Bayport’s Troop 130, the second oldest continuously
operating Boy Scout troop in Suffolk County, saw three of its young men achieve the rank of Eagle Scout this
year. Dylan Rogers, Justin Underwood,
and Matt Cuccurese rated Scouting’s highest honor at three separate
Eagle ceremonies this year, led by Scoutmaster Richard “Skip” Chance. These young men represent Troop 130’s 26 Scouts
since the troop was founded.
The pinnacle of Scouting’s seven ranks, Eagle Scouts make up only five percent of all Boy Scouts, but those who achieve the rank have proven to be highly accomplished in adult life: 21% of all NASA Astronauts were Eagles (57% of astronauts are Scout alumni), and over 60 members of Congress were Eagle Scouts. Scouting teaches the merits of hard work, self-discipline, and self-reliance. To achieve the rank of Eagle, a Scout must invest years of effort learning skills both simple and complex: from tying knots to building fires, from first aid to advanced water safety, and from pitching a tent to surviving in the wilderness. Along the way, a Scout develops leadership, a skill which serves them, and America, for the rest of their lives. Scouting, as these young men will tell you, is not work but a lot of fun: the boys enjoy camping, swimming, boating, fishing, skiing, backpacking, and many other activities throughout
Dylan Rogers, a 2012 graduate of Saint John the Baptist High School in West Islip, and Troop 130’s 26 Eagle, is now studying at SUNY Stony Brook. A successful Eagle Scout must complete an approved Eagle Project, which is something of a final exam after years of training: an exercise in discipline, fund raising, planning, execution, and leadership which, when completed, serves a community purpose. Dylan’s Eagle project was a large finish carpentry project at the Bayport Methodist Church, where Troop 130 hasmet for many years. His favorite memories of scouting were from summer trips to Ten Mile River scout camp in the Catskills. Scouting, for Dylan, was a true transformational experience, saying “the experience of being a Boy Scout completely changed my life.”
Justin Underwood, a 2013 graduate of Bayport Blue Point High School who also served as Chaplain of Troop 130, earned the rank of Eagle with Palms, for earning 27 merit badges – the 21 required for the rank, plus five more. His project was to completely rebuild and renovate the pantry at a soup kitchen at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Patchogue: this involved gutting plaster walls, rough carpentry, drywall, painting, and finish work including shelving. The project involved months of planning, and Justin, with the help of seven others, worked 40 hours (four ten-hour days) to complete the project. Justin plans to study medicine, and will attend the University of Delaware in the Fall.
Matt Cuccurese, a 2012 graduate of Bayport Blue Point High
School, is studying psychology at SUNY Geneseo. When not in school, Matt works at Bayport Flower House. Matt’s Eagle project was to build an
improved enclosure for “Holtsville Hal”, Long Island’s own weather-predicting
groundhog, currently resident at the Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology
Center. His advice to Scouts who aspire
to Eagle is: “get it done early and get it done well.” For young men who may be interested in
joining Scouting, Matt describes it as “an adventure which not everyone gets
the chance to do, and an opportunity to make friends for a lifetime.”
Troop 130, a fixture in our area for nearly seven decades,
meets on Thursday evenings during the school year at Bayport Methodist Church
(482 Middle Road), and holds activities throughout the year. For further information about Troop 130 or
about scouting in general, contact Jim McAward, Assistant Scoutmaster, at 631-363-3121.