing their endurance and leadership skills in the mountains, rivers and oceans.
- COUNTLESS nights of camping with the troop, making stories together that will last a lifetime.
Other than the data, it’s difficult to sum up all that these guys have done for the troop, their communities and each other on their journey to Eagle. But as our distinguished guest, IL Senate President, John J. Cullerton said, expectations are high for them to continue to contribute!
In addition to local community leaders and our Chartered Organization Rep Barbara Guttmann from the Old Town Triangle Association, the Court of Honor was attended by over 200 friends, family members, troop members and others who had contributed to the success of our “Eagle X”, Class of 2018-19. The ceremonies were led by T-79’s Asst. Senior Patrol Leader, Colin G. and included a number of important elements that helped recognize and reflect on the importance of this occasion:
- Receiving a thoughtful invocation from Rev. Dr. Lucy Forster-Smith, Fourth Presbyterian Church
- Learning about the meaning of the Scout Oath and Law in a candle lighting ceremony led by Patrol Leader Geoffrey B. with several members of Troop 79.
- Examining the Eagle Scout requirements by adult advisors Jim Larson, Jeff Boyle, Dan Nitzsche and Joe Barich.
- Explaining the responsibilities of an Eagle Scout from a recent T-79 member’s perspective, thanks to Hunter Morgan (’16) and Ben Keats (’17).
- Charging the Eagle candidates with their new rank, and finally making the award presentation itself to the Eagles, their parents and mentors by our Scoutmaster, Dave Keats.
- Recognizing Jim Zoiopolous with a special Lifetime Eagle Mentor award and campership in his name organized by Committee Chair Jim Larson, including keepsake “I SURVIVED MR. Z” bumper stickers for the 10 Eagles.
- Hearing stories from the Eagles individually on their Scouting experience in a panel discussion moderated by Gretchen Winter, mother of one of our Eagles.
- Closing the ceremony with a blessing from Fr. Ken Simpson of the Chicago Archdiocese, a fellow outdoorsman and mentor to several of the Eagles.
Of course, no Eagle Court of Honor can wrap up without a party! A reception followed, complete with refreshments, thanks to Eagle parents Sam and MaryAnn Martorina with Liz and Steve Gardner, table displays of Scouting memories created by the Eagles themselves, and a video/slideshow produced by Amy Boyle that included interviews with each of the Eagles and photos from their Scouting journey.
Several other Eagle family members contributed in very important ways and need to be recognized here. Allison Youngblood was our primary connection to the venue and managed all the site coordination, assisted by Betsy Morgan. The invitations and guest coordination were managed by Cynthia Patti, who also played an important role in event setup and teardown with Jim Patti and Jodi Larson. The full color printed program, including facts, photos and stories, was created by Cathy Hug. Northwestern University Medill journalism student and free lance professional photographer Colin Boyle provided photo coverage of the ceremony. Jim Brown wrote the checks that paid for all of this, though now the Eagle families have to pay him back! Lastly, Jeff Boyle did his best to make the event environmentally conscious while coordinating the planning and rehearsals.
On behalf of Edward Boyle, Otto Brown, Will Gardner, Kenny Larson, Nick Martorina, Hayden Morgan, Matthew Nelsen, Jake Nitzsche, John Patti and Michael Youngblood, we are incredibly grateful to the Eagle parents and mentors, plus Troop 79 Scouts and adult advisors who made this day possible.
[PHOTO] Eagle Court of Honor @boylessix