When the troop is invited by Eastchester Community Action Program (ECAP) to help out at its events, the scouts are always eager to assist. Notwithstanding the opening flag ceremony being led traditionally by the T353 SPL (Chris L in 2012) at the annual MLK celebration, the troop had a one of the larger contingents to assist in recent memory! The scouts appeared sharp in their uniforms and the breadth of attendance added pagentry to the event. The Mayor of Tuckahoe Steve Ecklond was so moved about T353’s frequent community presence that he chose to recognized T353 scouts a second time following the flag ceremony. At one time, the opening ceremony for the ECAP-sposored MLK breakfast was shared by various local scout troops.
After the opening ceremony and invocation, the scouts are privileged to enjoy a buffett breakfast and listen to the inspirational comments of some of the more important community leaders as well as historic presentations by children from local schools. Additionally, the scouts typically accrue 90–120 minutes of community service credit. The T-353 leaders are very proud of our Scouts ongoing commitment to this important community event, as these photos suggest!
During the yearend holidays, the troop arranges a hike with many of its Eagle Scouts that might be home from college, as well as those that have since graduated and still live nearby. Too, the invitation list is not restricted to Eagle Scouts exclusively–all former scouts and/or their parents are welcome! And that was the case in 2012 as a few parents participated without their sons! This short hike is a terrific opportunity for younger scouts to mingle with Eagle Scouts and learn first-hand how & why these boys made it all the way to Eagle Scout (or Life Scout, etc). The influence of a 22 year old on a 13 year old scout is far greater than any Old Goat!
There are a few hikes in northern Westchester County that are favorites, however, winter trail conditions can preclude certain hikes. One that is nearly always accessible is Storm King Mountain, just north of West Point in the scenic Hudson Valley. This year our group of hardy hikers opted for a longer hike, crossing a valley prior to climbing and encircling the cap of Storm King and then returning returning. Still, we managed to make it to the northern side of the mountain for a brief lunch in the gusty wind. Down below, parts of the Hudson River were visibly frozen and one could see Banneman’s Castle in the distance. There are numerous scenic overlooks on this short hike that have helped make this one a Troop 353 Eagle Scout Classic!