Three Boy Scouts from Troop 116 in Valley Stream — Nicholas Baez, Christian Dyer and James Tronsor — sat center stage last Saturday in Village Hall, which was turned into an Eagle Court of Honor to recognize the trio as recipients of the highest rank in Scouting.
They each were bestowed with the Eagle Scout rank as they sat inside the well of the hall’s former courtroom — a railing that would normally separate the public from presiding officials stood between them and an adoring crowd of parents, fellow Scouts, Scout leaders and an array of special guests.
The prestigious Eagle rank, which a mere fraction of Scouts achieve in any given year, is passionately revered by Scouts nationwide and given a rare air of respect by society, in general.
The three young men from Troop 116 were ceremonially showered with plaques, certificates and citations from various community organizations and constituent groups. They shook hands with dignitaries who came to bask in their moment of glory and some who delivered a few words praising the Scout’s hard work. The entire ceremony lasted roughly two hours.
The speeches recounting their Scouting journey prompted the Eagle Scouts’ emotions to fully soar, riding the full high of the moment.
“Trying to encapsulate 10-plus years of Scouting for one speech, a million different ideas started racing,” Baez said. “I quickly realized how special that is, to be able to remember so many different core memories from the time.”
The trio recalled wild camping stories and mischievous anecdotes, shedding tears over nurturing mentors, and emphasizing personal joys like guiding younger Scouts to discover their confidence.
“The leaders in this troop have cultivated an environment where it’s impossible not to have fun,” Tronsor said. “It’s almost impossible not to enjoy every minute of it.”
Dyer added, “I’m unsure of what the future holds, but I’m confident that whatever life throws my way, Boy Scouts has given me a strong foundation for me to build upon.”
The trio continued to live by the finer lessons of the Eagle Scout rank — to embrace maturity, responsibility and leadership with humility and good cheer.
Among the many requirements to achieve the most revered rank, a Scout must earn a minimum of 21 merit badges and complete a large-scale community service project, often requiring multiple phases and the coordination of a crew of volunteers, leaving a lasting benefit to the community.
For his Eagle project, Baez, who played baseball for the Valley Stream Little League and Valley Stream North High School, noticed that the fields, batting cage and bullpen at Valley Stream’s Firemen’s Memorial Field needed a facelift.
“I chose this project because I have been playing baseball for as long as I’ve been able to pick up a bat,” Baez said. “I decided that the field that I have been playing on my entire life really needed a renovation.”
The 18-year-old Scout enlisted the help of fellow Scouts and Little League members to mend the fields and redesign the batting cage and bullpen area.
“I tore down the old batting cage and put up a brand new one that was double in size,” Baez said. “I also put up privacy fencing on all four fields at Firemen’s.”
For his project, Dyer, 17, gave the backyard of the Holy Name of Mary Convent in Valley Stream a much-needed makeover. The convent space was once used to house nuns but now serves various community groups, including the Church and Knights of Columbus. He tore down and replaced the perimeter fencing, removed a dead tree, picked up broken pavers, and cleaned up the ivy vines that had been growing wildly over the property.
“We gave the convent in that backyard the real Boy Scout treatment, and by that I mean we left it better than we found it,” Dyer said.
Tronsor, 18, upgraded the inner school playground at Incarnation Catholic Academy in Queens, painting games and activities on the blacktop.
“Originally, I had set out to make a bench, but that wasn’t very creative until I passed by this blacktop area where the kids play, and I thought the play space was very boring, so with the help of the troop, we made tons of games for them,” Tronsor said. “It was great.”
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