The Boy Scouts of America's goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities such as camping, aquatics and hiking, educational programs.
At older age levels it offers career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations while instilling trustworthiness, good citizenship and outdoors skills.
Since its founding in 1910 more than 110 million Americans have been members of the BSA but only 2 million young men have earned their Eagle Scout awards, which is the highest rank one can achieve.
Dr. William Martucci may be 68 and Dayne Coleman, 16, but they share common bonds. They both earned their Eagle Scout awards. They were and are members of Boy Scout Troop 98. But what is even more notable is, Martucci was Troop 98's first Eagle Scout and recently, Coleman became the Troop's 100th Eagle Scout.
So Martucci and Coleman sat down together to compare notes.
Martucci started in Cub Scouts in 1955 at the age of 10 years old. He earned his Eagle Scout award in 1960 at the age of 15. He says that at that time, they did not have to do an Eagle Scout project. His Scoutmasters were Bob Hoffman and Bill Fisher. He remembers that they did a lot of camping back then, which he always enjoyed.
He graduated from Pleasant Valley High School in 1963, then Lehigh University and went on to study medicine at Temple University's Medical School. He opened a family practice in Brodheadsville in 1972 where he practiced medicine until he recently retired. He has three sons, one a doctor at Lehigh Valley Medical Center, another is a MRI salesman and the youngest is a broadcast journalist.
He firmly believes his Eagle Scout award helped him gain entrance into Temple's medical school.
"When I applied, there were 2,369 applicants. Because of grades and other factors, 50 percent were automatically eliminated. That left 1,184 and out of that number, only 139 were accepted. I was told that being an Eagle Scout was one of the things they looked for because an Eagle Scout has perseverance and will go the extra mile, things needed if you are to become a doctor," says Martucci. "I think the message is still the same today. Perseverance and willing to go the extra mile and a good work ethic. All the Eagle Scouts I've met over the years all have that."
He sees these same qualities in Coleman.
Coleman became a Tiger Cub at age 10 and says that camping is his favorite part of being a Boy Scout, just like it was for Martucci.
While Martucci didn't have to complete an Eagle Scout project, Coleman did.
Today's requirements to achieve Eagle Scout include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout Spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages.
Coleman's project involved painting part of the chain link fence that encloses the West End Fairgrounds (1,109 feet) and he landscaped the front entrance. The West End Fair Association paid for the paint but Coleman held fundraisers to earn enough money to purchase supplies for the project and landscaping. His Scoutmaster is Steven Rhoads.
"I think Scouting teaches boys more than they would learn without it. It teaches them to cope with the outdoors and they can teach what they learned to others. The best part about Scouting is the people in it. Some of my best friends are in Scouting, and camping is when we have the best time," says Coleman.
Another thing Martucci and Coleman agree on is how it always seemed to rain when they went camping, which led to some shared stories of getting very soggy on their campouts.
Besides Scouting, Coleman, a junior at Pleasant Valley High School, is a member of the marching band, jazz and concert band in which he plays the trumpet. He is a member of the Chess Club and enjoys skiing. He plans to attend college when he graduates and major in something in the sciences. He is the son of Stacey and Robert Coleman, of Kunkletown, and has an older sister, Ashley.
Though a couple of generations span Martucci and Coleman, the bridge that links them is that both Eagles are proud of being a member of such an elite group.