Five Towns-based Boy Scout Troop 20, once the oldest troop in the area, tracing its beginnings to 1916, folded roughly a decade ago because of a lack of leadership and enrollment.
Relaunched in March 2019, the troop will hold its first Eagle Scout Court of Honor since 2010 on Sunday. Matthew Sharin, of Atlantic Beach, will be the first top-ranked scout under the troop’s new leadership.
“His potential is unlimited,” Scoutmaster Eugene Coreless said of Sharin. “He can command a room of scouts by projecting his personality, not with a loud voice but just personal style, which is quiet and respectful.”
Coreless, a Hewlett resident, was inspired to relaunch the troop when he was involved with Cedarhurst-based Cub Scout Pack 20.
“For a couple of years, I was walking by flags that were leaning in the corner,” Coreless said, referring to the room in Cedarhurst’s Number Five School where the Cub Scouts met. “So I unfurled the flag, and I saw that it said Boy Scout Troop 20 on it.”
Pack 20 is a program for boys and girls from kindergarten through fifth grade. When the Number Five School closed in 2015 and was leased to the Shulamith School, the pack was forced to relocate and clean out the scouts’ be-longings. During the cleanup, Coreless found the flag.
He didn’t know its history, so he learned about the troop at the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library. Then he decided to relaunch it.
“Troop 20 had been one of the earliest and oldest Boy Scout troops in the area,” Coreless said, “We started with 12 members, and are now at 25 and growing.”
“It’s perfectly fitting,” he added, referring to Sharin, “that he’s the first to get the honor.”
Sharin, 17, a Lawrence High School senior, began his scouting journey in Pack 20 as a third-grader. Two years later, he joined Boy Scout Troop 109 in Valley Stream, because there was no longer a troop in the Five Towns.
In the fall of 2019, he got a call from Coreless, his cubmaster in Pack 20, about the relaunch of Troop 20, and Sharin joined up.
“It was a no-brainer,” Matthew’s father, David Sharin, said of the move. “Eugene was great, and to be a part of the community again that he was linked to as a cub is great.”
To become an Eagle Scout, a scout must advance from the rank of Tenderfoot to 2nd Class, 1st Class, Star and Life. It takes a scout several years to achieve the highest ranking, Coreless said. A combination of merit badges, community service and leadership roles in the troop are required.
When Sharin began his journey as a Cub Scout, he learned practical skills such as tying knots and making campfires. Now, as a young adult, the emphasis is on leading younger scouts.
“It’s a responsibility,” said Sharin, who is also the valedictorian of Lawrence High School’s class of 2023. “I remember when I was younger, there were kids that were a big inspiration to me to become the person I am now. I hope to be a similar figure to the young kids.”
His father has watched his character develop over the course of his years as a scout.
“I’ve seen his leadership skills and confidence grow tremendously,” David said, “just by participation in the scout program.”
Just 4 percent of Boy Scouts earn the Eagle rank. For Matthew, the feeling is indescribable, but hopes he won’t be the reconstituted troop’s only one.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “I’m hoping there will be more to follow after me.”
The Court of Honor will take place at St. John’s Trinity Church, at 1142 Broadway in Hewlett, at 4:30 p.m. on March 26. To RSVP, email email@example.com.