Three North Salem teens earn Eagle Scout Honors
Three North Salem members of Troop 4 Purdys were recognized at an Eagle Court of Honor ceremony in Croton Falls on Saturday, May 23. Tyler Golisano, Tyler Sandor and Colin Smith, all members of Troop 4 for the past ten years, earned Eagle Scout honors, the highest rank attainable in the Scouts program and one that only four percent of Scouts earn. The event had the added benefit of marking the 10-year anniversary of Troop 4, which began as a small group of four 11 and 12-year-old boys.
Around 100 family members, friends and supporters were present at the Croton Falls fire house for the ceremony, which was also well-attended by local leaders, including New York State Senator Pete Harckham, New York State Assemblyman Chris Burdick, Croton Falls Fire Chief Sean Partenio, and the North Salem Town Council.
Of the leaders, Asst. Scoutmaster Trip Balch said, “I think they all have similar feelings about the value of Scouting and the importance of reaching the rank of Eagle, which is why I think why they gave up a good portion of their Saturday morning to join us in congratulating the individual Scouts.”
To achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, each boy had to earn a minimum of 21 merit badges and complete an Eagle Project, an extensive service project that a Scout must plan, organize, lead and manage from conception to execution.
This is the first year since the troop’s inception that three Scouts earned Eagle Scout honors at once. “Three Scouts in a small troop is huge credit to the leadership and to the young men willing to persevere,” said Veronica Smith, Colin Smith’s mother, noting the added difficulty the boys faced in having to complete their projects during the pandemic.
For his project, Golisano constructed two canoe racks for the Sal J. Prezioso Mountain Lakes Park and Day Camp in North Salem. The project entailed leading his fellow scouts and 26 volunteers in the cutting and removal of weeds and underbrush from the location, which was replaced with filter fabric and sand. The group also mounted a sign to the equipment shed to remind users of the importance of canoe safety.
Of earning the Eagle Scout honor, Golisano, whose father is Troop 4 Scoutmaster Brent Golisano, said, “it meant a great deal to my family and myself. As a family we have been involved with Scouting for 11 years and achieving Eagle Scout was a long sought-after goal.”
Sandor built a fall-out tower for the Croton Falls Fire Department for his Eagle Scout Project. The apparatus is used to teach firefighters, using appropriate equipment, how to fall out of a window when necessary during an emergency.
“It means everything to have earned this honor,” said Sandor. “It makes me feel that all the time and hard work I’ve put in have paid off. It was so great to have my family there in attendance because I wouldn’t have achieved this accomplishment without them.”
Smith, the oldest of four boys, all of whom are Troop 4 members, focused his Eagle Scout project on enhancing Mountain Lakes Park, where he spent many childhood summers. He built a set of Viking chairs to provide seating around a fire pit on the park grounds.
“Originally, I was going to teach the Junior Park Rangers at Mt. Lakes how to build their own Viking Chair in person but that was canceled due to COVID.” Instead, Smith created a YouTube tutorial video to teach others how to make the chairs on their own.
“Because of COVID, the most important skill Colin learned through this is perseverance,” said Veronica Smith. “The ability to persevere, to be flexible, those are invaluable life skills. When the going gets tough you say ok, I'll dig a little deeper.”
All three of the new Eagle Scouts plan to continue to be active in Scouting through mentoring younger Scouts, a testament to the impact that Scouting has had on their development.
“Whenever I feel down about the direction and tenor of communication and interaction in society I know that North Salem has at least 18 young men who believe in and live the Scout Law and these three Eagles are only the most prominent examples. Their example and leadership give me hope,” said Balch.
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