STIRLING, NJ - Community members, family, friends and supporters to the Boy Scouts turned out for the 6th Annual Good Scout Award Dinner on Wednesday, March 8 at The Primavera Regency in Stirling. Being honored this year were Gina Caburis, Director, Global Sales West Unified Communications Services; Al Elefante, Owner Elefante Music and School for the Performing Arts; David Hasenkopf, Immediate Past President New Providence Board of Education; Gary Kapner, CEO Creative Wall Coverings and Interiors; and Kerry Lee, General Manager Murray Hill Hotel and Suites.
In New Providence, over 300 youth are served by six scouting units under the leadership of over 85 volunteers," said Michael Shapiro, Event Chairman. "In our town, there are three packs for Cub Scouts six through 10 years old and three troops for Boys Scouts, boys from 11 to 18."
The Opening Ceremony was conducted by Scouts from Troop 63 and Troop 1 -- presenting the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance and Scout Oath. Father Bill Mahon of Our Lady of Peace Church provided the invocation.
Ben and Chris Hasenkopf, sons of honoree David Hasenkopf, shared what scouting means to them. Scouting has provided Chris with unique opportunities -- "providing time away from technology to learn valuable outdoor skills, discover new places and grow our confidence by overcoming obstacles," said Chris. While Ben values the leadership skills he learned as Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 1 in 2015 -- delegation of tasks, how to carry out a plan from start to finish, and being accountable to the people he leads. "From the skills I have learned from scouting, I am prepared to go further in the world and it has had a great impact on me and will help me through the rest of my life."
Ben and Chris follow their father's example and were very proud to introduce their dad as an award recipient. "He has been a huge role model to me and my brother and countless others in the community as a fantastic coach -- active member of the church -- my father David Hasenkopf is a great man and great community member which makes me so thankful to introduce him," said Chris.
David considers volunteering as one of the highlights of his adult life -- "it has made my life interesting, rewarding and has provided me the opportunity to work with great people and to solve problems," he said. "All of you [scouts] are getting a great foundation in scouts and I encourage all of you to keep up the good work and look for ways to serve as you grow and become adults."
The honorees share a common thread of giving back to the community and rolling up their sleeves. They serve as role models with strong work ethic and family values. "We are truly blessed to live in a community where so many people give so much back and serve as outstanding role models for our future leaders," said Shapiro. "I would like all of our honorees to consider this award as a thank you from the scouting community that considers service as one of its core values."
Honoree Gina Caburis was described as that person who raises her hand and says, "I will take that on." "She will take on that project with extraordinary organization and efficiency," said Sallie Gotoff. "More important than the amount she takes on, is the way she takes it on. Gina does everything with extreme care."
"She has all the necessary qualities of a good scout: she is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, cheerful and brave," said Gotoff.
What Caburis treasures most, with many years of volunteering with the scouts in a multitude of roles, is watching the fine young men of New Providence develop character traits that are unique to scouts. "It is a privilege to watch it -- we raise such fine sons in Boy Scouts. Its a privilege and I thank you for that. I have been very blessed to be involved in scouts."
Al Elefante, Gary Kapner and Kerry Lee are three businessmen and generous community volunteers and supporters to the New Providence Business Association.
Mayor Al Morgan introduced both Elefante and Lee -- recognizing each with qualities that make a difference to the community. Elefante has touched the lives of youth by making them musicians -- bringing joy to their lives and their families, said Morgan. And Lee was PAL president for years, as well as serves as a volunteer to the Historic Society and Lions Club.
Elefante was honored with the award. "These [The Boy Scouts] are the kind of guys that make me feel good that our country and our community will be in good hands forever because of people like that," he said. "I've lived in New Providence about my whole life, brought my children up here. If there is one decision I made in my life that is a great decision -- living in New Providence is one of them. I love the community. Anything I did for the community is an honor and privilege to do it."
Lee reflected on his son going through the Police Explorers. "[To] see how our son went from a kid afraid to get up, to one that commanded the room. -- All of us should recognize the scouts for what they do and their families."
Retired Police Captain Bill Hoefling introduced Gary Kapner as a person that demonstrates the Boy Scouts ideal of being prepared. "He is always thinking outs of the box, looking for and always looking out for our community."
Kapner, current Borough Council President, thanked Mayor Al Morgan for getting him involved. "17 years ago, he [Morgan] was looking for volunteers and got me involved in the Downtown Improvement District Board. -- To everyone in New Providence that serves the community -- sometimes it's a thankless job -- but I thank you for doing it. The community needs you."
Shapiro closed the evening and called the honorees heroes. "You are all heroes tonight. Heroes of character and compassion, dedication and devotion, selflessness and service for the betterment of others. Thank you for all that you do."
Hal Daume, Patriots' Path Council President, thanked everyone for coming and, most importantly, he thanked the group of Boy Scouts that represent the future. He encouraged the full room of supporters to complete a pledge card for the Boy Scout scholarship fund that make a big difference in the lives of "our young people."
The Patriots’ Path Council each year serves over 19,000 youth members and 6,000 leaders in the counties of Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union and parts of Middlesex, New Jersey. Some 400 local organizations have a Cub Pack, Scout Troop, Venture Crew, Varsity Team or Explorer Post as a part of their service to youth.