An Eagle Rises: A Celebration of Scouting – Thank You for Your Support

Max together with Scoutmasters Brian Zaino and Paco Shum the night of his Eagle Scout Board of Review

Eagle Scout Max Laible together with Scoutmasters Brian Zaino and Paco Shum on the night of the Eagle Scout Board of Review

My Max has been involved in the Scouts since he was first invited to join the Cubs when he was maybe eight or nine. He came home, handed me a flyer and said, “Mom? I think this is me.”

I think he was right! The Scouting program benefited Max tremendously, and while there were certainly challenges along the way, he seemed to enjoy just about every minute of it. I know of nothing else that so effectively provides the hands on, empowering, broadly based, leadership/community stewardship/handiness/survival/basic life skill sets that the Scouts do. It feeds into EVERYTHING he does.

Scouts accomplish more by their 18th birthdays than many do in a lifetime. When teachers would tell me how my child – who struggled with school – consistently showed leadership, responsibility and practical intelligence, I told them I credited the Scouts. The creativity, kindness and thoughtful, intelligent curiosity are all his own, but they’ve been exercised mightily through the Scouts.

He’s HAD to get organized; To Be Prepared.

“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”

A Scout Is...

People notice the Eagle Projects. While they are perhaps the most personal imprints a Scout might make, I will say they are but icing on the cake; a final hurrah in a decade-long journey. By the time a kid does his own project, they’ve participated in MANY service projects. Even more, they’ve taught, they’ve led, they’ve planned and they’ve tested, all while learning the value of being a mindful follower.

An Eagle Scout candidate has deeply considered what it means to care for self and family, as well as how to be a good citizen in their community, their nation, internationally and in society as a whole. They understand a bit of how local government works, and have been led to really think about the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. They’ve had basic, fundamental human values drilled into their heads weekly, and been engaged in regular interviews where they’re asked what these values mean and how they apply them in their daily lives.

The basic mandate is a golden one: They are to “Do a Good Turn Daily.”

Eagle Scouts have earned a great deal of merit badges, learning to care for self and others, exploring many potential careers and hobbies, and developing deep practical skills. They’ve actively shaped their own experience as well as that of those who lead and follow them. They’ve fed people, guided them on long journeys, learned to safely wield both fire and an axe, and prepared in case of emergency.

At our last Eagle Court of Honor, another Scoutmaster told about how his own child – not very old at all – was the cool head at the scene of a horrific motorcycle accident. This kid knew just what to do, because he was a Scout.

It’s training for big things, and basic preparation. I came in once to find Max teaching himself to knot a tie via his Scoutbook. This is not the only time I saw him pull out that tome as a general reference for life. In getting to last weekend, Max spent well over 70 nights camping, 77 hours performing public service and hiked many, many miles. He earned over 33 Merit Badges in a broad array of skills ranging from citizenship to life saving, camping to chemistry, animation to welding, physical fitness, family life, personal management…

Cliche as it may be, he can’t seem go anywhere without someone asking him how to tie some kind of knot. 

He can conduct either end of a professional interview and has held increasingly responsible leadership positions for years. He worked on at least 12 Eagle projects and led more than 35 people to build his own.

…and, somehow, that’s just a little bit of it…

“On my honor I will do my best to make my training and example, my rank and my influence count strongly for better Scouting and for better citizen-ship in my Troop in my community and in my contacts with other people. To this I pledge my sacred honor.” ~Excerpt from the Eagle Oath

Eagle Projects

While an Eagle project is really just icing on the cake, it’s no lesser detail.

Eagle Projects must be identified, permitted, coordinated and constructed, ideally with the scout himself leading rather than doing as many aspects as possible. They have to create detailed plans (such that should they fall ill the troop can do the project without them), and rally both financial and volunteer support to realize them. Then, they have to report on how it all went.

I can’t remember all the projects Max has participated in, but I know they’ve ranged from dog playgrounds for local shelters, to endeavors to serve folks with Alzheimer’s and developmental disabilities; from trail markings to improvements to the church that hosts us. In his last year alone Max assisted:

Christian Arroyo in developing really cool bee hotels at Elijah Farm in Dix Hills.
Kyle Montagni in building an amazing outdoor classroom for the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery (I love that we can see this one from the road every time we drive by!)
Ashishpal DeWal in transforming an aging Eagle Project greenhouse into a beautiful new butterfly sanctuary for the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s East Meadow Farm.
 
The full list of Troop 205 Eagles is thus:
2014 Matthew Duggan
2014 Tully Frain

2014 John Edward Zaino
2016 Thomas Clarke
2016 Spencer Gliner
2016 Hayden Dancy
2016 Elizar Alden Aspiras
2018 Jack Mok
2018 Vincent Eng
2018 Marc Huo
2018 Matthew Gavieta
2018 Terence Smith
2018 Andrew Aspiras
2022 Grant Dell’Anno
2022 Christian Arroyo
2023 Kyle Montagni
2023 Ashishpal DeWal
2023 Maxwell Owen Laible
 
Each had a different journey, making deep and unique contributions to the community. So did many other scouts who never made Eagle (only about 6% generally do!), but who will be influenced by their scouting experience for the rest of their lives. Max will tell you each one of them has been important to his own experience as well.
A photo of the educational kiosk, fence and garden Max led over 35 others to build at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor
A photo of the educational kiosk, fence and garden Max led over 35 others to build at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor

Max’s Project: Building an Educational Gateway at the Nassau County Museum of Art

Max’s own project involved building a visual gateway to native grasslands now being restored at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor. We wrote a little bit about this before here and here. The final project included a split rail fence, a kiosk that serves as an outdoor education asset, and a model garden of native plants. We are delighted to report that the plants are now being maintained and expanded upon by a local garden club. 

This could not have happened without folks who cared to help. These included fellow Scouts, returning Eagles, parent leaders, friends, family, teachers, and great neighbors. Some offered guidance. Others, financial support. Some lent tools and gave materials. Many rolled up their sleeves and showed up to get the final job done. In particular, we offer grateful thanks to:

Michael Borra
Sofia Calle
Kenneth Cao
The Ceron Family
Amy Cincotta
The Clarke Family
Greg Dancy
The DeWal Family
Jim Darcy
Matthew Duggan
The Gliner Family
Angelo Guardado
Jean Henning
Danielle Kaplan
The Laible Family
Gail Lamberta
Jennifer Lau

The Lim Family
Katrina Ludwikowski
The Ma Family
The Montagni Family
Craig Mooers
Drigo Morin
Rob Nock
Northport Native Garden Initiative
Gavin Ng
Jamie Pedicini
Adrianna Peres-DaSilva
Riverhead Building Supply
Lizette Sanlés
The Shum Family
Justin Tian
Brian Zaino
Lawrence Zeltzer

There were so many more who contributed to this journey, and comprise a village Max will value for as long as he lives. In his program, Max wrote this: 

“I am more than thankful for the many years of guidance, care, patience, and humor volunteered by the adult and youth leaders in the troop. I am honored to follow, lead, teach and learn from each and every one of them. I am immensely grateful to all who were there for me during my arduous journey. They made every minute worth the experience.  ~ Yours in Scouting, Max”

We are grateful. Thanks.

Rising Eagle: Please Join Max in Serving the Nassau Museum of Art

Photo of Max Laible at the Nassau Museum with one of his favorite sculptures.

An Eagle Project is one last adventure in a decade-long journey. Max, here, is leading creation of a fence, educational kiosk and model native plant garden that will serve as an enriching gateway to newly restored grasslands at the Nassau County Museum of Art.

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Shop Local! 2024 Northport Shopping Guide

Main St, Northport

We are incredibly grateful for our Northport neighbors, and warmly recommend the whole village experience. Pop in and support these folks who give so much to our communities. You’ll be glad you did. It’s easy to find wonderful gifts for not nearly as much as you might think, and a great way to keep all sorts of magic alive.

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A Few Good Places to Give

Long Island needs more people to give to local organizations addressing our local challenges. Here are just a few to consider:

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What We Give vs. What We Get: Long Standing Imbalance at Crisis Point – The Time for Action is Now

Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

The imbalance of what Long Island gives versus what it gets has long been felt. Now, it’s at a crisis point.

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The Spirit Endures: The Jarrett Engelhardt Pagano Scholarship Fund

Photo of Jarrett Engelhardt Pagano provided by Nancy Engelhardt

Photo of Jarrett Engelhardt Pagano provided by Nancy Engelhardt

I recently shared how lovely the Pal-O-Mine Winter Wonderland was. It was one of those days that most would call miserable, but there, it was just fine. Warm and cozy if not outright sunny. 

I was glad to run into dear Nancy Engelhardt. She’s the reason I know what Pal-O-Mine is. We were all connected through Leadership Huntington and she introduced me. She’s been a board member herself there for 12 years now. 

I wrote a long, beautiful story about Nancy, herself, years ago for The Corridor: Long Island’s Journal for Strategic Alliances. It seemed like a full and accomplished life then. What she’s done since is remarkable. That’s for another day, tho. In this moment, I hugged and told her I loved her.

Her son, Jarrett, recently passed. As her eyes held volumes more, Nancy smiled, speaking of the faith that is never far from her lips and how she is grateful to feel him still, especially here. She asked if I’d seen the video of Pal-O-Mine Founder Lisa Gatti at his services. 

There, Lisa shared her story of the handsome, charming young man who came to volunteer at 17 and became a fundamental part of this healing place. She smiled, recounting his passion for the horses and the day a boy with autism whom he worked with spoke for the first time.

I told her I had.

The Jarrett Engelhardt Pagano Scholarship Fund

Lisa had emphasized the indelible mark Jarrett Engelhardt Pagano had left on the farm and how his spirit would live on through all he’d touched there. Nancy was grateful to say that friends had come together to establish a Pal-o-Mine scholarship fund in his honor as a way he might keep serving all he loved there.

If you’d like to join them in keeping his spirit alive and give the gift of equine healing, you may do so here.

It’s a deeply meaningful, uplifting way to give.

Photo of Jarrett and a young Pal-O-Mine student many years ago. Image provided by Pal-O-Mine Equestrian
Photo of Jarrett and a young Pal-O-Mine student many years ago. Image provided by Pal-O-Mine Equestrian

Feed the Hungry, Get a Raffle Ticket and up to $20 Off at the Firefly

Island Harvest Logo

Island Harvest Food Drive at the Firefly

The fact is, 1 in 11 children and so many others on Long Island live with food insecurity. Gratefully, our Fireflies are committed to doing what they can to help. Please bring non-perishable food or hygiene items to The Firefly Artists, 90 Main St, Northport, between now and New Year’s Eve.

There are 10 days left in our food drive, which is part of the Island Harvest Turkey & Trimmings Campaign. We’d really love to fill this box we have in the gallery, and hope you will help! It’s easy, especially as we are in one of the best places for last minute gift shopping, and we and at least a few neighbors will be open late to better serve your needs! Cash donations to Island Harvest are also welcome.

In thanks for your donation, you’ll get a raffle ticket to win a matted print or “Red” by Katheryn Laible or “Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn” by Steve Caputo. We’ll also give you $20 off any single purchase over $200.

Thank you for all you do to support our communities!

Left; Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn by Steve Caputo. Right: Red by Katheryn Laible

Pal-O-Mine’s “Winter Wonderland”: A Thoughtful Program, a Holiday Wish List, Deep Appreciation

Pal-O-Mine crafts these unique, family-oriented events in deep gratitude for its community. The precious time and money folks give enables the farm and its life-changing programming to be. They are honored to get to know other folks who care, and appreciate all they bring.

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Catching Up With Jose: “Community” at Spotlight, Environmentally Conscious Public Art

Jose Tutiven and Bri Sanders at the Upsculpt Ribbon Cutting of "Lobster Buoy Boy" in Huntington early this month.

We’ve mentioned Jose Tutiven before. His reputation preceded him by 20 miles as he has earned the appreciation of folks Island-wide. His company, Colored Colors, “empowers unity amongst creatives…fosters long term relationships between the community of creatives and local business…[and]…serves as the platform to instill the mentality of artistry, commerce and community.”

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