Vince Lauricella, a Pennington resident who has been involved with the Boy Scouts for decades, recently earned the District Award of Merit by the Mercer Area District of the Boy Scouts for his work with Boy Scout Troop 1776.
Having earned an Eagle Scout title as a youth before taking on leadership positions at the troop in 2004, Lauricella has served as the troop’s Cub Scout leader and has since become Troop 1776’s scoutmaster.
Through these positions, he has been able to provide the troop with exciting and memorable cycling and backpacking trips in California; Oregon; the Adirondack Mountains; Ontario, Canada; Maryland; Washington, D.C, and Pittsburgh.
After dedicating so much of his life to the Boy Scouts, Lauricella said he feels “honored” to receive the District Award of Merit. He said earning the award does not come easily for “scouters,” since it only goes out to three people per year.
“I feel like I don’t put the time in and do what I do for notoriety,” he said. “The satisfaction is having an impact in the lives of young people, but certainly, it’s nice to be recognized occasionally…I greatly appreciate that the scouters thought I was worthy of receiving that recognition.”
Lauricella was nominated by friend and fellow Scouter Rich Mendelsohn, who said his dedication has been his “life’s mission.”
“Countless camping trips, merit badges and High Adventure Trips into the wilderness has given these young men the experience and confidence to become great leaders and better citizens,” Mendelsohn said. “I am proud to call Vince a friend and fellow Scouter.”
While scouting has been a major part of Lauricella’s life, he said he’s since passed down his passion for scouting to his children, Anna and Andrew.
Lauricella said he became a founding member of a Venturing Crew — a co-ed group that allows girls to participate in similar Boy Scout activities — so his daughter could get involved. His son, like Lauricella, is also an Eagle Scout.
“All the years when [Andrew] was involved in scouting, [Anna] would get to hear about all the great things he was doing and she wasn’t able to do those things,” Lauricella said.
Some of those things the troop was partaking in were High Adventure Trips, which, Lauricella said, are “ambitious, outdoor week-to-10-day trips,” where the boys are able to immerse themselves in the outdoors, while learning valuable lessons of leadership.
“They’re very youth-led,” he said. “We have a committee of Scouts and they research the possible places we can go, and they ultimately decide where they want to go. We’re really teaching them they have the ability to plan really ambitious trips of their own.”
After passing on his experiences and wisdom to hundreds of other Scouts, Lauricella hopes to continue to lead by example and make a positive impact in the lives of the Boy Scouts.
“The biggest thing with being an adult leader is to lead by example, so I’m always cognizant of the example that I set [and] how I’m perceived by the youth,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest part — portraying yourself as a positive role model for young people.”