Troop Leadership

We are proud of our adult leadership at Troop 175. It’s deep and experienced. Our adult leaders have camped, climbed, fished, hunted and explored on many expeditions. They are all great teachers. In addition we have a very high participation by the Dads (and Moms-three of whom climbed Kilimanjaro last time) in our Troop and it is not unusual to have 15-20 dads/moms on a trip. No experience is necessary and if you were never a Scout as a boy this is your second chance to learn the ropes. We have a Parents/Leaders Patrol, the “Usual Suspects,” on each trip. We eat very well and share a lot of experiences as parents and as professionals from all walks of life.

Our Troop is boy led and our leaders are selected by the adult leadership based on their performance and ability to lead. The senior patrol leaders and patrol leaders share their wisdom and pass on their knowledge to the younger Scouts through our trip and advancement programs. Boy Scouts is one of the very few organizations where boys can be put in leadership positions at ages as young as 12. Good leaders often appear early and the fun of scouting is watching them “take the lead”.

Troops are only as good as the boys who want to step up and take charge and the adult volunteers who are there to assist.

Our 2020 – 2021 leaders are:

Alejandro VargasSenior Patrol Leader
Alejandro (Alex) Vargas is a Senior at Simsbury High School who currently holds the rank of Life Scout in Troop 175. Alex has been an active member of troop 175 for 6 years. Alex is a member of the track and cross-country team at the high school as well as a member of the Model UN club. In his free time, Alex loves skiing, running, mountain biking, and rock climbing. Some of Alex’s favorite trips have been climbing Kilimanjaro, scuba diving in Honduras, and sailing in Cuba and Thailand. He is also a member of the immortals and enjoyed serving the troop as Immortals Chief last year.

Marcos AikmanAssistant Senior Patrol Leader/Immortal Chief
Marcos Aikman is a Life Scout in Troop 175 and is a member of the Immortals. He is a Junior and attends Pioneer Valley Christian Academy in Springfield, MA. He has been actively involved in Scouting ever since he was a Tiger Cub. Marcos plays basketball and baseball at PVCA and enjoys playing these sports in his free time along with fishing, hiking, and biking. He loves helping younger scouts with advancement and encouragement and also with anything that needs to be done. Marcos’s favorite times in Troop 175 are when he is on the JLT (Junior Leader Training) trips.

Carson Boyko –  Assistant Senior Patrol Leader
Carson Boyko is a Life Scout in Troop 175, which he has been a part of since 5th grade. He is currently a Senior at Simsbury High School, where he is a member of the Cross Country and Track teams. Carson loves to travel the world; He has sailed in Greece, Cuba, and Thailand, and has reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Carson was Inducted into the Immortals in 2018 and continues to seek adventure in the troop. Despite all of the crazy adventures he goes on, Carson continues to enjoy hanging out with his friends; Friends he’s made during his 10-year journey through scouting.

Frank HemmerichAssistant Senior Patrol Leader
Frank Hemmerich is a freshman in High School and a Life Scout in Troop 175. He  was inducted into the Immortals in 2019. Frank has been an active Scout since third grade, and joined Troop 175 in fifth grade. During his scouting career Frank has had the opportunity to attend many trips including Junior Leadership Training, hiking in New England, Sea Base, and the most memorable, climbing Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. Frank’s other interests include mountain biking, and playing baseball and  guitar. His favorite parts about the troop are the friendships he’s formed and generally helping where he can.

JR BreslavAssistant Senior Patrol Leader
JR Breslav is 15 years old and is in the 10th grade at Simsbury high school. He is currently a Life scout working on his eagle project and a member of the Immortals .JR has been a part of troop 175 since 2015. His favorite parts of the troop are hanging out with his friends, learning new skills, and going on awesome trips. Outside of scouts JR enjoys playing football, basketball, and lacrosse.

Ben BreslavAssistant Senior Patrol Leader
Ben Breslav is 14 years old and is in the 9th grade at Simsbury High School. He is currently a Life scout and a member of the Immortals with Troop 175 and has been a part of scouting since Cub Scouts in 1st grade. Ben loves an outdoor challenge and appreciates the adventurous trips that Troop 175 takes every year. Outside of scouts, Ben enjoys biking, fishing, basketball and lacrosse.

Hayden CarterAssistant Senior Patrol Leader
Hayden Carter is a Life Scout and was inducted into the Immortals in 2020.  He is a Sophomore and an  active scout since the first grade. He has held several leadership positions in the Troop including Assistant Patrol Leader and Patrol Leader.  Hayden comes from a family that has been part of the troop since 2001, and his older brothers are Eagle Scouts who both served as Senior Patrol Leaders and were part of the infamous Amazon Jungle trip in 2008.  Hayden is an avid traveler and has been to Spain, Greece, Ireland and the UK.  He is also active in the community, and particularly at St. Mary’s Church where he is a regular volunteer.  He looks forward to achieving the Eagle rank in the near future.

Adult Leadership

Brad MeadScoutmaster
Brad is an Eagle Scout and has hiked, climbed, paddled, and explored in over 146 countries, a passion developed during his Scout days. He has been on or led 5 Himalayan expeditions, four Amazon basin expeditions, a Haute Route team over the top of the Alps in winter, climbed the Matterhorn, the Eiger, Jungfrau, Mt. Blanc and two first ascents in the Wind Rivers. He led the 2019 Kilimanjaro expedition, the 2018 Western parks RV Trip the 2017 Thailand and Cuba sailing expeditions, 2016 Greek Sailing Expedition, the 2010 & 2015 Alaskan Expedition, the 2014 Zambezi Whitewater Rafting Expedition, the Kilimanjaro expeditions in 2007 & 2012, the Amazon Jungle expedition in 2008, the 2010 Presidential Traverse and Captained 2011, 2012, & 2013 Caribbean Sailing expeditions.

He is a graduate of National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyoming. He led one of the 5 Connecticut troops to the 2013 Jamboree in West Virginia. In May of 2013, he was honored by BSA national as one of the top 54 scoutmasters (out of 44,000) in the country. He and his wife, Dianne, were flown by BSA National to the annual meeting in Texas to receive the award and spent three days meeting the national leadership. He was awarded the Silver Beaver award in May 2017. This is the highest award given by the Council. He is an Executive Board Member of the Ct Rivers Council and Chairman of the National Eagle Scout Committee.

Brad is a licensed pilot, deepwater scuba diver, skydiver, sailing captain and is a member of the Immortals. He is trained in CPR, Wilderness First Aid and High Altitude Rescue and in October 2014 received his Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician Certification (WEMT) from the Wilderness Mountain Medicine Institute in Lander, Wyoming. Brad is the CEO and President of Delta Capital Group, an investment bank in Simsbury, CT. His two sons Ryan and Jeffrey received their Eagle Scout awards in May 2008. His daughter Allison did everything her brothers did. All 3 summited Kilimanjaro.

Gary BarchAssistant Scoutmaster
Gary has been active in the Simsbury Scouts for many years. He enjoys the outdoors, especially fishing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, and canoeing. He also enjoys photography and is PDIC certified in Scuba Diving. Gary organizes the Simsbury Fly-In Scout volunteers and is involved in other events throughout the year. He works for Design Innovation In Avon as a prototype developer. His oldest son, Eric, is an Eagle Scout, former SPL and a Graduate of William and Mary College. Eric joined the 2019 Kilimanjaro Expedition and Summited.

Keith ChambersAssistant Scoutmaster
Keith began his scouting career as a Cub Scout Den Leader and continued with Boy Scouts in Troop 274 in Avon as an Assistant Scout Master. He has over eleven years in scouting and is a Wood Badge Instructor. Keith and his two sons moved over to Troop 175 in 2010. Keith is an avid cyclist, enjoys photography, cooking, sailing and the outdoors. He led the 2019 BSA Adventure BASE Sailing trip. Keith helped lead the 2013 and 2016 Philmont Expeditions. He has experience hiking and backpacking in South Africa, and has been to more summer camps than he can remember! Keith’s son, Tristan, achieved his Eagle in 2012 and is currently studying at San Diego State. His son Devon is a Life Scout and was a member of 2012 Kilimanjaro Expedition

Ken Medina – Assistant Scoutmaster
Ken is the newest member to the Assistant Scout Master ranks at Troop 175. Ken is an 18-year veteran with the US Army with 3 combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently serving as his unit’s First Sergeant, senior enlisted soldier, and senior medic. Ken is trained in advanced combat and expeditionary medicine. Ken is also a 13-year veteran with the Hartford Police Department and serves as a Detective and Special Deputy US Marshal assigned to the FBI. Both his son Alex and daughter Raelyn are involved in troops 175 and 1175. Ken enjoys Scuba diving, Mountaineering, and long-distance trekking. He is also a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics and enjoys building drones recreationally.

Travis Pascavis Assistant Scoutmaster
Travis joined the troop in spring of 2016 when his son Ben crossed over from Simsbury Pack 76 and led the October Adirondack Troop trip. After holding various prior and current leadership roles in the pack, he has a strong connection to the crossover scouts and their unique needs. Travis’ focus will be to work with the troop’s patrol program to ensure a secure relationship between the needs of the crossovers and the needs of the youth patrol leaders. Travis likes the outdoors and pursues hiking, biking, fishing, and camping. He works at the Hartford Investment Management Company as a Portfolio Strategist and sits on the portfolio strategy committee, which is responsible for tactical asset allocation. His son Ben is a Life Scout and a Patrol leader.

Todd Hollister Assistant Scoutmaster
Todd joined the Troop in the spring of 2014 when his son, Max (and, at the time, honorary Scout daughter, Kate), crossed over from Pack 325 in Granby, CT where Todd was Cubmaster /Assistant Cubmaster and Den Leader for 3 years. Todd enjoys the outdoors, especially fishing, camping, hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking. Todd is also an ASM for the girls’

Troop (Troop 1175) and was instrumental in getting that troop up and running. He is a member of the Immortals and serves as Trip Coordinator for both troops. Todd is a major contributor to the troop’s photo archive. By day, Todd is a robotics engineer and is currently Director of Software Engineering at Protedyne Corp. in Windsor, CT.

His son, Max, is now a Life Scout working toward Eagle and was the troop’s Senior Patrol Leader last year and is now a Jr Asst Scoutmaster.  His daughter, Kate, is also a Life Scout working toward her Eagle and was the Senior Patrol Leader for the girls’ Troop last year. Todd’s wife, Val, is on the troop Committee and is very active with both the boys’ and girls’ troops.

Derek Aldrich Assistant Scoutmaster
Derek has been part of Troop 175 since the Spring of 2012. He was previously a Den Leader, Committee Member and Advancement Chair for Pack 325 in Granby. Additionally, he volunteers his time as a Coach for some of his Son’s athletic teams. Derek is currently the Troop 175 Advancement Coordinator. He enjoys the outdoors and is an avid fisherman. He also likes to spend his time camping, hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking. His youngest son Connor joined the troop in the Spring of 2015 and is a Life Scout and a Patrol Leader.. His oldest son Patrick, who is now a Sophomore at Roger Williams College in Rhode Island, is an Eagle Scout, was an Assistant Senior Patrol Leader and recently spent a week at the National Youth Leadership Training at J.N. Webster Camp in Ashford. Derek spends his days as an Architect working for Moser Pilon Nelson Architects in Wethersfield.

Jon Hughes- Assistant Scoutmaster
Jon Hughes is an Eagle Scout who joined the troop in 2012 and is an Assistant Scoutmaster and a member of the Immortals. He achieved the rank of Eagle in 1969 while in Troop 786 in Michigan. Although Jon does not have any sons, he wanted to give back to an organization that had such a tremendously positive impact on his life. In addition to participating on troop trips, meetings, Eagle Scout projects, etc. he is responsible for adult and scout registration and annual troop chartering activities as well as adult training requirements. Jon is an avid outdoorsman and is trained in Wilderness First Aid. He has over 30 years as a safety professional and is currently an industry consultant.

Ray Mancarella Assistant Scoutmaster
Ray began his scouting experience as a youth in Windsor Locks, progressing from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Life Scout. An avid camper, Ray has passed his love of the outdoors to his 3 daughters. Camping, kayaking, hiking and letterboxing are among his hobbies. Ray has been an active volunteer in the St.Mary’s community, chairing Carnival committees, sitting on the Parish Counci and the school’s Technology Committee. He recognized the value scouting brought to his life and decided to rejoin to give back to the organization which he enjoyed as a youth. Ray serves as an Assistant Scoutmaster for both our boys and our girls troops. He is our current webmaster and computer guru for our email groups and other systems. He and his wife Peg often cater the food for the parent patrol on our most well attended trips. He is an IT consultant and also enjoys cycling.

Armando Vargas Assistant Scoutmaster
Armando came to Troop 175 in 2012 when his son Sean joined.  Sean is now an Eagle Scout and a Sophomore at College. His brother Alejandro joined in the fall of 2016 and is a Life Scout and the Current SPL. Armando enjoyed participating as a parent in the many troop activities and trips, becoming a member of the Eagle Board of Review. Armando is one of the key leadership trainers in the Troop, working closely with our Senior Patrol members on their leadership skill building. He leads an annual leadership training weekend with Committee Member Steve Bessette and they have jointly done similar training for our girls Troop. In 2016, he became an Assistant Scoutmaster and served as an adult leader on the 2016 expedition to Philmont, as well as trips to Cuba and Thailand in 2017.  He led the ski trip in 2017.  In 2018, he led the “Not Philmont Trip” to Utah when Philmont was forced to shut down due to fires. He was Co leader of the 2019 Kilimanjaro Trip where his entire family summited. He is a member of the Immortals.  Armando enjoys a variety of outdoor activities such as mountaineering, rock climbing, running marathons and triathlon races.

Jamie Kalamarides Assistant Scoutmaster
Jamie has been involved in Scouting for more than 25 years.  In addition to his current responsibilities at Assistant Scoutmaster, Jamie has been Chairman of Troop 175, Cubmaster and Den Leader of Pack 176, and Assistant Scoutmaster of Troops 35 in Greenwich, CT and Troop 20 in Wilton, CT.  Jamie has led 2 Philmont trips for the troop.  He had to come home early during his first trip for the early arrival of his youngest son, Joseph, who is now a Life Scout and Patrol Leader. Jamie’s older sons Daniel and David are both Eagle Scouts. Most recently Jamie led a group of our Catholic Scouts through Ad Altere Dei Emblem training. Jamie is also an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow.  Jamie works at Prudential Financial.

Gordon Breslav Assistant Scoutmaster
Gordon has been active in both Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts in the town of Simsbury for many years.  Gordon enjoys all aspects of the Scouting program from the citizenship and leadership that Scouting promotes to the outdoor activities including camping, fishing, hiking and high adventure.  You may also find him and his boys on the football, basketball, and lacrosse fields here in town.  Gordon serves the troop as one of our troop trip coordinators and often is on one of the many trips that Troop 175 runs throughout the year. When he is not scouting or coaching, Gordon is the Vice President of Sales for York Risk Services Group.  Gordon has two sons in the troop:  JR Breslav is a Life Scout   and a  Asst Senior Patrol Leader.  His younger son Ben is also a Life  Scout and an Assist Senior Patrol Leader.  They are often joined on trips by his daughter Caroline, a very active member of the Scouts BSA Girls Troop for which Dru Breslav, his wife, is the Scoutmaster.  Scouting is a family affair for the Breslavs.

Bill Thomson Assistant Scoutmaster
Bill is an Eagle Scout with 2 Palms (1st in his Troop’s History.  Order of The Arrow & National Eagle Scout Association member.  He served as a Den Leader for Pack 175 for 2 years prior to his son Timothy (& entire Den), crossing over to Troop 175 in 2018. Additionally, Bill was a co-founder of a MA Troop. Bill is a merit badge counselor for Aviation Merit Badge.  Professionally, he served our nation with distinction as a USAF/ANG Officer & Piolet. Part of his world-wide missions & deployments included combat missions in Iraq, Afghanistan & the Balkans. Among his most rewarding roles was the privilege of mentoring Civil Air Patrol Cadets, focusing on character development, leadership and search and rescue. Bill Thomson is currently a medevac jet pilot for the New England Donor Services. Active in his church & community, Bill embodies the Air Force motto “Service Before Self” & invests in youth, who are the future of the nation he loves.

Paul Ritchie Assistant Scoutmaster
Paul Ritchie is the Assistant Scoutmaster responsible for recruiting, training, and organizing merit badge counselors. He also provides summer camp adult leadership, and organizes the annual March Crossover trip. Mr. Ritchie started in Scouting in Yongsan Garrison, South Korea, then was a member of Troops in the Panama Canal Zone, Lima, Peru, Boston, and Arlington, Virginia. He has been an adult leader in Indiana, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Mr. Ritchie is an Eagle Scout. His son Jon is First Class Scout.  Mr. Ritchie is a strategy execution leader at MassMutual.

Bill Rice Committee Member
Bill is a a former Assistant Scoutmaster and former scout. He and his family have hiked and camped in many of our country’s national parks and the highest points in every state. Bill co-led the 2010 Alaskan Expedition, 2012 Kilimanjaro Expedition, the 2013 Belize Sailing Expedition, the 2017 Cuba trip, and led the 2011 Philmont Scout Ranch Trek. Bill, President of the Web Marketing Association, developed our troop Google group and our Web Site. He also instructs the scout leadership in public speaking skills. His son Keegan is an Eagle Scout, and was the star of the National Geographic TV series “Are You Tougher Than A Boy Scout.”

Max Hollister –Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Max is a Life Scout and was inducted into the Immortals in 2017. He has been involved in scouts since 1st grade and was awarded his arrow of light. Max has been a part of the Troop 175 family for 7 years and he is a senior at Granby Memorial High School. He has taken part in several amazing trips with troop 175. He went on the Honduran scuba trip, the Cuba expedition, as well as the Western Utah trek and most recent Kilimanjaro climb. When Max isn’t at scouts he enjoys learning about global issues/geography, as well as mountain biking. Max was last years SPL