Greenwich Boy Scouts celebrate 100

The Greenwich Council of the Boy Scouts of America and their supporters united for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration Saturday night as Greenwich Scouting celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Old Greenwich.

The organization put on its “Camp Centennial” in recognition of a century of delivering youth programs that support the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA’s) mission to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices throughout their lives.

Clad in their finest camping attire, many partiers, including Greenwich scouting alum Chief of Police James Heavey, began their evening with the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres hour, which was dominated by a sprawling timeline that traversed the highlights of both national and Greenwich scouting.

Consisting of Boy Scout magazines, songbooks, advertisements, photos, badges and an abundance of press clippings, the timeline, created by Greenwich Scouting Board member Camille Broderick, provided partygoers with the rich history of Greenwich Scouting from its inception through the present.

 

According to Craig Jones, business manager for Greenwich Scouting, a centennial celebration was also celebrated last year by local Scouts in recognition of the national BSA’s 100th anniversary. What makes Greenwich’s milestone special, however, is that it is the oldest council in the country, he said.

Furthermore, Ernest Thompson Seton, one of the co-founders of BSA, lived in Cos Cob and served as the Greenwich Council’s first president, Mr. Jones said.

Accordingly, the late Mr. Seton, here portrayed by actor Tim Beasley, served as master of ceremonies at the Camp Centennial.

During his opening speech, Mr. Beasley, in the guise of Mr. Seton, gave a brief history of the origins of Greenwich Scouting. He also directed attention to the small trees that decorated several tables, explaining that they would be planted at the Ernest Thompson Seton Scout Reservation on Riversville Road.

“May these trees grow to see the next generation of Greenwich Scouts,” he declared.

Greenwich Council President Bob DeLaney spoke next, telling attendees, “It’s once in a lifetime that you get to celebrate 100 years of anything, but this is really exciting, so I hope that you enjoy every moment of the celebration.”

Also referencing the establishment of the Greenwich Council, Mr. DeLaney spoke of Mr. Seton and the first group of boys he instructed.

“I think that would have been the coolest thing in the world to have been age 11 in Cos Cob,” he said.

Mr. DeLaney then turned to the present, describing the nearly two-year process of planning the Camp Centennial, the significance of Greenwich Scouts completing 100 “good turns” — service projects that benefit the community — and recognized volunteers, board members and staff members for their dedication to the organization and the night’s event.

The Scout oath and law “remain the centerpiece” of the principles taught to Boy Scouts today and are “truly words to live by,” Mr. DeLaney said. “I assure you, the next 100 years will continue to be guided by the BSA’s clear, concise vision” of teaching youth to make ethical choices.

The value of scouting was also described by Dominic Borrico, a Greenwich Scout for the last four years. Being a Boy Scout, Dominic told the Post, means never having to be alone. The Camp Centennial “means everything,” he explained, because it is a milestone celebrated by one big family.

The remainder of the event was highlighted by a performance by the Silver Wolf Dancers, a speech about the high adventure base known as Bechtel Summit Reserve by Jack Furst and a magical presentation provided by world-renowned illusionist Bill Herz.

The focus of the evening was perhaps described best by Scout Executive Kevin O’Shea, who told attendees, “One hundred years from now it will not matter the type of house I lived in, the type of car I drove or how much I had in my bank account, but that I had made a difference in the life of a boy.”

All photos taken by Post photographer John Ferris Robben.

 

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