Boy Scout Troop marks 25th year
JANESVILLE In the 25 years since Boy Scout Troop 516 started at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, the troop has known only two leaders—Bob Hornby and Paul Romanelli.
Hornby, Scoutmaster, established the troop in 1986, and Romanelli joined him three years later as assistant Scoutmaster. Together they have guided 160 boys, including 32 who earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program.
"Scouts come back to me and tell me, ‘Because you pushed me, I got my Eagle, and because I got my Eagle, I was able to get the job or the career I wanted,'" Hornby said.
Alex Milbrandt is one of those Scouts.
"They definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone," the 19-year-old UW-Madison student said.
Milbrandt isn't a big fan of camping, but Hornby and Romanelli convinced him to go on a high adventure trip to the Boundary Waters.
"I wasn't so sure about it, but as it turns out it was OK. I enjoyed myself, and at the end of the trip I was glad I went," Milbrandt said.
The troop celebrated its 25th anniversary Aug. 15. Romanelli said the troop's first Eagle Scout attended the ceremony and recounted what he had learned.
Romanelli, 53, Janesville, said Scouting is his passion.
"Some people golf. Some people bowl. Some people play cards. I Scout. It's my hobby and what I love doing," he said.
Hornby, 52, Janesville, said he is a volunteer Boy Scout leader because he wants to share his boyhood Scouting experiences—such as attending the national jamboree in Idaho and world jamboree in Norway—and give kids the same opportunities.
"Without Scouts, I would have never done those activities," he said.
Romanelli and Hornby have been involved in Scouts since they were boys and became Eagle Scouts the same year in different parts of the country.
"We love what we're doing, and it's an opportunity to give back to both the community and the boys, teach them some of the things we got out of the program: duty to God and country, duty to others and duty to self," Romanelli said.
Both men said they plan to continue their leadership role with the troop.
Rita Milbrandt, Alex's mother, saw firsthand the impact the two men had on her son.
"If Alex had questions, he knew he could go to either and they'd help him, especially when he was doing his Eagle Scout project that involved a lot of paperwork and preparation. They really helped him through every step of that," Rita said.
"Bob and Doc (Romanelli) are just great with the boys as far as knowing how much to push them and how much to let them do on their own, giving them that strong guidance they need," she said.
"They just have such a good relationship with the boys."