Community Service — Annual Good Turn Outing: Good Tidings & Good Times at Graymoor Monastery 

For the past few years, the troop has made a pilgrimage up to the Graymoor Monastery in Garrison, NY for the annual Good Turn Outing.   A few years ago, Brother Ted Novak started our work in the 9-11 prayer garden, also known as St. Jude’s Pond & Prayer Garden.  Every year it seems like this area, frequented by thousands of reverent folks from all over the world, is in need of a major “spring cleaning” and so this is what our scouts have learned to do.   Historically, we have tied the need to accumulate troop-related service hours to attend some of our more fun events, ie white water rafting, and the Graymoor outing represents the singlest biggest opportunity (typically) to earn such community service hours.   For some scouts, it is there only opportunity to do a little yard work and these boys embrace the day enthusiastically.  At the other extreme are others that are not quite as productive.  Amazingly, the boys and the dads all work fairly steadily for the full 6 hours (excluding a lunch break) and the gardens look like new again! 

To add a little spice to the weekend, we have also had a Iron Chef breakfast cookoff competition with a required ingredient for the Sunday morning cookoff.  The required ingredient of lemon this past year made for some delightful presentations, and the Mustang Patrol was the hands-down winner!  The night before, the Scoutmaster prepared a lemon cake in 2 dutch ovens, which was quickly consumed by all as we all nestled around the bonfire to enjoy a varieyty of skits.  Brother Ted is always gracious (brave?) enough to be the tasting judge on Sunday morning, and then lead our group in a beautiful interfaith prayer service.   As always, we end the outing with the traditional “Rose, Bud, Thorn” discussion & sharing by all.  For more great pictures of this productive but fun weekend, click here click here !

Wintoree 2010 – More Memorable Than Anyone Knew At The Time

My parents always told me that “you could never have enough friends.”  Well, I am grateful for the many friendships I have developed in Scouting and one of the most special is that of the many wonderful adult leaders at Troop 240 Riverdale, especially former Scoutmaster Joe Acquafredda.  Because of the strong ties between our two units, our troop continues to be invited to T-240’s annual Wintoree merit badge seminar at Camp Durland.  In 2010, the two troops made an extra effort to celebrate the brotherhood of scouting and reflected on the Centennial celebration with a recounting of the history of merit badges and a display of scouting paraphernalia from the 1960s.   In addition, Scoutmaster Joe Acquafredda led yet another impressive Wood Badge beading ceremony for one of his several adult leaders on Saturday night.
As everyone knows, Scoutmaster Joe passed away suddenly this past April from cancer.   His legacy, which is something that is talked about a lot in Scoutmaster training, is enormous!    He positively impacted hundreds of scouts and scout leaders during his many years in Scouting including the last 12 as Scoutmaster!  He helped our troop immeasurably with his constant offering of encouragement and creative ideas.  Joe’s unbridled Scouting spirit was simply big enough for everyone.  And I am so grateful that our troop got to be exposed to this rare breed of leader!   He, and his wonderful wife Edna, have been true friends.
Watching the scouts of the two troops inter-mingle during the weekend was particularly gratifying.   It was a Norman Rockwell scene of all that is good in Scouting.  As I told the combined group of +50 scouts on that picturesque Saturday morning:  “you will have many circles of friends throughout life.  Not all of these circles will intersect.  That is ok.  One thing is quite certain, however, your circle of Scouting friends will likely end up being true friends, ones that truly care for you and will do so for all of your life.” 

More reflections & a Memorial on former Scoutmaster Joe Acquafredda can be found at the Troop 240 Riverdale website

Oh yes, our troop completed over a dozen merit badges and another dozen merit badges were partially completed that weekend.  For pictures of this memorable friendship weekend, please click here.