Hello my lovelies!
This week I found myself thinking back and remembering when I was in Elementary School and Middle School ~ I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout. My brother was a Boy Scout . . . my mom was also a Den Mother. I remember camping with my with my fellow scouts, learning lots, trying new things, and having lots of fun together. My brother and I eventually dropped out of our troops, and life went on.
Fast forward to when my boys were in Elementary School, we decided to get them involved in Cub Scouts . . . and I, like my mother, became a leader for my younger sons’ group. We built birdhouses, camped, ice skated, and plenty of other fun things. My husband and I both hoped that they would continue and move up to the Boy Scouts Troop . . . but no such luck. They lost interest and dropped out.
On Sunday, March 12, 2017, I was honored to be a part of something amazing. Something that I knew was possible, but had never personally seen. One of my Seniors invited me to his Court of Honor Ceremony. A ceremony to celebrate becoming and Eagle Scout. The highest honor of any Boy Scout. He didn’t start out early in Cub Scouts and even got a late start as a Boy Scout, but Noah, with hard work and determination made it happen.
I first met Noah when my oldest son began to play soccer for the our high school team. Noah is a year older than my oldest and was on the varsity team. It was obvious from the very first game that he was one you keep your eye on. Then, I ran into him on the track team, when my younger son joined the team. Soon, I was seeing Noah everywhere. He’s a member of the drama group, the choir and regional choir, the band and regional band, and is even the drum major for the marching band this year. He’s on the track team and was a captain of the varsity soccer team . . . and of course a Boy Scout. I know there is much more that I am forgetting, but you get the point. Noah is an exceptional young man.
Part of becoming an Eagle Scout is to do a service project for the community. During Noah’s Senior Portrait Session, we took photos of him at his project location. Bald Eagle State Park is a park that I go to often. It’s close to my home and is a beautiful location for photos. With the mountains in the background, the lake, and all of nature around – you can’t go wrong! When The Nature Inn was added to the park, it only made the scenery more beautiful. It was at this State Park that Noah did his Eagle Scout service project.
Noah’s project was located at the Environmental Learning Center at Bald Eagle State Park. The project was to restore and make additions to the bird-watching area. It included tiling the area and planting new grass, removing rocks and weeds, sanding and sealing the split-rail fence, placing mulch under the length of the fence, fixing a large open bird feeder and building a second, identical bird feeder, and then painting both. He also refurbished two raised flower beds for planting native plants, butterfly milkweed, and bee balm at the request of the park. He began all of this work on July 2, 2016 and finished on August 20, 2016. His hard work paid off . . . It turned out beautifully!
Finally the day arrived, five years after he first became a scout and 23 merit badges later, Noah and his family were about to celebrate this huge accomplishment. He had his family and friends there along with his Scout Troop 370 and several honored guest there, all to pay tribute to him. He stood at the front of Faith UM Church and accepted each token and certificate with humility and grace. As a parent, I know that his parents sat proudly beaming, and probably fighting back the tears at times. I know this because as his photographer, I was beaming with pride and fighting back tears of my own. I have never been of part of such a ceremony . . . and I was truly amazed at the number of guest that were there to honor Noah’s accomplishment. Among those guests were our State Senator, Jake Corman and our State House of Representatives, Kerry Benninghoff, along with our Centre County Commissioners, Mark Higgins and Steve Dershem. There were also representatives from the Elks Lodge #1094, Nittany Leathernecks, PA State Police, the Centre County Sheriff, and though our U.S. House of Representatives, Glenn Thompson, couldn’t be there, he sent a certificate to honor Noah.
For me, there were a few very moving moments during the ceremony. The first being when Noah’s grandfather took the podium for the Eagle Charge and Promise.
That was closely followed by Noah receiving his Eagle Scout Pin and then presenting his parents with their own pins.
And then the presentation of Noah’s Mentor Pin. I found this particularly special because he chose his best friend, the one that got him involved in scouts, to receive his Mentor Pin. Though Dion may have suspected that he would be the one chosen, he was still clearly moved by the decision.
After it was all over and the colors were retired, we celebrated! Photos and food and close inspection of all his certificates and gift given during the ceremony. There were SO many certificates, that in the photo below, some had to be covered by others.
Noah plans to return to Philmont Scout Ranch with Troop 370 as and adult leader in the summer of 2018. In the meantime, Noah will graduate from Bellefonte Area High School in June of 2017. In the summer he will begin his college education at Penn State, where he will study Nuclear Engineering. He also hopes to join he Naval ROTC.
Noah, I am honored and proud to call you one of “my” seniors! Thank you for including me in this monumental moment in your life. Thank you for choosing me as your Senior Portrait Photographer. I wish you all the best in everything you do . . . though I have no doubt that you will be successful in anything you put your mind to. Stay true to who you are and never doubt your abilities.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
Charlene and Frank, congratulations! You have raise a wonderful young man and should be very proud! Thank you for sharing him with me, and for inviting me to his ceremony. I truly enjoyed myself and will remember it forever.
If you are interested in learning more about Boy Scouting in your area, visit this website: www.scouting.org. If you are interested in learning more about Girl Scouting in your area, visit this website: www.girlscouts.org.
The Bellefonte Class of 2017 has been a truly incredible class to photograph. Every time I turn around I hear of another one of “my” seniors accomplishing something new, being honored in some fashion or another. I truly look forward to hearing about each and every little and big “win” in their lives . . . and I can’t wait to see what the Class of 2018 will be like! If you are ready to schedule your Senior Portrait Session or just have questions, please feel free to contact me!
Until then . ..
Love and Blessings to you all!