Millburn/Short Hills Troop 17 Boy Scouts and their families recently gathered at St. Rose of Lima Church for the troop's traditional Fall Court of Honor ceremony. 

Although the ceremony was somewhat unusual this year — it was held outdoors on the church steps, and all participants wore masks and observed social distancing protocols — the scouts and troop leadership did not allow the COVID-19 pandemic to dampen this important celebration, during which scouts are recognized for their advancement achievements. The event, officiated by Scouts Lucas Pilarski and Ben Seifer, featured participation from more than 30 scouts and their families and adult leaders. Reverend Monsignor Robert Harahan delivered the invocation and opening remarks.

A total of 87 merit badges, which are earned by scouts for demonstrating a wide variety of skills and knowledge, were awarded. These include many of the common badges required to earn the coveted Eagle rank, such as Citizenship in the Community, Emergency Preparedness, and Family Life. Other merit badges distributed at the event focused on wide-ranging subjects that include Oceanography, Nuclear Science, Chess, and Moviemaking.

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Highlights of the evening included eight scouts receiving the National Honor Patrol Award as part of their participation last year in Troop's 17 Phoenix Patrol. Numerous scouts were also recognized for moving up in the ranks of Scouting — in particular Tanish Tyagi, Daniel Gerdes, and Andrew Bisig, who have earned the highest rank of Eagle.

More information about Troop 17 and its events can be found online, at www.Troop17ShortHills.com.