Scouting has a rich tradition in Elkridge, which has been bolstered by Troop 1111 of St. Augustine Church. The troop was formed in 2007 and contains members that have been together in Scouting since their first experiences in a den in their elementary school years.
Coming up from the pack to the troop, the boys have been part of crews sent to the High Adventure Bases in all three countries of North America to hone their skills and learn from professionals in wilderness survival.
Nationally, the average for Scouts who remain in the program and attain the highest rank with the achievement of the Eagle Scout Award is 4 percent. For Troop 1111, three of their original 17 members are receiving the award and our congratulations for their hard work and dedication to community, service and self-improvement, which are cornerstones of Scout life.
Troop 1111 has supported the Elkridge community through conservation projects in Patapsco Valley State Park as well as social service work through the Elkridge Love Mission. In addition, the boys have provided environmental support to Gwynn Falls Park and participated in efforts to honor and serve the military through Operation Welcome Home at BWI and collecting items of need for the Fisher House of the D.C. Veteran's Hospital.
The honorees are Porter Polcaro, Cameron Smith and Joe DiLosa, who have each contributed to their communities through their labors on their Eagle Projects, with the support of their leaders, Marc Berman, Ben Bauman, Jim Bennett and Scott Smith. In addition to the Eagle Projects, the boys have completed a rigorous interview process to demonstrate their dedication to the principals of Scouting and active productive citizenship.
Porter Polcaro, a senior at Loyola Blakefield, installed trees and planter boxes with perennials at St. Augustine Church for his Eagle Project. Joe DiLosa, a senior at Howard High, preserved a bridge in Rockburn Park by preventing erosion around the bridge and weatherproofing it. Erosion was controlled through the installation of rocks around the bridge footings, and planting native plants along the river banks. Fencing was also erected to control human and animal traffic. Cameron Smith is a senior at Howard High school. His Eagle Project involved procuring and preparing an aircraft to be submerged in a quarry to serve as a dive attraction, and to be used in teaching wreck diving.
In addition to his Eagle Award, Cameron also received the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement, which requires a dedication to the outdoors, sporting and safety to complete. Awardees are expected to acquire their Wilderness First Aid Certification as well as become trainers for Leave No Trace among other time consuming, although rewarding, trials.
Through their years in Scouting the boys of Troop 1111 have logged an impressive 4400 miles of hiking, 5500 miles biking and 3500 hours canoeing, which are supported by thousands of hours of community service to protect, beautify and improve the areas where we go to recreate. Elkridge can certainly be proud and thankful for a group of such active young men who have supported our community through their productive citizenship.