BAY RIDGE — In this fast-moving modern age we’re living in, it’s nice to know that some traditions still remain, like the Boy Scouts’ allegiance to helping others and to bettering their community. Scout Troop 13 has been dedicated to making Bay Ridge a better place for over 70 years.
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest scouting organizations in the United States and Boy Scouts Troop 13, established in 1948 out of St.Anselm Catholic Academy, 356 82nd St., is one of the oldest troops in Brooklyn.
That’s quite an impressive accomplishment and on Monday, Dec. 16, 32 Boy Scouts from the troop advanced in rank during the end of year Code of Honor and Christmas Party.
Over the course of the evening, scouts were also presented with merit awards for scouting projects they’ve completed.
In addition, said Troop 13 Assistant Scoutmaster Harry D’Onofrio, 13 Cub Scouts from the troop are expected to move up in February.
Assistant Troopmaster Pam Kelter has been in the scouting program for over a decade, with both of her sons having graduated to Eagle Scout. “I think what scouting does for young men is give them a foundation that they can’t find in school and sometimes not even in their family,” explained Kelter.
“And it also helps the community by teaching them skills that our grandparents might have taught us when we were growing up in an extended family. I think the attributes that scouting teaches are very important,” she added.
Nonetheless, said Kelter, about 12 years ago, Troop 13 was going to fold because there was no one left in it until Beth Connors, the wife of attorney and radio talk show host Mike Connors, picked up the banner and became a troop scoutmaster. “I was her assistant and we had no clue what we were doing,” explained Kelter.
“But we learned and took the scouts from sleeping in sleeping bags on her back porch to actually doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Beth Connors played a huge role in keeping this troop going. She is truly the unsung hero of Troop 13,” added Kelter.
As a result of Connors’ and Kelter’s guidance, Troop 13 is now one of the largest troops in Brooklyn.
The evening also included the Peace Light ceremony, with the Peace Light symbolizing the light of Christ at Christmas time. “It’s meant to promote peace, harmony and unity among all people of the world, regardless of race, ethnicity or creed,” explained D’Onofrio.
“For several decades, the international scouting unit, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have actively promoted the Peace Light. Now in its 32nd year, the Peace Light travels all the way from Bethlehem to Austria, and they bring it to New York. And once it arrives at JFK airport, it literally spreads like a fire throughout the United States,” he added.
D’Onofrio credited Scoutmaster Mirek Brzezinski with helping to bring the Peace Light to St. Anselm’s.