It was a big week for Simsbury Boy Scout Troop 174 as it celebrated its 50th anniversary and the addition of two new Eagle Scouts.
Troop 174 celebrated its 50th anniversary with an informal picnic at Town Forest Park in Simsbury June 22.
Then, on June 17 at Simsbury United Methodist Church, Troop 174 celebrated two Scouts who received the rank of Eagle, Alexander Boon van Ostade and Jay Burrows.
Scout Master John Burrows said the anniversary celebration went well. over 100 people came to show their support for Troop 174, including former Scouts that were home from college — many of whom spoke at the event.
Troop 174 began in 1963 when two of the five original Boy Scout troops in Simsbury merged into one. Now the troop is one of three troops in Simsbury and has over 50 Boy Scouts and leaders.
Boys join the troop when they are 10 years old and mat remain a part of the group until they are 18 years old.
As part of Troop 174, boys participate in exciting adventures where they learn valuable leadership skills. Past trips include canoeing in the Adirondacks, hiking the Appalachian Trail, 20-mile hikes around New York City, and bike trips to Block Island.
As scout master, Burrows enjoys seeing te boys challenge themselves and learn new skills.
“It’s nice to see the boys mature,” he said.
The Eagle Scout rank is the highest achievement rank a Boy Scout can attain, something Burrows has seen Scouts attain over the years, though only a small percentage of Scouts can say they’ve done so.
Boon van Ostade received his Eagle Scout Award after completing his Eagle project at Focus Center for Autism in Canton to create a recreational center within the building. He has been with Troop 174 since 2006, and has held many leadership positions.
In 2007, Boon van Ostade was awarded the Kevin Hanley Memorial Award, an award given to a Scout who exhibits true Scout spirit, according to a biography provided by the troop. He will be attending the University of Alabama in the fall.
Burrows, a junior at Simsbury High School and son of Scout Master Burrows, earned his Eagle rank after completing his project that involved building an information kiosk at the entrance to Town Forest Park in Simsbury.
The kiosk displays a giant map of the trails located within the Town Forest behind the Ethel Walker School, as well as extra map copies hikers can take for easy reference when hiking the trails.
“Not many people knew where the trails went,” said Burrows, “and they were unsure of where to go.”
Determined to fix this problem, Burrows went to the town and discovered the exact routes of the trails. Now hikers can enjoy the forest without worry of getting lost.
Burrows said he was happy his project was successful and when asked about how he feels about becoming an Eagle Scout, he responded, “I feel proud.”
Burrows was the recipient of the Arrow of Light, Cub Scouting’s highest award. He has also held several leadership positions within his 10 years of scouting and will be one of the senior patrol leaders for the 2013-14 scout year.
Scout Master Burrows commented in a press release, “Having celebrated the 50th anniversary on June 12, Troop 174 is very proud to celebrate Alex and Jay obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout.”
He told The Valley Press, looking forward, “I’m proud to be celebrating 50 years, and I’m excited for the next 50 years.”
Original article by Alexa Moravski, Valley Press staff.