By MADDY VITALE
Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is no easy task. It takes hard work, sacrifice and perseverance.
In fact, only about 4 percent of scouts has what it takes to make it to the top rank, according to the Boy Scouts of America.
But Ian Crowley did just that and became part of an elite group looked to for their leadership skills learned through an arduous journey that is scouting.
The 18-year-old Ocean City resident and high school senior was honored for the major milestone Saturday during his Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony at the Ocean City Yacht Club before a crowded room of family, fellow Boy Scouts, friends and dignitaries.
Ian’s family members, including his parents, First Ward City Councilman Terry Crowley and his mother, Jennifer, and his brother, Tripp, were among those in attendance.
Before the ceremony, the speeches and the honors, Ian spoke a bit about his accomplishment during an interview with OCNJDaily.com.
“It feels good. I’m just excited. It was a lot of hard work to get here, but it was also a lot of fun. I enjoyed time with all of my troop mates at summer camp completing our merit badges,” Ian said. “It’s nice to have completed everything.”
His Eagle Scout project was a bit involved and highlighted his talents in computer and digital technology.
“I created a series of posters that have QR codes that lead you to a complete self-guided tour of the Life Saving Station,” he said.
Ian, who is skilled in computer science and photography, will be adding another skill to his resume – he is working on his private pilot’s license. In the fall, he will take another major step in his life by attending college at the University of Florida.
While the community showed support and appreciation for his achievement as an Eagle Scout, his parents were the proudest of him.
“We are so proud of the work and the focus that Ian put into achieving Eagle Scout,” Terry Crowley said on behalf of the family. “He’s an incredible young man and we are so thankful for all of the scout and community leaders that contributed to the scout program and set the example for the young men.”
Congressman Jeff Van Drew spoke of the importance of Eagle Scouts to the nation.
“In the United States of America right now, there’s a lot of concern about our future. We have some of the greatest challenges we have ever had. As we go into the future, we’re going to need good, solid people. And you come from a good solid family,” Van Drew said, looking at Ian. “The Eagle Scout is somebody who is willing to do more, willing to work harder, who is willing to reach for the brass ring and to make a difference.”
In addition, Van Drew invited Ian and his family to take a tour of the Capitol. He will also give a speech on the Capitol floor recognizing Ian.
Fourth Ward Councilman Dave Winslow, a father of Eagle Scouts, spoke about what it takes to be an Eagle.
“He embodies the scout motto to be prepared,” Winslow said. “He knows what to do in case of an accident or a natural disaster. He has been to a city meeting, knows functions of government,” Winslow said.
Winslow described more traits for what makes an Eagle Scout.
“To quote the handbook, he’s a young man qualified to help others, as well as to take care of himself. His badge is not a decoration but a symbol of knowledge and ability and hard work,” Winslow said.
During the ceremony, the audience applauded and watched photos on a projector of Ian through the years of scouting, fishing, shooting, hiking, and culminating with his Eagle Scout project at the Life Saving Station.
A historic building dates to 1885 and is one of a few surviving examples of life-saving stations in the country. A forerunner to the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Life-Saving Service was responsible for rescuing the passengers and crew from the many shipwrecks that occurred in the late 1800s and early 1900s in the busy shipping lanes along the East Coast.
Ocean City Troop 32 Scoutmaster Dean Mitzel performed the ceremony for Ian to officially become an Eagle Scout, which included the Eagle charge and pledge, the presentation of the Eagle award and the presentation of mentor pins.
There were several other presentations emphasizing the importance of Ian’s accomplishments.
In addition, Ian was given challenge coins, which are presented to Eagles in recognition of their work. He also received proclamations.
Mayor Jay Gillian presented Ian with a ceremonial piece of the Ocean City Boardwalk.
Gillian said of Ian’s accomplishment, “It takes a lot of hard work, commitment and exceptional personal qualities to achieve scouting’s highest rank. Our future will be in good hands with a generation of young men and women like Ian taking over.”
Others who gave remarks were John Loeper, president of the Ocean City Life Saving Station, Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, Cape May County Commissioner Bob Barr, Cape May County Surrogate E. Marie Hayes, American Legion Post 524 Commander Bob Marzulli and Cape May County Sheriff’s Officer Andrew Raniszewski. Douglas Ely did the benediction.
The Master of Ceremonies was Nathan Amey. Presentation of Colors was performed by Nicholas Bimbo, Brayden McAllister and Wilson Stauffer. The Trail to Eagle was done by Nathan Amey and Alex Costello and the Honor Guard was Chase Palermo and Alex Costello.