Simsbury Boy Scout Troop 175 recently held a Court of Honor to award the rank of Eagle Scout to four young men, Alex Stein, Andrew Gutierrez, Matt Zikovich and TJ Nicholson. Troop 175 is based at St. Mary’s Church in Simsbury and draws scouts from the entire Farmington Valley. The troop recognized it’s first Eagle scout in 1981.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than two million young men.
Requirements for the Eagle rank include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout Spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and a badge that visibly recognizes the accomplishments of the Scout.
Here are the scouts who have recently earned their Eagle rank.
Alex Stein began his scouting career began in second grade when he was invited to a meeting by one of his friends. In fifth grade, he crossed over and became a Boy Scout in Troop 516 in Centerville, Ohio. In sixth grade, his family moved to Simsbury, Connecticut. Once here, he started looking for a new troop to join. After one meeting of Troop 175 at Saint Mary’s church, he knew he had found what he had been looking for.
He picked Troop 175 because of the fun and exciting activities that they do. Some of his favorite memories are from the Mission Profiles and the Junior Leader Training trips. These are his favorite because they are different every year and they always pose new challenges. Another favorite trip each year is the ski trip. Skiing is his favorite sport and going to Vermont or New Hampshire to ski with friends for the weekend is unbeatable.
He made completing his Eagle Scout project before junior year a goal because everyone says that junior year is the most hectic for a high school student. His project was building an informational kiosk for the Friends of the Heublein Tower organization. His kiosk located at a trail head about a mile from the tower on the West Hartford side. It was nice to work with Mr. Willerup, who provided the design and a lot of advice and support during the build process.
Alex is now entering his Junior year at Simsbury High School. He plans to continue to be active in Troop 175 and help younger scouts with their journey to Eagle. When Alex is not at a troop meeting or at school, you can find him doing hurdles at the track in the spring, hitting the slopes in the winter, or on the couch watching what his parents consider to be “too much TV.”
Alex would like to thank his parents for bothering me practically every day, wondering what he had done about my project. Without them this wouldn’t be possible. He would also like to thank Mr. Adamowicz and the Eagle committee for advice along the way, and Mr. Mead for his amazing leadership of the troop. Alex wants to thank everyone who came out to help at his car wash fundraiser and everyone who put in long hours on build days. Finally, a huge thanks goes out to his neighbor Bill Kaliden for all of his help. Mr. Kaliden was present at almost all of the build days and without his help and expertise, the project would not have gone as smoothly as it did.
Scouting has been a big part of Andrew Gutierrez’s life ever since he joined Cub Scout Pack 174 in 1st grade. He crossed over to Boy Scout Troop 175 in the February of Fifth grade, drawn in by the presentations on wilderness survival and opportunities for service that could not be found elsewhere. Through various leadership positions including Immortals Chief and Crew Chief at Philmont Scout Ranch, he learned invaluable lessons in leadership and survival skills that will stay with him for life. Andrew’s adventures with the Troop have taken him to incredible places and given him incredible opportunities such as backpacking through Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, sailing the Caribbean Islands and whitewater rafting the Zambezi River that borders Zambia and Zimbabwe in Africa.
Andrew is a recent graduate of Simsbury High School, where he was a four year member of the Simsbury High School Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track teams and served as XC Captain during the Fall of 2014. Running has been a huge part of Andrew’s life and his experiences have inspired him to co-found Run CT Running Apparel, a small business dedicated to producing quality running apparel and unifying the Connecticut running community. Currently Andrew attends the University of Rochester, pursuing a degree in engineering and computer science. In his free time he enjoys playing piano and participated in last year’s Simsbury High School Battle of the Bands as the keyboard player in Funky D Foley and the Space Jam Parade.
For his Eagle Project, Andrew raised money to construct a bookcase and shelving unit for the Hartford Catholic Worker. In addition, he ran a book drive and filled the bookcase with over 700 books, thanks to generous donations from the community. The Hartford Catholic Worker provides a safe environment for children in Hartford to play and study after school, and they now have a sufficient library to supplement their schoolwork and help them to develop a love of reading and learning. Andrew thanks everyone who made this project possible.
Matt Zikovich has lived in Simsbury my entire life. He joined a Cub Scout pack for one year that taught me the basics of scouting was, but it was not nearly as exciting and adventurous as Troop 175. Currently, Matt is a Senior at Simsbury High School and plans on attending college majoring in either business or mathematics.
The two biggest hobbies in Matt’s life are baseball and snowboarding. He is a player on the Simsbury High Baseball team in the spring, American Legion in the summer, and for the past two years I have been part of the AAU Mustangs Baseball in the fall. Once the long season of baseball is over, I am a snowboarding instructor at Ski Sundown.
The fantastic scout trips were one of the main reasons why I joined Troop 175. Of the numerous amounts of trips we did every year, Matt’s all time favorites were sailing in Belize, snowboarding in Vermont, and biking on Block Island. Belize was an experience he particularly will never forget. The group walked throughout the villages, visiting local restaurants and shops at night and sailing the open sea, snorkeling, and jumping off the boats during the day. Even though his last ski trip he broke his collar bone snowboarding, it still remains a top trip for him just because of the amazing mountains the troop would go to.
For his Eagle Project Matt decided to give back to the baseball community he has been a member of the past 12 years. Matt made a picnic table area at Town Forest Baseball Park right next to the running path. The area consists of two picnic tables with a stone dust base.
This now makes Matt the third in his family to become an Eagle Scout. His two brothers Scott Miller and Zac Zikovich are both Eagle Scouts with Troop 175. Matt thanks them for setting the bar high, and feels without them he would never have been determined enough to actually get started on the journey to Eagle. Also, he would like to thank Mr. Mead and Mr. Adamowicz with their wonderful leadership and direction throughout his scouting career and especially during the last years of my life. And of course his parents, who put in many hours of work and support to make his Eagle Project, and especially life, so much easier.
Thomas J Nicholson
TJ Nicholson first started boy scouting as a tiger cub back in first grade. As he and his friends went through the cub ranks and started to earn belt loops I was starting to get very bored of cub scouts. However TJ was convinced to stick it out because boy scouting would be a lot more fun than cub scouts because of the fun and cool things he would be able to do. When he crossed over to boy scouts, TJ chose Troop 175 to be with his friends and because of the fantastic trips that they took as a troop. Also an older baseball friend, Jack Falkner, was part of Troop 175 and made him feel welcome when there was a cross over camp out at Onion Mountain. Jack was a real mentor for TJ when he was young because he was the only older kid that he knew that would want to come over and talk to me because TJ was a very quiet kid. But Jack made TJ more open and made him feel comfortable to talk about whatever and have it be okay.
Also TJ would like to thank all of the adults in the troop made him feel comfortable in the troop which just made the entire experience of being a boy scout something special. Also for all of those people that helped TJ throughout his life, not only in scouts but in school, or socially, TJ would just like to say thank you so much for letting him be a part of your life and touching his life and made him who he is today.
TJ now feels he is a “Jack Falkner” trying to get younger kids into scouting and making them feel comfortable in the troop.
Boy Scout Troop 175 is looking for boys between the ages of 10-18 with sense of adventure and fun to join us. The Troop, is sponsored by St. Mary’s Church in Simsbury and draws scouts from the entire Farmington Valley. They meet on Thursday nights from 7-8:30 PM during the school year and welcome interested boys to stop in and see what it is all about.