Step into the shadowy woodlands behind the sports fields at the Cantine Field Complex in Saugerties and you could almost believe you have left the Village for a forest. Navigating the maze of trails through these woods can be daunting, but two kiosks with trail maps help visitors navigate the maze The second kiosk was contributed by Dan MacIsaac, a member of Boy Scout Troop 36, as his Eagle Scout project. The project is the final requirement for earning the rank of Eagle Scout. On Saturday, May 19, MacIsaac was inducted into the Eagle Scout rank, along with praise from his parents, Scout leaders and local politicians.
MacIsaac nearly didn’t make the deadline to finish his project before he turned 18. In fact, his father, Michael MacIsaac, recalled that he received an extension. Because the Covid virus slowed his progress, he was allowed to continue past his 18th birthday to finish the project and still be eligible to earn the rank.
MacIsaac is studying engineering at SUNY Ulster. The Cantine Field “was a big part of my life; I played soccer there, I played basketball, I played baseball; so I just wanted to give back to them.”
Oath and Law of an Eagle Scout
The ceremony opened with the pledge of allegiance, led by Owen Moorhus. Pastor Pete Shultis offered the opening invocation and Scoutmaster Bob Cote recited the Eagle Scout Oath and the Scout Law. As he recited each point of the oath and the law, MacIsaac lit a candle on a candelabra.
Mike Karashay offered advice for living life as an Eagle Scout. “As of today, you are taking on a lot of responsibility, a lot will be expected of you when people find out you’re an Eagle Scout. That’s what happened to me, and I could tell you a lot of stories about that.”
He reminded MacIsaac of the two tenets of the scout’s outlook: “be prepared” and “do a good turn every day. The foremost responsibility of an Eagle Scout is to live with honor,” Karashay said, delivering the charge that is given to each scout as he achieves the rank of Eagle. The white on the eagle badge symbolizes honor.
The second obligation of an Eagle Scout is loyalty, Karashay said. “A scout is true to his family, scout leaders, friends, school and nation. Let the blue of the Scout badge inspire loyalty.”
The third obligation of an Eagle Scout is to be courageous. This is not only to face danger with bravery, “but to have the courage to stand up for what is right,” he said. Courage is symbolized by the red on the badge.
The eagle suspended from the badge symbolizes service.
Since the actions of any Eagle Scout reflect on all who hold the rank, “the torch you carry is not only yours, it’s ours,” said Scoutmaster Cote. MacIsaac then repeated the Eagle Scout oath and Assistant Scoutmaster Matt White declared him an Eagle Scout.
Marilyn Schrader of the Firefighters Association of the State of New York [FASNY] read a letter on behalf of the state’s firefighters. It noted that many scouts go on to become firefighters. “Daniel’s commitment to pursue this goal is a testament not only to him, but to Troop 36,” the letter from the association states. She also presented MacIsaac with a certificated congratulating him on his achievement. She presented MacIsaac with a commemorative coin that celebrates FASNY’s 150th anniversary.
“I want to talk about service,” said Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa. His own history of service includes the Marine Corps and New York State Police prior to his election as Ulster County Sheriff. “It’s a calling,” he said. He then half jokingly suggested that he was there to recruit and suggested that MacIsaac consider joining the Sheriff’s Department. He presented MacIsaac with a certificate for his achievement.
The American Legion Lamouree Hackett Post 72 of the American Legion also had a certificate and congratulations for MacIsaac. The post presented MacIsaac with an award for good citizenship.
“Is the Sheriff around” asked New York State Police Lieutenant Bernard Davis. “We’re also recruiting.” Joking aside, however, “we are all recruiting because we are in desperate need of quality leaders.”
Society can be broken down into three groups, Davis said. The largest – 80 percent consists of ordinary citizens “who are good people, but they tend to be followers.” The remainder are either destructive or positive leaders. “You have the foundation to be that kind of leader, to help other people see the right path. Do you want to be that person?”
Town Supervisor Fred Costello, with Councilwoman Peg Nau, said they were honored to join in celebrating “this special occasion.” It takes a lot of people to get a young man to commit to scouting, make all those meetings and make the effort to earn the necessary merit badges, he said. He offered congratulations to everyone who was involved, “especially to Mike and Deb,” Mac Isaac’s parents. Costello said he has been to many Eagle Scout ceremonies, “and I always come away with the feeling that this is part of a long story and this, maybe, is the climax. It is a beginning, so now all that love and commitment and leadership that was offered by all of these folks is put on you.” Costello explained that he hopes MacIsaac will mentor younger scouts, help in the community “in the way you have already demonstrated you could.” Daniel’s work, in marking the trails off Cantine Fields is no small achievement, he said, adding that during the pandemic, the trails received a good deal of use. Costello then presented MacIsaac with a certificate praising his contribution to the community.
Representative Antonio Delgado said he was impressed with the amount of work it took to earn the Eagle rank in scouting. Since 1911, only four percent of scouts attain the rank of Eagle, he said. “It is rare for someone to put in the work that you have put in. There’s a commitment you have to have to make ethical and moral choices,” he said. “While the road may not be easy, “you have to anchor yourself with your family, your community and your values and your morals and your principles. And you’re not alone — you have a great community with you, that loves you, and there’s nothing you can do without love.”
In addition to the usual certificates and letters of praise, Delgado presented MacIsaac with an American flag that had flown over the capitol.
“As you all know, this is my home town and it is good to be here with so many future leaders,” said New York State Senator Michelle Hinchey. The particular project MacIsaac chose means a lot to her, Hinchey said. As a child, Hinchey spent a good deal of time around the Cantine complex where she went nearly every day after school. “To do something for that space, for that field, means that you want it to be enjoyed, that you want other people to feel the benefit of the work that you’ve done.”
Quoting Supervisor Fred Costello on the increased use of the Town’s outdoor facilities, Hinchey said a lot of people “don’t know where they are, don’t know how to use them, so to pick something that you know people are going to use, to be able to guide them, we just want people to be safe.”
Hinchey thanked the MacIsaac family “for raising such an incredible young man” and presented MacIsaac with a certificate from the New York State Senate.
MacIsaac gives praise
MacIsaac thanked and praised his parents. “I certainly could not have done this without you,” and my friend Connor, who “taught me how to make something out of nothing.” He mentioned Connor’s help in learning to work on cars and his willingness to lend a helping hand. “He has certainly helped me when I needed help the most,” he said. Finally, he thanked Scoutmaster Cote and Assistant Scoutmaster White. “These are the people who work all week and then spend so much time working to make us better people. They teach us all how to become better people and to make an impact on our community. I look up to you, and hope that I can be as caring and helpful as you some day.”