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Joshua Thomas
The members of Boy Scout Troop 81, with Eagle Scout Bailey Pitonza to the far left, prior to their annual banquet Saturday night.

Joshua Thomas
Canajoharie Middle School Principal Douglas Morrissey speaks to Boy Scout Troop 81 during Saturday's banquet.

Joshua Thomas
Committee Chairperson Bonnie Hoffman speaks to Boy Scout Troop 81 as Scoutmaster Greg Pitonza listens.

Joshua Thomas
Webelo Kyle Oertel, honored for moving to the rank of Scout, shakes the hands of his peers.


Boy Scout Troop 81 honored for annual accomplishments

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - Updated: 4:05 PM


C-S-E Editor

AMES -- On Saturday evening, a yearly recognition ceremony was held at the Ames Firehouse, wherein members of Boy Scout Troop 81 were honored individually for the past year's achievements, being congratulated for advancements, which, for many scouts, included ascending the organization's ranks.

There were also significant awards given during the event, including one to First Class Scout Jacob St. Martin, who was honored as Scout of the Year. While Scoutmaster Greg Pitonza noted that there were many scouts that were considered for the award this year, St. Martin's achievements went above and beyond, with the award honoring him for personal advancement and participation across the board, including at events and outings, along with volunteer and service projects.

"Scout spirit," and "being an ideal role model" said Pitonza, was a huge consideration in naming St. Martin Scout of the Year.

A second award went to David Wilday. Last year's award recipient, Paul Wohlberg, who received the honor without a title as the "no name award", was asked to provide it a name. The recently titled "Trailblazer Award" was provided to Wilday based on leadership, commitment, and helping younger scouts to advance.

The Joseph Claven award was given to Dante and Caroll Binotto. Dante served as a former assistant scoutmaster, while Caroll served as a committee member, continuing as a merit badge counselor. Since their son left the troop two years ago, the Binottos continued to assist the scouts in various ways, including hosting outings at their home. Caroll also regularly helps with other activities, such as helping scouts with plant identification.

Typically, the annual banquet's planning begins in late December or early January, with the solidification of a date leading to the lengthy process of choosing eligible scouts for awards. Pitonza, assistant scoutmasters and the troop committee review the scouts actions and qualifications, then selecting them to be honored. During this time, the scouts all design a piece of artwork to potentially grace the program cover. This year's cover was created by Derek Countryman.

Pitonza, who was given an award by the appreciative scouts for his devotion to them, noted that it's important that people understand of the event and the scouts' advancement through the year, "there's a lot of people who make it possible." Many of them were recognized during the program for their actions, which included helping at pancake breakfasts and camp outings, working as merit badge counselors, and assisting in other various ways.

Pitonza commented of the necessary help from volunteers, "No one can do it all, but everybody can do something."

Joshua Thomas - Scoutmaster Greg Pitonza honors Scout Jared Bentz.

Joshua Thomas - Scoutmaster Greg Pitonza honors Scout Dustin Furman.

Joshua Thomas - Scoutmaster Greg Pitonza honors Tenderfoot Scout Conner Alkinburgh.


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