As the Boy Scouts of America prepares to kick off its 100th anniversary, the Hudson Valley Council reports that a record number of Boy Scouts earned the Eagle award last year.
The final number of Eagles for 2009 came in at 162, said Scout Executive Stephen J. Gray, CEO at the Newburgh-based council. That is more Eagle Scouts than the Council has ever seen and above the 140 to 150 Eagle Scouts in a typical year.
The council covers all or parts of Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Sullivan counties in New York, and Pike County in Pennsylvania.
“The number is testament to the drive of Boy Scouts in the program today, as well as the work of volunteer leaders in 121 Scout troops across the region,” Gray said. At the end of 2009, the Hudson Valley Council had 2,963 Boy Scouts, the program for boys 11 through 17.
“Our Boy Scout troops are turning out young men who are ready to be the leaders of tomorrow,” Gray said. “They have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities. They have high moral character. I’m thrilled and encouraged that so many of our Scouts earned the award last year.”
Earning the Eagle award involves substantial demonstrations of leadership ability through a service project to benefit the community. To be an Eagle, Scouts must also complete 21 merit badges demonstrating mastery of a range of Scout skills, from camping to physical fitness.
Other required merit badges cover citizenship in the nation, world and community, first aid, communications and environmental science, among other topics. Completion of the award is actually quite rare; in the 100 years of Scouting in the United States, only about 2 percent of all Scouts have earned Eagle.
News of the162 Eagle Scouts comes as Scouting is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Hudson Valley Council will take part in a slate of local and National events throughout the year, including a council-wide “CamporAll” in mid-May (May 14-16) at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, sending five troops (180 youth and 20 leaders) to the national Jamboree in July, and a 100th Anniversary Event at West Point on 10/10/2010.
Scouts across the council also plan to do 10,000 hours of additional community service during 2010, beyond the 40,000 completed in a typical year. “These actions personify the meaning of character; with an act of service that has defined us for 100 years because of four simple words, “I am a Scout”’, said Michael Caporlingua, Council President.
For 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America has created a strong foundation of leadership, service and community for millions of America’s youth. Scouting is as vital and relevant today as it was when the journey began in 1910.
The Boy Scouts of America, Hudson Valley Council currently serves more than 8,600 young people through Scouting and Learning for Life Programs in the New York Counties of Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan and Pike County in Pennsylvania.
More information on Scouting in the Hudson Valley or Scouting’s 100th Anniversary can be found at www.hudsonvalleyscouting.org, or by calling Diego Aviles at the Hudson Valley Council office at 845-566-7300 x318 or via email at Diego.Aviles@Scouting.org.
Source: Hudson Valley Council Press Release.