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  • Wednesday, September 28, 2016

    New York Legion’s Scouting Program Wins Top National Award

    Dept. Presents Scout of the Year Awards

    The American Legion Scouting program in New York State is not only top notch, but is being recognized as perhaps the best in the country.

    The National American Legion has awarded the coveted Frank N. Belgrano Jr. Trophy to the Department of New York for rendering “the most outstanding service” this past year “to the program of the Boy Scouts of America.”

    Scouting chairman and Eagle Scout of the Year

    Scouting Chairman Steve Mataraza with Eagle Scout of the Year Steven McHarg.

    The award covers the period from July 31, 2015 to Aug. 1, 2016, and takes into account the number of Scout units organized, the strength of existing units, and the general welfare of the Scout movement under Legion sponsorship.

    This is the first time New York has won the award, according to Department Scouting Chairman Steve Mataraza.

    The American Legion in New York “sponsors approximately 230 Scouting units supporting 6,100 scouts,” he notes. “These numbers are representative of almost 10% of all Legion-sponsored units in the nation.”

    But beyond the numbers “is the partnership shared between Legionnaires and our scouting community,” he says. “These partnerships are ingrained in each other’s programs throughout the Department. The scouts incorporate Legionnaires into their activities and ceremonies, and the American Legion in turn relies on the Scouting groups to more effectively make our programs a success.”

    Mataraza adds: “Legionnaires’ life experiences are passed on to scouts as merit badge counselors, in leadership positions, and in numerous activities throughout the year. They need us and we need them to continue to raise future leaders.”

    New York’s Legion posts contributed over $139,000 to scouting units during the past year, he points out.

    He refers to the relationship between Legionnaires and Scouting at all leadership levels as an “unyielding bond.”

    As Mataraza reported at the Department Convention in July:

    “Scouting continues to evolve to keep up with changes and has implemented two big changes this year. Cub Scouts has introduced a new ‘Lions’ cub program to involve kindergarten age boys in the Scouting program. Boy Scouts has increased the community service requirement for all ranks on the path to Eagle Scout. This is a great opportunity… to connect with your local Boy Scout troop to assist in providing community service activities for the boys while strengthening that bond we have with the Scouting movement.”

    The Scouting chairman also announced top Department awards:

    Pack of the Year is Pack 267 chartered to Fredonia Memorial Post 59 in Chautauqua County in the 8th District.

    Troop of the Year is Troop 577 chartered by North Bellmore Post 1749, Nassau County 10th District.

    Adult Scouter of the Year is Michelle Brandon from Pack 42, chartered by Greenville Post 291, Greene County, 3rd District.

    Venturing Crew of the Year is Crew 14 out of Madison County in the 6th District.

    Eagle Scout of the Year is Steven McHarg from Troop 162, chartered by Post 162 in Lewis County, 5th District.