This past spring, Troop 353 scouts participated broadly in the multiple advancement opportunities as invited guests to Riverdale Troop 240’s annual Wintoree merit badge seminar. Riverdale Troop 240 is one of the larger troops in the Greater New York Council and, in many respects, is regarded as a model troop, notably through the number of dedicated and committed BSA-trained leaders. The large, well-planned event was held at Camp Durland at the end of March. Troop 353 was fortunate to be invited to such a special advancement opportunity. Years of relationship building between the two troop’s senior adult leaders allowed this rare opportunity to become reality.
With ample preparation, T-353 scouts completed over 40 merit badges, with several being Eagle-required. A few T-353 leaders also participated in instructing merit badge classes. In addition, troop 353 received an added benefit of witnessing a rare Wood Badge beading ceremony for two of T-240s adult leaders Mary Ellen Willen and Dino Forzano, following 18 months of “working their ticket” (achieving 5 strategic goals related to the betterment of the troop). Importantly, T-353 scouts and adult leaders were introduced to the notion that all registered adult leaders can and should pusue their own special training and advancement through the Wood Badge leadership program. It’s common knowledge that more trained adults equates to a stronger troop program for Scouts & T-240 was a living example of this old adage.
Saturday night also witnessed a fun, but chilly, joint campfire and bountiful Cracker Barrel (sponsored generously by T-240). Finally, another “gift” from T-240 was the receipt of an Interfaith Services Prayer Book, utilized in a 15-minute Sunday morning service (a Scout is Reverent). Troop 353 is extremely grateful for being invited to such a well-managed event and being able to witness such terrific Youth Leaders in action, like T-240’s SPL Kevin B. The enduring benefits to T-353 from participating in the Wintoree far exceed the +40 merit badges that our scouts received. A heartfelt thank you to T-240’s dynamic Scoutmaster Joe Acquafredda and his wife, T-240 Committee Member & Event Coordinator, Edna for being such generous hosts. Great photos from this special and memorable weekend can be found here.