CRANBERRY TWP — The township is now home to the nation's only permanent memorial honoring the 100th anniversary of scouting in America.
The monument officially opened to the public Sunday during a ceremony in Graham Park.
The opening of the site caps off a process that took nearly a year and a half and $150,000 to complete. The project was named the Cranberry Township Community Chest's Community Project of the Year for 2012.
Situated at the edge of a small fishing lake, the monument and plaza are designed to offer a site where Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can meet, plan and carry out community service activities.
The memorial features a plaza with a stone monument in the middle.
Three acres adjacent to the plaza will be reserved as an environmental area for Scouts and residents to care for and enjoy.
Henry Sinopoli, chairman of the Boy Scouts Moraine Trails Council board, said the memorial is a tribute to two organizations that have had an enormous impact on the country in the last century.
“These organizations give kids an opportunity to grow in mind, body and spirit,” he said. “That's not something we take lightly, and that's not something our boys take lightly.”
After the event, Sinopoli praised everyone who came together to make the monument a reality, but also had special thanks for Bruce Mazzoni, the chairman of Cranberry's board of supervisors who spearheaded the effort as part of the Community Chest.
“Bruce had the initial vision about doing something for the anniversary,” he said. “Without his efforts, this project certainly would have never come to fruition.”
Sinopoli said that “this opportunity would be lost” if it weren't for the volunteers like Mazzoni working behind the scenes.
The monument celebrates those volunteers, but also pays homage to the countless people who work behind the scenes for both the Boy and Girl Scouts.
As the chief executive officer of the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the Girl Scouts, Pat Burkart said she leads more than 36,000 girls in 27 counties across the region.
Burkart said she got tears in her eyes when viewing the memorial and she thought of the more than 7,000 volunteers the Girl Scouts rely on annually in the area.
“Without the volunteers across the region who help to deliver this program, we would be nowhere,” she told the crowd.
Rob Sexton of Cranberry stood cradling his two sons, listening to the speakers.
His son, Ethan, 7, stood next to him adorned in his Boy Scout uniform.
“I think it's great that he can come down here and look at the memorial and realize all that's come before him,” Sexton said.
Part of the memorial includes three plaques that illustrate the cycle of scouting from childhood to adulthood.
The designs on those plaques were submitted as part of a contest held by the Butler Eagle.
The first place design was submitted by Laser Imaging, the company that eventually created the plaques for the memorial.
The second and third place winners were Ben Bakos and Jeremy Sunseri, respectively.