Christian Rossi had some significant footsteps to follow. It was four years ago that his older brother, Griffin, earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
Now, Christian can stand on equal footing.
Last Saturday, Rossi, a junior at Valhalla High School, was honored as the area’s newest Eagle Scout. The 10 years of time and effort Rossi put into scouting were well worth it, he said.
“All the work paid off and I know it’s going to help me in the future and it was a great thing for the troop as well,” said Rossi a member of Troop 1. “That’s what makes it special, that you have it from when you’re a little kid to when you’re a 70-year-old. It kind of stays with you forever.”
A large turnout of family, friends, scouts, including a contingent of Eagle Scouts from past years, community members and local officials celebrated Rossi’s accomplishment during a luncheon and the Eagle Scout Court of Honor at the Valhalla Methodist Church.
Scouting has been a way of life for the Rossi family, said his mother, Susan. The boys’ father, John, was involved in the troop for about 15 years. Susan Rossi’s late father was a veteran and would have been extremely proud of both of her sons, she added.
She said having both sons make Eagle Scout is more than just the achievement.
“Everyone is very independent, everyone knows how to take care of themselves and each other, and my husband is a perfect role model for that being that he made it to Life Scout,” Susan Rossi said.
Scoutmaster Marcelo Quellet said while Rossi’s ascension to Eagle Scout is impressive as a high school junior, troop leaders instruct the members that it’s not a race to the finish. Rather, it’s about learning, helping others and helping the community.
“Really, at the end of the path we want them to be prepared for life,” Quellet said. “We try to give them the skills from a young age, seven, eight years old, so that they’ll be prepared for life, that they have all the skills necessary.”
County Executive George Latimer was part of a contingent of local officials who told Rossi that whether it will be interviewing for colleges or later for jobs, when people see that he is an Eagle Scout they will know he has qualities that many of his peers may not have.
“They will see that Eagle Scout jump out as a sign of maturity and ability and accomplishment and the folks who don’t have that, they may be very fine people, but this is that extra little statement that you’re a young man with a great future,” Latimer said.
For his Eagle Scout project, which was approved last August, Rossi excavated a 20-foot by 14-foot area to create a driveway for the Valhalla Ambulance Corps to park an emergency service trailer. He also transformed a four-foot by seven-foot space into a stone platform for the corps’ refuse container.
His brother, Griffin, said he saw all the qualities that were needed for his younger brother to become an Eagle Scout, including when Christian helped him with his Eagle Scout project at the Valhalla American Legion.
He said for both of them scouting was something that they both enjoyed immensely.
“I went hiking all up and down the East Coast. So did he,” Griffin Rossi said. “I wanted all the different experiences. It was hard to say, ‘Oh, I don’t have the time.’ It’s something I wanted to do and its something he wanted to do.”
Christian Rossi said just because he’s reached scouting’s pinnacle and he has the rest of a busy junior year and his college search coming, he will remain active with Troop 1.
“I don’t age out until I’m 18; I’m still 17 years old,” Rossi said. “I still get another year, so I can still be around them.”