SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ: Ryan Bonhote of Troop 33 is Scotch Plains-Fanwood's newest Eagle Scout.

Ryan has been involved in Scouting since joining Cub Scout Pack 277 as a kindergartner in 2007. After he was awarded the Arrow of Light in 2013, he joined Troop 33 as a Boy Scout. For the past six years, Ryan has remained an active member of the troop. He has held a number of leadership roles within the Troop such as Quartermaster, Assistant Patrol Leader and Senior Patrol Leader and also worked as a camp counselor at the Watchung Cub Scout Day camp.

Ryan received the Silver Community Service pin which represents service hours within the community that are above and beyond any service already provided in the name of Scouting. For instance, he volunteers during the school year at Saint Bartholomew’s Church working with special needs students in their religious education classes. 

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In 2019, Ryan earned a place in Scouting’s National Honor Society, Order of the Arrow, as an Ordeal member in the Woapalanne Lodge.

Ryan’s Eagle project benefited the pre-school program at the Fanwood Presbyterian Church, which hosts Troop 33. Ryan wanted to give back to the place where he spent almost every Monday of his years in the Troop. He refurbished the school’s playground, designed and built a Buddy Bench for the students’ use, and erected a bell pole with an engraved bell for the teachers to call their students.

Ryan completed his project June 13, and his Eagle Board of Review was held July 23, 2019. Ryan would like to thank his three scoutmasters, Rich Buchanan, Domenic Iannaccone, and Jeff Zimmerman, who helped him along the Trail to Eagle. 

Eagle is the highest rank in Scouting, requiring the honorees to work their way up through the lower ranks, each one requiring leadership, community service, practical skills and a quota of merit badges. Their final project requires candidates to be project managers covering the planning, fundraising, staffing, execution and documentation of a service project to benefit the community. At each rank advancement they must also show that they live their lives to the Scout Oath and Law, which requires them to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. 

Eagle status is the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting. To earn the rank, a Scout must progress through the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life Scout and earn 21 merit badges or more. Only about 7% of Scouts attain the rank of Eagle.

Famous Eagle Scouts include astronauts Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, and James Lovell of Apollo 13 fame, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, former NJ Senator Bill Bradley, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg, and President Gerald R. Ford.

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