Boy Scouts in Troop 555 held their bi-annual Court of Honor recently to recognize certain of the boys in the troop for their efforts to advance in the organization and earn Merit Badges. In all, 74 Scouters showed up at the event, which includes Scouts, adult leaders, parents and siblings.

During the evening, 15 Merit Badges were awarded for skills gained in Hiking, Personal Management, Swimming and other areas.

"This is the work of being a Scout," said Troop 555 Scout Master Ray Attewell. "We have a lot of fun camping, swimming and taking trips, but the Merit Badge and advancement requirement work is where Scouts prepare themselves for a future as young men."

But it hasn't been all hard work for the Scouts of Troop 555. During the ceremony 14 boys were recognized as "Buoy Scouts" for their ability to tread water in a local pool. Scouts Matt Miller, Zach Bowman, and Jason Montemuro are record holding Buoy Scouts, each proving their ability to remain afloat for over 90 minutes. In addition, five boys earned their Adirondack badges for camping outdoors overnight when the temperature dropped below freezing.

Scouts must earn Merit Badges and learn other skills in order to advance along the path that will eventually lead many of them to the rank of Eagle Scout. During the ceremony, 28 rank advancements were awarded to troop members.

A few adults were recognized for their support and dedication to the program during the event as well. Both Paul Montemuro and Mike Hutta earned their adult Adirondack awards for camping out overnight in below freezing temperatures. Darren Behan was awarded the Gourmet Guide Award for his services as cook at this year's winter camp.

Scouting began in England in 1907-08, created by General Robert Baden-Powell. Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was founded by Chicago publisher William Boyce on February 8, 1910. The program turns 100 years old this year. Today, Scouting is found in 185 of the world's 192 independent countries and is the world's most successful youth movement.

In other Scouting news, Troop 555 teamed up with Cub Pack 138, Girl Scout Troops 4229, 4288 and 4292, and Daisy Troop 30136 to collect and bag Easter Candy to donate to St. Joseph's food pantry in Jim Ray Squires, a St. Joseph's parishioner who volunteers his time working at the Pantry, came to the meeting to observe the process and accept over 50 bags of mixed treats.

"When the families that come to the pantry realize that their children will have something special on Easter Morning, they can't thank me enough," Squires told the scouts. "All of their gratitude, expressed to me,really belongs to you."