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Comments by Eagle Scout Mom & Chief Judge Loretta Preska, United States District Court, Southern District of New York
Comments by Eagle Scout Mom & Chief Judge Loretta Preska, United States District Court, Southern District of New York
Comments by Eagle Scout Mom & Chief Judge Loretta Preska, United States District Court, Southern District of New York
Comments by Eagle Scout Mom & Chief Judge Loretta Preska, United States District Court, Southern District of New York
Comments by Eagle Scout Mom & Chief Judge Loretta Preska, United States District Court, Southern District of New York
Comments by Eagle Scout Mom & Chief Judge Loretta Preska, United States District Court, Southern District of New York
Comments by Eagle Scout Mom & Chief Judge Loretta Preska, United States District Court, Southern District of New York
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Comments by Eagle Scout Mom & Chief Judge Loretta Preska, United States District Court, Southern District of New York

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Eagle Mom & Chief Judge Loretta Preska shared her thoughts on being an Eagle Scout Mom to NYC Eagle Scout Moms at the 2014 NYC Eagle Scout Mom "Thank you" Reception, April 17, 2014, at the offices of …

Eagle Mom & Chief Judge Loretta Preska shared her thoughts on being an Eagle Scout Mom to NYC Eagle Scout Moms at the 2014 NYC Eagle Scout Mom "Thank you" Reception, April 17, 2014, at the offices of Warburg Pincus in midtown Manhattan. Judge Preska was introduced by National Eagle Scout Association Chair and Greter New York Councils Vice President Ricky Mason

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  • 1. Good evening ladies and thank you for joining us this evening. It is a great treat for me to be here tonight in the company of so many Eagle Moms. We share a very special common experience of watching our sons develop through Scouting into mature, moral, compassionate citizens. We are all so proud of you and your sons. But despite the great crowd in this room tonight, our sons’ experiences are all too rare. There are innumerable boys on our blocks, in our neighborhoods and across town who are desperately in need of the guidance that Scouting provides. I know, I sentence them every day. And so, as we celebrate tonight, I will ask you, the backbone of Scouting, to join me in helping Scouting to change those lives. We all know that Scouting made a life-changing difference in our Eagle Scout sons. Each of us here tonight sent an awkward, uncertain, probably timid son into the world of Scouting. We watched his knowledge grow, badge by badge. That knowledge often extended to the exotic, like the knowledge gained earning the Atomic Energy badge. We watched his independence grow, trip by trip ’ camping, skiing, sailing. We watched his leadership skills grow, step by step ’ Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle. We even watched our son Matt’s business acumen grow. His troop raised funds by selling Christmas trees on three Manhattan street corners on three weekends every December. It was a massive operation. Freshly cut trees had to be ordered, trucks rented, and parents signed up to drive to Pennsylvania to pick up trees, bring them back to New York, deliver them to the sites each weekend day and retrieve them at the end of the selling day. Shifts of Scouts and parents had to be organized, and younger siblings were often pressed into service to sweep the sites clean of tree needles. Appropriate delivery teams of one older and one younger Scout had to be dispatched, and the money accounted for at the end of each day. I had a small hint of the
  • 2. learning taking place when I saw Matt poring over the shift schedule and lamenting that some of his peers ’just don’t always show up when they are supposed to.’ Sometimes the process of transformation made us laugh. Like the time our son’s troop visited a troop in Pennsylvania where they earned the aviation badge at a nearby airfield. Matt thought it would be fun to start the plane’s engines and he did just that ’ much to the horror of the adults present. Well, that laugh is mostly in hindsight. Sometimes the process made us cry -- like the time Matt was teaching Scoutcraft at Ten Mile River. In what became his college application essay, he explained how he taught a blind, almost deaf scout to build a fire. The young Scout was understandably terrified of the thought of putting a match to tinder and kindling to ignite flames he could not see. Matt’s description of the look of joy and accomplishment that spread across that young scout’s face as he safely felt the warmth of his little flame makes me cry to this day. Sometimes we were amazed they even survived. When our Matt was 14 his troop headed to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. I confess only now that upon hearing that our skinny son was headed out on the trail at an altitude of ___, carrying a weeks’ worth of food and equipment on his back gave me great pause. When I heard that the temperatures ranged from the 30s to the 100s, I was certain he would never return. But return he did, with a new self- confidence. In preparing for tonight, I asked Matt his thoughts about his Philmont time. He said: Philmont is an experience like no other. It teaches perseverance, strength, and teamwork. It fosters an appreciation of nature, but it also instills a sense of belonging, of being part of an objective that is larger than oneself. Successful completion of a Philmont trek requires collaborating as a team, utilizing the strengths of each member of the crew. After completing the journey, one has a greater respect and appreciation for his fellow crew members and of the natural beauty of the New Mexico back-country.
  • 3. Matt’s feeling of confidence following Philmont was one I could identify with from my own days as a Girl Scout. As a high school sophomore, I headed out with my patrol for a four- day trek in the high Adirondacks. Despite my lack of camping experience, I was somehow elected patrol leader. The first day went fine, and we camped at the appointed site, sleeping in an open shelter. On the second day, however, for some reason we couldn’t locate that night’s shelter. We hiked and hiked and hiked some more but never found it. To make matters perfect, it had begun to snow, then rain, but we made do, sleeping under a tarp and eating foods that didn’t need cooking. The next morning dawned sunny, and in two hours we arrived at that night’s shelter. So we celebrated by cooking and eating food intended for the night before. After that, I still remember thinking that there was nothing in the world I couldn’t do. Ricky told you that I’m the Chief Judge of the Federal Court here in New York. Without Girl Scouting, I would never be in this position. Unlike most high school students, I knew exactly what I wanted to be. I was going to be a chemist. After doing chemistry research during the summer before senior year of college, though, I rejected life in the laboratory. What to do? Well the only thing I liked to do, as you have gathered by now, is talk. I had been on several Girl Scout trips that required me to talk; one by train to the Girl Scout Roundup in Idaho in 1964 where I sent radio broadcasts back to my community and one to an international conference in Hawaii in 1966, about which I gave speeches for years. Because of those experiences, I was selected as community ambassador to go to Denmark for a summer and for the next year to speak to any interested community group. I enjoyed the speaking as much as the trip. So as a college senior contemplating my life’s work, speaking was the key. I had heard tell that one could make a living speaking by being a lawyer, although I wasn’t so sure what lawyers did.
  • 4. Undaunted by such details, I applied to Fordham Law School in the spring of my senior year, and all I can report is so far, so good. But our own sons were raised at a different time and in a different place. Somehow, by living the Scout Oath, our Eagle sons were able to resist the temptations that surrounded them and to emerge from the perils of modern youth as moral men, with lifetime friendships, life lessons, and the ability to lead their fellow citizens. How proud we are! Scouting has immeasurably improved the lives of our sons and our families. I’m proud to say that the values Scouting has instilled in our son have caused him to begin paying back. Matt’s friend, Andrew Nam, [position] at the Council, is now Scout Master at their old troop, and Matt attends as many meetings as possible to help out. He helps work Christmas tree sales in December and accompanies the troop on its annual ski trip. These two men are wonderful role models for those young Scouts. But there are more sons and more families out there in our communities. There is much more work to be done and not enough people to do it. Ethan Draddy and the folks at the Greater New York Councils are working hard but by themselves cannot reach anything close to the number of boys and families in need. Thus, I ask each one of you to consider joining me in lending your expertise as an Eagle Mom to other boys. Just think how the lives of those boys and their families can be bettered. Just think of the effect the work of this great wave of Eagle Moms can have on the fabric of our communities. I hope you will consider volunteering to help the Council further its work with boys just like our own sons. [Method of signing up.] Meanwhile, I congratulate each of you on your son’s great success and I look forward to continuing to celebrate all of you Eagle Moms tonight. Thank you for attending.

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