Troop 55 was pleased to award the Eagle Scout Rank to three of its members at a ceremony at the Ithaca Waldorf School on Aug. 11. Jeffrey Lantz, Ciaran MacKenzie and Hans Tang are the troop’s 68th, 69th and 70th Eagle Scouts.
While coming from Ellis Hollow, the troop held the ceremony at the Ithaca Waldorf School as it was the site where Ciaran MacKenzie installed a full-size sand volleyball court for that school as his Eagle project. All Eagle Scout candidates must plan and complete such a project to help their community. In addition, each of the three candidates needed to master a series of basic skills underpinning the ability to function both as an adult and as a good citizen. Not only did they have to learn basic first aid, how to cook, how to camp and basic nature information, but each also had to learn basic tenets of citizenship and how to work well within a group of young men of varying skills. Like all Eagle Scouts, Jeff, Ciaran and Hans had to investigate a total of 21 other topics in-depth, earning a “merit badge” as he completed each. Eleven of those merit badges were required to be in areas helping him into adulthood with skills like citizenship, first aid and physical fitness, among others.
Jeff Lantz cited his best scouting experiences as sailing on Cayuga Lake, hiking in the Adirondacks, and staying overnight on an island he canoed to to reach. He served the troop as Senior Patrol Leader, and next year will go to Cornell University to study math and computer science. Jeff proposed three Eagle projects before he found the right one.
“Finding the right project can be challenging. … I even presented [one] to the troop committee before settling on my final project,” Lantz said. “Every year at the Ellis Hollow fair, a quilt is raffled off to support the Ellis Hollow Community Center. The old [display] frame … was bulky, old, and hard to use, but with a design from the Tompkins County Quilters Guild as a starting point, [we built] a new, lightweight frame. I learned a lot about scheduling and time management from my project, but enjoyed the experience in spite of a few complications.”
Many of Ciaran MacKenzie’s best memories connect with Camp Barton on Cayuga Lake in both winter and summer. He also has fond memories of a night spent on the Sea Scout Ship Sensei sailing out of the Cayuga Inlet. Ciaran spent a term as Troop 55’s Senior Patrol Leader. Next year will find Ciaran at Alfred University studying engineering.
Ciaran’s Eagle Project was to realize a long-time dream: “Throughout most of middle school, and all of high school I knew that I wanted my eagle project to be fixing the old volleyball court at my middle school. And so as soon as my project was approved, I started the long task of raising the funds needed. Once that was done, I organized three work parties and we set to work. This project taught me a lot about how to organize people, and it helped me feel comfortable calling people and talking to them.”
Han Tang cited his first campout as being his first time away from home and also talked about his leadership experiences and time in nature, stargazing, hammocks, canoeing or biking as among his favorite scouting memories. He’ll be attending Tompkins Cortland Community College in the Fall to study Computer Information. Hans served the troop as Senior Patrol Leader.
His Eagle Project helped his new hobby: “Ever since my first experience mountain biking at Shindagin Hollow, I wanted my Eagle Project to be done within the state forest. So, I reached out to Cycle CNY, … after a few months … we were finally ready to carry out our project. Over 30 volunteers moved over 8,000 pounds of stone to repair and improve damaged areas on trails Blue #1 and Yellow #1, construct a new entrance to Yellow #1, and upgrade poor drainage on Shindagin Hollow’s newly constructed parking lot. In the end, my communication skills improved, I got a better handle on leading large groups, and I learned how rewarding community work is.”
Troop 55 looks forward to Jeff, Ciaran and Hans continuing their contributions both to the Troop’s home in Ellis Hollow and the wider Tompkins County community and to their efforts in building on the Troop’s long tradition of creating an inclusive community in Scouting’s best tradition.
Scouts BSA welcomes all young people who are 11 years old (or 10½ and completed fifth grade), up to the age of 18. We prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. We are “youth-led, adult-guided” meaning the Scouts plan the program with adults guiding them to create a safe space for boys to be their best selves – no one gets “cut” from Scouts. If you want to find out more about Scouting, visit our local website at TCScouts.org or call the Baden Powell Council office at 877-674-8876.
Featured image provided.