Marc Arena came back to Burke to be in the presence of the honor and loyalty with which he grew up. His Boy Scout troop is a different group of boys now, but their purpose and integrity is exactly as he remembers.
“[Boy Scouts] gave me the opportunity to be a leader at such a young age,” said Arena, a 1995 Robinson graduate who earned the Eagle Scout distinction that same year. “It’s preparation for the real world.”
Boy Scout Troop 1346 celebrated its 25th anniversary, Monday, Oct. 14, at Terra Centre Elementary, 6000 Burke Centre Parkway. The troop combined its tri-annual Court of Honor event with the anniversary celebration and ate a feast of barbecue from Red Hot & Blue. The anniversary set the stage for the troop’s future, said Phil Clark, an assistant scoutmaster who has been with the troop for 15 years. Clark related a Winston Churchill quote to the troop’s milestone: "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
THE BOY SCOUTS lost one of their troop members to cancer in 2000 and have remained loyal to memory of their fallen scout and friend, Alec J. Santora. An award was named after him to recognize scouts for their exceptional service to others, something for which Alec was known. This year, Harrison Goehring earned the honor for his continuing work helping people in the community.
“I think this is a really nice award we give,” said Tammy Goehring, Harrison’s mother. “The service is a wonderful component [to Boy Scouts].”
Tammy Goehring recognized her son’s hard work, balancing academics and sports with scouting activities and service. Every boy in the troop deserves recognition for their ability to manage their time around so many different activities, she said. And that level of commitment is what she said ultimately helps the boys grow into young men.
“Over the course of just a couple of years, they really mature and step into these leadership roles,” said Tammy Goehring.
Tammy Goehring said an excellent example of the boys’ leadership came last year during the winter months. The Burke Presbyterian Church, the troop’s sponsor, helped the boys reach out and volunteer their time for hypothermia shelters. They were able to personally be at the shelters to reach out to those in need, something Tammy Goehring said was significant since many times the boys don’t have the opportunity to see the people they are helping.
“So many of the boys commented on how these [homeless] people were just like us," she said. "It really touched them.”
That role is what Arena remembers learning. He went on to attend Virginia Tech and is now a part-time graduate student at Georgetown University. The experience from Boy Scouts allowed him to connect with people, while also having a lot of fun.
“It’s great for college and work experience too,” said Arena.
The resume-builder isn’t all he took away from the experience, though. Arena carries his Eagle Scout distinction with him forever, and the integrity he learned so much about will never be lost, he said.
“It’s a wholesome activity,” said Clark. “There’s a focus on character, citizenship and physical fitness.”
That focus is something that has never been lost in the troop’s 25-year existence, said Ken Gaul, an assistant scout leader with the troop for the last five years. The Court of Honor, he said, is a special time for the troop. Since the event is the swearing-in of new youth leaders, it’s important to the entire troop since the boys’ leadership skills are emphasized. The anniversary celebration reminds the scouts that their work is important, he said.
“It shows the continuity of scouting in the community,” said Gaul. “It shows where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going.”