Eagle Scout Recognition Ceremony Honors Two

Evan Thomas Vojta and Kyle Joseph Cipkins was honored at the Eagle Award Presentation

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Kyle Joseph Cipkins and Evan Thomas Vojta

PARSIPPANY — The honor and distinction of the Eagle Scout rank can only be achieved through hard work and commitment to the ideals of the Scouting movement. The achievement is so rare, that only 5% of Scouts earn the Eagle rank. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than two million Scouts.

Once a Scout advances to Eagle Scout, they will remain an Eagle for the rest of their life regardless of age or participation in Scouting. Eagle Scouts are expected to set an example for other Scouts and to become the leaders in life that they have demonstrated themselves to be in Scouting. As such, they have disproportionately represented in the military, service academy graduates, in higher education and academia, major professions, the clergy, business, and politics.

The pathway to Eagle can be described as a steep trail leading up to three peaks, the highest being that of Eagle Scout. Officially, the trail starts with the Tenderfoot rank and continues through Second and First Class ranks. Then, the mountain climbing begins. The path is marked with merit badges, leadership responsibilities, service projects, and the practice of Scouting skills and ideals. The first peak reached is that of Star Scout, the second is Life Scout, and, finally, Eagle Scout.

On Saturday, July 24, Parsippany welcomed two Scouts who advanced to Eagle Scout, Kyle Joseph Cipkins and Evan Thomas Vojta.

Scoutmaster Michael Catapano welcomed the guests to The Eagle Court of Honor. The invocation was by Deacon Al Frank, St. Ann’s Church with opening remarks, the Flag Salute, the Scout Oath, and Law was by Dylan Franz, Senior Patrol Leader. Troop Committee and Past Scoutmaster John Worthington certified the Eagle Candidates. John Worthington presented the Eagle Badge to Kyle and David Franz presented the Eagle Badge to Evan.

The Eagle Charge was presented by Howard Wolkow, benediction by Deacon Al Frank, St. Ann’s Church with the taps by Parsippany’s Anthony Paterno.

Kyle Joseph Cipkins

Kyle Joseph Cipkins

Kyle began his Scouting experience as a Tiger Scout with Pack #5 at Intervale School. His favorite activities in Cub Scouts were the Pinewood Derby, launching bottle rockets, and the week-long summer camp at Camp Wheeler. He earned the Arrow of Light and crossed over to Boy Scouts of America Troop 173 in 5th grade. In his first year in Scouting, he attended his first Boy Scout summer camp and participated in the Dan Beard program.

Throughout his experiences in the troop, Kyle has participated in countless campouts such as the National Jamboree, annual Turkey in a Can, and Big Trips. He has accumulated 91 total camping nights and has received the National Outdoors Award for camping. One of his favorite Big Trips was the visit to West Point in Virginia to watch the Army Vs Navy football game with the troop. He participated in the Iron Chef competitions every year, with his most memorable dish being spaghetti with spam and tomato sauce made with the help of his patrol. He loved the annual Klondike Derbies, improving his sled placing every year, winning second and first place in his final two years.

Kyle participated in and led several community service projects. He enjoyed assisting the Whippany River Watershed Action Committee, a non-profit organization specializing in environmental issues, performing outreach to communities, and assisting in yearly river cleanups. Through these service project opportunities, he completed a total of 60 community service hours by participating in Scouting for Food, clothing drives, and river cleanups. He earned the World Conservation Award for his service hours as well as the Environmental Science Merit Badge.

As a member of Troop 173, Kyle held 6 Positions of Responsibility including Den Chief, Instructor, Assistant Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Troop Guide under the guidance of his two Scoutmasters, Les Wu and Michael Catapano. Kyle enjoyed the Position of Senior Patrol Leader the most since it allowed him to inspire leadership and share knowledge with his fellow scouts.

Kyle was a Den Chief for two years assisting Pack 142 and achieved the Den Chief Service Award, helping the Cub Scouts learn important skills for when they cross over to Boy Scouts. He has also attended the National Youth Leadership Training Conference, where he learned valuable techniques to bring back and use to lead the troop. Kyle was elected into the Order of the Arrow and completed his Ordeal in 2019. The Order of the Arrow (OA) is a service organization and the national honor society of Scouts BSA.

Towards the end of his SPL tenure, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, shutting everything down, pausing all in-person meetings. There was no guidebook for virtual meetings, but with the help of his leadership team, he came up with the idea to hold troop meetings via Zoom. He held a virtual Patrol Leader Conference (PLC) every weekend and planned Friday meetings, engaging the scouts in activities such as Kahoot and Bingo. He was also able to plan and execute virtual campouts, having a Zoom meeting at the beginning, checking in halfway through, and a final Zoom leaving the scouts to go and camp in their own backyards. He incorporated activities such as a nature scavenger hunt and a virtual campfire with some entertaining campfire songs.

For Kyle’s Eagle Project, he led scouts while following strict Covid guidelines to install a sign at the entrance of Intervale Elementary School in Parsippany. He previously attended Intervale School and kept a strong relationship with the principal thereafter. After several meetings, they came up with the idea to install a sign at the entrance to create a safe environment for the students who walk home and attend the school. He appreciated the encouragement and guidance from his Eagle coach, John Worthington, Parsippany Town Officials, and help from fellow scouts and family.

Kyle has graduated from Parsippany Hills High School, where he played soccer for all four years and led the JV team as captain during his junior year. He will be attending the County College of Morris where he will be majoring in Criminal Justice to earn an associate’s degree and continuing on to achieve a bachelor’s degree.

Kyle hopes to continue to live by the Scout Oath and Law and always live by the lessons and leadership the Troop and Scouting have taught him. He plans to pass that on for generations to come.

Kyle earned 23 Merit Badges: Bird Study, Camping*, Citizenship in the Community*, Citizenship in the Nation*, Citizenship in the World*, Communications*, Cooking*, Cycling*, Emergency Preparedness*, Environmental Science*, Family Life*, Fingerprinting, First Aid*, Hiking*, Kayaking, Leatherwork, Personal Fitness*, Personal Management*, Pets, Rifle Shooting, Small-Boat Sailing, Soil and Water Conservation, and Swimming. (Note: *Eagle Required)

Evan Thomas Vojta

Evan Thomas Vojta

Evan began his Scouting journey in Pack 5, where he started as a Webelos Scout.  He participated in activities such as the pinewood derby, camping trips, and outings with local Boy Scout troops.  Evan earned his Arrow of Light and crossed over to Troop 173 in 5th grade. After attending summer camp with the troop and participating in the Dan Beard program, he decided Scouting was something he wanted to continue. Throughout his Scouting journey, Evan has been given guidance by Den Leader Charles Ferentinos and Scoutmasters Les Wu and Michael Catapano.

While in Troop 173, Evan served in many different leadership positions including Den Chief, Instructor, Troop Guide, Assistant Patrol Leader, and Patrol Leader.  Evan enjoyed his time as a Troop Guide the most since he was able to help younger scouts complete requirements and advance in rank. During his scouting experience, Evan accumulated 73 camping nights and earned the National Outdoor Award for camping. He attended Troop 173 “Big Trips” and enjoyed participating in several Klondike derbies. He also completed 114 hours of community service through events such as Pedals for Progress, Scouting for Food, and assisting his fellow scouts on various Eagle Projects. In addition, Evan completed Catholic Scouting’s Pope Pius XII five-step unit program, and in March of 2018, he received the Pope Pius XII emblem from Bishop Serratelli. Evan also attended the National Youth Leadership Training held by the Patriot’s Path Council in the summer of 2018.

For his Eagle Project, Evan led friends, family, and members of his troop to remove an old, deteriorated bridge on his neighborhood association’s property and replace it with a walking path and culvert.  The previous bridge, which was made using tree logs, was rotted, and the mulch that was put between the logs to create a flat walking path had eroded away, making it unsafe to cross.  The new walking path and culvert have made the area safer to cross while still allowing water to flow through the area.  Evan chose this project because he has been a part of the Glacier Hills Association for many years and wanted to give back to them.

Evan attended the Morris County School of Technology, Animal Science Academy, where he participated in the Peer Leadership Program his junior year.  His senior year, he took classes at the County College of Morris however classes were mostly remote due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. He returned to his home school, Parsippany Hills High School, through all 4 years of high school to play trombone in the PHHS Vikings Marching Band and Jazz Band and was a member of the swim team. During his senior year, he held the position of section leader in the marching band and was appointed captain of the swim team. Evan has also been a member of the Glacier Hills Summer Swim team since 2013. He will be attending the University of New Haven in the fall where he will be studying Computer Science and participating in the Chargers Marching Band.

Evan is appreciative of all that he has gained through his years in Boy Scouts. He encourages younger scouts to take advantage of the opportunities and experiences they can acquire through scouting.

Evan earned 22 merit badges: Camping*, Citizenship in the Community*, Citizenship in the Nation*, Citizenship in the World*, Cooking*, Communication*, Electronics, Environmental Science,  Family Life, Fingerprinting, First Aid*, Geology, Kayaking, Leatherwork, Lifesaving*, Metalwork, Personal Fitness*, Personal Management*, Shotgun Shooting, Space Exploration, Swimming* and Weather. (Note: *Eagle Required)

Troop 173 was chartered by the Sedgefield Civic Association in 1957. Yet from the beginning, Troop 173 has included boys from all over Morris County in its programs. While most of our members come from the area of Parsippany from Lake Parsippany to Powder Mill and across the Township, we have had members as far away as Succasunna and Randolph.

Boy Scouts of America Troop 173 Eagle Scout Honor Roll includes Norman Schofield, Jr., Michael Gottschalk, James Searing, Geoffrey Brown, John Chervenak, Guy Corbett, Tim Corbett, Robert Burney, Juan Correa, Richard Lauber, Tim Roche, Christopher Callahan, Thomas Cook, Stephan Pirylis, Brian Stewart, Patrick Roche, Edward Chiorazzi. Brian Pomarlen, Simon Healey, Keith Henderlong, David Chezem, Alex Lin, Robert Strechay, Jr., John Oleske, Daniel Strechay, Joseph Strechay, Kevin Smithers, Joseph Stevens, James Ward, Jason Viglione, Michael DeGuarde, Michael Smith, Tim Foster, Christopher Malcolm, Mark Viglione, Gary Hwang, William Barcliffe IV, Jonathan Cook, Daniel Aguanno, Anthony Valvano, Eric Kratz, David Kratz, Thomas Corigliano, David Kinskey-Lebeda, Ryan Diggle, Mike Fulton, Dan Fulton, Brian Galley, Shane Moravsik, Paul Rossnagel, Jesse Garbarino, Shay Grabinsky, Sean Galley, Matthew Breeman, Ryan Barwick, Dylan Grabinsky, John Stretavski, Brendan Barwick, Eric Galley, Bobby Ebel, Sean Michie, Michael Ludwig, Matthew Luther, Chris Gardner, Chris Worthington, Cameron Boone, Daniel Metcalf, Rishi Konkesa, Noah Munn, Erik Darling, Thomas Catapano, Daniel Corcoran, Colin Aguesseau, David Dodd III, Michael Gaudio, Galen Wu, Timothy Metcalf. David Albin, Ryan Porcelli, Jack Summa, Anthony Paterno, Chris Neumann, Alex Geddes, David Sinchi, Kyle Cipkins, Anli Liu, Joseph Messana, Evan Vojta, Matthew Sinchi, Sreemanth Meka, Dylan Franz, and Jacob Kaplan.

Reprinted from Parsippany Focus Magazine, August 2021.