TOWANDA - At a recognition ceremony on Sunday in Towanda, state Rep. Tina Pickett and Bradford County District Attorney Dan Barrett had high praise not only for the 16 Bradford County youths who had achieved the Eagle Scout and Gold Awards in the past year, but for the Boy and Girl Scout programs as well.
Scouting provides "an opportunity to show your ability to work, plan, achieve and participate. That's what being an Eagle Scout is about," said Barrett, who had earned his Eagle Scout award in 1969 as a member of Towanda Boy Scout Troop 5.
Barrett told the Eagle Scouts and Gold Award recipients that they "had shown a commitment to a system that has the highest standards of integrity, the highest standards of service and the highest standards of cooperation."
And through the Boy and Girl Scout programs, they had worked with Scout leaders who shared those values, he said.
"As the years go by, I think you'll have an even greater appreciation for Scouting," said Barrett.
While many local Boy Scout troops produced Eagle Scouts in the past year, if a troop did not, it is not a bad reflection on the troop itself, he said, Scouting is about much more than producing Eagle Scouts, he explained.
The rank of Eagle Scout and the Gold Award are the highest awards in Scouting. This year, the Girl Scout program is 100 years old, and the Boy Scout program is 102 years old.
Pickett said it was "kind of exciting" to be among an esteemed group of Scouts who had achieved something that very people have achieved.
"I certainly admire your commitment to serve God, country and the community," which is much more than most people have demonstrated, she said.
Pickett praised Scouting in general, saying that there are a lot of temptations that young people are exposed to, and that being involved in Scouting "gives you an opportunity to avoid those pitfalls."
Scouting also gives young people an opportunity to make friends and to be involved in something that will make their lives more successful, she said.
Scouting has given the young people at the ceremony the skills to be "the leaders of tomorrow," she said.
Pickett and Barrett also praised the efforts of the youths' parents and Scout leaders.
Scout leaders show "tremendous dedication," Pickett said. "I know how much time they have put in" over the years so that the youths at the ceremony could achieve their goals in Scouting, she said.
Parents had also contributed to their children's success by driving them to Scout meetings and "urging them a little" while they going through the Scouting program, Pickett said.
The recognition ceremony, which was held at the Towanda Elks Lodge 2191, was sponsored by the Towanda Elks lodge and Sayre Elks Lodge 1148. The Elks presented the youths with certificates of recognition, a U.S. flag, and honored them, their families and their Scout leaders with a dinner after the ceremony.
The 16 Bradford County youths who achieved the Eagle Scout rank or received the Gold Award over the past year are Aaron R. Brotzman, Dustin L. Bahl, Lucas L. Hatton, Trey M. Hildebrandt, Zachary A. Sporn, Mark J. Wright, David A. Wales, Daniel R. Nauta, Joseph M. Kozemko, Alex J. Moliski, Kyle J. Blascak, Matthew R. Murphy, Patrick V. Murphy, Rachel Juhola, Chelsea Wahlig, and Julia Wolanski.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.