Troop 66 Garden City celebrated seven scouts at Lakewood Baptist Church Thursday who made the rank of Eagle, the highest rank in scouting. The boys, who have been close friends throughout their …
Troop 66 Garden City celebrated seven scouts at Lakewood Baptist Church Thursday who made the rank of Eagle, the highest rank in scouting. The boys, who have been close friends throughout their scouting careers, include Brian Alviti, Stephen Caniglia, Nick Cobb, Andrew Garcia, Eric Garcia, Spencer Hill and Teddy Shackelford.
Troop 66 Scoutmaster Jeff Goldthwait said this was a special ceremony for him since this was the first group he’s seen start to finish. Four months into the scouts joining the troop, Jeff took on the scoutmaster role.
“I look at you and I look at your growth,” said Jeff, recalling the trips and conversations they’ve had over the years.
The newly dubbed Eagle Scouts recalled their own experiences over the years.
Nick, who’s Eagle Scout project entailed painting two shelters at Camp Canonicus in Exeter, spoke to the fun the scouts had over the years – everything from camping together in 20 degree weather to paddle boarding adventures.
And of course, there were the all-nighters, the hours of goofing off together and drinking endless cans of Arizona tea as told by Stephen. He added that, seven years ago, he didn’t see himself obtaining the rank of Eagle and considered quitting early on.
“When I crossed over to Troop 66, I was the quiet kid. I was the last to volunteer and the first to want to leave every troop meeting and campout,” said Stephen.
He said that friends and family were a big reason for why he made the rank of Eagle.
“I could stand here and tell you how I stuck with scouts for the merit badges and the leadership skills, but the real reason is the lifelong friendships I’ve made,” Stephen said.
His project included collecting snacks, toiletries and helpful daily items to assemble in care packages for future Rhode Island National Guard soldiers; Stephen’s goal was to show appreciation to these men and women by making the bus ride to basic training more enjoyable.
As a conclusion to his speech, Stephen turned to his fellow Eagles, saying he forgave them for putting a Twizzler in his mouth when he was asleep on one of their camping trips. He explained to the audience that his friends watched him sit up and eat the Twizzler and fall back asleep; he didn’t know this happened until his friends told him a year later.
Eric, who fed Stephen the Twizzler and did not regret it, reflected on his time as a scout and asked the upcoming generation of scouts to take the younger ones under their wings and make sure they feel included. Eric, who worked in partnership with Kent County YMCA, built four raised garden beds which the organization’s summer camp would use so kids could learn how to plant and maintain a garden.
Teddy added that scouts opened a lot of opportunities for him. His Eagle Scout project consisted of collecting toiletries for the St. Vincent De Paul Associations. Scouts delivered flyers to the Garden City neighborhood explaining the project and returned the next week to collect donations.
Meanwhile, Brian worked with the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery to update the veteran’s cemetery database by locating missing information on veterans’ headstones (such as birthdate, death date and more) at Oakland Cemetery. Part of the project included an organized clean up in honor of his grandfather who recently passed away and was a Vietnam War Veteran.
Spencer revitalized a memorial garden for Alexis Silva who was the victim of a drunk driver accident over 10 years ago. Scouts assisted him in raking, weeding, mulching and cleaning the stepping stones at the garden that is located at Chester Barrows School; a tree and bulbs were also planted.
Lastly, Andrew’s project included painting new black top games such as four square, hop scotch and repairing a wooden trash bin and picnic benches at the Cranston YMCA playground; all of which was “Toy Story” themed.
After obtaining the rank of Eagle, scouts can earn Eagle palms. Stephen, Andrew and Eric all received palms at Thursday’s ceremony. Additionally, the scouts received citations from Mayor Ken Hopkins, Senator Jack Reed, Speaker of the House Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio.
“I’m very proud knowing you represent the City of Cranston,” said Hopkins, who was a former scout.
City Council President Chris Paplauskas, who has collaborated with Troop 66 because of his involvement with Troop 6, read from a 2016 Facebook post involving four of the seven Eagle scouts. Paplauskas had written ‘an awesome evening at Central Library discussing constitutional rights and the obligations of U.S. citizens. I look forward to seeing you all at a future City Council meeting soon – I know you’ll all make Eagle.’
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