Six young men from Cinnaminson’s Boy Scout Troop 70 were rewarded for their dedication to scouting and their community service by being promoted to Eagle Scouts, then inducted into the Eagle Ring of Honor, on May 22.
Tyler Bachman, Michael Gorman, David Norman, Ryland Ross, Sam Sibila and Matthew Wright count six decades of combined service, and they were duly honored for reaching that final step after starting with Cub Scouts in grade school.
The promotion ceremony took place at Covenant Presbyterian Church and was attended by Scouts past and present, parents, siblings, troop leaders, community members and local and regional dignitaries.
Scoutmaster Chuck Wright, whose son Matthew was an honoree, began the day with a scene setting speech, then yielded to tradition. With township council as well as Burlington County Supervisors looking on, all Eagle Scouts in the audience exited the sanctuary, only to escort the new Eagles back into church, where an oath dating back to 1912 was recited.
“All Eagles recite it, which is an obligation to do better with body, mind and spirit,” Wright explained.
Eleven years of commitment to reach the level of Eagle Scout made several minutes of public speaking a relative breeze for some of the young men.
“I would say doing the project (was more difficult), because it took way more time. As much as I don’t like speeches, the project was more labor intensive than figuring out what to say,” offered Norman, who placed approximately 900 reflective discs on township fire hydrants to make them more visible in the dark.
Norman also admitted to the shock of reaching the end of the road, wishing he could do it all over again, sitting in Cub Scouts at age 8.
For Wright, who never made it to the highest level of Scouting, the ceremony is a sweet moment and a culmination of mentorship that yields some unexpected and positive results.
“You watch these kids from very young, and you talk to the kids, so you think you know their stories,” he noted. “When the time comes for them to stand in front of the committee, you just sit back and listen. You find out things you never would have known otherwise.”
Because of the long-term commitment and the nature of the work involved, only about 4 percent of all kids who enter Scouting in grade school stick with it long enough to attain the rank of Eagle.
Ryland Ross is a proud “lifer” who earned his rank by building an outdoor classroom and patio area adjacent to Eleanor Rush Intermediate School, during the heat of last summer, in the middle of a pandemic.
“After completing my project, I felt a weight off my shoulders, as I had been working for this over my 11 years of scouting,” he recalled. “At the ceremony, I had the realization of how all my years of Scouting had led to that moment. I felt a fulfillment, as well as a sadness that my Scouting journey was over.”
Wright said despite the fact that two of the group have aged out, the pull of Scouts is so strong, they still come to weekly meetings, making them able to become assistant Scout masters. He’s seen quite a few Eagles and other Scouts who have stuck with the program over the years also commit to giving back.
“I think what you find, when kids hit their 20s, they’re away from college (and they want to do different things),” Wright added. “But when they get older and have kids, they really want to start to come back.”