Thomas Silva was all smiles on Saturday as he received pins, plaques, ribbons, badges and praise during his Eagle Scout Court of Honor at the fellowship hall of the .
The church has sponsored Troop 22 for over 50 years, a troop that's produced about 50 Eagle Scouts through those five decades. There was a lag for a few years in the average one-per-year-rhythm -- there hasn't been a scout awarded here since 2008. But now Troop 22 is making up for lost time with Silva and three more candidates currently rising up the ranks.
Silva was surrounded by friends and family, a proud mother and his uniformed father, Scoutmaster Fred Silva. After the ceremonies, a long receiving line hugged and shook hands with the newly minted Eagle.
The day was declared "Thomas Silva Day" in Westchester County and after all the pomp, pins and speech-making, there was the buffet of ziti and other dishes, supplemented later by a huge order of pizza (these are growing Boy Scouts, after all).
Lynne Shafer, a Troop Committee member and the Eagle Scout Coordinator who mentors the scouts along this demanding path, said, "In no other organization do I see young people learn outdoor, communication, community and leadership skills in such a team environment."
"We Troop leaders know we're really helping build community here, and wherever these young people set down roots after college," Shafer said.
The Eagle Project typically involves 150 or more hours coordinated by the Scout himself among many different participants. "I compare it to a challenging Harvard Business School case study with concrete, community-enhancing results," Shafer said. "It's certainly an achievement to be proud of!"
Troop 22 Eagle Projects in recent years have refurbished dressing rooms at the l, helped secure insurance funding for the , structurally and cosmetically refurbished the Tarrytown Skate Shack on the lakes, and cleared trails and added benches and birdhouses to Sleepy Hollow walking trails. Projects in the pipeline aim to help , make additional improvements at the Music Hall and clear more recreational trails.
Despite all his personal successes, Silva was more interested in thanking everyone else on Saturday who made this achievement possible. A true Scout through and through.
A brief bio of Thomas Silva, as provided by Shafer:
Thomas Silva graduated in June from Fordham Prep in the Bronx, New York,
where he was a member of the National Honor Society and the varsity track
team, president of their Model United Nations, and campus ministry retreat
leader. He has also served as Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior and Senior
Patrol Leader and Troop Guide for Troop 22 in Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow, NY.
He is currently a freshman at SUNY Geneseo, majoring in childhood education
with focus on special needs children, with additional concentration in
environmental studies. Thomas lives in Elmsford.
For his Eagle Scout service project Thomas organized a fund-raising concert
in NYC to raise money to build audio visual carts for the use of special
needs Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, NY. He also produced a
concert and fair for their young residents.