banner1gif.gif

By Jose Latorre

Scouting is not just based in the United States. All Scouts and Scouters wear the World Crest, a purple circle that symbolizes their membership in the world movement of Scouting. But that patch was just the beginning of my personal journey to gain the International Spirit Award.

The first contact I had with international Scouting occurred at my former troop in Madrid, which belongs to the Transatlantic Council in Europe. In May 2013, I had the opportunity to attend a multi-cultural Jamboree at the US Naval Base in Rota, Spain. I made new friends, exchanged badges, learned a few foreign words, and overall, had an unforgettable experience.

The following April, just a few months after joining Troop 2 in Rye, my father and I went to the Normandy Camporee, France, to celebrate the 70th D-Day anniversary.

It is easy for me to say that this experience was one of the best in my life.

Not only did I meet Scouts from over the world, but also honored veterans, visited museums, and gained a greater appreciation of history.

These are some examples of the experiences required to earn the international award, but there are also core requirements and I can tell you that they are very rewarding.

As an international Scout, I earned the Spanish interpreter strip and I am working on the French strip. Furthermore, the Scout must earn the World Conservation Award. To do so, I completed several merit badges, including the Environmental Science badge, which taught me how to make the world a better place, and more about plants and animals, and substances that damage our planet.

I also earned the Citizenship in the World merit badge. Due to the fact that I love international organizations, foreign policy, and diplomacy, this merit badge was my favorite of all.

The Scout candidate has to participate in a Jamboree-on-the-Air or Jamboree-on-the Internet. Last October, I had the great opportunity of chatting with them real-time, as well as finding out what their hobbies were, and discovering common ground. I met twenty-seven new scouts from Europe, South America, and Asia.

All Scouts learn and agree to live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law, regardless of the program in which they participate. Core to the Scout Oath is the charge that a Scout “Help other people at all times.”

The applicant has to organize a World Friendship Fund. At the time the Fund was developed, during the closing days of World War II, there was a great need to rebuild Scouting in those nations that had been wracked by war. Over the years, this fund has provided Scouts from around the world with Scouting literature, uniforms, summer camp equipment, computers, and other supplies.

I would like to thank Rye Troop 2 for the donation to World Friendship Fund. We have become part of a worldwide Good Turn.

After all this work and experience, on February 14, I was presented with the International Spirit Award during the troop’s winter Court of Honor. At the ceremony, many Scouts were recognized for merit badge completions, and advancements in rank, including a new Eagle Scout, Chris Tobin.

 

I would like to thank my counselor, Mr. Matthew Mann, the Council’s International representative, for helping me reach a significant step in my Scouting career.

I have broadened my knowledge of international Scouting and gained greater appreciation and awareness of different cultures and countries. We Boy Scouts of America are eager for opportunities to be part of worldwide Scouting in a personal way. As members of the International Scout Movement say when greeting each other: Yours in International Scouting.

<The author is Senior Patrol Leader, Rye Troop 2.>

Captions

#3460

Jose Latorre, at left, and his father at the Normandy Camporee celebrating the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

With World Scout logo

#0574 The author at the Rye Troop 2 Court of Honor last month, at which he received the International Spirit Award.

Meet Dr. Greg Rasmussen of the Painted Dog Research Trust in Zimbabwe at An Evening to Benefit Painted Dogs (African wild dogs), March 17 from 7:30-10 at The Rye Arts Center. Sip South African wines, see native arts and crafts, and enjoy tasty hors d’oeuvres as you hear about these endangered canids, which have never been domesticated.

Tickets are $50 (entire amount donated to PDRT). RSVP to Alison Nicholls at 939-4023 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

CAPTION

African wild dogs

Photo courtesy of Alison Nicholls

The Rye Y’s Togetherhood Committee will host an afternoon for the Cards for Hospitalized Kids organization. Drop by the Y’s Child Care Room on Sunday, March 19 between 1:30 and 3:30 to make a card — or two — for a child who is facing serious illness. No registration necessary.

This family event is open to members, non-members, and kids of all ages. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, contact Denise Woodin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

By Peter Jovanovich

At the March 1 City Council meeting, Mayor Joe Sack indicated that Crown Castle’s latest proposal to install cell phone towers is “not one that this Council is likely to approve.” On February 24, the company submitted a further iteration of their proposal to build cell phone towers around Rye. Action on the application must be taken by the March 15 Council meeting.

The Mayor acknowledged that the City has been in discussion with Crown Castle, but this latest plan to build towers, a so-called “Plan C” would not meet the approbation of the Council. All other Councilmembers, including the plan’s principal opponent, Councilmember Emily Hurd, concurred.

The Council is also considering the approval of a new local law governing cell towers. After input from the community, a new draft of the law will be made available to the public in advance of the March 15 meeting. The Mayor thanked the citizen’s committee for their advice, which “we may incorporate in whatever final product is put forth at the next Council meeting.”

Regarding the new law, Joseph Van Eaton, recently hired consultant-attorney representing the City in the Crown Castle affair, “We want the priority to be for construction on existing towers or existing supporting structures. New towers will not be permitted in existing right-of-ways.”

By Robin Jovanovich

Keeping a retail store’s engine running smoothly for 20 years requires savvy, taste, good listening skills, loyal salespeople, and luck. Lucky for Rye that Catherine Parker possesses those and more.

The owner of Rye’s one and only travel store says brightly, “I’ve always looked at the store as a work-in-progress!”

Parker, who is also our County Legislator, and someone you can count on to step up and head a community committee or a nonprofit in need, says her business wouldn’t have survived two floods and the 2008 Recession without the community’s support.

“Our heyday was before shoppers migrated to Amazon,” Parker acknowledges, “but thankfully many residents still value having a downtown and retail shops. Before the February school break, Christine Siller walked in, bought a ski parka here, instead of online or at the mall, and posted great things about the store. Pretty soon dozens of other people came in as a result.” She adds, “Whether it’s a nice comment on Facebook or Rye Moms, every one counts.”

Parker says she is not only fortunate to have longtime sales associates like Marlene Trienekens, who’s been with her for a dozen years, but also high school students who needed afterschool jobs and many adults between jobs. Her newest hire is Tony D’Onofrio, who helped his mom Peg run another longtime business, the Smoke Shop, for many years. Tony works weekends.

While Parker’s early focus was everything-travel, she soon ventured into lifestyle. “We’re now not only selling suitcases, we’re packing the bags!” she says with a smile. “We’re Rye’s answer to a mini department store.”

Understanding that a bricks-and-mortar store is “experiential and should be inviting and ever evolving,” Parker continues to tinker with the look and feel. Regular shoppers may know where to find the latest Briggs & Reilly bags, Barbour jackets, North Face fleeces, laminated city walking maps, and leather passport cases, but Parker also knows how to surprise us with new and fashionable clothing and accessories in unexpected spaces.

She does her best to compete with online competition. “I stock a plethora of styles and colors, but can’t afford to have the outliers. While I can get most things quickly, sometimes it’s not soon enough for the shopper who needs it that day.”

Coming soon are men’s bathing suits and an array of light and easy-to-pack travel clothing. Smart shoppers should make a point to stop by sooner to pick up the last of the great winter sale items.

Parker, who’d never worked in retail until 1995, has learned a lot about the business these 20 years. It wasn’t her first love, but travel was. “My mom, who taught school, did part of her Master’s degree in London. We traveled all over Europe.” Catherine was a high school exchange student in Sweden and while in college studied architecture and sculpture in Pietrasanta, Italy.

“I always loved researching trips in college,” recalls Parker. After college and a fair amount of traveling, she helped out a friend who was working at the Traveler’s Bookstore in the Time-Warner Building. “A light bulb went off! I talked to my parents about the idea of opening a travel store in the city. To their credit, they never blinked. All my dad said was: ‘You need a business plan.’”

In the ensuing “364 days,” Parker worked at the Civilized Traveler in Manhattan and learned “what not to do.”

Confident that she could own and run a travel store of her own, Parker started looking at retail space in the city, but an inner voice told her it was time to come home to Westchester, where she was born and raised.

“Finding out that the former Greeley House space was vacant, I called the building owner on a lark,” she explains, and the rest is good retail history.

Caption:

Catherine Parker flanked by her mother, Barbara Dannenberg, and longtime sales associate Marlene Trienekens

Makers & Shakers Afterschool Club

The Westchester Children’s Museum invites young scientists — grades 3-5 — to explore, build, and experiment at a new afterschool Engineering Club.

A four-week drop-off program will be held Wednesdays March 8, 15, 22, and 29 from 4:30-5:30.

The cost is $100 per child for members, $120 for non-members. Register online at www.discoverWCM.org.

Page 1 of 2