21st Annual Bay Ridge Breakfast for Scouting

Several Bay Ridge residents and organizations earned merit badges at the 21st Annual Bay Ridge Breakfast for Scouting held at the Bay Ridge Manor on Thursday, June 27.

Hosted by activist Zoe Koutsoupakis for the 14th year in a row, the breakfast recognized the efforts of Peter Giannopoulos of Henry’s Florist; Fran Vella-Marrone, president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association; The Salaam Club; Constantine Vassilakos, founding partner of Built Courier Services; James Maroosis, deputy director of the Citywide Central Insurance Program; Anthony Grigos, of the Bay Ridge Federal Credit Union; and Monika Buono of Signature Bank.

These individuals were honored with “Community Achievement Awards,” for the service they do in the neighborhood that is in line with Scout values such as honesty, integrity and loyalty.

Jim Clark, president of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, recalled being inducted into the Cub Scouts in 1947 and eventually becoming an Eagle Scout.

“It prepares young people to make ethical and moral choices throughout their lifetime,” he said of the organization. “The Boy Scouts have framed my life, showing the right way to live.”

Marc Maquiling of Troop 715, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, gave an address. The eloquent youth said that he came to the troop two years ago after being a Cub Scout.

“I first found it hard to fit in with a work load bigger than at the Cub Scouts,” he recalled.

After earning merit badges camping at St. Basil Academy and working hard, he became a member of the Order of the Arrow in May, 2012. Maquiling had to perform difficult tasks without eating or talking in the “wilderness.” Since he suffers from allergies, it made the effort all the more challenging.

“It’s not the difficulty of the ordeal that made it memorable, but what we learned,” Maquiling said. “With a reliable set of friends and an even more reliable set of skills, you can go far.”

Honoree Grigos talked about how the Boy Scouts entered his life later than most – his sons are both Scouts.

“They are learning and developing skills that are hard to give at home and in school,” Grigos said. “It gives them the opportunity to be incredible young men.”

“Imagine if everyone followed the Scout and oath law,” commented Vella-Marrone. “Imagine how great this place would be.”

Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis was also present, having sponsored the breakfast.

“I believe in honesty and integrity: what the Boy Scouts have been teaching all along,” he said. “I am proud to help this community.”

The breakfast raised a total of $20,006 which will be used to send less fortunate children to summer camp.

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