Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church celebrates 50 years of scouting

The Scout Oath begins with a pledge to do one’s duty to God, and on March 10 a group of scouts were recognized for 50 years of service to the community during a mass at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, 8401 Ridge Blvd. in Bay Ridge.

The church’s pastor, the Very Rev. Father Gerasimos Makris, presented awards to members of local scout troops. Award recipients included members of Cub Scout Pack 715 with their Cubmaster Constantine Koutras; Boy Scout Troop 715, with Chartered Organization Rep. Frank Panagakos, Chairperson Andrew Yiannakos and Scoutmaster James Vavas; Daisies Girl Scout Troop 2397 with Anna Feinsilver and Jeannie Spithoyiannis; Brownies Girl Scout Troop 2736 with Jeannie Spithoyiannis; Juniors Girl Scout Troop 2387 with Nicole Apostolou and Despena Kiladitis, as well as Girl Scout Troops 2122 and 2873.

“The scouting program at Holy Cross serves the youth of the Bay Ridge community from the second grade all the way up to the 12th grade in high school,” according to Panagakos. “There are programs for boys as well as for girls. The program teaches them life skills, outdoor skills, first aid, community service, and it’s all centered around the principles of the scouting organization.”

Scouts were recognized with three religious awards based on their ages. The St. George Award was given to Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts in the Wolf or Bear rank in the Boy Scouts of America, or Brownies in the Girl Scouts of America.

The Chi-Rho Award was presented to any Orthodox Christian boy or girl who is registered as a Cub Scout or Girl Scout, is in the fourth or fifth grade and attends church school or is in a formal religious program.

The Alpha Omega Award was awarded to sixth through 12th grade communicant members of an Orthodox Christian church recognized by the Assembly of Bishops.

“Those awards are supported and issued by the Eastern Orthodox committee on scouting that work in conjunction with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese to provide religious awards for the Orthodox scouts,” explained Panagakos. “That’s a pan scouting award. Every denomination has different awards based on their religious affiliations and beliefs.”

Following the awards ceremony, the scouts sponsored a fellowship lunch in the church hall for all members of the community.

“We’re very proud of our scouts,” said Maria Vasaka-Monioudis, assistant cubmaster of Cub Scout Troop 715. “We are very proud that we are celebrating 50 years of our Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts at Holy Cross. The scouting program is a great opportunity for our children to learn responsibility and how to be good citizens of our neighborhood.”

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