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!
Participating in Eastchester Community Action Program’s (ECAP Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive is our troop’s signature community service event. It is one of those family events where often times we see the parents but don’t see the scout on the night of sorting all our food booty at ECAP’s headquarters. There is a tremendous storage space in the basement that represents ECAP’s food pantry. Enough food from various corporate and civic donors is often enough to provide throughout the yearend holiday seasons and any excess food is shipped off to other Community Action Programs in Westchester County!
As is tradition, the troop’s adult volunteers seek out local golf pro Dave Stevenson and his very moving presentation about how he has remained committed to helping a small community in Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina — even to this day! His story is one of hope and inspiration and every time we hear his powerful message, our troop families comes away highly motivated to gather even more food throughout their neighborhood. Consequently, the troop’s Good Turn efforts tend to generate an above-average level of food and scout participation. As always, Ms. Charlene Lambrecht (Director of ECAP) is always enormously grateful for our troop’s efforts and this is very obvious from all the smiling faces above and in these wonderful pictures!
The 2011 ToughKids Triathlon Championship Race took place on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at Croton Point Park, in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. The triathlon race consisted of a swim, bike and run event and was an incredible success with over 500 child athletes ranging in age from 4-14.
This year’s race occurred on the eve of the 10th Anniversary of the September 11, 2011 attacks and paid special tribute to those sacrificed on 9/11, and those that are committed to preserving our freedom.
Troop 353 led by Will B., as part of his Life Scout Service Project, help organize all Troop 353 volunteers including participation in the opening ceremonies by presenting the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance and provided volunteer support throughout the race. In addition, Jack F delivered an inspirational speech honoring those lost on 9-11 and those that continue to fight for our freedom.
Scout volunteers included Will, Jack, Jimmy F., Michael I., Chris L., and James T.. Scout athletes participating in the race included Jason C., Christian D. and Matt O. Great Job Scouts! Check out these terrific pictures!
Few activities in Scouting create more good feelings than community service for a good cause. Being a NY-based scout troop, very few events resonate more in the minds of all residents than the catastrophic events of 9-11-01. The year 2011 marked the 10-year anniversary of this tragic event and so it was with extra care and diligence that the scouts of Troop 353 Eastchester approached their annual spring cleanup of the 9-11 prayer gardens at the Graymoor Monastery. Knowing that hundreds of people from all over the world would be prayerfully standing in the same place as our busy hands were working added an extra element of reverence to our labors. Scouts worked sometimes in silence, at other times happily basking in the warmth of life, but at all times with great purpose.
The day was also special in that our former SM T. McCandless brought his daughter to the worksite, after having just arrived home from spending 2 months in the hospital recovering from major surgery. “Special K” has been to many scout outings and deserves as many scout patches as most of the other boys, but that cold day in early March was a particulary memorable one as it marked the beginning of her return to a somewhat more normal resumption of daily activities, which includes a healthy dose of scouting activities! For a look at our Scouts in action, click here!
Given the difficult economic times, Troop 353 made an extra special effort in 2010 to gather more food for the Eastchester Community Action Program’s (ECAP) Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. First, we asked local golf pro Dave Stevenson to come share his story about being his personal calling to help Hurrican Katrina victims in Mississippi after that massive storm decimated so many communities. Dave’s message is one of inspiration and hope to our troop families.
After our scout families hear this story, the boys then drop off empty foodbags in their neighborhood with a cover letter that indicates the Boy Scouts are helping ECAP in its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive (for the 17th year in a row!) and that the scout will pickup the filled grocery bag the following weekend. This year, the scouts got further organized and arranged to station themselves by patrol at various local grocery stores in order to seek additional food donations–which proved to be very successful. Then on Sunday night, scouts and parents alike descend on ECAP headquarters and begin to unload the +200 grocery bags, sort and stack in the correct shelf in the food pantry. By the way, the ECAP food pantry often feeds other needy families beyond our town’s borders. A Scout is Helpful, as these great photos will confirm!
Troop 353 is constantly looking for new and better “best practices”. One of the better ideas the troop has adopted in recent years is for Life Scout candidates to create, market, organize and lead a 6-hour community service project as a preparation “warmup” for a scout’s Eagle Leadership Project. One of the quickest projects our scouts can do is lead a major “spring cleanup” of the extensive grounds of the Immaculate Conception Church where our troop stores its troop gear for free. This exercise led to an accumulation of far more garbage than imagined as well as a surprise finding of a large old marble sign. The troop leaders look forward to an array of additional Life Scout Service Projects in coming years. For a few great pictures from a sunny but cool day in April, click here!
In mid-June several troops were invited by the Eastchester Historical Society to participate in the dedication of a new flag pole at the One Room Marble School House, erected in 1835. It was a small event, by community standards, with about 30 people total, but was well represented by Troop 353. In honor of the newly dedicated flag pole, the Scouts hoisted the American Flag and led the crowd of appreciative onlookers in the pledge of allegiance. Following a few brief dedications by local dignitaries, the local VFW provided a 3-gun salute. It was a small, but meaningful, way for Troop 353 scouts to serve their community! More great pics here.