Troop 70 welcomes a new leadership team in 2019 to add to its rich local history. Highland’s Scouting program continues to be one of the fastest growing in the Rip Van Winkle Council which covers both Ulster and Greene counties.
While Highland maintains two Troops; 70 and 193, they are supported by one Cub Scout Pack, Pack 70. Several of Pack 70’s leaders are in the process of completing the program and have decided to move on together to assume roles in Troop 70.
Mike Bakatsias is completing 9 years in leadership with Pack 70. He has held titles of Assistant Cubmaster and has led two dens from Tiger (First Grade) to Webelo II (5th grade), which effectively completes the Cub Scouting program. He will be joined by other leaders and parents such as Reg Osterhoudt and Mike Miano who have maintained various leadership roles and led their own dens.
Cub Master Jocelyn Swart has worked with Bakatsias for the entire 9 year period. Swart along with her dedicated group of Scouting leaders and parents have provided excellent programs which have helped bring the Pack to record numbers hitting 90 registered scouts this past Fall.
“We are very family oriented, allow other siblings to participate and focus on the various skills of our scouts. The fun activities and community participation have assisted in communicating our “brand” to the area” says Bakatsias. Pack 70 continues to lead in various awards and recognitions at Council recognition events held in May each year in Kingston.
Last year, Pack 70 was one of the first Packs in the area to be selected to recruit the first girls in the Cub Scout program. The source of some discomfort at the National level, however the girls in the program belong to their own Den and cross over with other boys’ dens to complete specific requirements. “We have always had younger siblings, boys and girls participate”, said Bakatsias, “The only difference were the boys would get the credit and the girls did not. Now, everyone gets to participate and advance on the Arrow of Light trail and learn the skills that makes Scouting fun and exciting.”
Bakatsias and company are preparing to assume leadership roles in Troop 70 this coming February when his den, Den 5 completes the Cub Scout program. Bakatsias will be named Scout Master, Osterhoudt will be named Committee Chairperson and Mike Miano along with other volunteers will assume Assistant Scoutmaster positions. They will be guided by Troop 70’s current leaders, Peter Bellizzi Sr. and Paul Krystek.
“It’s exciting but since our children, specifically my three boys have completed the program, I am ready for the fun and adventure to continue as the boys mature” states Bakatsias. “Perhaps they will even want to earn the coveted title of Eagle Scout.”