Service Projects and Merit Badges Summer 2020

In spite of Coronavirus Scout Troop 98 completes it’s Summer goal of 9.8 10 Eagle Projects and 98 108 merit badges

Despite missing out on traditional summer activities like two summer camps and a two-week backpacking expedition to the Philmont Scout ranch in New Mexico, all of which were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Scouts BSA Troop 98 for Boys in Whitpain Township, Pennsylvania has been very busy. 

In addition to meeting virtually since early March, and gathering in small groups in a Covid-compliant way once state restrictions were eased, the troop increased its focus on community service over the Summer. Service projects are a key component of Scouting and a responsibility of every Scout (almost every rank in Scouting requires some level of participation in community service, and the coveted rank of Eagle Scout requires a significant effort, sometimes totaling hundreds of hours of work). 

Late last Spring the Troop set out two ambitious goals: complete 9.8 Eagle Scout projects during the Summer (a play on the troop’s numeral and rounded up to ten for accounting) and earn 98 merit badges among all Scouts in the troop. And with just a day to spare before the last day of Summer, Troop 98 met the projects goal with Life Scout Nick Czincila’s delivery of assembled Covid-kits to the local Department of Health.

Here’s a run-down of the 9.8 10 completed projects:

Scout Stephen Autieri undertook a refurbishment of the outdoor education area at Stony Creek Elementary school, a terrific resource that the school can lean upon if it embarks on in-person learning at any point this fall. The project involved clearing an overgrown trail, making improvements to the seating areas and signage in the outdoor classroom. 

At Wentz Run Park in Blue Bell, Scout Brendan Garrity built and installed elevated boardwalks in low-lying areas of the nature trail system. This allows safe (and mud-less) passage during wet weather.

Scout Teddy Nagle led a team that built and installed spotted lantern fly traps in various areas of the community, including Wentz Run Park and Prophecy Creek Park, both in Blue Bell. His traps caught many of the invasive bugs during their nymph stage.

Scout Jack Sanfilippo organized and completed a food drive throughout the township which benefited the Community Cupboard of Ambler, successfully collecting over 2500 pounds of food and several hundred dollars of cash contributions.

In partnership with Wissahickon Trails, a local nature association (formerly the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association), Scout Luke Murray led a team to build bird houses remotely, creating an instructional video, obtaining and delivering the materials to each Scout builder. Later, he and a small team installed them in several local preserves, including the Armentrout and Crossways Preserves and Camp Woods.


At Fort Washington State Park, Scout
Zach Malloy organized a team to assemble 21 new full size picnic tables and to remove or repair many of the aging tables being replaced.

Also at Fort Washington State Park, Scout
John Connaghan developed and installed a permanent orienteering course for visitors to practice and challenge themselves in map and compass skills while they're hiking.

At the former Mermaid swim club recently acquired by Whitpain Township, Scout
Dean DiGiovanni carried out a cleanup and improvements in preparation for an opening of part of the property to the public.

Scout EJ Whitaker renovated the walking labyrinth at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Blue Bell, Troop 98’s original chartering organization. Over a thousand bricks form the labyrinth and they sank over the years. EJ and his team carefully removed, cleaned and elevated them to bring the labyrinth back to visibility and use.

Over a period of several days, Scout
Nick Czincila and his volunteers assembled five thousand Covid kits for the County Board of Health. The supplies consisting of face masks, sanitizer, wipes, a thermometer, and printed flyers, were obtained with a federal grant but no staff was available to assemble them quickly. Nick and his fellow Scouts and friends answered the call.