Boy Scout Troop 16, based in Oak Park, held an Eagle Court of Honor ceremony for 9 scouts who achieved the rank over the past 18 months. The ceremony was held at Bemis Woods in Westchester on Aug. 15.

“This is a first for us,” said Scoutmaster Terry Dutton. “Normally we do these for individuals one at a time, but we had a number of scouts who worked incredibly hard during the pandemic to complete the rank, and as some are going off to college, we wanted to give them their proper due. It’s been a challenging couple of years for us and we’ve had to rethink how we do a lot of things.”

Troop 16 continually operated its outdoor program during the pandemic. Opting to meet outdoors and using multiple group sites, it was able to provide near uninterrupted activities and engagement for its members while maintaining strict safety protocols and adhering to state and local guidelines.

Scouts must complete a project benefiting the community in order to earn Eagle, in addition to earning 21 merit badges, as well as a number of other requirements. Said newly-minted Eagle Scout and Oak Park resident Cory Yu, “Earning Eagle was a long and sustained process, always requiring dedication and commitment. It feels almost surreal that I have come so far and grown so much since I first entered Troop 16. For me, Eagle rank represents a capstone to my journey and growth through Scouting, and I hope to continue living up to that standard for myself, the troop, and the community at large.”

Added Troop 16 committee chairman Jim Bicak, “We actually have an additional three boys who have earned the rank but were unable to participate in the ceremony due to scheduling conflicts, including one who has an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy and has started his training. We’re really proud of these 12 young men, in part for what they’ve already accomplished, but also for the amazing things they’ve yet to accomplish.”

Troop 16 is chartered by First United Church of Oak Park and is one of the country’s oldest continuously operating B.S.A. scout troops. Founded in 1916, it currently serves over 90 young men, age 10-17, drawing from the communities of Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Maywood, Elmwood Park, and Chicago. The troop has produced hundreds of Eagle Scouts since its founding.

The scouts honored at the ceremony on Aug. 15, all from Oak Park, are:

Camari Bolger – Built and installed two large shelving units in a storage area of First United Church and organized that space to make it more useful for the church.

Dylan Hendrixson – Painted an interactive sundial at Beye Elementary School on the blacktop.  Faculty and students can use the sundial to explore the rotation of the Earth and revolution of the Earth around the sun and seasons simulator.

Cyrus Kaczkowski – Built planters with birdhouses for Oak Park Township.

Hugh Lipic – Cleaned and reorganized a preschool storage room at Oak Park Temple in addition to repainting a basement community gathering hall

Sean O’Connell – Created a Bird Blind at Thatcher Woods Trailside Museum. The blind makes it possible for people to watch the birds without disturbing them.

Luke Pildich – Built two large, wooden planter boxes and landscaped playground area for New Moms, a nonprofit organization in Oak Park.

Danny Roberts – Built two bookcases for Beyond Hunger to help provide books to food pantry guests.

Duncan Weir – Created children’s chapel program for First United Methodist church, so that they would be prepared for reopening.

Cory Yu – Built five benches of various lengths for the Sunrise Lake Outdoor Education Center (SLOEC), which is an outdoor school run in Bartlett, by the Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization (NSSEO).

For more information, contact Assistant Scoutmaster Andrew Campbell at 773-539-2356 or andrewcampbell518@gmail.com.

Andrew Lennie, Troop 16

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