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 2021 – 2021 leaders are:

Marcos Aikman– Senior Patrol Leader
Marcos Aikman is a Life Scout in Troop 175 and is a member of the Immortals. He is a Senior at 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 interacting with everyone in the troop and guiding scouts on their path towards Eagle. Marcos’s favorite times in Troop 175 were when he hiked the Connecticut section of the Appalachian Trail last summer and his final year of summer camp.

Frank Hemmerich – Assistant Senior Patrol Leader
Frank Hemmerich is a Life Scout in Troop 175 and a Sophomore at Simsbury High School. 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 recent sailing through Croatia. 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 bonding with younger scouts.

Brendan Shugrue – Assistant Patrol Leader
Brendan Shugrue is a 16 years old junior at Simsbury high school (SHS). He is currently a life scout in troop 175 and a member of the immortals. Brendan wrestles at (SHS) and is also a member of the model UN club. Brendan enjoys skiing, biking, fishing, and weight lifting in his free time. Some of his favorite scouting trips include junior leadership training (JLT), scuba diving in Honduras, and skiing Tuckerman’s ravine

Ben Breslav- Assistant Senior Patrol Leader
Ben Breslav is 15 years old and in 9th grade at Avon Old Farms. He is currently a Life scout working on his Eagle Project. He is a member of the Immortals with Troop 175 and has been involved with scouting since first grade. Ben loves an outdoor challenge and appreciates the adventurous trips that Troop 175 takes every year. Outside of scouts, Ben enjoys biking, fishing, football and lacrosse

Hayden Carter – Assistant Senior Patrol Leader
Hayden Carter is a Life Scout and was inducted into the Immortals in 2020. He is a Junior and an active scout since the first grade. He has held several leadership positions in the Troop including Assistant 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, Iceland, 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.

Jack Montesi – Assistant Senior Patrol Leader
Jack Montesi is 17 years old and is a senior at Simsbury High school. He is currently a Life scout and working on finishing his Eagle Scout project by Fall of 2021. He was inducted into the Immortals in 2019 and was recently elected to be the Immortals Chief. Jack took part in the 2018 “Not Philmont” trip alongside seven other scouts, and hiked 100 miles through the vast deserts in Utah. Also, he and his team won the Mission Profile in 2020. Jack has been active in scouting since 1st grade, and joined Troop 175 in 5th grade.

Joe Kalamarides– Assistant Senior Patrol Leader
Joe Kalamarides is a Life Scout in Troop 175 who is currently a sophomore at Northwest Catholic High School, in West Hartford. He has been in Scouting since first grade as a tiger scout and was inducted into the Immortals in 2020. He led the online troop throughout 2020-21 and is currently working on his Eagle Project. Both of his brothers have gone through Troop 175 and achieved the rank of Eagle. His favorite parts of Scouting are the friendships that are made and the exciting once in lifetime trips. Outside of scouts, Joe enjoys running cross country and track and hiking.

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. Brad led the 2021 Croatian Sailing Expedition as well as 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. He is also a Council Trustee.

Brad is a licensed pilot, deep-water 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 an Eagle Scout and a freshman at the University of Vermont. His daughter, Kate, is also an Eagle Scout 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.

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.

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.

Amanda Thompson – Assistant Scoutmaster

Amanda has been involved with Scouts for 8 years. She served as Pack 70 Den Leader and Committee Chair, and she currently is a trip coordinator and merit badge councilor for Troop 175. Outside of Scouts Amanda serves as Vice Chair on East Granby Planning and Zoning Board and has been on the East Granby Land Trust Board for 12 years, currently serving as Programs Coordinator. She has a passion for thoughtful land use and preservation. She is also the Historical Archivist for the East Granby Public Library preserving history for future generations. She has one son in Troop 175 and a daughter who will tag along to any event she is allowed to go on until she can be a BSA Scout herself. Amanda lives for the outdoors, from plant and insect identification to activities like hiking, biking, skiing, and canoeing. Amanda enjoys all things outdoors

Frank Hemmerich – Assistant Scoutmaster

Frank has volunteered with Troop 175 since 2017 when his son Frank (FJ4) – a Life Scout and current Assistant Senior Patrol Leader – joined the troop. He later became an Assistant Scoutmaster for 175 to provide more support. Frank is also an Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 1175, to which his daughter Maddie – a Star Scout and Patrol Leader – belongs. Frank has helped coordinate trips and assist in several troop activities over the last few years. Frank has been a member of the Immortals since 2019 when both he and FJ4 were inducted. In addition to enjoying outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and boating, Frank has also been a volunteer coach for FJ4’s baseball teams and enjoys restoring classic cars. Frank is currently employed by MassMutual.

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.

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.

Ken Medina – Assistant Scoutmaster

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.

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 Council 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.

Bill Savage – Assistant Scoutmaster

For the past 20+ years, Bill has served as a leader in the field of Operational Risk Management with specialization in Cybersecurity, Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity and Crisis Management. In addition to enabling companies to identify and respond to risks arising in the business environment from people, process and technology, Bill has delivered a wide range of business continuity and disaster recovery training programs to leadership teams in the US, Europe, South America and the Bermuda. He also has hands on experience leading crisis response activities for large sites in the US and Bermuda during hurricanes from 2011 to 2016.  Outside of his work life, Bill is an experienced mountain biker and avid downhill skier, and he enjoys camping, hiking and any other outdoor activity that creates a challenge. He also enjoys woodworking, automotive restoration and repair, and cooking. Bill has one son in the Troop (Matt) who is a life Scout and a Patrol Leader and another son (Ty) who recently achieved the rank of Eagle, and is now attending College.

Kevin Bradley – Assistant Scoutmaster

Kevin is an 20-year retired Veteran with the US Army where he served as an Infantry Mortarman with a combat deployment to Panama in 1990 (Operation Just Cause) and a Stabilization Force deployment to Bosnia in September of 2001 (SFOR-10).  He served as the Battalion Mortars Platoon Sergeant where he was responsible for the training and tactical operations management of the Battalion Mortar assets including the 3 Infantry Companies.  Kevin has had extensive training in Logistical planning and communications, Small Arms Instruction and was Chief Instructor for the Brigade Mortar Training Program.  Kevin currently serves as a Team Coordinator for the Canton Emergency Response Team  (CERT) and works closely with the Town Emergency Management.  He also serves as the Emergency Coordinator for Canton with the Amateurs Radio Emergency Service (ARES).  Kevin has a son Devin in Troop 175 and daughters Paige and Claire in Troop 1175.  Kevin enjoys Camping, Amateur Radio,  Geocaching, Hiking, Biking, Fishing and Kayaking and helping people gain piece of mind through knowledge and preparedness.

Rob Montesi – Assistant Scoutmaster

Rob, a former scout himself, began volunteering in scouting as a cub Den Leader when his son, Jack, a current ASPL and Immortals Chief, joined in first grade in 2010. He also coached soccer and baseball in Simsbury for several years. Rob brings a well-rounded skillset in many athletic pursuits, including regional competitive experience in alpine skiing, road & mountain cycling, and running. He has spent much of his life enjoying the great outdoors, especially while hiking (including a Presidential Traverse), camping and fishing, and has also been a professional guitarist on the local/regional scene in his younger days. As a volunteer parent and ASM, Rob has organized and led many successful scouting adventures including the Winter Survival Weekend, Tuckerman Ravine and Alpine Skiing trips.  

Rob is a Senior Vice President with Goman + York Property Advisors, and resides in Simsbury with his wife, Anne, their three children, and several huggable and unhuggable pets.