By Debbie Adams
Scout Troop 42 held the Spring 2021 Court of Honor and Cross-over Ceremony at Living Water Christian Church in Salem on June 22. The troop formed in the summer of 2019 with just five members and has now grown to a membership of 17. Many of their meetings and activities have been virtual in the past year due to the pandemic, but the Crossover and Court of Honor were held in person, now that COVID restrictions are being lifted.
The Crossover ceremony is a significant step which symbolizes the transition from Cub Scouts to Scouts BSA. The Scouts are crossing over from a pack to a troop and to a new chapter in their Scouting endeavors with many new experiences to come.
A Court of Honor recognizes Scouts who have moved up a rank or who have earned merit badges since the previous Court of Honor was held. This is a formal recognition with families, friends, and the public in attendance.
The ceremony on June 22 was led by Scoutmaster Hawk Hillberry, Assistant Scoutmaster Janette Hunt, and Senior Patrol Leaders Jayden Sink and Logan Pugh. It opened with the presentation of flags, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
During the ceremony, Cub Scout Kingston Lees crossed over a wooden bridge signifying his advancement to Scout Troop 42. Initially he and his mother, Janette Hunt, stood at one end of the bridge and advanced slowly across the bridge as the 12 points of Scout Law were read, to be greeted by the Scoutmaster on the other end. A fellow Scout was also waiting there, holding a rolled Troop neckerchief, which was presented to Lees.
Lizzy Hannon and Mikey Chisom joined as new members of Troop 42. All three—Lees, Hannon, and Chisom—earned their Scout Rank, the first rank in Scouting and were presented with Scout Handbooks. Their mothers were presented with pins.
Next up was the Court of Honor, when several Scouts advanced in rank and received merit badges, with their mothers receiving pins as well.
Scoutmaster Hillberry commented that with the pandemic the scouts in Troop 42 have had extra time to work on merit badges and rank requirements.
Tenderfoot Scouts Joshua Crump, Nate Wainwright, Noah Weeks, Skylar Hunley, William Harding, and Joshua Harding completed the requirements to advance to Second Class Rank.
First Class Scouts Daymien Manus and Jhorden Sink achieved Star Rank, just two ranks away from Eagle Scout.
In addition to the Scouts, several adult leaders were recognized for their efforts in establishing Troop 42. Janette Hunt, Courtney Pugh, and Joe Ostronic received the William D. Boyce New Unit Organizer Award for their efforts in founding the troop. The award is a square knot placed over the three colors representing the three phases of the Scouting program—Cub Scouting. Scouts BSA, and Venturing.
They were thanked by Scouts and families for serving the community by establishing a troop for scouts of all ability levels and spreading the ideal of inclusiveness—and being exemplary servants in the scouting program.
Chris Pugh was awarded the Special Needs Scouting Service Award, the third recipient of the award for Troop 42. The first year the award was presented to Gary and Heather Mason and the next to Tony Whitaker, with the Great Valley District Scouting organization.
Scouting guidelines say, “In order to be eligible for this honor, an individual must help youth with all abilities in a Pack or Troop setting, serve as a mentor or role model, facilitate a group discussion, lead, promote, or assist in an event, outing, demonstration for a rank requirement or one that promotes awareness and acceptance for all youth with all abilities.”
The evening finished off with a birthday cake celebrating the 17th birthday of Senior Patrol Leader Jayden Sink who is working diligently on his Eagle Scout rank.
Scout Troop 42 is inclusive and open to scouts of all ability levels and those who live in all areas of the valley. Local scout leaders realized over two years ago that there was an unmet need locally in Scouting for children with special needs. That led to the formation of the Scout Abilities Committee—a group of individuals focused on inclusion of Scouts of all abilities to create an environment in which those with limited social, physical, cognitive, and communication skills could come together and work as a Scouting unit.”