OLA scouts honored for achieving excellence

(L-r) Frank Matranga, Hezekiah DeLaRosa, Austin Ramos, Joseph Almodovar and Nicholas Matranga represent Our Lady of Assumption Church’s Cub Scout Pack 354 at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on April 27. The Pack received the prestigious National Gold Medallion Award and the Pope Paul VI Unit Recognition Award. - Photo courtesy of John Almodovar

Applauding their outstanding community service efforts, the congregation at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral showed their support to Our Lady of Assumption Church Cub Scout Pack 345 on April 27.

Monsignor Robert Ritchie, Saint Patrick’s rector, awarded the pack of more than 65 kids the prestigious National Gold Medallion and the Pope Paul VI Unit Awards.

The National Catholic Committee, in conjunction with the Boy Scouts of America created the Gold Medallion Award to identify and recognize exceptional Catholic Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops and Venturing Crews.

As one of only 15 Cub Scout packs selected for the award nation wide, cub master John Almodovar said he thrilled his pack received the much-deserved honor.

“I think it’s amazing,” he said. “I think it’s a reflection of the boys and the effort they put in.”

National Gold Medal Winners exemplify the ability to provide programming to local youth through community service, religious activities, religious emblems participation and outdoor activities.

Each activity encompasses the religious, vocational and educational aspects of scouting.

Having participated in numerous community food and diaper drives, supplies drives for troops in Iraq, as well as assisting local Boy Scout troops with service projects, Pack 345 was a perfect fit for recognition.

Currently running a book drive to supply African children with educational materials, Almodovar said the kids are not only always willing to dedicate their time for the good of others, but they also enjoy their endeavors.

“They always have fun, no matter what they’re doing,” he commented.

The pack also received the Pope Paul VI Unit Recognition Award. With similar requirements as the previous honor, it focuses on groups who achieve growth in youth and leader membership.

Since Almodovar began as cub master of Pack 345 six years ago, with the help of 15 adult leaders, he said the group rapidly grew from 10 kids to the pack’s current 65.

It was the Pack’s seventh consistent Pope Paul VI Award, and their second Gold Medallion Award.

“It is through a combination of innovative leaders and exceptional program planning that Pack 345 has earned these awards,” Almodovar said. “But the single largest contributing factor to earning these awards was the participation and dedication of the Cub Scouts. They are the heart and soul of the Pack.”

Along with their religious focus, the Pack is also actively involved in learning about conservation and wildlife through various outdoor activities and welcomes all faiths to join in the fun.

For information on joining Pack 345, please contact the OLA rectory at (718) 824-5454.

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