Nassau County Scouts are always up to something. Camping, competitions and drives are frequently on the agenda, especially in Long Beach.
Almost 150 Scouts from all over Nassau County converged on Long Beach on Black Friday morning — while most people were heading off to deal with the crowds at malls and shops — to participate in the Theodore Roosevelt Council’s 27th annual “Ten Commandment Hike.” The council is one of the nation’s oldest, having been home to its namesake, the former president, who was a founding member. They are headquartered in Massapequa.
“In this time of unrest in the world must remember we are all your children and though we may walk through different doors to worship you,” Jerry Katz, the Theodore Roosevelt Council’s All Faith Committee chairman, “we all wind up in your home.”
Organized by the council’s All Faith Committee, this was the second time Long Beach has hosted this event. Other hikes have been held in the communities of Hempstead, Garden City, Westbury, Bellmore, Rockville Center, Oyster Bay, Williston Park, Port Washington, East Meadow and Farmingdale.
“Each year in a different town, it rotates,” said Patrick Maguire, Long Beach’s Troop 215 scoutmaster. “The last time it was in Long Beach was 2008.”
The scouts visited various houses of worship throughout Long Beach — both temples and churches — learning about each congregation’s history and particular faith. At each stop, the religious leader, whether it be a rabbi or priest, explained one of the Ten Commandments. The Martin Luther Center hosted clergy from both the Sikh and Hindu faith.
“The person would explain their faith, and then impart to the scout something about one of the Ten Commandments,” Maguire said. “Everybody was assigned one of the commandments so we had all different presentations.”
The group spent about 20 minutes at each stop and then hiked through the streets of Long Beach to the next church or synagogue. The Council’s Order of the Arrow prepared and served lunch to the hikers at St. Mary of the Isle Church. Returning to the starting point, the scouts traveled along the Long Beach Boardwalk where they learned of the 11th Commandment “Thou shall not walk in the bike lanes.”
“There are many hiking paths to the mountaintop, but the mountaintop is the same for all,” said Gino Scartozzi, assistant scoutmaster for Troop 332 East Rockaway and a committee member for Troop 8 East Williston. “Despite the many different faiths, they have common core beliefs that makes one a reverent person.”
“All presenters gave good insight on how to follow the ten commandments, to be a better person, making the world a better place,” said Michele Kenahan, committee chair for Troop 215 Long Beach. “We learned about how similar different religions really are”
If you are interested in how your son or daughter can become involved in Scouting visit BeAScout.org.