WEST ORANGE, NJ — Anthony D. Gonnella and Peyton R. Smith, both of West Orange, have earned the highest advancement award the Boy Scouts of America offers to Scouts: the Eagle Scout Award.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank in Scouting and is earned by less than 2.5 percent of all boys involved in Scouting. To earn the Eagle Scout Rank, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the area of leadership, community service and outdoor skills. Each candidate must earn 21 merit badges signifying the mastery of certain skills and successfully complete a community service project.
Both Gonnella and Smith began scouting as a Tiger Cub Scout in Pack 10 and, after earning the Cub Scout Arrow of Light, they crossed over to Troop 2 in March 2010. Their experiences in Scouting include participation in the annual Cub Scout Pinewood Derby; numerous nights spent camping, hiking and canoeing; summer camp at Camp Wakpominee in the Adirondacks; and more.
Gonnella has served in many leadership roles within the Troop, including senior patrol leader, patrol leader and troop guide. He is also a Brotherhood member of Scouting’s Order of the Arrow, and currently is Troop 2’s OA representative. He looks forward to continuing with Troop 2 as its junior assistant Scoutmaster.
For his project, Gonnella, a junior at Wayne Valley High School in Wayne, coordinated with the Essex County Parks Department to clear and level an area of the Essex County Environmental Center in Roseland to create an instructional and picnic area next to Garibaldi Hall. Five picnic tables, one with a handicapped extension, were built, and 90 feet of split-rail fencing was installed to partition the site from the woods. The area was leveled and mulched.
Smith has served in many leadership roles within the troop, including assistant senior patrol leader, patrol leader and den chief. He is also a Brotherhood member of Scouting’s Order of the Arrow. He completed the National Youth Leadership Training Program in 2013 and was on summer NYLT staff in 2014 and 2015. Smith also looks forward to being a junior assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 2.
For his project, Smith, a junior at West Orange High School, designed, built and installed wooden park benches along the red and yellow trails in the Eagle Rock Reservation. This work was done through the Essex County Environmental Center and the Eagle Rock Reservation Conservancy, and it was supported by the West Orange Elks Lodge and West Essex Building Supply.